No. 510.
Mr. Bayard to Mr. Phelps.

No. 809.]

Sir: I have had the honor to receive, under date of the 8th ultimo, a note from Her Britannic Majesty’s minister at this capital, in relation to a case of criminal assault of a German upon a British subject at Apia, in which there was a contest between the German consul and the municipal court as to jurisdiction.

The defendant, named Marquardt, being a German, and the offense being a criminal assault, the Imperial German consul claimed the right to try the case as coming within his exclusive jurisdiction, and denied the right of the municipal judge, before whom the prosecution had been pending, to take further cognizance of it.

In October last the controversy above stated was brought by the German charge at this capital to the notice of the Department, the consul of the United States in Apia having as president of the municipal board taken the lead in asserting its jurisdiction. Upon an examination of the case, the Department came to the conclusion that the jurisdiction of the municipality was doubtful and instructed the American consul not to press the controversy further.

Her Majesty’s Government having learned the opinion of this Department, the British minister here was instructed to inquire whether, upon an examination of the facts which he communicated in his note above referred to, this Government still concurred in the views of the German Government from which Her Majesty’s Government dissented. Before receiving this note of the British minister the Department had received information which seemed to render superfluous any further discussion as to the jurisdiction of the municipal court.

For on the 14th of October last the German consul, with the assent of the British consul, declared the municipal government to be in abeyance because of an alleged refusal of the American consul to attend on that day a special meeting of the municipal board. As the Department is informed, the American consul was already near the place of meeting at the time the German consul took the course stated, and had accompanied the British consul three-fourths of the way to the court-house, when, recollecting some papers which he had intended to bring with him from his office, he returned thither for them and was thus delayed.

On the 27th ultimo the Department received a dispatch from the Americal consul, Mr. Sewall, dated January 28, 1888, copy of which is inclosed, in which he communicated to the Department copy of a note of the 18th of January from the German consul at Apia, declaring the formal withdrawal of the Imperial German Government from the municipality convention of the 2d of September, 1879, and offering to enter into negotiations with the American and British consuls for a division of the property of the municipality.

To this dispatch of the American consul a reply was made, copy of which is inclosed.

You are instructed to bring the matter to the attention of Her Majesty’s Government, and inquire whether they have accepted the notice of Germany’s withdrawal from the municipality convention, and if so, whether they have instructed their consular representative at Apia, as to the course he shall pursue in regard to the municipal property and funds.

I am, sir, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Page 705]
[Inclosure 1 in No. 809.]

Mr. Sewall to Mr. Rives.

No. 83.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith copy of communication from the Imperial German consul in which he gives notice of the immediate withdrawal of his Government from the municipality convention of 2d September, 1879, prolonged by the protocol of 29th September, 1883.

In this communication he also informs me that he is ready to enter into negotiations with me and the British vice-consul respecting a division of the property of the former municipality. I have acknowledged the receipt of this communication and await the Department’s instructions.

I have, etc.,

Harold Marsh Sewall,
Consul-General.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 809.—Translation.]

Mr. Becker to Mr. Sewall.

Sir: The Imperial German Government has arrived, through the events of last , year, at the conviction that the municipality convention of September 2, 1879, prolonged by the protocol of September 29, 1883, for an indefinite time, has become impracticable under the present circumstances.

The Imperial Government has resolved upon exercising the right belonging to each party of giving notice of immediate withdrawal, and has authorized me to declare hereby its formal withdrawal from the above-mentioned convention.

For making use of the authority given to me, I have the honor to inform you that for the purpose of division of the sum of money deposited with Mr. Hamilton, United States vice-consul, and the other property of the former municipality, I am ready to enter into negotiations with you and Her Britannic Majesty’s consul here.

I beg you will be so kind as to acknowledge receipt of this letter.

I have the honor, etc.,

Becker,
Imperial German Consul.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 809.]

Mr. Sewall to Mr. Rives.

No. 84.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith copies of proclamation signed by Tamasese and Brandeis, announcing that in consequence of the withdrawal of the Imperial German Government from the convention of September 2, 1879, the former municipal district passes under the control of this Government, and declaring which of the former municipal regulations are still in force. Foreigners are left under foreign jurisdiction.

I have the honor, etc.,

Harold Marsh Sewall,
Consul-General.
[Inclosure 4 in No. 809.—Translation.]

I Tuiaana Tamasese, the King.

The Imperial German Government has given notice of withdrawal from the convention of September 2, 1879, concerning the municipality.

Through this notice the municipality has ceased to be in force.

The former municipal district passes again under the control of my Government.

The municipal regulations 8 to 20, 25, 28, 30 to 37, 39 to 42, 59, 61, 62, 64 to 71, 74 to 76, [Page 706] 83 to 86, 97, 108 to 111, 114 to 116, 118 to 120, 122, 124, 127 to 129, 131 to 138, are hereby declared to be laws of Samoa and continue to be in force for all persons residing within the former municipal district, with the exception of those foreigners who are under foreign jurisdiction.

In the above-mentioned regulations the judge appointed by me takes the place of the “magistrate “and “chief of police,” and my Government the place of “consuls” and of the “municipal board.”


  • I Tuiaana Tamasese,
    King of Samoa.
  • Brandeis.
[Inclosure 5 in No. 800.]

Mr. Rives to Mr. Sewall.

No. 42.]

Sir: I have received your No. 83 of the 28th ultimo inclosing a copy of a note from the Imperial German consul at Apia, in which he gives notice of the withdrawal of his Government from the municipality convention of September 2, 1879, and states that he is ready to enter into negotiations with yourself and the British consul for a division of the property of the municipality. As you are aware, the United States is not formally a party to that convention, and is therefore not in a position to discuss with Germany the right of her withdrawing therefrom. It is understood, however, that the parties to the convention, Germany and Great Britain, each reserved the right of withdrawing at pleasure. And if Her Britannic Majesty’s consul is instructed by his Government to treat the convention as at an end, it will be regarded by this Government as no longer existing. In such case, it will be necessary for this Government to secure its share in the property belonging to the municipality, which received the practical support of the United States and the substantial support of its citizens in Apia.

In regard to entering into a negotiation for such a division it will be proper for you to consult the British consul, who will be guided in his action by the instructions of his Government. Should he be instructed to enter into a negotiation for the division of the property in question, you are instructed to pursue the same course, as there would then be no doubt as to the municipality having been abandoned by the contracting parties.

I am, etc.,

G. L. Rives,
Assistant Secretary.