Arrest of Tamasese in Mau Tax Resistance Struggle

From the Argus:

Samoan Trouble.

Arrest of High Chief.

Interest in Mau Waning.

Following on the arrest on of Tamasese, the Samoan high chief and spokesman of the native organisation known as the Mau, the Administrator (Colonel Allen) is doing everything possible to create a spirit of reconciliation. The Mau committee, however, refuses to meet him and discuss the situation. Tamasese, who is aged 20 years, is the grandson of King Tamasese. Before the arrival in Samoa of the New Zealand cruisers in February he took no active or public part in the Mau movement. He was more or less forced into prominence by his native name and title. It must now be clear to Samoans that real force, with arms if necessary, can and will be used to enforce arrests. Previously they had the idea that armed forces would not be used against them.

The arrest of Tamasese took place at the village of Vaimoso, on a warrant for contempt of court in relation to non-payment of taxes. An armed party of 35 military police arrived at the village at daybreak. Vaimoso is about a mile from Apia, and for the last year has been recognised as the headquarters of the Mau. Two motor-lorries and a motor-van were used to carry the police to the village. When Tamasese saw the police he rushed to a plantation near by. The police gave chase and over-hauled Tamasese, who showed fight, but was overcome, thrown to the ground, and handcuffed. When taken back to his house a few stones were thrown and two of the military police were struck. Generally, however, no resistance was made by the villagers. It had been persistently rumoured that resistance would be made if the police attempted to arrest anyone in the village, and in view of what happened at the previous attempts to arrest Tamasese the police were justified in taking precautions.

Tamasese appeared before Chief Judge Woodward to answer a charge of contempt of court. He was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for six weeks. At the High Court, Apia, Tamasese appeared before the Chief Judge on a charge of having resisted the police. He was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for six months, and is now at Vaimea prison. It was stated in the evidence that two Lewis machine guns were in a position for immediate action. One of the guns was pointed towards Tamasese’s house. The military party had fixed bayonets, but the officer in charge did not know who gave the order to fix bayonets. The Samoans, it was further stated, obeyed the order of their chief to keep the peace.

It will be remembered that on , while the New Zealand cruisers were at Apia, a party of civil police attempted to arrest Tamasese at Apia, but were prevented by crowds of Mau supporters, who obstructed the police and managed to get him away in a car. On , at Vaimoso village, another attempt was made by a party of civil police at his home. On that occasion the police were covered by a party of 30 men from the cruisers. Resistance was again made, and the police and the naval party, to avoid bloodshed, retired. further attempt to make an arrest was made at the home of Tamasese at Vaimoso on . The party of six military police was stoned by women and others, and it retired.

The committee of the Mau continues to make its headquarters at Apia, and weekly meetings are held. Delegates are sent throughout the territory to keep interest alive, and, incidentally, collect what they term the Mau tax. Members of the Mau are encouraged to travel to Apia. They appear to be certain that Mr. O. F. Nelson, who has been deported for five years, will return. In the meantime normal affairs of the country and courts function, with the exception of the payment of taxes by members of the Mau. The courts deal with them in the usual way, and warrants of arrest are issued for default. Local interest in the Mau is waning. It is beginning to be realised that no good can come of such a hopeless situation. Two of the Samoan chiefs of the original committee, Amasaga and Ainuu, have publicly withdrawn from the Mau.

From the Toledo Blade:

Ohio Pacifist Minister Sued For $4,682 In Taxes

The U.S. Government filed a civil suit against the Rev. Maurice F. McCrackin, in an effort to collect $4,682.38 in income taxes

The pastor has refused to pay income taxes for because, he says, part of the money goes for military purposes. He served five months in a federal prison earlier for declining to answer an Internal Revenue Service summons in that connection.