Mr. Phelps to Mr. Blaine.

No. 347.]

Sir: I received yesterday morning the following dispatch:

Phelps, Minister, Berlin:

Telegram from Apia, by way of Sydney, 23d, reports resignation of president municipal council October 5, owing to disagreement with German member of council. Consuls protested against his proposal to hand over municipal funds to German consul, and president refuses to deliver funds to the three consuls acting jointly. You will represent the embarrassment this situation is likely to cause to the efforts of the three powers to secure good government in Samoa, and the necessity of equal share of the three in the financial administration during this temporary emergency.


I sought immediately an interview with Baron von Marschall. As it happened, he was at Potsdam for the day engaged in duties connected with the presence of the King of Rournania, who is now the guest of the Emperor. Thinking it wise to be assured of British cooperation, I called upon Sir Edward Malet and was happy to find that he shared the view of the case which you have presented in your dispatch.

To-day I had an interview with Baron von Marschall with the results which I have already communicated to you in the following telegram.

Blaine, Secretary, Washington:

Marschall agrees that money should go to three consuls if municipal president resigns, but says Senfft resigned to Malietoa, which is irregular and absurd, and Marschall has telegraphed Senfft he can not resign to Malietoa and chancellor advises him not to resign at all.

They know nothing except this fact of resignation, and talked as if provoked at Senfft’s conduct.

I saw Malet first, who shares our views.


Baron von Marschall had heard of Baron von Senfft’s resignation by telegram a week ago. It was an entire surprise to him, nor did he know more of its cause than that it was connected with a disagreement between a German member of the municippl council and its president. Baron von Marschall expressed some disgust that we should be given annoyance by a quarrel “in the family,” as he termed it, and at the stupidity of Baron von Senfft in thinking he could resign to King Malietoa. He added that in the telegram he had sent to Baron von Senfft he had dwelt severely upon this blunder and upon the dissatisfaction with which the German Government would receive his resignation should he insist on making it and do so in regular form and to the proper parties.

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Under these circumstances I do not see that there is anything for us to do except to wait for further developments.

I have, etc.,

W. Walter Phelps.