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(General Order No. 540)
NAVY DEPARTMENT, Washington, February 19, 1900.
The Department publishes herewith, for the information and guidance of the service, a copy of an Executive Order, dated February 19, 1900, placing certain islands of the Samoan Group under the control of the Navy Department.
Washington, D.C., February 19, 1900.
The Island of Tutuila, of the Samoan Group and all other islands of the group east of Longitude 171 degrees west of Greenwich are hereby placed under the control of the Department of the Navy, for a Naval Station. The Secretary of the Navy will take such steps as may be necessary to establish the authority of the United States, and give to the islands, the necessary protection.
In accordance with the foregoing, the Island of Tutuila, of the Samoan Group, and all other islands of the group east of Longitude 171 degrees west of Greenwich, are hereby established into a Naval Station to be known as the Naval Station, Tutuila, and to be under the command of a Commandant.
JOHN D. LONG, Secretary.
INSTRUMENT OF CESSION
Chief of Tutuila to United States Government April 17, 1900
Translation in the English language:
To all to whom these present shall come: Greeting.
Whereas the Governments of Germany, Great Britain, and of the United States of America have on divers occasions recognized the sovereignty of the government and people of Samoa and the Samoan group of islands as an independent State; and whereas owing to dissensions, internal disturbances and civil war, the said governments have deemed it necessary to assume the control of the legislation and administration of said state of Samoa; and whereas the said governments have on the sixteenth day of February, by mutual agreement, determined to partition said State; and whereas the islands hereinafter described being part of the said State have by said arrangements amongst the said governments, been severed from the parent State, and the Governments of Great Britain and of Germany have withdrawn all rights hitherto acquired, claimed or possessed by both or either of them by treaty or otherwise, to the said islands in favor of the government of the United States of America; and whereas for the promotion of the peace and welfare of the people of said islands, for the establishment of a good and sound government, and for the preservation of the rights and property of the inhabitants of said islands, the Chiefs, rulers and people thereof are desirous of granting unto the said government of the United States full powers and authority to enact proper legislation for and to control the said islands, and are further desirous of removing all disabilities that may be existing in connection therewith and to ratify and to confirm the grant of the rule of said islands heretofore granted on the 2nd day of April, 1900.
Now know Ye:
1. That we, the Chiefs whose names are hereunder subscribed, by virtue of our office as the hereditary representatives of the people of said islands, in consideration of the premises hereinbefore recited and for divers good considerations us hereunto moving, have ceded, transferred, and yielded up unto Commander B. F. Tilley of the U.S. "Abarenda," the duly accredited representative of the Government of the United States of America, in the islands hereinafter mentioned or described for and on behalf of the said government. All these the islands of Tutuila and Aunuu and all other islands, rocks, reefs, foreshores and waters lying between the 13th degree and the 15th degree of south latitude and between the 171st degree and the 167th degree of west longitude from the meridian of Greenwich, together with all sovereign rights thereunto belonging and possessed by us, to hold the said ceded territory unto the Government of the United States of America; to erect the same into a separate District to be
annexed to the said Government, to be known and designated as the District of "Tutuila."
2. The Government of the United States of America shall respect and protect the individual rights of all people dwelling in Tutuila to their lands and other property in said District; but if the said Government shall require any land or any other thing for Government uses, the Government may take the same upon payment of a fair consideration for the land, or other thing, to those who may be deprived of their property on account of the desire of the Government. 3. The Chiefs of the towns will be entitled to retain their individual control of the separate towns, if that control is in accordance with the laws of the United States of America concerning Tutuila, and if not obstructive to the peace of the people and the advancement of civilization of the people, subject also to the supervision and instruction of the said Government. But the enactment of legislation and the general control shall remain firm with the United States of America.
4. An investigation and settlement of all claims to title to lands in the different divisions or district of Tutuila shall be made by the Government.
5. We, whose names are subscribed below, do hereby declare with truth for ourselves, our heirs and representatives by Samoan Custom, that we will obey and owe allegiance to the Government of the United States of America.
