Pacific Islands Treaty Series
PROTOCOL BETWEEN GREAT BRITAIN AND FRANCE RESPECTING THE NEW HEBRIDES
(London 27 February 1906)
The Undersigned, Eldon, Gorst, Assistant Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Hugh Bertram Cox, Assistant Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Marcel Saint-Germain, Senator, President of the Council of Administration of the Colonial Office at the Ministry of the Colonies, Officer of the Order of Public Instruction, Holder of the Colonial Medal; Edonard Picanon, Inspector-General of the Colonies of the First Class, Governor of French Guinea, Officer of the Legion of Honour, Officer of the Order of Public Instruction, delegated respectively by the Government of His Britannic Majesty and by the Government of the French Republic, in order to draw up, in conformity with the Declaration of the 8th April, 1904, concerning the New Hebrides, an arrangement which shall put an end to the difficulties arising from the absence of jurisdiction over the natives of the New Hebrides and settle the disputes of their respective nationals in the said islands with regard to landed property, have agreed to the following provisions, which they have resolved to submit for the approval of their respective Governments:-
The Government of His Britannic Majesty and the Government of the French Republic, being desirous of modifying as far as the New Hebrides are concerned, the Convention of the 16th November, 1887, respecting the New Hebrides and the islands leeward of Tahiti, in order to secure the exercise of their paramount rights in the New Hebrides and to assure for the future and better protection of life and property in the Group, have agreed on the following Articles:-
(1) The Group of the New Hebrides, including the Banks and the Torres Islands, shall form a region of joint influence, in which the subjects and citizens of the two Signatory Powers shall enjoy equal rights of residence, personal protection, and trade, each of the two Powers retaining jurisdiction over its subjects or citizens, and neither exercising a separate control over the Group.
(2) The subjects or citizens of other Powers shall enjoy the same rights and shall be subject to the same obligations as British subjects or French citizens. They must choose within six months between the legal systems of one of the two Powers. Failing such choice, the High Commissioners mentioned in Article II or their delegates shall decide under which system they shall be placed.
(3) In all matters not contrary to the provisions of the present Convention or the regulations made thereunder, the subjects and citizens of the two Signatory Powers and the subjects and citizens of other Powers shall, within the New Hebrides, remain subject to the fullest extent to the laws of their respective countries.
(4) The two Signatory Powers undertake not to erect fortifications in the Group and not to establish penal settlements of any kind.
Local Authorities – Police
(1) The Signatory Powers shall be represented in the Group by two High Commissioners, one appointed by His Britannic Majesty’s Government, the other by the Government of the French Republic.
(2) The High Commissioners shall each be assigned by a Resident Commissioner to whom they shall delegate their respective powers, in so far as they consider it expedient, and who shall represent them in the Group when they do not reside there.
(3) The High Commissioners or their Delegates shall be provided with a police force of sufficient strength to guarantee effectively the protection of life and property.
(4) The force shall be divided into two divisions of equal strength. Each of these two divisions shall be under the orders of one of the two Resident Commissioners, and shall in no case be employed otherwise than in conformity with the principles laid down by the Present Convention.
(5) When it is necessary to employ some o all of both divisions of the force in conformity with the present Convention or of the regulations framed for its execution, the force shall be under the joint direction of the High Commissioners or their Delegates.
Seat of Government
(1) The head-quarters of each Government in the Group and the Joint Court provided for in Article X shall be at Vila, in the Island of Efate.
(2) The two Signatory Powers undertake respectively to provide their Representatives with houses, and shall jointly erect quarters for the members of the Joint Court, together with a court-house, and offices for the public services to be undertaken in common.
(3) The land required for these buildings shall be acquired by the two Powers jointly either by agreement or, if necessary, compulsorily.
Public Services undertaken in Common
(1) The following public services shall be undertaken in common : police, posts and telegraphs, public works, ports and harbours, buoys and lighthouses, public health, finance.
(2) These public services shall be organized and directed by the High Commissioners and their Delegates jointly.
(3) Special postage stamps shall be issued for the New Hebrides, in conformity with the International Postal Convention.
(4) English and French money and bank-notes authorized by either Power shall be legal tender in the Group.
(1) Each of the two Signatory Powers shall defray the expenses of its own administration in the Group.
(2) The expenses of the Joint Court and of the public services undertaken in common shall be defrayed out of local taxes, to be imposed by the High Commissioners jointly, the receipts from fines and from the postal service, and all other revenue of a joint character.
In the event of the revenue from the above proving insufficient, the two Signatory Powers shall each pay one-half of the deficit.
Joint Naval Commission
(1) It shall be the duty of the Joint Naval Commission established by Article II of the Convention of the 16th November, 1887, to co-operate in maintaining order in the Group.
