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Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and by the President of the United States of America to act as Arbitrator in the differences existing between them with regard to certain claims of residents in the Samoan Islands on account of military operations conducted there in the year 1899, and having accepted the office of Arbitrator;
Having received from the Imperial German Government, His Britannic Majesty's Government, and the Government of the United States of America their respective Cases accompanied by the documents, the official correspondence, and other evidence on which each Government relies, as well as, after due communication hereof, their respective Counter-Cases and additional documents, correspondence, and other evidence, and having thereupon received from the Imperial German Government their Reply to the Counter-Cases and additional documents, correspondence, and other evidence presented by the two other Governments; Having since fully taken into Our consideration the Convention concluded and signed at Washington the 7th of November 1899 for the settlement of the aforesaid claims by means of arbitration, and also the Cases, Counter-Cases, Reply, and evidence presented by the respective parties to the said Convention up to the 2nd of April 1902, and having impartially and carefully examined the same: Whereas by Art. I of the said Convention of the 7:th of November 1899 His Majesty the German Emperor, Her Britannic Majesty, and the President of the United States of America have agreed that all claims put forward by Germans, or British subjects, or American citizens, respectively, for compensation on account of losses which they allege having suffered in consequence of unwarranted military action, if this is shown to have occurred, on the part of German, British or American officers between the 1:st of January 1899 and the 13th of May following, date of the arrival in Samoa of the Joint Commission of the Powers, should be decided by the present arbitration in conformity with the principles of international law or considerations of equity;
And whereas by Art III of the said Convention it is provided that either of the three Governments may, with the consent of the others, previously obtained in every case, submit to the Arbitrator similar claims of persons not being natives who are under the protection of that Government, and who are not included in the above mentioned categories;
And whereas, by a subsequent arrangement made by the Signatory Powers, with Our sanction, the provisions of the Arbitration Convention have been extended to claims presented by other Powers on behalf of their subjects or citizens; And whereas the German Government contend that the military action undertaken by British and American officers at the time aforesaid was wholly unwarranted and that, therefore, the British and United States' Governments are responsible for losses caused by said military action to Germans and to persons under German protection;
And whereas, on the other hand, the British Government and the United States' Government argue that the military action in question was not unwarranted but, on the contrary, was in every respect necessary and justifiable, and that, therefore, no claims are entitled to consideration by the Arbitrator, and no further proceedings under the aforesaid Convention necessary or admissible, while reserving to themselves the right to examine in detail the particular claims, should it later on become necessary to do so;
And whereas under Art. I of the said Convention no other claims are to be decided by the present arbitration than those for losses suffered in consequence of unwarranted military action, and thus the primary question to be determined by us is whether the military action undertaken in Samoa at the time aforesaid by British and American officers was, or was not, unwarranted;
And whereas it is proper to settle this preliminary point at the present stage, and thus determine generally whether or not the British and United States' Governments ought to be considered responsible for losses caused by that action, before ordering any proceedings with respect to the particular claims presented; Have resolved to confine Our attention, for the present, to those considerations only which have a distinct bearing on the said issue, and on that question have arrived at the following Decision:
Whereas, with respect to the military action complained of, it results from the declarations of the parties and from all the documents of the case that on the 15:th of March 1899 the U.S. ship "Philadelphia" and H. B. M. ships "Porpoise" and "Royalist" opened fire across the town of Apia and on the land situate in the rear of said town, the fire being directed against the forces of the High Chief Mataafa, that the greater part of the adherents of the newly appointed King of Samoa, Malietoa Tanumafili, having in those days been brought to Apia from different parts of the Samoan Islands by the British and American Naval Com
manders, landed at Mulinuu and supplied by them with arms and ammunition, active hostilities thereupon ensued between the Malietoans and the Mataafa party, that from the said 15:th of March up to the 25:th of April following the said ships, in support of the Malietoa party, frequently proceeded to bombard the rear of Apia as well as various other localities on the Island of Upolu and to destroy villages by landing parties, assisted therein from the 24th of March by H. B. M. ship "Tauranga," that from the said 15:th of March up to the said 25th of April frequent expeditions into the interior took place by combined forces of sailors and marines from the ships of war and natives of the Malietoa party commanded by officers from the ships, for the purpose of fighting the Mataafans, or in order to procure food, and that in Apia a severe control of the street traffic was established by the British and American military authorities through the posting of sentries with orders to allow only bearers of passports issued by said authorities to pass;
Whereas with respect to the contention of the British and United States' Governments that, under the terms of the General Act signed at Berlin the 14:th of June 1889, any one of the Signatory Powers was fully authorized to enforce by every means the decision of the 31st of December 1898 of the Chief Justice of Samoa declaring Malietoa Tanumafili King of Samoa, which decision had been rejected by the Mataafa party, and that, therefore, the military action, if taken for that purpose, was not unwarranted-We have found nothing in the said General Act, or any subsequent agreement, which authorizes one of the Signatory Powers, or a majority of them, to take action to enforce the provisions of the Act, or the decisions of the Chief Justice binding on the Powers;
