Mr. Bayard to Count von Arco-Valley.
Washington , February 5, 1889.
Sir: The President having been made acquainted fully with the tenor of the instructions received by you from Prince Bismarck and read by you yesterday for my transcription, he requests me to say that he fully shares in the desire expressed by the prince chancellor to bring the blessings of peace and order to the remote and feeble community of semi-civilized people inhabiting the islands of Samoa; and that he clearly recognizes the duty of the powerful nations of Christendom to deal with these people in a spirit of magnanimity and benevolence.
On behalf of the United States Government, the President instructs me to express his acceptance of the proposal of the Government of Germany to resume the consultation held in this city between the representatives of the United States, Germany, and Great Britain, which was suspended on the 26th day of July, 1887, such consultation to be renewed, as it was undertaken, for the purpose of establishing peace and an orderly stable government in the Samoan Islands, on the basis of their recognized independence and the equal rights of the three treaty powers. The resumption of such conference as it is now proposed by Prince Bismarck upon the general lines advanced by each of the three powers, as set forth in the protocols of the conference as far as it has progressed, and embracing certain points of agreement, appears to present a hopeful prospect for securing the welfare of the Samoan people, and such a neutralization of territorial jurisdiction as will prevent preponderant control by any nation and secure equal rights of commerce and navigation to all.
The sooner this conference can be resumed the better. And in view of the late deplorable scenes of bloodshed which have been exhibited upon Samoan soil, entailing deeply regrettable loss to Germany, it appears to be essential that a truce should be forthwith proclaimed and further armed action should be arrested. A contention of arms by such a scanty band as the Samoans against the vast armaments of Germany has, of course, but one result assured in advance, and would be manifestly futile. There is no feature of equality in such a struggle.
As the assurance of Prince Bismark that the pacification of the Samoan group and the occupation of a neutral position are his only objects is as frankly accepted by the United States as it is tendered by Germany, it is suggested in furtherance of the desired result of the conference that instructions to suspend belligerent action and await the action of such conference should at once be telegraphed to their respective officers in Samoa by the three treaty powers.
To continue to prosecute a war of destruction and reprisal, even upon admitted provocation, would surely not consist with the objects of any of the three powers. It is hoped, therefore, that orders of the nature indicated will be forwarded to Samoa without delay.
The announcement of the conference between the treaty powers, it is confidently expected, will at once cause a cessation of hostility among the natives; and their speedy election of a king would certainly be a long step towards harmony. Except as the condition may be changed by a free election of a king by the natives, it is deemed essential that affairs in Samoa should remain in statu quo pending the conference.
If we may indulge the hope which the adoption of these suggestions promises for a successful issue of the conference, the Government of the United States will at once take steps to be properly represented at the meetings of such conference in Berlin.[Page 195]
The statements yon real to me as emanating from the German consul at Samoa, in which he finds fault with the conduct of Captain Leary, of the Nipsic, and of Mr. Blacklock, the United States consul, as violative of the instructions of this Government to maintain an impartial attitude in the conflicts in Samoa, do not appear to be substantiated by an averment of any personal knowledge of the facts, but must have been based upon information and belief only, or are reported at second hand, and must be classed as merely hearsay evidence.
These conflicting statements of the German consul will be brought to the attention of Captain Leary and Mr. Blacklock, and their reply will be communicated. Much allowance must be made for the excitement prevailing in Samoa, which is not favorable to accuracy or moderation of statement, especially of those concerned as actors.