(2) Except in the case or urgency, it shall only act on the joint request of the two High Commissioners or their Delegates.
(3) The Convention of the 16th November, 1887, the Declaration signed in Paris on the 26th January, 1888, between the British and French Governments and the Regulations adopted on the same day by the two Governments as instructions for the Joint Naval Commission, shall remain in force, except where contrary to the present Convention.
(4) The Joint Naval Commission shall send copies of the reports on its operations to each of the two High Commissioners and to each of the two Resident Commissioners.
Legislation – Regulations
(1) In the present Convention “native” means any person of the aboriginal races of the pacific who is not a citizen or subject under the protection of either of the two Signatory Powers.
(2) No native, as defined above, shall acquire in the Group the status of subject or citizen be under the protection of either of the two Signatory Powers.
(3) The High Commissioners and their Delegates shall have authority over the native Chiefs. They shall have powers to made administrative and police regulations binding on the tribes, and to provide for their enforcement.
(4) They shall respect the manners and customs of the natives, where not contrary to the maintenance or order and the dictates of humanity.
Civil Status of the Natives
(1) The persons appointed by the High Commissioners or their Delegates to receive declarations of births, deaths and marriages for the subjects or citizens of their respective countries shall receive and enter on their registers all declarations of the same character which natives may wish to make for the purpose of acquiring civil status.
(2) Entries so made shall be kept in a general register at the Registry of the Joint Court.
(1) A Joint Court shall be established, consisting of three Judges, of whom one shall be President. A fourth officer shall act as Public Prosecutor, and shall have charge of the preliminary enquires.
The Court shall be provided with a Registrar and the requisite staff.
(2) Each of the two Governments shall appoint one Judge.
His Majesty the King of Spain shall be invited to appoint the third who shall be President of the Court. The officer who acts as Public Prosecutor shall be appointed in the same manner. Neither of these two officers shall be a British subject or a French citizen.
The Registrar and the staff shall be appointed by the President.
(3) If either of the two Governments considers that it has a cause of complaint against the President of the Joint Court, or the officer acting as Public Prosecutor, ti shall inform the other Governments.
If both Governments agree, they shall request His Majesty the King of Spain to appoint another person to fill the post.
If they disagree, His Majesty the King of Spain shall determine whether the complaint is justified, and whether the officer complained of shall be retained or superseded.
(4) The arrangements as to salaries, travelling allowances, leave, acting appointments, and, in general all matters relating to the working of the Joint Court, shall be settled by common agreement between the two Governments.
(1) In the trial of criminal cases, the Joint Court shall be assisted by four Assessors, taken from the leading non-native inhabitants of the Group.
(2) The Assessors shall be chosen by lot from a list drawn up jointly by the High Commissioners or their Delegates at the beginning of each year.
(3) The Assessors shall have a vote in deciding the question of the guilt of the accused, but a consultative voice only in deciding the sentence.
(4) The prosecutor and the defendant may each challenge two of the Asessors.
The Joint Court shall have jurisdiction: -
(1) In civil (including commercial) cases:
(a) Over all suits respecting land in the Group);
(b) Over suits of every kind between natives and non-natives.
(2) In police and criminal cases:
Over every offence or crime committed by natives against non-natives.
Over the particular offences constituted by the present Convention or the regulations Vol XXIV. Framed for the purposes of carrying it out.
The law applied shall be:-
(1) In civil (including commercial) cases:
(a) For land disputes, the principles laid down by the present Convention;
(b)For other disputes, the law of the country to which the non-native party belongs or the legal system made applicable to him.
(2) In police and criminal cases:
The law applicable to the non-native party injured.
(3) In the case of other offences:
The principles laid down by the present Convention, or by the regulations framed for the purposes of carrying it out.
(1) The procedure before the Joint Court shall be based on the following:-
(a) In civil (including commercial) cases, the procedure followed: In England, in country courts, in France, before “justices de paix”.
(b) In police cases, the procedure employed: In England, in courts of summary jurisdiction: In France, in police courts; procedure employed: In England, in courts of quarter sessions, in France, in correctional courts.
(2) The Joint Court shall determine and publish in the Group the modifications in the rules of procedure which may be necessitated by local circumstances, by the differences between the two systems of law, and by the provisions of the present Convention.
Finality of Judgments
The judgments of the Joint Court shall be final.
Fees and Costs
(1) The Court shall prescribe a table of fees to be taken in cases with which it deals, and for the registration of titles to land.
(2) It shall determine the amount to be paid in respect of these fees and in respect of counsel’s fees.
(1) A party may appear before the Joint Court by counsel.
(2) With the exception specified in section 3 hereafter, every counsel must be first approved by the Court. The Court shall be empowered to suspend or withdraw the right of pleading.