In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names and affixed our seals on this 17th day of April, 1900 A.D.:
Fofe and Aitulagi
Tuitele of Leone x
Letuli of Iliili x
Fuimaono of Aoloau x
Satele of Vailoa x
Leoso of Leone x
Olo of Leone x
Namoa of Aitulagi x
Tuana'itau of Pavaiai x
Lualemana of Asu x
Amituanai of Ituau x
Sua and Vaifanua
The foregoing instrument of Cession (pages 1, 2, & 3) was duly signed by Leoso in the presence of, and at the request of, the Chiefs and Representatives of the Division of Fofō and Aitulagi, and by Pele in the presence of, and at the request of, the Chiefs and Representatives of the Division of Sua and Vaifanua in Tutuila in conformity with Samoan Customs as to signatures to documents, in my presence at Pago Pago on the 17th day of April, 1900 A.D. immediately prior to the Raising of the United States Flag at the United States Naval Station, Tutuila. E. W. GURR,
Barrister of the Supreme Court of Samoa.
INSTRUMENT OF CESSION
King and Chiefs of Manu'a to U.S. Government
To All To Whom These Presents Shall Come, Greeting: Whereas, the Islands of the Samoan Group lying east of Longitude 171 degrees west of Greewich were, on the 16th day of February, 1900, by arrangement between the Governments of Germany, Great Britain, and the United States of America, placed under the protection of the Government of the United States of America;
And Whereas, on the 17th day of April, in the year 1900, the Islands of Tutuila and Aunuu, being portion of said Islands of the Samoan Group lying east of Longitude 171 degrees west of Greenwich, were, by the chiefs and rulers of Tutuila and Aunuu, ceded to and placed under the sovereignty and protection of the United States of America, and the government of said Islands was thereupon assumed by said United States;
And Whereas, in administering said government, the Islands hereinafter described, known as the Manu'a Islands, being the remainder of said Islands of the Samoan Group lying east of Longitude 171 degrees west of Greenwich, have
been under the protection of the United States of America, and controlled and governed in conjunction with the islands of Tutuila and Aunuu;
And Whereas, at the request of Tuimanua, the King of Manu'a, and his chiefs, the United States Flag was, on the 5th day of June, 1900, raised on the Island of Tau, of the Manu'a Group, for the purpose of granting protection to the people of the Manu'a Islands;
And Whereas, Tuimanu'a and his chiefs, being content and satisfied with the justice, fairness, and wisdom of the government as hitherto administered by the several Commandants of the United States Naval Station, Tutuila, and the officials appointed to act with the Commandant, are desirous of placing the Islands of Manu'a hereinafter described under the full and complete sovereignty of the United States of America to enable said Islands, with Tutuila and Aunuu, to become a part of the territory of said United States:
Now Know Ye:-(1) That we, Elesare Tuimanua and the Chiefs whose names are hereunder subscribed, in consideration of the premises hereinbefore recited, have ceded, and, by These Presents Do Cede, unto the Government of the United States of America, All Those, The Islands of the Manu'a Group, being the whole of eastern portion of the Samoan Islands lying east of Longitude 171 degrees west of Greenwich and known as Tau, Olosega, Ofu, and Rose Island, and all other, the waters and property and adjacent thereto, together with all sovereign rights thereunto belonging and possessed by.
To Hold the said ceded territory unto the Government of the United States of America, to erect the same into a territory or district of said Govenment.
(2) It is intended and claimed by these Presents that there shall be no discrimination in the suffrages and political privileges between the present residents of said Islands and citizens of the United States dwelling therein, and also that the rights of the Chiefs in each village and of all people concerning their property according to their customs shall be recognized.
Done at the place of Faleula in Tau, in triplicate, in both the Samoan and the English languages, on this 14th day of July, in the year 1904, A.D.
King of Manu's and District Governor.
County Chief of Fitiuta.
County Chief of Ofu.
· County Chief of Olosega.
County Chief of Faleasao.
