HC Deb 14 May 1888 vol 326 c163
MR. W. A. M'ARTHUR (Cornwall, Mid, St. Austell)

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether, so long ago as 1886 or early in 1887, the British Government agreed with the German Government to give them practically a free hand in their dealings with Samoa; whether the United States Government, as one of the parties to the agreement between Great Britain, Germany, the United States, and Samoa, was consulted prior to the decision of the English Government being communicated to Germany; whether any attempt was made to ascertain the opinions of the Colonies of Australia and New Zealand before taking a step so important to their interests; whether, when the Conference on Samoa met at Washington, the United States Government were informed of the agreement of Great Britain with Germany; if not, when was that information given to the United States Government; what were the instructions given to our Commissioner at the Washington Conference; whether any remonstrance has been addressed to the German Government as to their treatment of our faithful ally Mahitoa, and whether any guarantee has been asked for, or given, that he shall be well treated by the Germans at the Cameroons; and, whether the Government know if it is proposed to detain him permanently in that unhealthy district?


I answer the first two Questions in the negative. But the policy of Her Majesty's Government was stated at the Colonial Conference early in 1886. It will be found on page 167, vol. ii., of its proceedings—namely, Sir John Thurston, Her Majesty's High Commissioner for the Pacific, advised Her Majesty's Government that— The only satisfactory mode of preventing the peace of the Islands from being disturbed by rival Native claimants to the Throne, and of securing the interests of the three civilized nations on an equal footing, would be found in an agreement between Great Britain, Germany, and the United States, that one of them should, as the mandatory of the other two, exercise for a limited term, to be renewed if it should be so determined at its expiration, supervision and control over Native affairs in the Islands; and although, as was stated at the Colonial Conference— Her Majesty's Government had arrived at the same opinion, and were prepared to advocate at Washington an agreement of this nature, no "decision" could be taken by Her Majesty's Government before the conclusion of the Conference for the consideration of Western Pacific affairs. (3.) The Colonial Representatives were so informed on the 23rd of April, 1887. (4.) On the meeting of the Conference at Washington, the proposal was laid before it. (5.) Until that Conference has been concluded its proceedings, and the instructions given to our Representative, cannot be made known. (6 and 7.) Her Majesty's Government have no doubt that Mahitoa is treated in a proper manner.