The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, MARCH 11, 1889. GERMANY, AMERICA AND SAMOA.
I There «an be little doubt notwithstanding the particularity of detail which has been cabled to the colonies via Berlin of a reported naval engagement m Samoan waters between German and American men-of-war that there is no foundation m fact for so remarkable a story. Had there been, certainly we should have heard of it ere this through other channels, and it will be interesting to learn, as no doubt we shall soon do, how the yarn came to be conceded. Of course it is possible that there may have been some misunderstanding be tween the commanders of the war vessels of the respective countries, but it is exceedingly improbable that this has developed into actual hostilities. American papers to hand by the mail indicate that both Germany, and the United States are approaching the solution of the Samoaa difficulty by diplomatic methods m a spirit of moderation whioh is almost a guarantee that a moduß vivendi will be found without the necessity of recourse to the last argument of nations— an appeal to the sword* Indeed, to judge from the debate m Congress and the despatches of Frinoe Bißmarck the possibility of such an appeal does not seem to be for a moment contemplated on either side. The Chicago " lnter-Ocean " gives a report of the debate referred to, m the course of which (Senator Morgan expressed the opinion that Germany's action m Samoa was rather a discourtesy than a breach of faith, and Senator Dolph expressed the opinion "that Congress should direct the President to insist upon a rebtoration by the German Government of the status quo at the time of the Washington Conference, and to notify the German Government that the United States would not permit the Samoan Islands to pass under the control of any foreign nation, and that their independent autonomy must be maintained. He saw no good reason why, if necessary, and if requested by ths Samoan people, an American protectorate should not be established over them, and that, he said, would be an entirely different thing from intervention as practised by Euro pean powers on the continent of Europe." Senator Keagan said " I am not m tavor of war. I know too well the calamities of war.* But the humiliation of a great nation m the face of an arrogant power is worse than war. I would give the President power to determine what our rights m the matter are., and the power to assert those rights m a way that could not be mistaken. If we do this we may expect to maintain our rights and to see the restoration of the Itatus quo. 1 ' There is, therefore, apparently, on tho part of the United (States adesire to treat the question m a friendly, though firm, manner, and on the German side there is, if Bismarck is to bo believed, no intention to attempt to ignore the rights either of America or Great Britain. For the paper from which we are quoting also publishes a despatch from tho Prince-Chancellor to Count Von Arco Valley, German Minister to the United States which runs as follower—Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Berlin Jan. 18. 1889. I have already notified your Excellency that according to telegraphic communications from Apia on the 18th December of last year a detachment of German naval forces, which had landed at the requisition of the Imperial Consul for the protection of German eettjeinents which were endangered by the conflicts between the native parties there, was attaoked by armed Hamoans belonging to the party of Chief Mataafa. This unprovoked attack is said to have taken place under the leadership of an American named Klein. On this occasion more than fifty German soldiers and officers were killed and wounded. Inconsequence of this, we have been transplanted from the territory of media- J torial negotiations by which the Imperial consul m Apia was trying to reconcile the contending parties, and for which he had sought the co-operation of his English and American colleagues, into a state of war with the assailants, to our regret. We shall oarry pn }hp contest wiiich has been forced upon us by Mataafa anJ his followers with the utmost consideration for English and American interests. Our military measures have m view only the punishment of the murderers of German soldiers, and the protection of our countrymen and tbejr property. As they on their part are at war with Tamasese our interference will necessarily assume the character of assistance to Tumasese. In the endeavor for the just punishment of a murderous crime we hope for the co-operation ot the treaty powerg m Samoa , m friendship with us, and we ask the goyprnnjept of the United States to be good enough to furnish, the consul* and the commanders of its ships of war m Samoa with suitable instructions. Our armed forces there are instructed to avoid and to prevent all injury to neutral commerce and property and to adopt measures of reprisal and destruction only against the followers of the par£y whioh initiated tho contest against our troops by a murderous attack, We shall, of course, abide by the agreements with America and England with respeot to Samoa, I and pay due regard under all circumstances to the rights of those powers as established by treaty. J beg your Excellency to bring this communication to Mr Bayard's knowledge by reading it to him and to leave a copy of it with him if he requests it — Bismarck, The foregoing will, wo think, make it clear to our readers that there is no probability whatever of hostilities between the United States and Germany over tho Samoan question, and renders it almost certain that the story of the reported nnyal engagement is a pure canarfy