Baron von Thielmann to Mr. Olney.
Washington , July 8, 1896 .
Mr. Secretary of State: Mr. Schmidt, the president of the municipality in Apia, having announced his intention to retire from his post at the expiration of this year, the Imperial Government considers it advisable for the treaty powers to agree in due time upon the person to be selected as his successor. The Imperial Government entertains the hope that, as in former times, the Government of the United States, as well as the British Government, will also on this occasion consent that the office in question be filled by a German candidate. The regard had herein for German interests, which preponderate in Samoa, and in view of the fact that the post of chief justice is held by Mr. Ide, an American, must appear to the United States Government, as the German Government is inclined to assume, to a high degree just and equitable.
As one specially qualified for this post, and who is also willing to accept it, the Imperial Government ventures to propose Dr. Raffel, Imperial district judge in Dar-es-Salaam, at present acting as chief justice of the German East African Protective Territory (sphere of influence). Dr. Raffel is in his thirty-sixth year, comes from a respected family in official life, and has been trained in the higher branches of the administrative service. For several years he has been employed in the ministry of foreign affairs, and in his present position has also had the opportunity in the foreign service to acquire knowledge and experience, in especial to become conversant with the English language. He has always proved a quiet, prudent, and impartial man.
A satisfactory and prompt accord between the treaty powers with respect to the person to be appointed president of the municipality appears all the more desirable in view of the agitation which, as your excellency is aware, is now again manifesting itself in Apia, and aiming at the abolishment of the office of president of the municipality. The Imperial Government is of the opinion that the treaty Governments should assume the same dissenting attitude toward such attempts as on former occasions, and as was expressed on the part of the Government of the United States in the note of the State Department of March 23, 1894.
Under these circumstances I believe I may consider the note of June 8 last as disposed of, which your excellency addressed to me concerning the communication addressed by King Malietoa to the consuls of the treaty powers.
While further adding that the Imperial district judge, Dr. Raffel, has been suggested to the Government of Great Britain for the office in Samoa, I shall be grateful to your excellency if I could be advised as early as practicable of the decision reached by the United States Government on the subject of this proposed appointment.
I avail, etc.,