HC Deb 12 May 1873 vol 215 cc1782-3

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If the Sovereignty of Upolo and others of the Navigator Islands has been transferred to the United States; and, if so, at what date, and under what conditions the transfer was made?


Sir, In February, 1872, our Consul in Samoa reported that Captain Meade, of the United States Navy, had signed a Treaty for the cession of the harbour of Pagopago, in the Island of Tutuela, to the United States as a Naval Station; and in April, 1872, he stated that the Chiefs and Rulers of Samoa had petitioned the President of the United States to annex the Navigator Islands to the United States. It does not appear, however, from inquiries made by Sir Edward Thornton in July, 1872, that such a Petition had ever been received by the President. Mr. Fish at the same time informed Sir Edward Thornton that, although an exclusive right was granted to the United States to establish a Naval Station and Coaling Depôt in the harbour of Pagopago, there would be no interference with other vessels frequenting the port, nor with their trading there, nor with any commercial transactions; neither would it prevent private Coaling Depôts from being established there. Mr. Fish, further on in the year, in November, stated that the Petition of the Chiefs for annexation had been received, but that it had been merely acknowledged. More recent Reports, in February and March of this year, from Sir Edward Thornton, state that the Polynesian Land Company has purchased a large amount of cotton-growing land in the Navigator Islands, and intends establishing in the harbour of Pagopago a trading and coaling station, in connection with a proposed line of steamers between San Francisco, New Zealand, and Australia.