(3) The High Commissioners or their Delegates shall jointly appoint an official advocate to assist and represent before the Joint Court any native engaged in any suit or charged in a police or criminal case.
The fees of the official advocate, payable as prescribed by Article XVI above, shall be included in the joint budget.
(4) A native may, however if he so desires, be assisted by any other advocate whom he may select
Either the English or French language may be employed in proceedings before the Joint Court, in a suit between the British subjects and French citizens, the proceedings shall be interpreted and the judgments shall be drawn up in both languages. The registers of the Court shall be kept in both languages.
Execution of the Judgments of the Joint Court
(1) The execution of judgments shall be provided for:
(a) In the case of land disputes, by the High Commissioners or their Delegates acting in concert;
(b) In civil cases, other than land disputes, and in police or criminal cases, or breach of regulation by High Commissioner or the Resident Commissioner of the country to which the non-native party or the injured person belongs;
(c) In the case of other offences committed by natives either by the Resident Commissioners acting jointly or by officers jointly appointed for this purpose.
(2) The authority charged with the execution of the penalty in a criminal or police case may reduce or remit such penalty.
(1) the two Governments mutually undertake to establish in the Group, in conformity with their existing legal systems, Courts with jurisdiction over all civil suits, subject to the reservations and exceptions laid down in the present Convention.
(2) Civil suits between non-natives, other than land suits, shall be brought before the Court having jurisdiction over the defendant.
(3) In criminal cases, non-natives shall be justicable by the Court of their own nationality or the nationality applied to them.
Suits brought by consent before the Joint Court
(1) Both non-natives and natives may, where the parties consent, bring their suits before the Joint Court.
(2) In suits between non-natives, the law applicable to the defendants shall be applied; the same rule shall be followed with regard to procedure, subject to Article XIV above.
(3) In suits between natives, the Court shall decide according to substantial justice, respecting as far as possible, the native customs and the general principles of law. It may determine, as required, the procedure to be followed, reducing it to the minimum consistent with the proper administration of justice.
PROVISIONS RELATING TO LAND
Land Suits between Non-natives and Natives
(1) In land suits, the rights of non-natives may be proved either by occupation or by title-deeds establishing the same or grant of the land in question.
(2) When occupation is made the sole ground of a claim to ownership, visible and material proofs must be forthcoming, such as buildings, plantations, cultivation, cattle-rearing, improvements, clearing or fencing. Occupation must be bonâ fide, and have been continuous during three years at least.
(3) When the claim to a property is based on a title-deed coupled with occupation, the Court shall endeavour to ascertain whether the holder of the title-deed has substantially asserted his occupation by material acts showing that he has taken possession, such as: improvement of the land in any manner, event in party; construction of roads, bridges or paths; surveys; delimitation, erection of signposts to mark boundaries; habitual enjoyment of the produce; or other acts proving open exercise of the right of ownership. The Court shall decide how far these acts can be held to cover the whole extent of the property in dispute, and shall confirm the claim in whole or in part accordingly.
(4) When the claim to a property is founded on a title-deed alone, and this title-deed has been either lodged in a notary’s office or registered in New Caledonia, Fiji, or the New Hebrides, at a date subsequent to the 31st December 1895, or else, on a title-deed which, whatever its date, has not been lodged in a notary’s office or registered, this title-deed can only be rendered void if it is proved:-
(a) That the agreement is not signed by the vendor or grantor or by some person duly authorized by him, or that if the vendor or grantor did not know how to write or was in-capable of signing, the agreement is not attested by two witnesses or in some other manner that establishes its authenticity according to English or French law.
(b) That the vendor or grantor did not understand the effect of the agreement;
(c) That the agreement was obtained by fraud, violence, or other improper means;
(d) That the terms and conditions of the agreement have not been fulfilled;
(e) That the land sold was not the land of the vendor or grantor or his tribe.
If the Court finds that the rights of the vendor or grantor extended only to part of the land in dispute, it may recognize the sale or grant to the extent of such part, and fix the boundaries thereof.
(5) When the title-deed establishing the sale or grant of the land in dispute has been either lodged in a notary’s office or registered in New Caledonia, Fiji or the New Hebrides, at a date prior to the 1st January, 1896.
(A) The right of action cannot be admitted:
(a) Unless the claimant can prove, according as he acts in his own name or in his own personal interests or as Chief of his tribe and in its interests, that he or his tribe have a present right to the occupation of the land in dispute, and that this right would be infringed. If this right extends to part only of the property in dispute, the Court shall only entertain the action as to this part, if necessary, fixing boundaries thereof;
(b) If it is proved that prior to the 1st January 1895, a transaction took place indicating that the title deed applied to a property held lawfully6 and in good faith; in particular if it has been convey regularly and in good faith between non-natives for valuable consideration in accordance with the regulations and forms prescribed by the law of civilized peoples.
