Samoa Under the Sailing Gods
Chapter xxii — Moral Victories
The first intelligence that came through regarding the new Administrator of Samoa was a Central News message from Auckland, published in the Morning Post of July 11, 1928. It ran as follows:
"The King's Birthday ceremonies this year will not be forgotten for many a long day in Samoa, where a triumph was scored by the new Administrator, Colonel Stephen Allen. The story has just reached here from Apia.
"No disloyalty, it must be understood, is felt by the Mau (League of Samoans) to the British flag, the objection is merely to the New Zealand Administration. The King's Birthday called for the usual ceremony of saluting either the King's representative or the flag, and the Mau decided that they could salute only the flag.
"Consequently they made secret preparations for the ceremony, being careful to ensure that the Administrator would be kept in the dark as to the exact time.
"On the morning of June 3 the Administrator and his household assembled for breakfast and the first question asked was, 'What time does the Mau ceremony take place?'
"By good fortune a guest of Colonel Allen was able to say that when he was in Apia the previous evening he had learned that the ceremony would be at eight o'clock.
"It was then ten minutes to eight. There was general consternation, for the Administrator was in morning clothes, and Apia was four miles away.
"No time was lost, however. The King's representative struggled into his uniform, buttoning it up as his car raced for the flagstaff in front of the Government buildings in Apia.
"As the clocks chimed eight the Administrator, immaculately dressed, stepped coolly from the car and walked to the saluting base. He raised his arm to take the salute as the first file of the Mau procession came abreast of him.page 249
"It was a thrilling moment. The Samoan chiefs grouped near the base saw the Administrator arrive, but not an eyelid flickered.
"Tamasese, the native leader, heading the procession, suddenly saw the Administrator appear below the flag, but his step never faltered and his salute was perfect.
"The members of the procession took the cue, and filed past in perfect order. To many present the ceremony had no special significance, but it had provided a great moral victory for Colonel Allen."
This "great moral victory" displayed a deplorable lack of administrative intuition and understanding. The Samoans are fond of drawing parallels from the Old Testament. They would have been reminded of Jacob and Esau. To have broken the procession would have been undignified. They have well been called a race of gentlemen.
At the Fourteenth Session of the Permanent Mandates Commission, in October, the Samoa Report for the year ending March 31, 1928, came up for examination. Sir George Richardson and Sir James Parr again were present as representatives of the Mandatory Power.
"Dr. Kastl said that according to the very full statement made by the Prime Minister at the beginning of the report, there could be no doubt that unrest and disobedience were still paramount in the islands. He thought, therefore, that he would be justified in saying that there was no proper administration. Even a mandated territory should be properly administered. How long did the New Zealand Government propose to maintain its attitude of toleration? He was in favour of toleration as far as possible, but if continued too long it might not be in the interest of a territory and might lead to disadvantages for the population as a whole. From what had been said it might be supposed that the New Zealand Government was paying too much attention to party politics.
"Dr. Kastl would remind the accredited representative that the Mandates Commission was partly responsible for the state of affairs in Samoa. It was not called upon, however, to pay page 250the slightest attention to party movements within the territory of the mandatory Power. The situation in the islands was leading to a very serious impairment of their wealth, and if the New Zealand Government continued in its policy of toleration, the result might be the destruction of the prosperity of the islands. The Mandates Commission had a serious responsibility, because the time might come when it would have to say to the New Zealand Government that it was urgent that it should take stronger measures with regard to the position in Samoa, irrespective of the movements of party politics in New Zealand.
"The Chairman thought that the majority of his colleagues agreed with Dr. Kastl as regards the substance of his statement, if not its form."
Certain members of the Mandates Commission, however, dissociated themselves from this veiled advocacy of a policy of violence.
