The TRUTH about SAMOA
"We Cannot Function"
"We Cannot Function"
General Richardson: "We know the position to-day, that the country is divided. There are one or two districts where we cannot function. In other districts some are in the Mau and some are in the Malo. The simple minds of the Samoans are unable to reason out the position, and it is causing them to look upon these organisations as two separate authorities. We cannot function, and it is necessary that these people should be told from the right sources, from myself and from the source from which they have received their lead, that they are in the wrong, and that they must obey the laws and carry out instructions from constituted authority. I have only this question: Will you now, personally, in the presence of the Secretary of Native Affairs (Rev. Mr. Lewis) give me your word to instruct the Native Committee in Apia to go back to their homes, obey the orders of the Government, and put anything they have to say through the proper channels, through the properly constituted channels to me? The whole trouble is really emanating from the Committee in Apia. Will you personally instruct this Committee to go back to their homes and obey the orders of the Government and stop this attempt to frustrate the functioning of the Government?"—May I ask if you will permit me to consult with my counsel?
General Richardson: "You may do so."
After Mr. Nelson had conferred with Messrs. Baxter and Slipper, the question was again continued by His Excellency: "I put this question in the interests of the country and of the Samoans-I put it to you as man to man and as one who has influence and interest in the country-and I ask you to give me your answer?"—In answer to that question, Your Excellency, I wish to say that I have done that all along. When the Minister gave his order to us, I not only told the Natives to go home, but I also told them that there was nothing for them to do here . The Minister had come and gone. We had met him and presented all our matters to him, and now they would have to wait until they received the reply of the Minister. There was absolutely nothing page 33 for them to do in Apia, and as far as I know the greater part of them left right away. Any further staying on here must have been a later development in their minds, because they agreed to go back. The A'ana people told me they agreed to leave right away that night. I asked counsel about reporting what I had done to His Excellency, and they advised me to do so. If your Excellency asks me again to advise the Natives to go home, obey the laws, and put any complaints through the proper channels, I have been advised to agree to do so.
General Richardson: "Do you not feel it your duty to do this to put a stop to the possibility of conflict between the two sections of natives?"—I feel, as much as anybody, regret at the present state of affairs.
"Your answer is that you are not prepared to do it of your own volition, but will do so if asked?"—The reason was on account of legal difficulties.
"I was not thinking of the legal part of it-what is your answer-yes or no?"—I say. Yes! but to tell them that they are wrong ....
General Richardson (interrupting): "I did not tell you to say that. Will you personally, and in the presence of the Secretary of Native Affairs, instruct this Committee to go back to their homes and obey the orders of the Government and put their complaints through the proper channels?"—Yes!
I do not actually ask you to use these words. I will allow you to say what you think in your own heart. I am certain that they know that they are wrong, and you know that they are 'wrong, but if the using of your influence on the Natives is going to be prejudiced I will not ask you to do it."—Yes, but the presence of the Secretary of Native Affairs might make things worse. I am only suggesting this.
"It would be much more satisfactory to him. and I want your answer."—I only just wanted to make a suggestion with the object of carrying it out satisfactorily. If it is only a matter of appearing there with the Secretary of Native Affairs, I cannot instruct them, I can only speak to them.
"My suggestion is that it should be done in the presence of the Secretary of Native Affairs, so that the Natives will see that your action has the backing of the Government. You stated that when you went away you told this Committee to go to their homes. Is it true that you stated that for every member of the Committee sent away from Apia, his place would be taken by one from his district so that it would be kept going ?—No!