Mr. Wharton to Sir Julian Pauncefote.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 10th instant, wherein, under instructions of Her Majesty’s Government you invite an expression of the views of this Government as to the course which should be followed in the matter of certain expenses of the Samoan land commission, the chief justice and the commissioners not taking the same view as to what constitute such reasonable and necessary expenses. Your note incloses a memorandum upon the subject by Mr. Haggard, the British land commissioner, showing in detail his request.

In reply, I beg to state that before the receipt of your note this subject had been brought to the attention of the Government of the United States by the chargé d’affaires ad interim of Germany at this capital. On the 9th instant Mr. von Mumm’s note was acknowledged to the effect that this Government concurred in the views of Her Majesty’s Government, that the expenses set out in Mr. Haggard’s memorandum were necessary to the due and proper performance of the duties of the commission. Concurrence was also given to the suggestion in Mr. von Mumm’s note, that one person should be engaged by the commission, who, for a moderate compensation, shall perform the services of secretary and interpreter.

I have add further that Mr. Sewall, the consul-general of the United States at Apia, has been instructed to inform the chief justice that, in the opinion of this Government, the expenditures called for by Mr. Haggard’s memorandum were reasonable and necessary and that it was willing to pay its share thereof. In the event of the chief justice withholding his approval after such representations by the consul-general, Mr. Sewall was authorized to pay one-third of such expenditures, provided the consular representatives of Great Britain and Germany were authorized to pay the shares of their respective governments under like instructions from each. This authority was given to the consul-general of United States in order to prevent the temporary stoppage of the labor of the land commission, which, by the terms of [Page 516]the Berlin general act, must be closed in two years. In this connection, Mr. Sewall has also been instructed to second in every possible way the efforts of the chief justice in the direction of economy; but in the event of future expenditures failing to obtain the approval of the chief justice, if they shall seem to the consular representatives of the treaty powers to be absolutely necessary for the work of the commission, Mr. Sewall was directed to pay this Government’s share of such expenses upon like authority being given to the representatives of Great Britain and Germany under similar circumstances from their respective governments.

I have, etc.,

William F. Wharton,
Acting Secretary.