HC Deb 12 March 1889 vol 333 cc1498-9
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College Division)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the following statements contained in a letter headed "Recent German doings in Samoa," and signed "Robert Louis Stevenson," published in the Times of the 11th inst.: that the British Consul at Apia having protested against a Proclamation by the German Consul arbitrarily suspending all authority except that of the German respresentative, the Latter replied by a threatening proclamation "closing with a buffet the mouth of the English Consul"; that, in the course of these (recent) events, the German flag "has been at least once substituted for the English; that an English artist who had been sketching in Malietoa's Camp "was forcibly seized on board the British packet Richmond, carried half dressed on board the Adler, and detained there in spite of all protest until an English war ship had been cleared for action"; whether there is any truth in these statements, and especially in the third; and whether he will lay before Parliament Papers relating to recent occurrences in Samoa?


I have seen Mr. Stevenson's letter. The statement is substantially correct; but I should add that the German Government have spontaneously disavowed the action of their Consul General, and he has since been recalled. The property referred to is probably a house which is in dispute, and is the subject of discussion. We have heard of the removal of British subjects from the Richmond by German armed boats to the Adler, and their subsequent release on the demand of the British naval commander. We know nothing about his having cleared for action. The German Government were asked for explanations, and replied that the German civil and naval authorities in Samoa have been instructed by telegraph not to subject the foreigners settled in Samoa to martial law, and to refrain from searching foreign ships for contraband of war. Papers are in course of preparation, and will be laid on the Table in the course of a few days.


Are we to understand that we shall have Papers giving full particulars relating to the abduction of this British subject by the Germans?


Yes; that transaction will be covered by the Papers.

MR. W. A. MCARTHUR (Cornwall, Mid, St. Austell)

Can the right hon. Baronet give us the names of the Commissioners?


I stated yesterday that as the date of the Conference has not been fixed, it would be premature to name the Commissioners. I am unable to say when I shall be able to name them, indeed, the number on each side has not yet been fixed.