Mr. Hill to Mr. de Stråle.

No. 223.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 24th instant, stating that His Majesty is prepared to undertake his task as arbitrator in the settlement of claims in Samoa arising under the convention of November 7, 1899, between the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, and Germany, and inquiring as to the disposition of the Government of the United States touching certain claims growing out of the recent disturbances in Samoa preferred by persons not under the jurisdiction of either of the signatory powers.

This class of claims was informally brought to the Department’s attention by the French chargé d’affaires ad interim December 26, 1899, and by a memorandum from the British ambassador under date of June 19, 1900, wherein he referred to the wish of the French Government to have the claims of its citizens included in the arbitration before His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway.

Reply was made July 25, 1900. After reciting the request, it continued as follows:

The Secretary of State agrees that the French claims do not properly fall under the provisions of Article III of that convention, since they are not claims of persons, not natives, who are under the protection of either of the three Governments parties to the tripartite agreement; but the Secretary of State believes that the application of the French Government is one that should be equitably treated. Hence the Government of the United States readily consents, in case both Great Britian and Germany agree, that claims of French citizens growing out of occurrences in Samoa may be included in those to be submitted to the King of Sweden and Norway as arbitrator.

It is presumed that these are the claims to which His Majesty refers.

On the 26th of June last the views of the Government of the United States on this subject were formally communicated to the embassies of the Governments of France and Germany at this capital.

The Department is without any intelligence from the German Government touching the matter, but, according to Lord Pauncefote’s memorandum, that Government was disposed to do everything possible to procure the admission of the French claims. Hence, in case the British and German Governments are willing that the claims of French citizens shall be included in the proposed arbitration, it will be entirely agreeable to the Government of the United States to have them so disposed of.

Accept, etc.,

David J. Hill.
Acting Secretary.