If in such a case the Court should nevertheless consider that the rights of the native claimant or his tribe would be infringed, it may, while confirming the title, order the payment of reasonable compensation to the said native party, or may reserve a portion of the land for this party in conformity with the general declaration contained in Article XXIV hereafter.
(B) When the right of action is admitted and the case is considered on the merits the title-deed can only be invalidated if it is proved:
(a) That the agreement is not signed by the vendor or grantor or by some person duly authorized by him, or that, if the vendor or grantor did not know how to write or was incapable of signing, the agreement is not attested by two witnesses or in some other manner that establishes its authenticity according to English or French law;
(b) That the agreement was obtained by fraud, violent or other improper means;
(c) That the land granted or sold was not the land of the vendor or grantor or his tribe.
If the Court finds that the rights of the vendor or grantor or his tribe extended only to a part of the land in dispute, it may recognize the sale or grant to the extent of that part, and fix the boundaries thereof. The Court may, in any case except where bad faith has been proved on the part of the grantee, confirm the title to the whole or part of the property, subject to the reservation for the native claimants, if the circumstances require it, of sufficient land for their needs, and the determination of the rights of way or other easements to be secured to them over the whole property.
Land Suits between non-natives
(1) When no questions arises as to the original land transaction with the natives, the Court shall be bound by the laws of the defendant’s country.
(2) Whenever questions to arise as to the original transaction with the native, the Regulations laid down in Article XXII shall be observed by the Court in all that concerns that transaction.
In cases covered by the same Article (5(A), (b), 2nd paragraph) the Court shall indicate if necessary,, by which of the non-native litigants the payment of compensation is due.
(3) When the Court, upon the evidence before it, considers that it cannot decide the questions that arise as to the original transaction with the natives – as, for instance, hen it is confronted with two or more title-deeds, neither of which it is able to confirm as giving a good title – the Court shall decide according to the circumstances of the case, due regard being paid to priority of title.
Provisions common to all Land Suits
(1) In cases where land acquired in good faith has been improved or cultivated on the strength of a title which is found to be defective, this title may be confirmed in whole or in part upon the payment by the occupier to the person or persons entitled thereto of an indemnity, the amount of which shall be determined by the Court.
(2) If the Court considers it necessary to decree the eviction of a bonâ fide occupier, it may order the payment of reasonable compensation to him.
(3) Whenever it shall consider it necessary, the Court may assign to native claimants reserves of land in proportion to their requirements, and may determine the easements necessary to secure to them the full enjoyment of these reserves.
(4) An occupier or holder of a title-deed who has been evicted shall, in the case of subsequent sale or grant of land and unless his bad faith has been established, enjoy a prior claim to the repurchase of the property from which he has been evicted. If the owner and the occupier or holder of a title-deed who has been evicted should disagree as to the amount to be fixed as the price of repurchase, the Court shall determine the amount. If there are several evicted persons claiming to exercise the prior right above the specified, the Court shall fix, according to the facts of the case, the order in which these persons shall be entitled to exercise this right.
(5) When a title-deed to a disputed property does not contain an adequate description of the land, the Court shall investigate and determine the situation and boundaries thereof.
(6) It shall be the first duty of the Court, in all land suits, to endeavour to effect an amicable arrangement between the litigants.
(7) Generally, the Court shall in its decisions, pay due regard to the interests of the native populations and these of the non-native purchasers whose bad faith has not been established.
Entry of Judgments
(1) When the Court, in conformity with the above regulations, shall have decided that a claim is valid, its decision shall be entered in a land register.
This entry shall declare:
(a) The situation, extent, and boundaries of the land in question;
(b) The nature of the rights granted, and any limitations thereof.
(2) A copy of the entry shall constitute a conclusive title to land.
Registration of Titles
(1) Any person may, though no dispute exists, require the Court to enter in the abovementioned register a title-deed in his favour, and my obtain a copy thereof duly certified.
(2) The Court shall cause the applications for registration to be published in the prescribed form. They shall be complied with and given effect to unless within a period of one year from the date of their publication, they have been opposed. In case of opposition, the Court shall deal with them in accordance with the provisions of Articles XXII, XXIII, and XXIV above, and action must be taken by the objector before the Court within six months, or his claim will be barred.
(3) Copies of the entries in the register issued in accordance with the above provisions shall constitute the above provisions shall constitute title-deeds transferable by way of endorsement. No subsequent charge on or transfer of property shall affect the land unless and until it is entered in the register and inscribed on the copy issued.