"Sir James Parr said that the New Zealand Government still considered its policy of patience to be the right one. The Government had full knowledge of the local situation and the Administrator was a capable man. He would emphasize once again that the situation was improving, that taxes were being paid, that there was no disorder, and that the law was obeyed. The Mau police, who had previously paraded in uniform, had been disbanded, and no further attempt had been made to create a rival police to that of the Government. The Mandates Commission must trust the New Zealand Government, acting in co-operation with its new Administrator, for at least another year, and await the result. If the policy of patience failed, the Commission had the promise given by the Prime Minister at the end of his statement in the report that 'the Administration must ultimately fall back upon stronger measures.'"
The Mandates Commission sent a report to the League Council similar to its previous one, and expressed the hope that "when examining the next annual report it would find that the Administration had regained complete control of the situation and that a normal condition of affairs had been re-established."
During his first year of office the native poll-tax was abolished by the new Administrator. The medical-tax had already been compounded. There was now no direct taxation upon the Samoans. An extra ten shillings a ton was placed instead upon the copra export duty. Native taxes outstanding—those in arrears—it was announced, would be collected as opportunity might afford. The Fono of Faipules was disbanded. The services of the Director of Agriculture dispensed with. The Agricultural Department was merged into the grossly inefficient Native Department. The services of the Director were secured by the neighbouring kingdom of Tonga.
As head of the Native Department, Mr. Griffin had been succeeded, at the end of 1926, by Mr. Lewis, a missionary of the Australasian Methodist Mission. Mr. Griffin died about five months later. It was the Rev. Mr. Lewis who, in July 1927, circulated throughout Savaii, in the Samoan language, a telegram in which the following passage occurred:
"The Associated Governments of all the world have passed a law, thus: No complaint of any nature from any country under any Mandate or protection such as Samoa will be able to present any complaints before the League of Nations, who will be unable to receive them."
This, of course, was sheer nonsense. The only proviso of the League Council was that such petitions had to go through the Mandatory Power. A translation of this telegram was published in the Samoa Guardian of August 11, 1927, and its accuracy never challenged. General Richardson denied all knowledge of the matter before the Mandates Commission—with regard, however, to its publication in a newspaper in London.
On October 9, 1928, Colonel Allen induced Tamasese and Tuimalealiifano, a former Fautua or Adviser to the Administrator (whose evidence the Royal Commission had refused to hear)—the two principal members of the Mau—to meet him. The meeting, so he stated, was quite inconclusive.
In November, just as things in Samoa were believed, through sheer inanition, to be settling down, and the Reform Party was on the point of being thrown out of office by a General Election page 252in New Zealand, Tamasese was suddenly arrested at Vaimoso. His arrest was covered by two machine-guns mounted on motor-lorries and effected by thirty-five military police armed with rifles and fixed bayonets. The high chief attempted to run, had blank cartrides discharged at him at immediate range, and, according to one of the military police in an article in a New Zealand newspaper, rolled over on the ground believing himself shot. He was handcuffed, taken before the Court, sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment in Samoa for contempt of court—having ignored a summons for his 1927 poll-tax—and, having served this, was then taken to New Zealand to work out in Auckland Jail an additional sentence of six months for "resisting arrest."
The Administrator had already requested the Reform Government to appoint experts to inquire into the finances and staffing of the Samoan Administration. The Public Service Commissioner, the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of External Affairs were appointed: all permanent officials in New Zealand.
While they were engaged on this work, the Reform Party was swept from office by a General Election, and a Liberal Ministry formed under Sir Joseph Ward.
On the completion of the report concerning the Samoan Administration, the new Government saw fit—possibly with the idea of damaging their political opponents—to make public a Bowdlerized edition of it: a thing which the Reform Party admittedly never would have done.