Whereas, on the contrary, by Art. I of the General Act it is expressly provided that "neither of the Powers shall exercise any separate control over the islands or the Government thereof", and, taking into consideration the nature and extent of the operations at the time aforesaid conducted in Samoa by the British and American military authorities, the military action in question undoubtedly had the character of a serous control over the Samoan Islands and the Government thereof;
And whereas, moreover, the protocols of the Berlin Conference clearly show that, in framing the General Act, the plenipotentiaries of the Powers wished to establish the principle that, in their dealings with Samoa, the Powers only could proceed by common accord, and as this very principle has been sanctioned by the Powers not only in subsequent agreements supplementary to the General Act made between them in 1892 and 1896, by which it was agreed that under certain circumstances their ships of war might be used to support the Supreme Court of Samoa and ammunition served out to the Samoan Government, though in both cases only with the unanimous consent of the representatives of the Powers, but also in the instructions issued for the Joint Commission sent to Samoa in 1899, the actions of which should be valid only if acceded to by all three commissioners; Whereas, furthermore, by proclamation issued on the 4th of January 1899 the Consular Representatives of the Treaty Powers in Samoa, owing to the then disturbed state of affairs and to the urgent necessity to establish a strong Provisional Government, recognized the Mataafa party represented by the High Chief Mataafa and thirteen of his chiefs to be the Provisional Government of Samoa pending instructions from the three Treaty Powers, and thus those Powers were bound upon principles of international good faith to maintain the situation thereby created until by common accord they had otherwise decided;
And whereas, that being so, the military action in question undertaken of the British and American military authorities before the arrival of the instructions mentioned in the proclamation, and tending to overthrow the Provisional Government thereby established, was contrary to the aforesaid obligation and cannot be justified on the plea neither of the invalidity ab initio of the said Provisional Government nor of its establishment under a species of force majeure; Whereas with respect to the objection of the British and United States' Governments to the refusal of the German Consul to sign the proclamation proposed by the other Consuls to be issued immediately after the Chief Justice had given his decision on the 31st of December 1898, and their contention that, in determining the responsibility for the subsequent events, it should be taken into consideration that the attitude of the German Consul was a direct violation of the provisions of the Berlin General Act-it cannot be considered to have been the duty of the German Counsul to take part in the issuing of said proclamation, and it has not been proved that with regard to said decision any steps were taken by him contrary to the General Act, and therefore no responsibility attaches for the attitude taken up by him in his respect;
Whereas with respect to the contention of the British and United States' Governments that, whether or not there was authority to insist by force on the acceptance of the provisions of the Berlin General Act, the military action was not unwarranted, because it was necessary for the protection of lives and property which it was the duty of the British and American officers to safeguard, and because the opening of fire on the 15th of March was necessitated by the Mataafan warriors making a rush on the British and the United States' Consulates and by a threatened attack by several war canoes on Mulinuu, where a detachment from the British and American ships was stationed,-We have found nothing in the evidence before Us to show that the general condition of affairs was such as to render the military action necessary for the protection of lives and property, and, as to the said two attacks alleged to have taken place on the 15:th of March, it results from all the facts relative thereto that the rush was not, and never was meant to be, an attack on the Consulates but simply was directed against some fleeing women of the Malietoa party, that no attack was intended on Mulinuu by the canoes, which by the garrison there were seen putting out from the opposite shore of the Vaiusu bay and which were ordered by Mataafa to go along the coast to the west and, in fact were going in that direction and not towards Mulinuu when the firing began, and that, on account of the state of the tide, it was not even possible at the time to pass the bay in canoes;
And whereas it is established not only that, on the arrival of the "Philadelphia" on the 6th of March, the Malietoans were completely defeated, and deported to distant places, and deprived of their arms, and unable to offer any resistance whatever to the victorious Mataafans, but also that in the last days before the beginning of the bombardment Mataafa was ordered away from Mulinuu by the United States' Admiral, and that the Malietoans were brought back there by the British and United States' military authorities, that a considerable quantity of arms was returned to the Malietoans, which arms in the beginning of January 1899 had been surrendered by them to the Commander of the "Porpoise" when, defeated by the Mataafans, they had taken refuge under the guns of that ship, that ammunition was distributed to the Malietoans from the reserve stock which, according to the arrangement in 1896 between the Treaty Powers, was to be kept for the use of the Samoan Government and served out to the natives only by the unanimous request of the three consuls, and that such distribution was made by the British and American authorities without the consent of the German Consul;
CONVENTION-SAMOA. DECEMBER 2, 1899
Convention between the United States, Germany, and Great Britain to adjust amicably the questions between the three Governments in respect to the Samoan group of islands. Signed, December 2, 1899; ratification advised by the Senate, January 26, 1900; ratified by the President, February 13, 1900; ratifications exchanged, February 16, 1900; proclaimed, February 16, 1900.
