Mr. von Holleben to Mr. Wharton.


Mr. Secretary of State: By your note of the 20th of February last, addressed to Mr. von Mumm, who was then the imperial chargé d’affaires, you stated that the U. S. Government agreed, in principle, to the proposal that any war vessel that might chance to be in Samoa might, if necessary, render suitable aid in the execution of warrants of arrest issued by the supreme court of Samoa, and asked, in conclusion, to be acquainted with the views of the Imperial Government on the subject.

As you will see by the inclosed draft of an instruction to be addressed by the Imperial Government to the consul of the Empire at Apia, the views expressed in your note of February 20 have, in general, been taken as the basis of the instruction.

I would remark that this draft has been communicated to the Royal Government of Great Britain, which has likewise agreed, in principle; and I have the honor to request you to inform me whether the U. S. Government is prepared to issue suitable instructions to its representative at Samoa.

I shall not fail to bring a communication on this subject without delay to the knowledge of the Imperial Government.

I avail myself, etc.,


Draft of instructions to the German consul at Apia,

As you are aware Malietoa addressed to the three treaty powers, on the 9th of December, 1891, an identical note in which he requested the aid of their war vessels in the execution of the warrants of arrest issued by the supreme court of Samoa. The governments concerned are disposed to comply with this request in the interest of the maintenance of the judicial order established by the Samoan treaty, so far as this may seem to be necessary in this particular case, and to be required by circumstances. You are authorized to apprise the Samoan Government of this in such way as you may think proper, conjointly with your English and American colleagues, who will receive suitable instructions.

The negotiations concerning the procedure to be observed between the Imperial Government and the London and Washington governments have led to an agreement that the interference of war vessels in the cases under consideration is to be exclusively confined to effecting the execution of warrants of arrest issued by the supreme court, and that such interference shall take place at the requisition of the proper consular officer, who shall not make such requisition unless the consuls of the three treaty powers shall, in each particular case, have become convinced that such aid appears necessary, and when they have applied for it to the consular officer concerned. The execution of warrants in the case of persons who are not natives shall, if possible, take place through the agency of such war vessel as may be present, belonging to the nation to which the person under prosecution belongs. Compliance with requisitions, moreover, must as far as possible take place in regular rotation. In making requisitions, great caution should be used, and special care should be taken to the end that interference on the part of war vessels, when it takes place, may preserve the character of an executory measure directed against individuals, and may not lead to an act of war; consequently, no requisition shall be made for the services of war vessels in cases in which the object can be accomplished only by long expeditions into the interior. I would add, in conclusion, that it will, of course, be competent for commanders of war vessels to decide concerning the military practicability of requisitions and I beg you, the case arising, to be governed by tie foregoing directions.