The expurgated report ran as follows:
|"1.||According to instructions, we left New Zealand by the Tofua on the 3rd November, 1928, arriving at Apia on the 16th idem, and immediately commenced our inquiries. The Administrator intimated to us his grave concern in respect of the matters referred to, and stressed his desire that our inquiries should be as complete as possible.|
|"2.||Speaking generally, our considered opinion, after page break
page 253investigation, is that the Public Service of Western Samoa, including the Reparation Estates, requires immediate reorganization, and that the finances are in an unsatisfactory position. In our opinion there are a number of causes contributing to this state of affairs:
|"3.||Whatever the causes may have been, we are entirely satisfied that the Samoan Service as it exists to-day is by no means creditable to New Zealand, and that urgent and drastic action is necessary to improve the position."|
There followed the most scathing indictment of practically every branch of the Administration, of which that regarding the Native Office is of particular interest:
"While this is undoubtedly a highly important branch of the Administration's activities, we do not feel that as at present organized it is an efficient instrument, or that it is conducted with a due regard for economy. The head of the Department, Mr. Lewis, was formerly a Missionary; and, while we appreciate the fact that probably from this source only has it been possible in the past to obtain the services of a man of high character with a sufficiently complete knowledge of the Native language, we are convinced that recruiting from this source is not entirely satisfactory…."
It was suggested that somebody be obtained from New Zealand.
Regarding the finances of the country the experts stated that a borrowing policy had been adopted, which resulted in page 254the growth of a public debt from nil in 1920 to approximately £160,000 at March 31, 1928, and.£173,200 on September 30, 1928, imposing on an already overloaded Budget an additional burden of approximately.£12,500 for interest and sinking-fund charges.
Loan or capital money they found had been used to meet current expenditure. And notwithstanding regular annual assistance from New Zealand, the expenditure exceeded revenue for four out of five years 1923-24 to 1927-28 (General Richardson's regime).
New Zealand, they pointed out, had contributed financial assistance to Western Samoa since the inception of the civil administration to the extent of £212,000. And in addition to this a large amount had been contributed indirectly through what was regarded as irregular Reparation Estates activities on behalf of the Administration.
Insufficient attention, it was determined, had been paid to the control over expenditure, and generally the economic result of many activities entered into had received little if any consideration.
Recourse had even been had to temporary borrowing from the Public Trust and Post Office Savings Bank money and other funds without proper authority.
The finances of the Reparation Estates and Administration proved inextricably mixed. The Board of Control of the Reparation Estates had been ineffective.
They referred, with regard to the Estates, to many opportunities for fraud and peculation, and spoke most severely regarding the perquisites and defaultations of many officials.
The full report—which has never been made public—was approved by Colonel Allen.
Under the terms of the Mandate, Samoa was to be administered as an integral portion of the Dominion of New Zealand, who might apply the laws of New Zealand to the Territory, subject to such local modifications as they might require.
While in jail in New Zealand, Tamasese invoked the aid of Habeas Corpus. The Supreme Court then decided that as page 255the Mandate was from the League of Nations and not from the King, the Habeas Corpus Act did not apply to Samoa.
On his return to Samoa, in June 1929, Tamasese was greeted before landing with a summons for the same tax for which he had already been arrested and jailed. He suppressed this fact at the time from the many thousands of people who had assembled to give him welcome. He walked ashore over a long bridge of boats, fully manned, set stem to stern, the oars of the rowers raised in salutation. Feasting and festivities continued at Vaimoso for three days. A number of Europeans were present and were entertained, including officers and tourists from the Tofua.
When the Samoa Report for the year ending March 31, 1929, came up for examination at Geneva in November, the Chairman recalled the observations made by the Mandates Commission at its previous session and the hope expressed that when examining the next annual report it would find that the Administration had regained complete control of the situation and that a normal condition of affairs had been re-established.
"The annual report for the year 1928-29 contained somewhat vague information with regard to the general situation in Samoa, while it appeared from various chapters of that report that a great number of the activities of the Administration were still paralysed by political conditions. The accredited representative would greatly assist the Commission by supplementing the information contained in the annual report by a statement on the general political situation at the present time, in order that the Commission might ascertain whether real progress had been made on the lines which it had indicated as desirable at its thirteenth and fourteenth sessions. It would also be of value for the Commission to have more definite particulars with regard to the policy that the mandatory Power intended to follow in the exercise of the mandate conferred upon it by the League."
