Mr. Gresham to Baron Gresham.
Washington , April 25, 1895.
Excellency: I have the honor, in connection with my note of the 18th instant, to acknowledge the receipt of your note of November 11, 1894, which was accidentally overlooked in giving consideration to that of the 19th ultimo. In your note of November 11 you state, upon information received from the Imperial German consul at Apia, that the municipal council is endeavoring, “by the issuance of supplementary orders, to restrict the right of search” provided for by the ordinance adopted on August 14 last for the regulation of the traffic in firearms within the municipal district, and you suggest that it would be “proper to instruct the consuls of the Powers to counteract these efforts.”
In reply, I beg to say that I am at a loss to understand how the municipal council can issue any supplementary orders restricting the right of search, which is expressly permitted by that ordinance. By [Page 1138] the terms of the Berlin general act the municipal council alone is without authority to adopt valid ordinances, and the validity of the ordinance of August 14, so far as it pertains to the municipal district, is recognized by this Department.
It will give me pleasure, however, to instruct the consul-general of the United States at Apia to act in concert with his German and British colleagues in the endeavor to counteract any efforts of the municipal council to defeat the object and purposes of the ordinance in question within the municipal district. As explained in my note of the 18th instant, I am unable to instruct Mr. Mulligan to adopt in whole the ordinance prepared by Mr. Ide and Mr. Schmidt for the suppression of the smuggling of firearms in Samoa outside of the municipal district.
In conclusion, I acknowledge the receipt of your note of October 18, 1894, from which it appears that the Government of Great Britain, suspecting that the imports of firearms and gunpowder in Samoa are greatly in excess of what is needed by the white settlers, had proposed that the consuls of the treaty powers be instructed to unite in suggesting plans for the prevention of illegal traffic in arms and ammunition.
Noting your statement that the German Government had accepted the proposition, I instructed Mr. Mulligan, on January 21, 1895, to take part in the joint deliberations of the consuls for the above-named purpose, and to report to the Department.
I shall also give Mr. Mulligan copies of all this correspondence, with a suitable instruction, and direct him to advise the Department fully upon the subject.