Mr. Rockhill to Baron von Thielmann.
Washington, September 8, 1896.
Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 18th ultimo in the matter of the recommendation of the consuls at Apia, formulated at their meeting on April 14, 1896, that the men-of-war of the treaty powers sent to Samoa be authorized to keep in reserve 10,000 rounds of ammunition, consisting of Henry-Martini, Mauser, Snider, and Springfield cartridges, for the use of the Samoan Government in an emergency in and around Apia, or any other point, when it may be deemed necessary.
According to a dispatch from Mr. Blacklock, vice consul-general of the United States at Apia, No. 116, of April 20, 1896, this reserve ammunition “is to be kept on board the men-of-war, and only to be landed or distributed upon the unanimous request, to the commander, by the consuls of the three treaty powers in Samoa.”
The Department is also in receipt of a note from the British ambassador, of July 15, 1896, presenting the subject in this light, and stating “that there would be no difficulty in regard to the arrangement so far as Her Majesty’s ships are concerned, if it was thought advisable to adopt it.”
At present there is no ship of war of the United States available for the purpose indicated, and it is not foreseen just when it will be convenient to send one to Samoan waters, but since the German Government has expressed its willingness to provide for the storage of its quota of 2,000 Mauser cartridges, and that of Great Britain is apparently willing to provide for its quota of the Martini-Henry and Snider cartridges, no objection is perceived to the ships of those countries keeping the prescribed number of extra cartridges on board. It is to be understood, however, that following the recommendation of the consular board, this reserve ammunition is “only to be landed or distributed upon the unanimous request, to the commander, by the consuls of the three treaty powers in Samoa.”
A similar note has been addressed to the diplomatic representative of Great Britain, and copies of the correspondence will be transmitted to Mr. Churchill, the consul-general of this Government at Apia, for his information.