Sir James Parr spoke as follows:
"I think it might very safely be said that law and order have been restored. You will remember that, owing to the lack page 256of any kind of efficient force, General Richardson, a year or more ago, was impotent to enforce order. The King's writ, as we say in England, did not run. Law breakers went unpunished, and taxes were not collected. It can now be said that, owing to the arrival of an adequate police force, order is maintained. Only in the case of two arrests during the last year or so was resistance attempted and two small conflicts with the authorities occurred, but in each case there were no ill results. I think I can say, quite safely, that order is maintained throughout the territory. The Government governs to that extent.
"When, however, you ask me about the political situation I am bound to admit that, while there has been some improvement, it is still, in the opinion of the Mandatory, unsatisfactory.
"The new Governor, Colonel Allen, succeeded General Richardson about May 1928. He has been in Samoa for about eighteen months. He went with quite an open mind, anxious to meet the Mau, hear its representatives and ascertain its grievances, which were rather obscure. He was conciliatory and, while firm, he was tactful. What was the result? The result was that the Mau rejected his advances. The Mau is not vicious; it believes that it has a just cause, though if one is able to get close enough to question it one is unable to discover exactly what it wants.
"Colonel Allen made advances with dignity and purpose and with a kindly spirit, and, I repeat, the Mau ignored him. On one occasion he did succeed in coming into close contact with two very important chiefs—two principal men of the Mau movement—Tamasese and Tuimalealiifano, and in having conversations with them which were, as he puts it, entirely inconclusive. He said he was prepared to talk over their troubles with them and see whether he could not find a way out. He asked what it was they wanted. He was a new Administrator and was anxious to know. All he was able to get out of the two chiefs was that they were aggrieved because the Mandates Commission's report was not signed by every nation, under its own seal, of the League of Nations, and because Mr. Nelson—who was their representative—had so far failed to report progress, and they felt they could do nothing without hearing from Mr. Nelson. That was all that Colonel Allen could get out of them. I think it is necessary to give that as an instance of the difficulty New Zealand is up against in dealing with this movement of non-co-operation.page break page 257
"As I have said, there is no active or direct hostility towards the Administrator, but there is no disposition to meet him to discuss the difficulties. Acting under advice, I think the Mau has come to the conclusion that if it persists long enough in its non-co-operative attitude it must ultimately attain its ends."
M. Rappard asked to whose advice Sir James Parr had referred.
Sir James Parr replied as follows:
"I suggest that the old influence is still at work. Mr. Nelson is now living in Auckland, the largest city of New Zealand and nearest to "Samoa, and is still active. Recently a Samoan Defence League was formed in Auckland, the principal figure in it being a rather well-known lawyer who is the lawyer for the Mau and for Mr. Nelson, as well as for the Samoan Defence League. This Defence League is numerically small and I am advised that its influence in New Zealand is somewhat negligible, but there can be no doubt that it is in close touch with the Mau chiefs, and there can be little question that Mr. Nelson is still active.
"The Samoan Defence League, while announcing as its principal object its desire to assist the New Zealand Government (in New Zealand) in bringing to a close the dissension in the territory, took up the attitude that the only way to effect this was to remove the orders of deportation and that the 'accredited representative' of Samoa—Mr. Nelson—and Tamasese should be summoned to Wellington for consultation with the Prime Minister. This course the new Government felt itself unable to consider or adopt. The policy of the previous Government, which was replaced a year ago by a Liberal Government, was one of patience, hoping in this way to win these people round. It believed that the removal of Nelson's influence would do a great deal towards inducing the Mau to give up its policy of non-co-operation. I should mention that Mr. Coates was defeated and the Liberal Party returned to power under Sir Joseph Ward."
M. Rappard asked whether the Samoan issue had played any great part in the campaign.
Sir James Parr replied:
"None or very little. It did not seriously affect the issue. It is true that the Labour leader has said that it did play a page 258part, but neither of the other parties would, I think, agree with that for a moment.
