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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the fiftieth Congress, 1888-'90
(1888-1889)

Germany,   pp. 570-684 PDF (48.6 MB)


Page 681


                                  GERMANY.                              
  681
of the land of the pilot-station under a mortgage exhibited to you by Mr.
E. Weber,
made by the chief Patiole and registered in the Imperial German consulate
on the
19th February, 1885.
  In reply I have to inf*rm yoei that th9 chief Patiole, by an indenture
dated Au-
gust 6, 1884, and recorded at this office the 18th of September following,
leased this
1'and to Mr. William Coe for fifteen years.
  At the time, therefore, that it is claimed the mortgAge was made to the
German
firm the land was already leased to Mr. Coe and could not have been mortgaged,
ex-
cepting subject to the terms of the lease.
  The action of the German firm is a trespass upon American property which
can
not be acquiesced in, and I have to renew my request, made in my letters
of the 13th
and 14th instant, that the land be speedily vacated by its German occupant.
  It is more than two weeks ago that I first addressed you on this subject
and stated
that this land was owned by a citizen of the United States, and not until
yesterday
did you question this title; on the contrary, in your letter Jf the 31st
January, you
write that the German magistrate has been negotiating for a week to secure
from Mr.
Coe a renewal of the lease, and request me to let you know the owner in case
the land
no longer belongs to him.
  The title to this land may be taken to have been definitely settled by
the lease by
Patiole to Mr. Coe and by the subsequent lease executed to the municipality
after
investigation by the municipal board. Mr. Coe made this lease as lessee under
Patiole, and on the day it was executed the latter appeared before the municipal
magistrate, and the contents of the lease having been made known to him,
declared
that Mr. Coe had a right to lease the land and consented to it. A copy of
the ac-
knowledgment of this lease certified by the then United States consul, Dr.
Canisius,
is now in this office.
  The municipal board, satisfied with Mr. Coe's title, leased the land and
the lease
  was signed by all the members of the board; your predecessor, Dr. Stuebel,
and H.
  Martin Ruge, esq., being the German representatives. This lease is dated
five months
  before the alleged mortgage to the German firm.
  From this time the rent has been paid to Mr. (Coe, and his title has been
fully rec-
  ognized. For the past year, as you are aware, Mr. E. Weber has been a member
of
  the board, without whose approval this payment could not have been made.
  With the terms of the lease to the municipality you are doubtless familiar.
It
  covenants that the land after the expiration of the lease shall be "peaceably
and
  quickly" surrendered to Mr. Coe.
  The lease is now terminated and this covenant unfulfilled.
  The question thus presented is not one simply of conflicting claims between
private
  parties, the settlement of whichmight perhaps, as you suggest, be left
to legal action,
  but it involves the good faith of the former municipality and of every
member of this
  community.
  The obligations of the municipality should be fulfilled, and these demand
that the
  land should be surrendered [as] covenanted in the lease.
  An early adjustment of this matter is desired by me, as itis one of great
impor-
  tance.
       I am, etc.,
                                                  HAROLD MARSH SEWALL,
                                                                Consul-General.
                                    [Inclosure 9.1
                             Mr. Becker to Mr. Sewalh.
               IMPERIAL GERMAN CONSULATE FOR THE SOUTH SEA ISLANDS,
                                                        Apia, February 16,
1888.
   In reply to your favor of this day's date, I have the honor to state that
the princi-
 pal agency of the German Trade and Plantation Company, although it has been
 made acquainted with the contents of your communications, still asserts
its right to
 the possession and ownership of the land of the pilot-station. According
to German
 law, I am not authorized to dispossess the aforesaid company of a piece
of land which
 it now holds, unless an executory decision pronounced against it by a German
court
 is exhibited to me.
   The question who is entitled to the possession of the land in dispute
is one of a
 legal character, and can be decided by a competent court only, or, if there
is no such
 court, by an agreement between our Governments, by arbitration, for instance.
   I do not, therefore, think it necessary for me here to discuss nay further
the legal
 points referred to in your polite note. ] merely take the liberty to state
that before


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