Sale and Grants of Land subsequent to the Conventions
(1) From the date when the present Convention comes into operation, no sale or grant of land by a native to a non-native shall be valid, except on the following conditions:-
(2) the sale or grant shall be effected by a written document, and shall take place in the presence of four witnesses two of whom shall be natives, and of an officer or agent of one of the two Signatory Powers, or some other person duly authorized for the purpose, either by the President of the Joint Court or by the High Commissioners or their Delegates acting in concert.
(3) The officer, agent, or person duly authorized shall testify to the presence and qualification of the witnesses, shall ascertain that the vendor or grantor was a free agent, understood the effect of his act, received the price or consideration agreed on, and was satisfied therewith, shall state these facts on the title-deed; shall mention in it the situation and boundaries of the land; and shall date and sign it, at the same time as the parties and witnesses capable of signing.
(4) The purchaser or grantee shall, within six months from the date of the deed, make an application to the Joint Court for registration. This application shall be dealt with in accordance with Article XXVI of the present Convention.
(5) If the Court considers that the price or consideration mentioned in the deed is manifestly inadequate, having regard to the importance of the land granted or sold, it may as a preliminary registration, order the payment of a larger sum or a further consideration.
(6) In the event of the grantee failing to comply with the decision of the Court within six months from the date of such decision, the sale shall be cancelled in toto, and the sum of money or the consideration received by the native restored.
(7) If the native is unable to restore the sum, the Court shall decide how much of the property represents the sum or consideration received by the native, and shall confirm the grantee in possession of such [illegible].
(8) Whenever the High commissioners or their Delegates jointly consider that the amount of land acquired from the natives in one of the islands of the Group is so great that the land remaining undisposed of is indispensable for the needs of the natives, they may prohibit any new sale or grant of land in such island to non-natives.
(9) Land reserved for the natives, either by the Joint Court, in accordance with Article XXIV of this Convention, or by the High Commissioners or their Delegates, under the preceding paragraph, may not be sold or granted to non-natives so long as the authority by whom the reserve was constituted does not cancel or modify its decision.
SUPERVISION OF SHIPPING
Vessels registered in the Group
(1) No vessels other than those intended to sail under the flag of one of the two Signatory Powers shall be registered in the Group of the New Hebrides, including the Banks and Torres islands.
(2) Each High Commissioner shall prescribe the regulations affecting the navigation in the Group of the vessels sailing under the flag of the Power which he represents.
(3) The High Commissioners, the Resident Commissioners, and the persons appointed for the purpose shall, with regard to vessels sailing in the Group under the flag of the Power which they represent, exercise respectively and the supervision, protection, and policing necessary to insure the carrying out of these regulations without prejudice to the rights to which the vessels of that Power are legally entitled.
Vessels not registered in the Group
The present Convention shall not affect the rules laid down by the respective laws and regulations of the Power under whose flag the vessel sails, in the case of any vessel registered outside the Group.
General Rules for all Vessels
(1) The High Commissioners shall jointly prescribe general rules applicable to all vessels, with regard to the conditions under which these vessels may use the ports and harbours of the Group.
(2) They shall jointly enforce these rules, either personally or though their Delegates.
RECRUITMENT OF NATIVE LABOURERS
(1) No vessel shall recruit native labourers in the New Hebrides, including the Banks and Torres Islands, unless she sails under the flag of one of the two Signatory Powers, and unless she is provided with a recruiting licence issued by the High Commissioner representing the Signatory Power under whose flag the vessel is sailing, or by his Delegate.
(2) In the case of professional recruiters, the recruiting licence shall only be issued on the deposit of 80l, as security, with the agent appointed by the High Commissioner, whose duty it will be to issue the recruiting licence, or by his Delegate.
(3) The High Commissioners shall inform one another every month of the recruiting licences which they have issued. The same rule shall apply to their Delegates.
(4) The recruiting licences shall be valid for one year only.
Register of Engagements
All masters of recruiting vessels shall keep a register of engagements, in which there shall be entered without delay the name, sex, identification marks, the name of the tribe, pace of recruiting, and place of destination of every native recruited, the name of the employer, the length of the engagement, the sum agreed on by way of premium and wages, and the amount of the advance paid to the native at the time of engagement.
Engagement of Women and Children
(1) Women shall only be engaged: -
If they are married with the consent of their husbands;
If they are unmarried, with the consent of the Head of the tribe.
(2) Children shall only be engaged if they are on a certain minimum height, to be fixed by the Resident Commissioners jointly.
Length of Engagements
(1) No engagements shall be concluded for more than three years.
(2) They shall date from the day the labourer lands in the island where he is to be employed, but the time spent on board ship by the labourer shall count for wages.