"Such was the position on the assumption of office by the present Government, which was obliged to consider very seriously the course it should take. On the one hand, it was not without sympathy for the Samoans who had attached themselves to the Mau. The new Government believed that the Mau was convinced of the justice of its cause, though, except for the deportation of three Europeans—Nelson, Gurr, and Smyth—the new Government had found it impossible to discover any grievances that might require redress: indeed, the very triviality of those grievances was one of the main difficulties in dealing with them.
"On the other hand, the new Government recognized the necessity of maintaining the proper authority of the Administration, and for this reason felt itself unable, at that late stage of events, to give way, while the Mau still persisted in flouting the law openly and concertedly. After lengthy consideration and consultation with the Administrator, the policy of the new Government took the form of a short announcement made by the Prime Minister, as follows:
"'The Government has considered very carefully the situation in Western Samoa and it has thought it advisable at this juncture to make a public statement of its views.
"'In the first place, the Government wishes to make it plain that it cannot tolerate or negotiate with any movement that is openly subversive of good government in the territory. The Samoans must understand that any failure to obey the law will be punished and that the Government must act rigorously in this direction should future events unhappily render it necessary.
"'His Excellency the Administrator and the New Zealand Government are, however, anxious to bring to an end the dissension in the territory, and immediately those Samoans, who are members of the Mau, have the good sense to cease their attitude of passive resistance and to abandon their refusal to pay taxes, His Excellency and the Government will be prepared to consider any representations in a generous spirit.
"'The Government earnestly trusts that wise counsels will prevail and that all who have the true interest of Western Samoa at heart will assist in pointing out to the Mau the path page 259of wisdom and honour and the disastrous consequences to Samoa of a continuation of its present attitude.'
"This statement was published throughout Samoa both in English and in Samoan, but, as was anticipated, had no marked effect. At this moment the Defence League was created, which did not help matters.
"You may ask what is the economic position and how trade is progressing. It is a fact that there has been a most remarkable increase in trade during the past twelve months. The Mau has not affected production. The output of copra and cocoa has largely increased, and the total trade amounted to £748,000 as against £640,000 for the previous year, an increase of £108,000 in the year. From the economic point of view it has been an excellent year."
There followed criticism from members of the Mandates Commission of which this is typical.
"It seemed that public tranquillity was only due to the policy of abstention followed by the local authorities. A typical example was to be found in events that had occurred in connection with the poll-tax. This tax was levied in Samoa, as in all territories, on the native population. The revenue from native taxes for the financial year 1928 had only produced the sum of £6,343 out of an estimated return of £19,400. Faced by such a financial failure the local authorities had merely cancelled the poll-tax and had substituted other methods of collecting.
"Similarly, owing to the continued absence of children from the schools, the number of schools had been reduced. The meetings of the Faipules had been suspended.
"M. Merlin pointed out that it was the duty of the mandatory Power to ensure not only order in the country but the regular working of the Administration. It was to be feared that if the negative policy were continued the Administration would soon be reduced to what might be described as a state of anaemia which would rapidly have unfortunate results on the economic development of the country as well as on its political condition."
Count De Penha Garcia, however, observed that "the Commission was faced with a delicate situation. The mandatory Power had itself admitted that native affairs were not satisfactory and that errors of policy had been committed. It was difficult to understand how a small people like the page 260Samoans had been able to defeat the efforts of the mandatory Power. He had been especially struck by a speech of the Minister of Native Affairs in the New Zealand Parliament who said that the administrators had not been sufficiently enlightened and had not pursued a right policy towards the natives. The Minister had suggested that a policy similar to that usually adopted by Great Britain in native affairs should have been adopted, namely, that of acting as advisers.
