Mr. Hay to Mr. Thomas.

No. 96.]

Sir: I inclose for your information and files copy of a correspondence,1 indicated below, showing substantial agreement between the [Page 900] Government of the United States, Great Britain, and Germany, parties to the convention of November 7, 1899, for the settlement of certain claims in Samoa by arbitration, permitting those of all foreigners arising out of the military operations in Samoa to be submitted to arbitration, since His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway has expressed a willingness to consider them in connection with the claims of citizens or subjects of the three treaty powers.

In agreeing to the proposition it will be perceived that my note to Lord Pauncefote of October 13, 1900, concluded as follows:

The Government of the United States accordingly assents to the proposition, in case Great Britain and Germany do likewise. It believes, however, that each Government should insist upon knowing the number and character of these claims before their final submission to the arbitrator, and that the Government desiring this special privilege on behalf of its citizens or subjects should prefer its request to each of the signatory powers, so that they may have an opportunity to know what is to be presented to the arbitrator. The claim of a national whose Government is not responsible for its presentation in this way should be excluded.

I have thought it prudent, in view of the special privileges thus accorded, to invite particular attention to the above paragraph in my note to the German chargé d’affaires ad interim of the 22d instant. I have also added:

This Government believes that this condition should prevail, and sees no just reason why the foreign Government desiring to avail itself of this special provision should not take the steps to do so in the manner indicated.

You may inquire of your British and German colleagues at Stockholm whether they have been apprised of the nature of this correspondence, and, if so, whether due notification thereof has been made to His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway through the minister for foreign affairs. If not, it would be well it seems to the Department, to suggest the propriety of simultaneous notification; but in case notification has already been made on the part of Great Britain and Germany, or either of them, you are authorized to take early occasion to acquaint His Majesty, through the proper channel, of the consent of the Government of the United States, as disclosed in this correspondence.

I am, etc.,

John Hay.
  1. Printed under respective countries.