Deaths of Board Recruiting Vessels
(1) A report in duplicate on every death occurring on board a recruiting vessel shall be dawn up immediately by the master. Such report shall describe the circumstances under which the death occurred.
(2) Within twenty-four hours an inventory in duplicate shall also be drawn up of the effects left on board by the deceased. The amount of the wages to which the labourer is entitled from the day of engagement to the day of his death shall be stated in this inventory.
(3) The master shall, on arrival, transmit to the competent authority a copy of the report and the inventory, as well as the objects and articles of value belonging to the deceased, and the premium and wages, to which he was entitled.
The second copy of the report and the inventory shall be annexed to the register of engagements.
Sickness of Labourers on Loading
Every native recruited who, on landing, is found to be in such a state of health as to incapacitate him for the work for which he was engaged, shall be cared for at the expense of the recruiter, and the time spent in hospital and the time during which he is unable to work shall be included in the term of engagement.
Delivery of Labourers to their Employers
A recruiter who is acting as an agent for other persons cannot divest himself of his responsibility for the natives whom he has engaged until the signature of the employer has been affixed to the register of engagements opposite the name of he labourer.
Submission of Registers of Engagements on Arrival
(1) Within twenty-four hours of their arrival, all masters of recruiting vessels shall be obliged to present their register of engagements for signature by the competent person.
(2) If irregularities are detected in the operations of the recruiter or in the keeping of the register of engagements, an official report shall be immediately dawn up by the person to whom the register has been submitted. This report shall be sent without delay to the competent authority.
The same course shall be followed if the register is not produced within the prescribed period.
Notification of Engagements
(1) Every engagement of a native labourer shall be notified by his employer within three days from the date of landing.
The notification shall be made to the Resident Commissioner, to whose jurisdiction the employer is subject, or to the person appointed for the purpose.
(2) The notification shall be registered, and the contract shall be signed by the Resident Commissioner, or by the person appointed for the purpose.
(3) The two Resident commissioners shall communicate to each other every month a list of the notifications of engagements received by them, or by the persons appointed for the purpose.
(1) At the termination of the period of his engagement the labourer shall not enter into a fresh engagement – if he has not been previously sent home – without an authority in writing from the Resident Commissioner entitled to receive the notification of engagement, or from the person appointed for the purpose.
(2) The authority shall only be given after the native has been examined in the presence of the employer, two non-native witnesses, and two witnesses, selected as far as possible from the same tribe as the labourer, and if the latter of his own free will declares that he wishes to re-engage.
(3) No re-engagement shall exceed the term of one year. It shall be renewable on the same conditions.
Records of Engagements
(1) Every employer shall keep posted up to date a separate record for each labourer in his services.
(2) There shall be entered in this record the name and sex of the labourer, the identification marks, the name of the tribe and place and date of recruiting, the name of the recruiter, the name of the vessel, and the duration and conditions of his engagement as stipulated in the contract.
The days of absence from work on account of illness shall be entered by the employer in the record, and also any other days of absence.
Additional Periods of Work
(1) Time lost through absence without good cause shall be added to the term of the engagements.
(2) A labourer may further be retained after his term of engagement expires as a punishment for breaches of discipline to which he has been duly sentenced. In such case, the additional period of labour shall not exceed two months for each year of engagement.
Transfer of Engagements
(1) No transfer of a contract of engagement shall be permitted unless freely accepted by the labourer and authorized by the Resident Commissioner entitled to receive the notification of engagement, or by the person appointed for the purpose.
(2) If the transfer is between British subjects, or French citizens, the authority shall be jointly given by the two Resident Commissioners.
Duties of Employers
(1) Employers must treat their labourers with kindness. They shall refrain from all violence towards them.
(2) They must supply them with sufficient food, according to the custom of the country, including rice, at least once a day, as part of their meals.
The Resident Commissioners shall fix jointly the amount of rice to be supplied to the labourers.
(3) Employers must further provide their labourers with adequate shelter, the necessary clothing, and medical care in case of illness.
(1) Labourers shall not be obliged to work except between sunrise and sunset.
(2) They shall have daily, at the time of their mid-day meal, at least one hour of rest.
(3) Except for domestic duties and the care of animals, labourers shall not be obliged to work on Sundays.
Payment of Wages
(1) Wages shall be paid exclusively in case.
(2) Payment shall be made, either before a person appointed for the purpose by the Resident Commissioner entitled to receive the notification of engagement, or, failing this, in the presence of two non-native witnesses, who shall certify the payment in the record above referred to by affixing their signatures by the side of the employer.
(3) When it is obviously impossible for an employer to make use of this method of verification, he shall himself by authorized by the competent Resident Commission, or by the person appointed for the purpose to enter the payment of the wages in the record.
