Mr. Coleman to Mr. Gresham.

No. 87.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith the full text of certain leading articles, accompanied by translations, relating to Samoan affairs, taken from the numbers of the North German Gazette published on the 26th and 28th instant.

Peculiar interest attaches to the utterances of this semiofficial journal for the reason that they are generally regarded, when important political matters are discussed, as reflecting the views of the imperial foreign office.

I have, etc.,

Chapman Coleman.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 87.—From the Nbrddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, April 26, 1894.—Translation.]

In the sitting of the English House of Commons of the 24th instant, the under secretary of state of the foreign office confirmed the intelligence that the New Zealand Government has proposed to take upon itself the administration of the Samoan Islands. Sir Edward Grey remarked in this connection that this or any similar proposition appeared to be incompatible with the provisions of the Berlin agreement.

One will not go far wrong in assuming that the action of New Zealand is due to the artificial machinations of Chauvinists in that country and in England. It is indeed unintelligible on what grounds the New Zealand of any other colonial government can base its claims to interfere in Samoan affairs. The existing agreement, [Page 755] which is still in force, was concluded between England, Germany, and the United States. If it should de deemed neccessary to amend or to annul this convention the negotiations would be conducted by the cabinets of London, Berlin, and Washington alone, and they would boubtless take into consideration the present condition of the islands and the material interests of the nations represented there. New Zealand would not be considered at all, as it does not possess any interests in Samoa worth mentioning. The commercial interests in the islands, including under this term both trade in general and plantations, are almost exclusively in the hands of the Germans. A systematic agitation coming from New Zealand or from any other English colony can not alter these stubborn facts.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 87.—From the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, April 28, 1894.—Translation.]

The article in the Times respecting the Samoan question, reported yesterday by telegraph, is now before us in its full text. The city sheet shares the opinion that the present situation in Samoa has become untenable, but fails to suggest any positive measure for its improvement. The proposal of the Government of New Zealand to take Samoa under its own administration is considered favorably, and the only misgivings expressed are based on the apprehension that England would be held responsible for the success of the experiment. As regards German claims on the islands, the paper remarks that English sentiment is not prepared to accept an exclusive German protectorate over Samoa, for the reason that such protectorate would involve some large questions of policy, alike for England and for the Australian colonies, which could not be set aside by the rather irrelevant argument that the most important commercial interests there are in German hands.

Finally, the Times asserts that those who demand a German protectorate in Samoa, and object strongly to the proposals of New Zealand, do not represent the preponderant opinion of the German people, but rather that there are many Germans who would gladly see the German Government freed from all responsibility in Samoa, and German interests safeguarded under an English protectorate.

The influence of the Times on public opinion in England is still too great for such statements to be passed over in silence. It is quite intelligible that an English newspaper should sympathize with the idea of an administration of Samoa by an English colony. But on the other side of the channel people must prepare themselves to earn that from a German point of view, neither New Zealand nor any other English colony has any business in Samoa, and that they have absolutely no right to meddle in the affairs of the islands., As is already known, negotiations are at the present moment in progress for a fresh settlement of the Samoan question, and it would be prejudicial to their success if such a distorted view as to the attitude of public opinion in Germany were to find currency in England. The Times characterizes the fact that trade and commerce in Samoa are almost exclusively in German hands as irrelevant, but it is exactly this point which is for Germany of decisive importance. There are in Germany unconditional opponents of a colonial policy, who pursue their principles so far that they would be willing to accept an English protectorate over Samoa, but they are in the minority. On the other hand, the great majority of the German nation is of the opinion that, in consideration of the historical development of Samoa and of the preponderance of German interests there, a protectorate of any country but Germany is out of the question. By representing this view as that of a Chauvinist minority, the city organ is leading the public opinion of England astray. We deplore this most sincerely.