Baron Saurma to Mr. Gresham.
Washington , February 23, 1895.
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.,