Sir Julian Pauncefote to Mr. Olney.

Sir: I have the honor, by instruction of Her Majesty’s secretary of state for foreign affairs, to transmit to you herewith a copy of a dispatch addressed to him by Her Majesty’s consul at Apia, submitting on behalf of himself and of his German and United States colleagues, a proposal that the war ships detailed by the three powers for service in Samoan waters should carry extra ammunition, which, in case of an emergency and upon the unanimous request of the consuls, should be served out to the Samoan Government for defensive purposes.

I am instructed to state that Her Majesty’s Government would be glad to be favored with an expression of the views of your Government upon this proposal. I am to add that there would be no difficulty in regard to the arrangement, so far as Her Majesty’s ships are concerned, if it was thought desirable to adopt it.

I have, etc.,

Julian Pauncefote.

Mr. Cusack-Smith to the Marquis of Salisbury.

My Lord: I have the honor to report that on the 8th April the three consuls met the King and Government of Samoa at the latter’s request. President Schmidt was at the meeting as adviser to the King.

The King, after recapitulating the present state of affairs and reminding us that the rebels to the westward in Aana were setting up their own government, while the disaffected to the eastward in Atua were also taking similar steps, and for the purposes of their rebel administrations were collecting a tax, requested us to issue a proclamation to all Samoans, ordering them wherever assembled to disperse and return to their own homes. His Afioga also wished us to issue a proclamation ordering all Samoans to pay their taxes. In my No. 19 of the 25th of February I stated my doubts as to the likelihood of much revenue accruing from the poll tax which the Government of Samoa had decided to collect. I asked how much of this tax had been paid in, and the Samoan Government replied with pardonable pride that out of the $20,000 or $30,000 due they had collected in all $10. They finally came [Page 550] to the real purpose of the meeting, which was to request the assent of the consuls to the importation for the defense of the Government, of 1,000 Martini-Henry rifles, 40,000 Martini-Henry cartridges, and 10,000 Mauser cartridges. I inclose a copy of the unanimous refusal of the consuls to assent to any such import of arms and ammunition.

We were quite unanimous in considering that a proclamation from us ordering all Samoans to disperse would be disregarded, and we also knew that the suggested payment of taxes was not seriously meant, but was a mere sop to induce us to approve of the 1,000 rifles and 50,000 cartridges. We, however, hope that the proclamation which we have advised the Government to issue may have a very good effect. The term “Malaga” means a visiting party of from 50 to over 100 natives in boats, which visits village after village like a scourge of locusts, literally eating up every available provision of food as they advance, only to be followed in a few hours by a larger and hungrier “malaga.” They supply, also, a regular system of fomenting rebellion, and are in other ways objectionable.

The consuls were also unanimous in deeming it necessary to provide for the case of a sudden attack upon Mulinuu, the seat of Government, by the rebels.

We rejected as dangerous any idea of a reserve of ammunition on shore, and decided to suggest to our respective Governments that the war ships detailed from time to time for service in Samoan waters should carry extra ammunition, which in a serious crisis and upon the unanimous request of the consuls could be served out to the Samoan Government forces for defensive purposes.

It was suggested that Her Majesty’s Government should provide the Martini-Henry and Snider ammunition, the German Government the Mauser cartridges, while the Springfield ammunition should be supplied by America. It was also suggested that the ammunition should be so distributed, at least among the visiting British and German men-of-war, that each ship should have available some of each kind of the specified reserve ammunition.

I inclose the minute of our meeting, at which perfect cordiality and good feeling prevailed.

I have, etc.,

T. B. Cusack-Smith.
[Subinclosure 1.]

The Consuls of the Treaty Powers to King Malietoa.

Your Afioga: In reply to the request which was made to us at our meeting with you, we have the honor to inform your Afioga and your Government that we are unanimously agreed in refusing our consent to the importation of the 1,000 rifles and 50,000 cartridges.

The consuls would remind the King and Government that the treaty powers have been ready in the past to support the King and Government of Samoa when necessary, and they will be as ready in the future to afford protection should occasion arise. Before the consuls consider the advisability of issuing a proclamation, they unanimously suggest that the Government should first notify to all Samoans by proclamation that so far as the Government is concerned, there is peace in Samoa, and all persons are free to come and go throughout Samoa on their lawful business, but that large “malagas” are forbidden.

We have, etc.,

  • T. B. Cusack-Smith,
    Her Britannic Majesty’s Consul.
  • Rose,
    Imperial German Consul.
  • W. Blacklock,
    Vice-Consul-General, United States of America.
[Page 551]
[Subinclosure 2.]


At a meeting of the three consuls, held on the 14th April last in the Imperial German consulate to consider a request made by the Samoan Government to the consuls at a meeting held in the King’s house on Mulinuu on the 8th April for the importation into Samoa by the Samoan Government of 1,000 rifles and 50,000 cartridges, it was unanimously agreed not to allow such importation, but to propose to the three treaty powers that the men-of-war which may be sent to Samoa shall carry a reserve amount of ammunition for the use of the Samoan Government in an emergency in or around Apia, or at any other point, when it may be deemed necessary.

Said ammunition reserve to consist of 4,000 Martini-Henry cartridges, 2,000 Mauser cartridges, 2,000 Snider cartridges, 2,000 Springfield cartridges, 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.