Baron Saurma to Mr. Gresham.


Mr. Secretary of State: It is provided in Article V, section 3, of the Samoa act, that the consuls of the three treaty powers shall compose a consular board, which shall pass upon the resolutions adopted by the municipal council. The Samoa act presupposes, moreover, that the influence which the consuls have a right to exert with the local administration and the Samoan Government is to be exerted on the basis of mutual consultation, as appears, for instance, from Article VI, section 2. According, however, to the report of the imperial consul at Apia, of December 29, 1894, a copy of which is herewith inclosed, the United States consul-general in Samoa does not act in accordance with those provisions. A resolution of the municipal council, which he does not approve, seems rather to have led him to assume, on principle, a hostile attitude toward all the measures adopted by the municipal council, thereby crippling the efficiency of that body as well as that of the consular board. Independently of this, moreover, his arbitrary course, in which he ignores the consuls of the two other treaty powers, is a source of frequent annoyance.

I have the honor, in pursuance of instructions received from the Imperial Government, most respectfully to bring the foregoing to your excellency’s notice, and I think that I may assume that the course of the American consul-general at Apia does not meet the approval of the United States Government, and that your excellency will consequently be prepared to instruct the American representative in Samoa to discontinue his opposition to the municipal council, and to act in harmony with his consular colleagues in political matters.

Begging to be favored with a reply on this subject, I avail myself, etc.,


The German Consul to the German Government.

I have the honor, most respectfully, to inform Your Serene Highness that Mr. Mulligan, the new American consul-general, has taken a course in several official matters which justifies the conclusion that [Page 1127] there will hereafter be no harmonious action on the part of the three consuls, such as has heretofore existed.

While the consulates have hitherto, with very infrequent exceptions, acted only after previous consultation and deliberation in all matters in which they were mutually interested, and have sent joint answers to communications addressed to them, Mr. Mulligan has frequently not only assumed an independent attitude in matters under consideration, and expressed his opinion without paying any regard to the other consuls, or ascertaining whether any agreement has been reached, but in one case, without even notifying us of his intention, he actually withdrew a resolution which had been jointly communicated to the Samoan Government.

I have referred, both orally and in writing, to the practice which has hitherto prevailed, and especially to the fact that the authority of the consuls and respect for their decisions among the natives has always been and must be better upheld if we jointly decided and settled questions coming before us than if each consul expressed his own opinion in a form different from those of the others, thus giving rise to the thought among the natives of a lack of harmony among the consuls.

Mr. Mulligan, however, has again presented his views alone in cases which called for consultation in common, and has done this in so positive and peremptory a manner that an understanding among the three consuls has been rendered impossible.

The municipal council some time ago denied several applications for license to sell spirituous liquors on the ground of existing legal provisions, which had repeatedly been enforced. Personal interest may have had some weight in this matter. At all events, the lack of any necessity very properly influenced the decision. I say lack of necessity, because there are already in Apia six places, for the two or three hundred white residents, where liquors are sold at retail.

As no actual resolution had been adopted by the municipal council, the consuls, even if they had been agreed on this question, could not have brought about any other decision.

Mr. Mulligan hereupon declared that he considered the decision of the inunicipal council one-sided and unjust, and that, until further notice, he would, as a matter of principle, refuse his sanction to any resolution that might be adopted by the municipal council, and that he would take no active part in the proceedings of the consular board in municipal affairs.

Consul Cusack-Smith and I endeavored to make it clear to him that he was thus assuming an attitude that was at variance with both the spirit and the letter of the Berlin treaty, that he was exposing the consular board, and that his course was calculated to effect nothing, for now, as the resolutions of the municipality were not unanimously approved by the consular board, they would go to the chief justice, who has the power to approve the resolutions of the municipal council.

Mr. Mulligan, however, adhered to his determination, and since then has declined, out and out, to approve the resolutions of the municipal council.

The efficiency of the consular board has thereby been seriously impaired. If Mr. Mulligan, regardless of consequences, not only refuses to take part in the joint deliberations of the consuls, but acts independently, without previous consultation with the other consuls, an unbearable state of things will thereby be created.

I desire, in conclusion, to call attention to the fact that, notwithstanding the action taken by Mr. Mulligan, my own relations with him [Page 1128] have always been agreeable, and that he has in many cases kindly acceded to my wishes and suggestions.

I can only wish for a continuance of so pleasant a state of things.