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Samoa Under the Sailing Gods



In the First Annual Report to the League of Nations on the mandated territory of Western Samoa (May 1, 1920, to March 31, 1921) the matter of Prohibition is referred to in the following terms:

"In 1919, after the Covenant of the League of Nations had been published, and in anticipation of the issue of the Mandate, a proclamation was issued prohibiting the further importation of intoxicating liquor, and shortly afterwards total prohibition became a fundamental portion of the constitution. Prohibition was imposed in what was considered to be the best interests of the community, but it was received with great dissatisfaction by a considerable portion of the community other than Native."

At the Second Session of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations, held in Geneva, when this Report came up for examination, Sir James Allen, representing the New Zealand Government, said:

"There was absolute prohibition of the liquor traffic in Samoa for Europeans and natives alike. In Samoa, as in the Cook Islands, there was no discrimination as between the page 104white and the native population. Experience in the Cook Islands had shown that any such discrimination was regarded as a grievance by the native population, and that the only way to abolish the abuse of liquor among the natives was to make the prohibition absolute for all races."

The Chairman of the Mandates Commission inquired whether there had also been Prohibition under the German occupation, and if not, for what reason the New Zealand Government had felt obliged to introduce it.

"Sir James Allen replied that the New Zealand Government had felt bound by the terms of the Mandate to abolish the liquor trade among the native population, and had for this reason made the prohibition absolute without any exception,"

Among the General Observations in the Minutes of the Second Session of the Permanent Mandates Commission it is recorded:

"The Commissioners have noted that the New Zealand Government has absolutely forbidden the importation and consumption of all spirituous liquors in Western Samoa. According to the statement of the Representative of the New Zealand Government, experience has shown his Government that the one and only method of completely suppressing the consumption of all spirituous liquors among the native populations, was to compel the nationals of the Mandatory Power, and all other foreigners in the territory, to set an example to total abstinence."