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The Samoan Massacre: December 28th, 1929

[Letter to] Father John Cullen March 1st 1930

page 5
Auckland, New Zealand.

Dear Father John Cullen,

With reference to copies of correspondence, New Zealand papers, etc., forwarded you in connection with the Massacre, on 28th December last, of High Chief Tamasese and other Samoans, I wish to advise that Mr. A. Hall Skelton (a leading Advocate of Auckland with over 20 years experience at the New Zealand Bar) at a Public Meeting held on the 23rd ult, protesting against the inhuman treatment of the Samoans by Colonel S. S. Allen, his Administration, and Commodore Blake of the H.M.S. Dunedin, stated that Father J. Deihl, the American Catholic Priest, was the only Missionary in attendance on the wounded and dying Samoans; also the London Missionary Society, the Anglican Bishop and other Missioners in Apia at the time of the Massacre held aloof. On the day of the Massacre an unsuccessful attempt was made by the Military Police to prevent Father Deihl from performing his duty to the Samoans.

Commodore Blake's illegal action in declaring War on these unarmed and defenceless people has compelled the Samoans to take to the bush, leaving the Women and Children at the mercy of the Naval and Military Forces, who, without regard to the Laws of War, raid dwellings at all hours of the night and early morning, turn Women and Children out of their beds, destroy beyond repair, valuable mats and other property, and generally terrorise these people.

As the Englishman's reputation, in the Pacific, for Justice and Honor is at stake, I respectfully suggest that you place the Samoan Question before the new Archbishop of Hobart with a view to obtaining an Independent Tribunal to consider the grievance of these unfortunate people, and, also to bring to trial the Officers responsible for the Massacre on 28th December last and subsequent shootings.

Yours respectfully,

C. W. Owen

Father John Cullen,

Hobart, Tasmania.