Mr. Hay to Count von Quadt.

No. 483.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 15th instant, touching the claims of persons not under the jurisdiction of either of the Governments parties of the convention of November 7, 1899, for the settlement of certain claims in Samoa by arbitration.

Since it has been practically agreed, you say, that the claims of French citizens shall be referred to His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway as arbitrator, it is further stated that the Government of Germany has no objection that the few claims of the other nationalities, aggregating in amount the sum of $5,000, shall be likewise submitted to His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway.

While this disposition of such claims is agreeable to the Government of the United States, if concurred in by Her Britannic Majesty’s Government, yet I deem it prudent to inclose for the information of His Imperial Majesty’s Government a copy of a correspondence1 recently exchanged between the ambassador of Great Britain and this Department on this particular subject.

It will be perceived therefrom that my note of October 13, 1900, to Lord Pauncefote, at whose instance the matter was presented to the Department, indicating a willingness to assent to the proposition embodied in your present note. After citing the pertinent provision of the convention stipulating the character of the claims to be submitted to arbitration thereunder, and showing that it limited the claims of those not natives, to those persons under the protection of either of the three Governments to that convention, I added:

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 [Page 525] 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.

This Government believes that this condition should prevail and perceives 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.

With assurances, etc.,

John Hay.
  1. Printed page 625 et seq.