(4) Whenever the record does not show the rate of wages agreed upon at the time of the engagement, the rate shall be taken to be 10s. a month, and the employer shall not be allowed to produce evidence to show that a lower rate has been agreed upon.
Deposit of Wages
(1) Part of the wages may be deposited by the employers with the Resident Commissioner entitled to receive notification of engagement, or the person appointed for the purpose, to be paid subsequently to the labourer, either during the term of engagement or at the expiration of such term, according as he desires.
The free consent of the labourer must be given before any part of his wages can be so dealt with.
(2) The Resident Commissioner or the person appointed for the purpose may at any time order the retention and deposit of part of a labourer’s salary.
Any labourer who has given his employer just cause of complaint in respect of his conduct or work may, at the instance of his employer be punished by the Resident Commissioner concerned or the person appointed for the purpose, by the imposition of extra work, by a fine, by prolongation of the term of engagement, within the limits provided in Article XLIII, or by a summary punishment not exceeding one month’s imprisonment.
Absence without good cause
(1) Any labourer who without permission leaves his employer shall be liable in like manner to one of the summary punishments prescribed by the preceding Article, and shall be sent back to his employer to finish his term of engagement.
(2) No one shall receive or employ or take on board any vessel labourer who has left his employer without permission.
Death during Engagement
In the event of the death of a labourer, the employer shall be subject to the same obligations as those imposed by Article XXXV on masters of recruiting vessels.
(1) Every labourer who has completed his term of engagement shall be returned to his home at the first convenient opportunity by and at the expense of his employer.
(2) Such labourer shall be taken back to the place where he was recruited or, if this is impossible, to the nearest place thereto, from which the labourer can without danger rejoin his tribe.
(3) In the case of unjustifiable delay exceeding one month in returning a labourer, the Resident Commissioner concerned, or the person appointed for the purpose, shall provide, at the expense of the employer, for the return of the labourer to his home at the earliest opportunity.
(4) In case of persistent ill-treatment of a labourer, the Resident Commissioner concerned shall have the right, after two written warnings addressed to the employer, to cancel the contract and provide for the return home of the labourer at the employer’s expense.
(5) The Resident Commissioner concerned may in like manner cancel the contract and return a labourer to his home if the labourer did not freely consent to the engagement, or if he did not clearly understand and freely accept the terms of the engagement. In that case the expenses of returning him to his home shall be borne by the recruiter.
Register of Repatriation
(1) The names of labourers returned to their homes shall be kept by the master of the vessel, in a similar form to that prescribed by Article XXXII, for keeping the register of engagements.
(2) The signature of the employer upon the register who is to be returned to his home has been handed over to the master of the vessel.
(3) The master shall enter in the register the date when the native so to be returned to his home was put on shore, and shall mention the exact spot where he was landed.
(4) The rules prescribed by Article XXXVII with regard to the submission and signature of the register of engagements shall be applicable to the register of repatriation.
Death during the Return Passage
In the event of the death of a labourer occurring during the return passage, the master of the vessel shall be processed as prescribed by Article XXXV.
Powers of Control
(1) The High Commissioners, the Resident Commissioners, and the person appointed by them for the purpose, shall have, with regard to their respective nationals, the right to employ any method of inquiry which may be necessary to ensure, as far as the recruiting and engagement of native labourers are concerned, the execution of the present Convention.
Employers shall be bound for this purpose, to produce any labourer at the request of the competent authority.
(2) A report shall be drawn up with regard to any irregularity or breach of regulations which may be discovered, and shall be forwarded without delay to the competent authority. The report shall be primâ facie evidence of the facts stated therein.
Short Engagements and Employment of Native Labourers without Engagement
(1) Non-natives may employ natives without restriction provided that they are not engaged for more than three months with the option of renewal, and provided they are not removed to an island more than 10 miles from the island of their tribe.
(2) They may, in any case, employ without restriction natives who are known to have served, non-natives for at least five years, and who are familiar with a European language or the vernacular in use between non-natives and natives.
(1) Any infringement by non-natives of the terms of the present Convention regarding the recruitment and engagement of native labourers shall be punishable by a fine of from 4s to 20l and by imprisonment of from one day to one month, or by either of the above penalties.
(2) Damages may also be awarded to labourers for any injury suffered by them.
(3) The Joint Court shall inflict the penalties and assess the damages.
(4) In the event of conviction on a serious charge, or for a second offence, the recruiting licence, as well as the right of engaging labourers, may be withdrawn for a period not exceeding two years by the High Commissioner for the country to which the recruiter or employer belongs.
ARMS, AMMUNITION AND INTOXICATING LIQUORS
Prohibition of the Sale of Arms and Ammunition to Natives
(1) Subject to the specific exceptions hereafter enumerated, no person shall, from the date when the present Convention comes into operation, sell or supply arms or ammunition to the natives, either directly or indirectly, in the New Hebrides, including the Banks and Torres Islands, and within the territorial waters of the Group.