"Results had proved that this criticism was true. The native policy had not been understood and had been badly executed. It seemed obvious that the legislation had not taken into account the conditions and state of mind of the natives. He quoted an extract from The Press, dated September 7, 1929, where, in a debate in the House of Representatives, Sir Apirana Ngata, recognizing the mistakes that had been made, was reported as having said: 'To my humble way of thinking, what is needed is a diplomatist, one of those gentlemen educated at Geneva, to arrive at some formula to save the face of New Zealand.'"
Sir James Parr, continuing the quotation, remarked that Sir Apirana Ngata had said "to save the face of the Government of New Zealand and of the very high-born and difficult chiefs in Samoa."
The conversation continued along former lines, with further veiled advocacy of force, and then Sir James Parr announced "he was very much impressed by the opinion of the Mandates Commission that there was lack of order in Western Samoa, and he wondered how the mandatory Power thought this could be cured. He thought he could not do better than to advise the Commission of the opinion of his Government, which was as follows:
"'There never has been any doubt as to the Government's power to coerce the disaffected Samoans by force of arms should this be unavoidable, and the opinion has indeed been held amongst a section of the Samoans as well as in New Zealand that the matter should be handled by force as the quickest way of concluding the present difficulties. It is plain, however, that once recourse is had to force, bloodshed among the Samoans must almost inevitably follow, and the Government has never considered, and does not now consider, that page 261the circumstances of the case or the attitude of the disaffected natives would either necessitate or justify this extreme step. It refused, at any rate until it is certain that the larger interests of the Samoans demanded it, to take a course that will involve the probable necessity of bloodshed among these misguided people whose opinions, though mistaken and mischievous, would nevertheless appear to be sincere and honest. It cannot lose sight of the fact that throughout this unfortunate agitation the attitude of the Samoans in all its larger aspects has never been threatening and that the movement, unfortunate and mischievous as it undoubtedly is, has been conducted by the Mau with some dignity and restraint. The disaffected Samoans have, generally speaking, been careful to abstain from any wrongful acts either against person or property, their deliberations have always (ostensibly, at any rate) been conducted after appeals for Divine guidance, and the Government does not feel that even the paramount necessity of upholding the prestige of the Administration would justify the adoption of forcible measures in the existing circumstances. Should the Permanent Mandates Commission or individual members take up on this occasion, as in a somewhat guarded manner they did in the past, the attitude that New Zealand should assert its complete authority in the territory by force, the New Zealand representative is instructed:
"'(1) To place the above facts before the Commission.
'"(2) To advise the Commission that after the fullest consideration of the circumstances, including the history of the present position, the possibilities of the future, and the most careful calculation of the interests of the Samoans and of the necessity of preserving the authority of the Administration, the Government have definitely refused to adopt force as the solution at the present juncture.
'"(3) To add that this decision was taken primarily in the interests of the Samoan people, having regard to the future as well as to the present.
"'(4) To exercise the fact that no consideration of New Zealand politics entered into the Government's decision (as was suggested by members of the Commission on a previous occasion) and,
"'(5) To state that, if the Permanent Mandates Commission find themselves unable to agree with the wisdom of the course adopted and consider the application of force essential, the page 262New Zealand Government, while, of course, maintaining their view of the position, would be grateful if the Commission would, in intimating this fact in their report, specify the manner in which, and the degree to which, they consider force should be applied.'
"That was the view of the Government with regard to the use of force to coerce the Samoans to pay taxes, the nonpayment of which was the main complaint of the Mandates Commission."
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."
On the following day was examined the report of the three experts on finances and staffing, which had been appended to the annual report.
"acting on last year's reports and on General Richardson's statements also, the Mandates Commission had come to the conclusion that the Administration was neither inefficient nor extravagant. Now, unfortunately, if the Commission believed the three officials it was necessary for it to change its mind. There was no getting away from that fact."
There was much moaning from the Mandates Commission over its embarrassing position.
