611.62 m 31/44

The Secretary of the Navy to the Secretary of State

Sir: Referring to Navy Department letters No. 3931–1429:75, dated September 14, 1922, and No. 3931–1429:75, dated August 24, 1926, and to State Department letter No. 611.62 m 31/17, dated September 4, 1926,50 all relating to the subject of the preferential treatment [Page 983] of British goods imported into the mandated territory of Western Samoa under the administration of the New Zealand Government as Mandatary, I have the honor to inform you that under date of 10 September, 1926, the Navy Department advised the Governor of American Samoa as follows: “Out of deference to the implied wishes of the State Department, the Navy Department desires that no action looking to the establishment of a preferential tariff in American Samoa be taken until further instructions are received.”

The Navy Department is now in receipt of additional communications from the Governor of American Samoa, namely, a letter dated 26 January, 1927, and a letter dated 7 April, 1927. By these communications this Department judges that the Governor is convinced, from reliable information in his possession, that no steps will be taken on its own initiative by the Mandatary Government, New Zealand, toward lifting the existing preferential tariff on British goods imported into Western Samoa and thereby restoring equality of treatment between British and American commerce as provided by the tripartite Convention of 16 February, 1900, Article III.51

The Governor desires to be able to answer what he terms “the very just criticism” that American Samoa does not foster American trade by adopting a preferential tariff for American goods, while Western Samoa gives preference to British goods.

I am, therefore, moved to inquire whether, in the opinion of your Department, the negotiations on this subject have reached a stage where the Navy Department would be justified in authorizing the Governor of American Samoa to establish a tariff preferential to American goods imported thereinto.

Very respectfully,

Curtis D. Wilbur
  1. None printed.
  2. Convention to adjust questions between the United States, Germany, and Great Britain in respect to the Samoan Islands, signed December 2, 1899; Foreign Relations, 1899, p. 667. The ratifications were exchanged, and the convention was proclaimed by the President, on Feb. 16, 1900.