(2) Shot guns and cartridges for sporting purposes are exempt.
(3) The present prohibition shall extend to rifles, revolvers, and other repeating weapons and the ammunition used for such arms, separate parts for the conversion of sporting guns into military weapons, ball cartridges, and al kinds of explosives, other than cartridges especially made for shot guns.
(1) The two Governments reserve themselves the right to arm the natives who form part of the regular police forces.
(2) If a non-native temporarily entrusts to a native employed by him, and solely for the purpose of that employment, prohibited arms or ammunition, it shall not be considered to constitute an offence against Article LVII.
Prohibition of the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors to Natives
(1) From the date when the present Convention comes into operation, no person shall, in the New Hebrides, including the Banks and Torres Islands, and within the territorial waters of the Group, sell or supply intoxicating liquors to the natives, in any form and on any pretext whatsoever.
(2) Alcoholic drugs or cordials employed in the case of disease or sickness are not included in the present prohibition.
(3) The present prohibition shall cover spirits, beer, wine, and generally all fermented and intoxicating liquors.
Report of Offences
(1) Breaches of Articles LVII and LIX, respecting the prohibition of the supply of arms, ammunition, and intoxicating liquors to the natives, shall be reported by the officers, and agents of the police force, specially authorized for this purpose by the High Commissioner or their Delegates jointly.
(2) The official report drawn up in accordance with paragraph (1) shall be primâ facie evidence before the competent authority of the facts contained therein.
(3) Any officer or agent of the police force holding an authority to that effect, who finds a native in possession of a prohibited weapon, or in a state of intoxication in a public place, shall arrest him, and, after inquiry into the circumstances of the offence, shall draw up an official report for the information of the High Commissioners or their Delegates.
If the offence is proven, the native shall be punished by the Resident Commissioner having authority over the member of the police force making arrest, or by the person appointed for the purposes, and the non-native suspected of complicity shall be prosecuted before the Joint Court.
(4) Members of the police force shall not enter the house or premises of a non-native without his consent except as provided in the rules of procedure issued by the Joint Court, or the Regulations issued by the authority having jurisdiction over him.
Search-warrants, when considered necessary in the case of a non-native, shall be issued by the Judge with jurisdiction over him.
(1) Any breach by non-natives of Articles LVII, LIX and LX shall be punishable by a fine of from 4s. To 20l. and imprisonment ranging fro one day to one month or by either of these penalties.
(2) The Joint Court shall inflict the penalties and may further order the forfeiture of the arms, ammunition, or intoxicating liquors, and shall decide as to their disposal or destruction.
Establishment of Municipalities
(1) Municipalities may be established in the Group, on the application of the non-native inhabitants.
(2) Applications for the establishment of municipalities shall be addressed to one or other of the High Commissioners or their Delegates. The latter shall communicate such requests to one another, and determine jointly what action shall be taken thereon.
(3) Applications made by a group of not less than thirty non-native adult inhabitants residing in the same district, shall be, as far as possible, complied with.
(1) Every municipality shall be administered by a Council consisting of not less than four, and not more then eight members.
(2) The Council shall select a Chairman and a Deputy Chairman from its members.
(3) Councillors shall hold office for four years.
(1) Non-natives of either sex and any nationality, who have completed their twenty-first year and have resided for six months at least in the district, shall be entitled to vote with the exception of those who have served a sentence of more than three months’ imprisonment.
(2) Voters of either sex who have completed their twenty-fifth year shall be eligible for election.
(3) The first elections shall take place within three months of the establishment of a municipality.
(4) The elections shall take place under the supervision of two persons respectively appointed by the two Resident Commissioners.
Functions of the Councils
The Council shall pass the annual municipal budget, vote the necessary local taxation, initiate and carry out municipal works, decide upon the establishment of schools, and charitable institutions and, in general, take all measures necessary or the welfare of the local community.
The two existing municipal bodies in the islands of Efate shall be recognized as municipalities.
Members of these bodies may continue to hold office till the termination of the period for which they were elected.
The High Commissioners or their Delegates shall prescribe jointly the regulations for enforcing the provisions of Articles LXII or LXVI.
Duration of the Convention
The provisions laid down by the present Convention shall remain in force until new provisions are substituted in virtue of an Agreement between the signatory powers.
In witness whereof the undersigned Delegates have drawn up and signed the present Protocol.
Done in London, in duplicate, the 27th day of February, in the year of our Lord 1906.
HUGH BERTRAM COX.
 Signed also in French. Confirmed by Convention of October 20, 1906.