"Mlle Dannevig said that she had first become a member of the Mandates Commission in June 1928, and had listened then with an open mind to the statements made by Sir James Parr and General Richardson. She had received the impression that the administration of Western Samoa might be weak, but that it was honest and in good hands, that the complaints made by the petitioners were unfounded, and that the Mau was misled by persons who were not disinterested. She had been very much astonished when she was told officially some months afterwards that these complaints as regards extravagance and lack of efficiency of the administration were well founded, and she wondered how it had been possible for General Richardson, the actual Administrator of the territory, to ignore these facts. She also wished to know, concerning the severe sentence which had been passed on Mr. Nelson, whether the opinion of the Mandates Commission on that point also would have to be revised.
"Sir James Parr thought that Mlle Dannevig's statement was too sweeping. The only point on which the opinion of the page 264Mandates Commission must be revised concerned details of finance and administration. The main issue had not been changed at all by the report of the three Civil Servants. He pointed out that General Richardson had come to the table of the Mandates Commission to explain the whole position. At that time, when questioned concerning his staff, he had given them all the highest character. The Mandates Commission had had the opportunity to judge the worth and sincerity of what General Richardson had said and to form its opinion accordingly."
In due course the following report—from which I have omitted nothing material—was sent to the League Council:
"The Permanent Mandates Commission had before it at its present session (I) the annual report of the mandatory Power for the year 1928-29, and (2) a report forwarded by the New Zealand Government on various financial and staff matters, drawn up by three high officials who, under instructions from the mandatory Power, visited Samoa at the end of the year 1928. This latter report was generally approved by the New Zealand Government.
"The Permanent Mandates Commission encountered a real difficulty in forming a judgment upon the actual situation in the territory, since the two reports before it expressed very different estimates of the local administration.
"The report for 1928-29, like previous annual reports, though admitting the unsettled conditions of the country, is written in a general spirit of optimism. The special report of inquiry, on the other hand, is extremely critical of the whole administration of the territory and of its finances.
"While greatly appreciating the frankness shown by the publication of this special report of inquiry, the Permanent Mandates Commission deeply regrets the state of affairs which it reveals—a state of affairs which is described by the three commissioners in very severe terms.
"The Permanent Mandates Commission also noted, on various points, a discrepancy between the report of the Royal Commission appointed in 1927 and that of the three special commissioners. The conclusions at which the Permanent Mandates Commission arrived last year were thus based upon incomplete information.
"The Permanent Mandates Commission is of opinion that page 265there is no reason to modify the view expressed by it during its thirteenth session, viz. that there was no evidence of policy or action contrary to the mandate on the part of the mandatory Power. On the other hand, the New Zealand Government appears to accept the new report of inquiry as presenting an accurate picture of the state of affairs prevailing in Samoa, and therefore to admit that some of the charges of inefficiency which have been made are at least partially justified. The good intentions of the Administration and its efforts in matters of public health, education, and the economic development of the territory are not questioned, but it is now clear that the methods of recruiting officials have not been satisfactory from the beginning. Moreover, the financial control exercised in the first instance by the Administrator himself and, in the second instance, by the New Zealand Government, has been deficient….
"The Commission expresses the earnest hope that the annual reports of the mandatory Power will, in future, be such as to allow it to form a true opinion of the whole administration, and so to avoid the painful surprise which it experienced this year in considering the report of the administrative experts."
The valediction of the Permanent Mandates Commission to Sir James Parr also was interesting:
"The Chairman said that the Commission had been working for several years in collaboration with Sir James Parr and much appreciated the assistance he had given it. He was now returning to New Zealand and it was to be hoped that he would carry with him the impression that the chief thought of the whole Commission was for the welfare of the population of the mandated territories and that it fully appreciated the difficulties of the mandatory Power. Sir James Parr had reminded the Commission how difficult it was for the mandatory Power to administer a country two thousand miles away. How much more difficult was it for the members of the Mandates Commission to understand the true situation! He hoped that Sir James Parr would retain as pleasant a memory of his collaboration with the Mandates Commission as the Commission would retain of him."