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Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 11. 1961

O. Tamasese Preaches..

O. Tamasese Preaches...

The "Evening Post" has given an analysis of the history of New Zealand administration in Samoa which is wholly flattering to New Zealand. The epistle is rounded off by the comment: "That (notably increase in exports) is not consistent with claims that Western Samoa has been let down by New Zealand."

This notion is inconsistent with the view of Mr Gotz and i have great pleasure in allowing the Minister to rebut it. In replying to Professor Davidson, Mr Gotz in the "Auckland Herald" had this to say: "There is no use crying over spilt milk." Spilt milk! Egad! I wonder which cat spilt the milk, the fishy cat or the catty fish.

The Evening Post's view is also inconsistent with Mr Corner's intelligent appraisal of the history of New Zealand administration in Samoa in which he cites five defects of the latter administration.

My view is simply this. I do not think New Zealand has always let. Samoa down nor has it adequately led Samoa up. One would infer from the Evening Post Leader that New Zealand has never let Samoa down. This attitude indicates admirable patriotism but it does not show an admirable assessment of facts. Perhaps the author of the Leader expects me to reply by giving an exhaustive survey of the history of New Zealand administration in Samoa. For reasons of my own (I shall reconsider this stand if there is sufficient pressure from readers) my reply will be brief. If I may be permitted to parody the citation attached to an honorary degree recently conferred on Allen Dulles (boss of the U.S.C.I.A.) I would say this! I prefer to defer the appall of the moment to the judgment of history. Original: "Defer the applause of the moment to the judgment of history."

Sir,—The Minister for Island Territories is surely the tactful diplomatist (the superfluous signifies wastful pomposity) personified. Now that the die is cast, independence for Samoa in 1961 is assured, he is all too anxious to assert in a tone so patronising that "in my personal opinion Samoa is getting independence a little too soon"-among other reasons, because few locals are qualified to take over the positions of Heads of Government Departments. That few are qualified is a fault of the administering authority reports a correspondent for the "Manchester Guardian." This correspondent gently admonishes New Zealand, in that he thought the latter should have spent more money on the development of the area and that the crash and other programmers should have been implemented much earlier. One might infer from these comments that what the Minister is saying amounts to this: Samoa is getting independence too soon because New Zealand has done too little too late.

Equally tactful, but with the proper diffidence, I would like to ask Mr Gotz, a member of a profession noted for its talent to capitalise on the catching cliche, or on its ability to retreat into the foxhole of garrulous generalities to tell us in precise terms "what is the criterion of readiness?" Indeed one is tempted to ask more: What qualifies a nation, or a state, or an individual to decide the criterion of readiness?

I believe that for years the Indians were taken for a ride on a merry-go-round following the rhythm of the same theme song: "You are not ready yet." History truly has an ironical sense of humour when we consider that "while Solomon was worshipping God in the temple of Jerusalem," the Indians enriching their culture, the natives of Britain were attired in deer-skinned napkins and deer-skinned sarongs.

If the Samoans "are not very happy about their economic future" it is primarily because they have been even less happy about their economic past.

As for the preferred aid of £400,000,

I remain sir, yours gratefully,

O. Tamasese.