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League of Nations Mandate for German Samoa


Text from the 1920 League of Nations mandate proclaiming the terms under which the former German Samoa would come under New Zealand jurisdiction. A transcript of the full text is provided below.

League of Nations - Mandate for German Samoa

The Council of the League of Nations:

Whereas by Article 119 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany, signed at Versailles, on June 28th, 1919, Germany renounced in favour of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers all her rights over her overseas possessions, including therein German Samoa:

And whereas the principal Allied and Associated Powers agreed that, in accordance with Article 22, Part I (Covenant of the League of Nations), of the said treaty, a date should be conferred upon His Britannic Majesty, to be exercised on his behalf by the Government of the Dominion of New Zealand, to administer German Samoa, and have proposed that the mandate should be formulated in the following terms:

And whereas His Britannic Majesty, for and on behalf of the Government of the Dominion of New Zealand, has agreed to accept the mandate in respect of the said Territory, and has undertaken to exercise it on behalf of the League of Nations in accordance with the following provisions:

And whereas by the aforementioned Article 22, paragraph (8), it is provided that the degree of authority, control, or administration to be exercised by the Mandatory, not having been previously agreed upon by the members of the League, shall be explicitly defined by the Council of the League of Nations:

Confirming the said mandate, defines its terms as follows:

 Article 1.

The Territory over which a mandate is conferred upon His Britannic Majesty for and on behalf of the Government of the Dominion of New Zealand (hereinafter called the Mandatory) is the former Germany Colony of Samoa.

 Article 2.

The Mandatory shall have full power of administration and legislation over the Territory, subject to the present mandate, as an integral portion of the Dominion of New Zealand, and may apply the laws of the Dominion of New Zealand to the Territory, subject to such local modifications as circumstances may require.

The Mandatory shall promote to the utmost the material and moral well-being and the social progress of the inhabitants of the Territory subject to the present mandate.

 Article 3.

The Mandatory shall see that the slave trade is prohibited, and that no forced labour is permitted, except for essential public works and services, and then only for adequate remuneration.

The Mandatory shall also see that the traffic in arms and ammunition is controlled in accordance with principles analogous to those laid down in the Convention relating to the control of the arms traffic, signed on September 10th, 1919, or in any convention amending the same.

The supply of intoxicating spirits and beverages to the Natives shall be prohibited.

Article 4.

The military training of the Natives, otherwise than for purposes of internal police and the local defence of the Territory, shall be prohibited.

Furthermore, no military or naval bases shall be established or fortifications erected in the Territory.

Article 5.

Subject to the provisions of any local law for the maintenance of public order and public morals, the Mandatory shall ensure in the Territory freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, and shall allow all missionaries, nationals of any State member of the League of Nations, to enter into, travel, and reside in the Territory for the purpose of prosecuting their calling.

 Article 6.

The Mandatory shall make to the Council of the League of Nations an annual report to the satisfaction of the Council, containing full information with regard to the Territory, and indicating the measures taken to carry out the obligations assumed under Articles 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Article 7.

The consent of the Council of the League of Nations is required for any modification of the terms of the present mandate.

The Mandatory agrees that if any dispute whatever should arise between the Mandatory and another member of the League of Nations relating to the interpretation or the application of the provisions of the mandate, such dispute, if it cannot be settled by negotiation, shall be submitted to the Permanent Court of International Justice provided for by Article 14 of the Covenant of the League of Nations.

The present declaration shall be deposited in the archives of the League of Nations. Certified copies shall be forwarded by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations to all Powers signatories of the Treaty of Peace with Germany.

Made at Geneva the 17th day of December, 1920.

Deputy Secretary-General.


Reproduced from New Zealand Official Year-Book, 1921-22

How to cite this page

League of Nations Mandate for German Samoa, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated