United States Treaty Series/Volume 1/Support of Samoan government

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Support of Samoan government  (1880) 


  • Agreement dated at Apia, Samoa, March 24, 1880
  • Effective March 24, 1880
  • Superseded April 12, 1890, by the General Act of June 14, 1889,[1] with respect to those provisions with which the General Act was inconsistent; annulled in entirety February 16, 1900, by convention of December 2, 1899[2]

Department of State files; enclosure to despatch no. 145 of April 9, 1880, from the U.S. consulate at Apia, Samoa

Whereas the King and Government of Samoa did on the 31st day of August 1879 address a letter to the three Governments of the United States of America, Germany and Great Britain requesting them to take some concerted action for the preservation of peace and good order in Samoa and for the protection of the King and government thereof; and,

Whereas on the 15th day of December 1879 the civil war in Samoa was terminated in a treaty of peace between the representatives of the opposing forces;[3] and,

Whereas on the 23rd day of December 1879 on board H.I.G.M. Ship "Bismarck" a permanent agreement was entered into by the representatives of both parties electing and recognizing Malietoa Talavou King for life;[3] and

Whereas on the 12th day of January 1880 the Imperial German Government sent instructions to the Imperial German Consul General in Samoa that the Governments of England and America had accepted the proposals of the German Government and ordering him to recognize, and enter into an agreement with his colleagues for the protection of Malietoa and his Government by the three Powers already named in this preamble; and,

Whereas on the 14th day of January 1880 the English Government ordered H.B.M. Ship "Danae" to Samoa with instructions to Captain Purvis commanding to recognize Malietoa and protect his Government in conjunction with the naval forces of Germany and America; and,

Whereas the present King and Government of Samoa earnestly desire that this arrangement may be consummated as speedily as possible for the greater security of life and property within the Kingdom and for the utmost prosperity of the Samoan Islands,

Therefore the King, Mafietoa Talavou, and the Government of Samoa, the Taimua and Faipule; and, Captain Zembsch, Imperial German Consul General, on behalf of the German Government; and, Thomas M. Dawson, United States Consul, on behalf of the Government of the United States of America; and J. Hicks Graves, Her Britannic Majesty's Counsel, on behalf of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland &c, have agreed upon and concluded the following four articles to take effect immediately and to continue in force till ratified, modified, or rejected by the three Protecting Powers:—

Article I

The present King, Malietoa Talavou, shall be supported as the head of the Samoan Government during his lifetime, and his successor shall be agreed upon by the three Protecting Powers.

Article II

There shall be an Executive Council for the King and Government of Samoa consisting of a citizen of the United States of America, a German and a British subject, and they shall hold the offices respectively of Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Public Works.

Article III

The members of the Executive Council shall be nominated from among the residents of Samoa by the Consuls of their respective nations resident at Apia, and they shall hold office from the date of their nomination, which must subsequently be confirmed by the home Governments.

Article IV

The members of the Executive Council shall hold office till their successors are nominated by the Consuls, and they shall receive such salaries as may be agreed upon between the Government of Samoa and the Consular Representatives of the Three Protecting Powers.

In Witness Whereof we have signed the same and affixed thereto our seals.

Done at Apia this twenty fourth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty.

  • [For the United States:]
    • Thomas M. Dawson[seal]
  • [For Germany:]
    • Thomas M. DawsonZembsch[seal]
  • [For Great Britain:]
    • Thomas M. DawsonJ Hicks Graves[seal]

[In a despatch of April 9, 1880, the U.S. consul at Apia, Samoa, stated that the agreement "has been signed by the King, Vice King, and Premier, and approved by the Taimua & Faipule, but I have not had an opportunity to get the copy I send signed by all." A despatch of April 15 enclosed printed copies of the agreement, in English and Samoan; the Samoan copy contained the following printed signatures of the Samoan officials: O au o Malietoa Talavou, Malietoa Laupepe, and O au o Mataafa.]


  1. TS 313, post, p. 116.
  2. TS 314, post, p. 276.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Copies of the agreements of Dec. 15, 1879, and Dec. 23, 1879, were enclosed with despatch no. 148 of Apr. 15, 1880, from the U.S. consulate at Apia, Samoa (Department of State files).

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).