Mr. Hay to Mr. Tripp.

Sir: In consequence of the important state of affairs existing at present at Apia, the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, and Germany, signatories to the Berlin general act concluded June 14, 1899, have agreed upon a commission to visit the islands for the purpose of reaching a satisfactory adjustment of the questions that have given rise to this unfortunate condition.

I have the pleasure therefore to inclose your letter of appointment as commissioner of the United States to the Samoan Islands, and a copy of the Berlin general act,1 providing for the autonomous government of those islands.

In this connection I embody the identic instruction each Government proposes to address to its commissioner. It reads as follows:

In view of the troubles which have recently taken place in Samoa, and for the purpose of restoring tranquillity and order therein, the three powers, parties to the conference of Berlin, have appointed a commission to undertake the provisional government of the islands.

For this purpose they shall exercise supreme authority in the islands. Every other person or persons exercising authority therein, whether acting under the provisions of the final act of Berlin or otherwise shall obey their orders, and the three powers will instruct their consular and naval officers to render similar obedience. No action taken by the commissioners in pursuance of the above authority shall be valid unless it is acceded to by all three commissioners. It will fall within the attributes of the commissioners to consider the provisions which they may think necessary for the future government of the islands, or for the modification of the final act of Berlin, and to report to their Governments the conclusions to which they may come.

Your colleagues will be: On the part of Great Britain, Mr. C. N. E. Eliot, C. B., second secretary of the embassy in this city, and, on the part of Germany, Freiherr Speck von Sternberg, counselor of legation and first secretary of the embassy at Washington.

The Secretary of the Navy has placed at the disposal of the commission the U. S. S. Badger, now fitting out at San Francisco, for the purpose of conveying it to Samoa and return. The ship will be ready to sail from San Francisco by April 25, 1899, at which time it is expected yourself and colleagues will arrive there.

The President leaves to your judgment and discretion, within the limits of the identic instruction, the full and complete investigations which he regards as necessary to a proper understanding of the situation, to the end that a repetition of the regrettable incidents may not occur, the exact responsibility may be clearly established, and the remedy be applied. The President feels that you realize the importance of the trust confided to you, and is confident that, in the exercise of the plenary powers you possess, you will give the subject, in all its bearings, careful and thoughtful study, so that the report of the commission may have that value which he confidently expects and which the importance of the questions at issue imperatively demands. The President particularly enjoins harmony of action, which must needs give to the deliberations of the commission added value and weight. He desires the questions shall be thoroughly sifted and wishes the [Page 616] facts plainly stated. In other words, the origin and causes of the recent occurrences at Apia should be clearly and definitely ascertained.

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I am, etc.,

John Hay.