Baron von Ketteler to Mr. Olney.
Washington, May 14, 1895.
Mr. Secretary of State: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s note of April 25 last, No. 54, addressed to the Imperial ambassador, Baron von Saurma.
A decision of the Government of the United States is contained therein according to which, by virtue of the provisions of the Samoan acts, the president of the municipality in Apia could not be vested with the right to control the disbursements of the Samoan revenues, although the United States Government entirely pledges itself to the joint endeavor of preventing any squandering of them.
Meanwhile, further reports from Apia have reached the Imperial Government, from which it irrefutably appears that the financial administration there had suffered continued damage without the treaty Governments having been able to intervene, and without the official administrator appointed by them having been able to obtain any influence over the fiscal administration.
The clearest proof hereof is furnished by a communication under date of March 15 last, addressed by the president of the municipality to the consular representatives of the treaty powers, a copy of which I beg to inclose with a view of completing the statement, although I may assume that your excellency, in accordance with the wish of Mr. Schmidt, the president of the municipality, has been directly advised, through the United States consul-general in Apia, of the appropriation, as unexpected as it was unnecessary, contained in the resolution of the King and the Government of Samoa of March 13 last.
While it is again seen from this document to what untenable conditions the present financial action of the Samoan Government leads, it is also seen how imminently necessary it is to put an end in one way or another to this state of affairs.
The resolution of the Samoan Goverment may be summarized to the effect that the amount obtained through the sale of the printing plant, which at least, in part, might have been applied to the liquidation of old Government debts, is to be squandered uselessly and without purpose in favor of the natives. In order to avoid such squandering of Samoan finances which has also been complained of by the United States, and moreover to prevent any subsequent demand being made upon the three treaty powers to meet the deficit in the Samoan exchequer, the Imperial Government considers it its duty, notwithstanding, to return to a discussion of the question of the control of the Samoan finances, in which it believes to entertain in principle the same views [Page 1140] as those of the Governments of the United States and Great Britain, while as to the manner (execution) of such control the Department of State entertains a diverging opinion from that of the other treaty powers on the subject.
In kindly requesting a reconsideration of this matter,
I avail, etc.,