HC Deb 18 February 1895 vol 30 cc942-3
SIR T. ESMONDE (Kerry, W.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, if any arrangement has been come to with reference to the ownership of land in Samoa between the various foreign nationalities interested in these islands: and, if so, what is the nature of it; if the harbour of Pago Pago is still in the hands of the United States; and, if not, who is to obtain the reversion of their interest in it; if it is a fact that Tamasese is in rebellion against the Government of Malietoa; that arms and ammunition have been imported into the islands, and money subscribed to carry on a war; and whether, in view of the probable immediate outbreak of hostilities, a British warship will be sent to Apia to protect Australasian interests there; if there is any truth in the report that Germany is about to annex the islands; if Her Majesty's Government is still prepared to insist upon the maintenance of Samoan independence, as guaranteed by international agreement; and whether, in the event of any departure from that agreement, the consent of the Australasian Colonies will be first obtained?


The Land Commission in Samoa has, exhaustive examination of claims to ownership of land, sent in its Report to the Supreme Court, and no special arrangement between the Powers is needed this point. The United States Government claim an exclusive right to occupy Pago Pago as a naval and coaling station under their Treaty with Samoa. There has been no intimation of an intention to surrender this claim, and there is no arragement as to reversion. The country is in an unsettled state, but the latest Reports make no mention of hostilities nor of Tamasese being in rebellion. Proposals for the more effective exclusion of arms and ammunition are under the serious consideration of the Treaty Powers. Nothing is known of subscriptions for war purposes. H. M. S. Wallaroo has been ordered to remain in the Samoan group as long as necessary. There is no truth in the report that Germany is about to annex Samoa. The Berlin Act is still in force, and there is no intention on our part of departing from it. Her Majesty's Government have every desire to consult the interests of the Australasian Colonies; but I cannot give any such promise as that asked for, with reference to a contingency which has not arisen.