The Origins of International Rivalry in Samoa: 1845–1884
iv. The American Standpoint — A further — bar to Settlement
iv. The American Standpoint — A further
bar to Settlement
3 Richardson, J. D., Messages of Presidents, vol. viii, p. 64, December 6, 1880.
The climax in Samoa at the end of 1884 and in 1885 led to an Anglo-German Commission to find a solution to the vexed question of Samoan government. The two Commissioners (the British, Sir J. Thurston and Herr Krauel, the German) presented annexation by a single Power as the only solution. The matter was dropped in view of the Anglo-German negotiations of April 1886 for the division of the Pacific into spheres of influence. In 1886, however, a Commission of American, German, and British representatives was appointed to report upon the situation in Samoa and upon "how to compass an autonomous government in the islands."1 Travers, the German Commissioner, was clear in his assertion that this was not practicable. He recommended annexation by Germany as she had the greatest interests. Bates, the United States Commissioner, recommended annexation by America as she had fewest interests. Thurston did not consider annexation by a single Power permissible as a solution within the scope of his instructions, but he implied its desirability.
1 50–51 Hse. Ex. Doc. No. 238: Travers' Report, p. 261, Appendix B; Thurston's Report, p. 268, Appendix C; Bates' Report, p. 137, Appendix A.
This, it may be added, was not the German interpretation of American action. "By the Monroe Doctrine," said Count Herbert Bismarck to Salisbury, "they seem to wish the Pacific Ocean to become an American lake. They not only want Hawaii (where England has no interests) under their influence, but also Samoa and Tonga as stations on a route through a future Panama Canal to Australia; there are, indeed, Americans who dream of a future republican union and federation of the various Australasian Colonies with the United States."2
1 B.F.S.P., vol. 79. Protocols of Conferences between Great Britain, Germany, and the United States.
2 Die Grosse Politik, vol. iv, p. 175. H. Bismarck to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, August 24, 1887.
Whatever arrière-pensée Bayard may have had in the Washington Conference, his refusal to consider the proposed mandatory government postponed the solution of the Samoan problem until 1889.