United States Naval Station, Tutuila
District Court of Tutuila No. 5 held at Tau, in Manu'a
I Hereby Certify that on this 16th day of July, in the year 1904, before me, Edwin W. Gurr, Judge of the District Court of Tutuila, personally appeared Tuimanua, the Governor of Manu'a; Tufele, County Chief of Fitiuta; Misa, County Chief of Ofu; Tuiolosega, County Chief of Olosega; Asoau, County Chief of Faleasao; and Logoai, District Clerk of Manu'a; personally known to me to be the Tuimanua, high chiefs, and representatives of the people of the Islands of Manu'a, who, each for himself, acknowledged that he executed the attached Instrument of Cession, and affixed his seal thereto, freely and voluntarily, for the uses and purposes therein mentioned.
In Testimony Whereof I have caused the seal of the court to be affixed this 16th day of July in the year 1904.
Acceptance of Cessions
E. W. GURR, District Judge of Tutuila.
The Judge Advocate General of the Navy in 1921, referring to the above cessions, said: "These cessions were accepted by the President of the United States, and full information with respect thereto was communicated to Congress and
the action of the Chief Executive relative thereto adopted and approved in a number of separate statutory enactments." (File 3931-1429:36, Dec. 23, 1921), LRNA, Supp. 25.
"The power of Congress over the territories of the United States is * * general and plenary, arising from and incidental to the right to acquire the terri
Decisions of the United States Supreme Court
tory itself and from the power given by the Constitution to make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property of the United States." (Lake Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ and U.S. 136 1; U.S. V Kagama, 118 U.S. 375; De Lima V Bidwell, 182 U.S. 1)
"The civil government of the United States cannot extend immediately and of its own force over conquered and ceded territory. Theoretically, Congress might prepare and enact a scheme of civil government to take effect immediately upon cession, but practically there always have been delays and always will be. * * In the meantime, pending the action of Congress, there is no civil power under our system of government, not even that of the President as civil executive, which can take the place of the government which has ceased to exist by the cession. *** The authority to govern such territory is found in the law applicable to conquest and cession. That authority is the military power under the control of the President as Commander in Chief." (Santiago V Nogueras, 214 U.S. 260).
Opinion of the Judge Advocate of the Navy
The Judge Advocate General of the Navy in 1921 said: "The Government established by the President of the United States in American Samoa, having been recognized and acquiesced in by Congress, said government must be recognized by all individuals who have occasion to deal therewith as the lawfully established government of American Samoa until Congress see fit to provide otherwise. The Congress of the United States, the President, the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Navy have all concurred in recognizing American Samoa as a possession of the United States and a part of its territory, administered by a governor commissioned by the President, whose agent he is for the purpose of executing the orders communicated to him through the Secretary of the Navy, except in so far as Congress may see fit from time to time to legislate directly in relation thereto ***. Under the system of government which has been established in American Samoa, the individual commissioned by the President as Governor thereof possesses supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power of government in relation thereto, except in so far as restricted by the President or by enactments of Congress." (File 3931-1429; 36, Dec. 23, 1921) LRNA, Supp. 25. However, in American Samoa, under the present code and under this new code the Governor has, through his legislative powers, vested the judicial powers in the courts and the Chief Justice and other judges of American Samoa.
Sess. II. Chs. 563. 1925
Chap. 563.-Joint Resolution Extending the sovereignty of the United States over Swains Island and making the island a part of American Samoa
Whereas Swains Island (otherwise known as Quiros, Gente Hermosa, Olosega, and Jennings Island) is included in the list of guano islands appertaining to the United States, which have been bonded under the Act of Congress approved August 18, 1856; and
Whereas the island has been in the continuous possession of American citizens for over fifty years and no form of government therefor or for the inhabitants thereof has been provided by the United States: Therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the sovereignty of the United States over American Samoa is hereby extended over Swains Island, which is made a part of American Samoa and placed under the jurisdiction of the administrative and judicial authorities of the government established therein by the United States. Approved, March 4, 1925.