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Whereas, the Convention between the United States of America, Germany and Great Britain, to adjust amicably the questions which have arisen between the three governments in respect to the Samoan group of Islands and to avoid all future misunderstanding in respect to their joints or several rights and claims of possession or jurisdiction therein, was concluded and signed by their respective Plenipotentiaries, at the City of Washington, on the second day of December, 1899, the original of which Convention, being in the English and German languages, is word for word as follows:
The President of the United States of America, His Imperial Majesty the Emperor, King of Prussia, and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, desiring to adjust amicably the questions which have arisen between them in respect to the Samoan group of Islands, as well as to avoid all future misunderstanding in respect to their joint or several rights and claims of possession or jurisdiction therein, have agreed to establish and regulate the same by a special convention; and whereas the Governments of Germany and Great Britain have, with the concurrence of that of the United States, made an agreement regarding their respective rights and interests in the aforesaid group, the three Powers before named in furtherance of the ends above mentioned have appointed respectively their Plenipotentiaries as follows:
The President of the United States of America, The Honorable John Hay, Secretary of State of the United States;
His Majesty the German Emperor, King of Prussia, His Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Herr von Holleben; and
Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, the Right Honorable Lord Pauncefote of Preston, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., Her Britannic Majesty's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary:
who, after having communicated each to the other their respective full powers which were found to be in proper form, have agreed upon and concluded the following articles:
The General Act concluded and signed by the aforesaid Powers at Berlin on the 14th day of June, A.D. 1899, and all previous treaties, conventions and agreements relating to Samoa, are annulled.
Germany renounces in favor of the United States of America all her rights and claims over and in respect to the Island of Tutuila and all other islands of the Samoan group east of Longitude 171° west of Greenwich.
Great Britain in like manner renounces in favor of the United States of America all her rights and claims over and in respect to the Island of Tutuila and all other islands of the Samoan group east of Longitude 171° west of Greenwich.
Reciprocally, the United States of America renounce in favor of Germany all their rights and claims over and in respect to the Islands of Upolu and Savaii and other Islands of the Samoan group west of Longitude 171° west of Greenwich.
It is understood and agreed that each of the three signatory Powers shall continue to enjoy, in respect to their commerce and commercial vessels, in all the islands of the Samoan group privileges and conditions equal to those enjoyed by the sovereign Power, in all ports which may be open to the commerce of either of them.
The present Convention shall be ratified as soon as possible, and shall come into force immediately after the exchange of ratifications.
In faith whereof, we, the respective Plenipotentiaries, have signed this Convention and have hereunto affixed our seals.
Done in triplicate, at Washington, the second day of December, in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine.
And whereas the said Convention has been duly ratified on the part of each Government and the ratifications of the three Governments were exchanged in the Cities of Washington, Berlin and London on the sixteenth day of February, one thousand nine hundred, in the following manner, to wit, each Government handing to the Ambassadors of the other two, at its capital, its ratification:
Now, therefore, be it known, that I, William McKinley, President of the United States of America, have caused the said Convention to be made public, to the end that the same and every article and clause thereof may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done in the City of Washington, this sixteenth day of February, in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-fourth.
By the President:
JOHN HAY, Secretary of State.