Mr. Foster to Mr. Herbert.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Sir Julian Pauncefote’s note of April 19 last, and of your note of the 5th instant, and to inclose for your information a copy of an instruction to the vice consul of the United States at Apia of the 11th instant, concerning the joint action of the three treaty powers in Samoa in the use of their war vessels to aid in the enforcement and execution of the warrant issuing from the superior court of Samoa.

I have, etc.,

John W. Foster.
[Page 541]


Any ship of war of the three treaty powers which for the time being may be present in Samoa may aid when necessary in executing warrants issuing from the supreme court of Samoa; such assistance is to be furnished only upon the request of the consular officer of the country to which the ship belongs, and such ship will act only when the consular officers of the three treaty powers are unanimously of the opinion that such assistance is necessary and shall authorize the request for assistance.

Assistance in the execution of warrants, in the cases of persons other than natives should, if possible, be requested of a ship of war of the nationality of the person against whom the warrant is issued. Otherwise such assistance should be furnished by the ships of war in turn as far as practicable.

The action of ships of war hereby authorized is executory simply against individuals and is in no sense warlike, and no request should be made for their assistance when the object to be attained can be accomplished only by an expedition into the interior of the country.

The commander of the ship of war, upon whom the request for assistance is made, must in each case, in his discretion, decide whether or not compliance with the request is practicable in a military point of view.