Baron von Thielmann to Mr. Olney.
Washington, July 8, 1896.
Mr. Secretary of State: Adverting to your excellency’s note of May 6 last, No. 149, and in connection with my note of May 8, I have the honor, pursuant to instructions, to bring the following to your notice:
Regarding the proceedings discussed in your excellency’s note, on the occasion of the new elections of the municipality in Apia, it is the opinion of the Imperial Government that this matter has been disposed of by the explanations which Mr. Geissler, the Imperial vice-consul, has submitted, and the new elections for the municipal council, which were held April 11 last.
Your excellency further complains that to a report submitted by the municipal council to the consular court in Apia there was a document in the German language attached, and that difficulties had been made with respect to furnishing an English translation thereof. As the provisions of the Samoan act do not determine the language in which business is to be conducted, the Imperial Government readily concedes that precedence can be claimed as little for the German as for the English language, so that if a settlement of this question, as a matter of principle, is to be effected, German documents should be accompanied by an English translation and English documents by a German translation. The Imperial consul has been advised to the effect that [Page 544] the Imperial Government lays little weight upon such a ruling in view of the impediment it would create in the transaction of business, and that in the present case he should on his part aim at a satisfactory settlement of the matter.