Instrument of Cession Signed on April 17, 1900, by the Representatives of the People of Tutuila


To All To Whom These Presents Shall Come, Greeting!!

Whereas the Governments of Germany, Great Britain, and of the United States of America have on divers occasions recognized the sovereignty of the government and people of Samoa and the Samoan Group of Islands as an independent State: And Whereas owing to dissensions, internal disturbances, and civil war the said Governments have deemed it necessary to assume the control of the legislation and administration of said State of Samoa: And Whereas the said Governments have on the sixteenth day of February 1900 by mutual agreement2 determined to partition said State: And Whereas the Islands hereinafter described being part of the said State have by said arrangement amongst the said Governments been severed from the parent State and the Governments of Great Britain and of Germany have withdrawn all rights hitherto acquired claimed or possessed by both or either of them by Treaty or otherwise to the said Islands in favor of the Government of the United States of America: And Whereas for the promotion of the peace and welfare of the people of said Islands, for the establishment of a good and sound Government, and for the preservation of the rights and property of the inhabitants of said Islands, the Chiefs, rulers and people thereof are desirous of granting unto the said Government of the United States full power and authority to enact proper legislation for and to control the said Islands and are further desirous of removing all disabilities that may be existing in connection therewith and to ratify and to confirm the grant of the rule of said Islands heretofore granted on the 2nd day of April 1900 Now Know Ye:—

That we, the Chiefs whose names are hereunder subscribed, by virtue of our office as the hereditary representatives of the people of said Islands in consideration of the premises hereinbefore recited and for divers good considerations us hereunto moving, have Ceded, Transferred, and Yielded Up, unto Commander B. F. Tilley of U. S. [S.] [Page 1011] “Abarenda” the duly accredited representative of the Government of the United States of America in the Islands hereinafter mentioned or described for and on behalf of the said Government All Those the Islands of Tutuila and Aunuu and all other Islands, rocks, reefs, foreshores, and waters lying between the thirteenth degree and the fifteenth degree of south latitude and between the one hundred and seventy first degree and the one hundred sixty seventh degree of west longitude from the Meridian of Greenwich together with all sovereign rights thereunto belonging and possessed by us To Hold the said ceded territory unto the Government of the United States of America To Erect the same into a separate District to be annexed to the said Government to be known and designated as the District of “Tutuila”.
The Government of the United States of America shall respect and protect the individual rights of all people dwelling in Tutuila to their lands and other property in said District, but if the said Government shall require any land or any other thing for Government uses, the Government may take the same upon payment of a fair consideration for the land or other thing to those who may be deprived of their property on account of the desire of the Government.
The Chiefs of the towns will be entitled to retain their individual control of the separate towns, if that control is in accordance with the laws of the United States of America concerning Tutuila, and if not obstructive to the peace of the people and the advancement of civilization of the people, subject also to the supervision and instruction of the said Government. But the enactment of legislation and the General Control shall remain firm with the United States of America.
An investigation and settlement of all claims to title to land in the different divisions or districts of Tutuila shall be made by the Government.
We whose names are subscribed below do hereby declare with truth for ourselves, our heirs, and representatives by Samoan Custom, that we will obey and owe allegiance to the Government of the United States of America.

In Witness Whereof We Have Hereunto Subscribed Our Names And Affixed Our Seals On This 17th Day of April 1900 A. D.

Fofo and Aitulagi

  • x Tuitele of Leone
  • x Faiivae of Leone
  • x Letuli of Iliili
  • x Fuimaono of Aoloau
  • x Satele of Vailoa
  • x Leoso of Leone
  • x Olo of Leone
  • x Namoa of Aitulagi
  • x Malota of Aitulagi
  • x Tunaitau of Pavaiai
  • x Lualemana of Asu
  • x Amituagai of Ituau

Sua and Vaifanua

  • Pele x
  • Mauga x
  • Leiato x
  • Faumuina x
  • Masaniai x
  • Tupuola x
  • Soliai x
  • Mauga x

E. W. Gurr

A Barrister of the Supreme Court of Samoa
  1. For text of convention, see Foreign Relations, 1899, p. 667.
  2. Received by the Secretary of the Navy on August 1, 1900; filed in the Department of State on March 1, 1902.