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The Origins of International Rivalry in Samoa: 1845–1884

2. Treaty of Friendship Between Germany and Samoa — Translation

page 216

2. Treaty of Friendship Between Germany and Samoa


His Majesty the German Emperor, King of Prussia, etc., in the name of the German Empire, of the one part, and their Excellencies the Gentleman of the Taimua, in the name of the Government of Samoa, of the other part, being desirous mutually to further and cement their amicable relations and their interests, have decided to conclude a Treaty of Friendship. [List of Plenipotentiaries of both parties.]

1.There shall be peace and perpetual friendship between the German Empire of the one part and Samoa of the other part, and also between their respective subjects without distinction of person or places.
2.The subjects of both Contracting Parties shall enjoy in both countries perfect and perpetual protection of their persons and property, and furthermore, Germans in Samoa and Samoans in Germany shall be exempt from all war contributions, military requisitions or military services, and especially the Germans in Samoa shall be exempt from occupation of their houses, lands, and plantations by war parties.
3.The Germans who reside [sojourn] in Samoa, and the Samoans who reside [sojourn] in Germany shall enjoy perfect liberty of conscience and religious worship….

[Agreement as to rights of burying Germans in Samoa, or Samoans in Germany.]

4.There shall be full freedom of commerce for German subjects in all parts and places of Samoa; [Freedom to trade in all parts of Samoa; no taxes or duties, or restrictions with regards to their vessels and cargoes], but also in this case the German subjects shall always enjoy in Samoa the same rights and advantages as the Samoans or the subjects of the most favoured nation.

German ships of war shall be at liberty to enter into the harbour of Saluafata, to anchor and remain there to take in supplies and to repair, and the German Government shall furthermore be at liberty to make there at its own pleasure all page 217such contrivances and arrangements that may be useful for German ships of war, and their officers and crew. [Also rights to erect buildings for coal, to hoist the German flag, "but the Sovereignty of the Government of Samoa over the harbour of Saluafata shall not in any way be prejudiced or made valueless." The harbour not to be closed to other nations though the Samoan Government pledged not to grant others similar rights. German ships of war to be at liberty to enter, anchor at, and remain at any other places, harbours or waters of Samoa.]

The Samoan Government also promises hereby that they will not in any way grant privileges to any other nation before the German Government with respect to the harbour of Apia and its shores; but that the German Government shall always enjoy also in that respect the same rights as other nations.


[Full liberty to subjects of the Contracting Parties in their respective territories, to undertake voyages and journeys, trade, buy, or rent lands, cultivate and use them, erect thereon houses or warehouses, stores and shops. Both to submit to laws and taxes as agreed upon, but Germans in Samoa to have same rights as the Samoans or the subjects of the most favoured nation.]

Especially does the Samoan Government hereby guarantee to the German subjects peaceable possession of all lands in Samoa which they have hitherto bought from Samoans in a regular manner and in accordance with the custom at the time, and all further interference with regard to such lands is therefore excluded by this confirmation by the Samoan Government of the ownership of the German subjects. The Germans are therefore at liberty to make use of all their lands in Samoa without interference, to establish plantations thereon, and to procure and employ the necessary labourers as well for such purpose as also in general for their wharves, business premises, and houses.

7.[Arrangements for jurisdiction over German subjects.]
8.All laws and regulations which the German subjects and their clients residing (or sojourning) in Samoa will have to submit to, as well as all taxes and charges which they will have to pay accordingly to the Samoan Government, shall be deliberated upon between the German Consul, or other persons appointed for that purpose by the German Government and officers of the Samoan Government, also all useful measures to bring about the observance of such laws and regulations by page 218Germans in Samoa; but all such laws and measures which have been deliberated upon between the Officers of the two Governments shall only come into force after obtaining the confirmation of the German Government. But any agreements which the officers of the two Governments have come to with regard to municipal arrangements or police, quarantine and Apia Harbour regulations, or with reference to a prohibition or regulations of the sale and supply of spirituous and intoxicating liquors to Samoans and natives from other parts of the Pacific Ocean by Germans in Samoa, shall at once be observed by German subjects in Samoa, and as long as the German Government has not refused the confirmation of the same.

[Again a most favoured nation clause.]

9.[A further agreement to be made regulating the civil status of clients of either party.]
10.The Government of Samoa promises not to grant in their own country any monopolies, indemnities, or real advantages to the disadvantage of German commerce or of the flag and the subjects of the German Empire.
11.The Government of Samoa promises to grant the German Government as many rights as the most favoured nation as well in respect to all matters alluded to in the preceding Articles of this Treaty as also generally and as may be granted to any other nation in future.
12.The present Treaty shall come into force and become valid from the day of the signing the same… [unless not ratified within two years].
13.[Ratifications—Samoan to be exchanged as soon as possible.]

In witness whereof the Plenipotentiaries of the two Governments have signed and sealed this Treaty in two documents of the same tenour.

Done at the Imperial German Consulate at Apia on the 24th day of January, in the year 1879.

Von Werner.
Th. Weber.