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Samoa Under the Sailing Gods



The Mandates Commission met again in the afternoon.

"The Chairman recalled that Sir James Parr had referred to suggestions which certain members of the Mandates Commission and the Commission as a whole had offered to the mandatory Power, inviting it to put down the disturbances which had occurred in Samoa by energetic means. No member of the Commission had ever suggested that strong measures should be employed against the natives. He asked M. Orts to speak on behalf of the Commission in order to remove any uncertainty on the matter.

"M. Orts recalled the observations made by M. Kastl and himself on this subject at the fourteenth session and also the report of the Commission to the Council. He agreed to the request that he should act as spokesman of the Commission in order to refute this allegation.

"M. Palacios said he wished to make it quite clear, before the accredited representative was called in, that, when they were discussing Samoa the previous year, he had expressed opinions which differed very considerably from the opinions of his colleagues on which the conclusions of the Commission were based. He would therefore take no part in the discussion to which the objections of the accredited representative had given rise."

Sir James Parr was called to the table, and there followed the most desperate evasions, including deliberate omissions in quoting from the Minutes, on the part of various members of the Mandates Commission in an endeavour to extricate themselves from what they apparently regarded as a very unpleasant situation. There had never been any suggestion of using force!

M. Rappard turned the subject finally by saying that page 263"since it was possible for the administering officials in New Zealand to judge very harshly of their own compatriots in the Administration of Western Samoa, it was not at all surprising that the natives should be unruly and not have for the Administration that feeling of natural respect which real authority alone inspired."