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Samoa Under the Sailing Gods



According to the Daily Telegraph of June 20, 1928, in a report from its own correspondent in Geneva—

"The question of Samoa, where New Zealand, as the Mandatory Power, has done her best to improve conditions, came before the Mandates Commission to-day. (The 19th.) Major-General Sir George Richardson, Administrator of Western Samoa, and Mr. Nelson, who was prominent during the recent trouble there, were both present at to-day's session. A week ago Mr. Nelson, who was expelled from Samoa for five years, arrived in Geneva, established himself in one of the palatial hotels, and with the help of lawyers, including one Genevese, is engaged in spreading propaganda against the New Zealand mandate over Samoa. He presented to the page 240Mandates Commission a printed report of sixteen pages, with numerous annexes containing accusations against Sir George Richardson and the New Zealand Administration. Mr. Nelson alleged that the whites objected to the prohibition of alcohol and to the copra monopoly, while the natives complained of the taxation and of the deportation of malcontents without trial. These accusations have already been dealt with by the Royal Commission, which spent six weeks in Samoa, and reported to the New Zealand Government, its report being now before the Mandates Commission. It now remains to be seen what will be the judgment of the members of that body."

At the opening meeting, with respect to Samoa, of the Mandates Commission—at which, despite the Daily Telegraph's report, neither Mr. Nelson nor General Richardson were present—Lord Lugard,1 the British member, endeavoured, unsuccessfully, to get his colleagues to agree that none of them would grant an interview to Mr. Nelson. (By ruling of the League Council2 no petitioner is able to appear before the Mandates Commission in person.) Lord Lugard announced that he himself had already refused an audience to Mr. Nelson.

1 Formerly Sir Frederick Lugard.

2 March 1937.