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[Page 149]


In reply to the Administrator, Mr. Taifert admitted that the "Siar" was in hiding somewhere in the vicinity of Kaiwieng, and was practically acting as a distributing centre from which the goods referred to as having been landed at Vuna Paka had been sent by the Motor Boat "Sente".   He, however, stated that the goods in question had not been smuggled as he had declared the cargo at the first port of call viz., Eitape in Kaiser Wilhelmsland; he admitted that no duty had been paid, and that according to German laws it was not necessary that such duty should be paid until 30 days after declaration.   This had been the practice in the past, and his Company had a running account with the Government of the Colony.

The Administrator stated that he was not prepared then to deal with individual cases of the kind;   he could not give any reply in regard to the "Siar" for 3 or 4 days, but he repeated the assurance he had already given that facilities would be offered by him for the distribution of any supplies which might be purchased from  Burns, Philp & Coy's Agent.

The Deputation did not seem to regard this as sufficient, and it seemed to the Administrator an attempt to force his hands to release or give permission for the "Siar" to come to Rabaul was being made, which, however, he declined to do.

On Monday, 19th October, the Administrator had an interview with the Provost Marshal, when the latter informed him of all the circumstances connected with the surreptitious landing of goods at Vuna Paka, and pointed out that Mr. Taifert had made several statements which he afterwards admitted were incorrect, and that Mr. Taifert stated that he had made these incorrect statements in order to gain time for his boat to get away.

Immediately afterwards the Administrator had another interview with Mr. Taifert and his Assistant (Mr. Kuhn).   The Administrator referred to the mis-statements which had been made by Mr. Taifert in regard to the "Siar's"  cargo, and stated that in view of this fact he could not accept Mr. Taifert's assurance in the absence of documentary evidence, that he declared in Eitape, and he (the Administrator) intended to regard the goods put ashore at Vuna Paka as smuggled and impound the same.   He also told Mr. Taifert he proposed to put on as a temporary measure a larger Steamer on the New Ireland trade, so that if Burns, Philp & Coy. should arrange to run a monthly service to Rabaul, this Steamer would be able to distribute any goods purchased by the Merchants at the various places, and at the same time collect Copra from the outlying stations and bring it to the central depot at Rabaul, for conveyance to Australia or elsewhere.   He asked Mr. Taifert to convey this information to the other Merchants, and assure them that they would be perfectly safe in making arrangements to purchase goods from Burns, Philp & Coy's Representative.

Other matters referred to at the interview were the Note issue, which the Administrator had decided upon, and Mr.  Taifert was informed that these notes were to be regarded as legal tender during the Military occupation, redeemable at the termination of such occupation. Mr. Taifert alluded to certain claims which he deemed himself to have against the late Government of New Guinea, and was advised by the Administrator to put such claims in writing so that they might be investigated by Captain Fry, Treasured.   Mr. Tailfert also stated that certain monies had been seized at the Offices of his Company at Rabaul and Herbertshohe.   These monies, he stated, were not Government monies, but the property of the Company and he asked that same be refunded.   The Administrator pointed out that considerable difficulty had been experienced in getting any information from the Company as to the transactions of the  late Governor, and unless the Company could prove that the monies in question were not Government monies, he would not be prepared to refund same.   However, this would be a matter for further investigation.

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