Mr. Tower to Mr. Hay.
Newport, R. I., September 18, 1899.
Sir: By notes exchanged on the 23d ultimo, the Marquis of Salisbury and the imperial German ambassador in London, embodied the terms of the agreement concluded between Her Majesty’s Government and the German Government for referring to the arbitration of the King of Sweden and Norway all claims put forward by British subjects of Germans in Samoa, whether individuals or companies, for compensation on account of losses which they allege that they have suffered in consequence of unwarranted military action on the part of British or German officers between the 1st of January last and the arrival of the joint commission.
On the 24th ultimo it was decided by the two Governments that the British and German representatives at Washington should be instructed to bring the agreement to the knowledge of the United States Government, and request them to join in it.
The following bases proposed by the German Government to carry into effect the agreement have been accepted by Her Majesty’s Government:
All claims put forward by Germans or British subjects, respectively, whether individuals or companies, for compensation on account of losses which they allege that they have suffered in consequence of unwarranted military action on the part of British or German officers between the 1st of January last and the arrival of the joint commission in Samoa, shall be decided by arbitration in conformity with the principles of international law or considerations of equity.
The two Governments shall request His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway to accept the office of arbitrator. It shall also be decided by this arbitration whether, and eventually to what extent, either of the two Governments is bound, alone or jointly with the other, to make good these losses.
Moreover, either of these two Governments may, with the consent of the other previously obtained in every case, submit to the King for arbitration similar claims of persons not being natives who are under the protection of that Government, and who are not included in the above-mentioned categories.
I have now the honor, under instructions from the Marquis of Salisbury, to inform you of the agreement concluded between the two countries, and, should the principle involved be acceptable to you, to invite your Government to adhere to the arrangement which I have quoted above.
I have, etc.,