TranslateJean Aribaud

Erika and Achim Ginsberg-Klemmt,
Bantschowstraße 2, 22391 Hamburg, Germany
E-mail :

Haut-Commissaire de la Polynésie Française
Monsieur Jean Aribaud
B.P.115 Papeete (Tahiti)

Jean Aribaud : Haut-Commissaire of TAHITI 
MONACO's former  Minister of Inner Affairs

Regarding :     "Statut particulier au sein de la République française
" for  
                            Marlon Brando's private and income-tax exempt South Sea Paradise !


Monsieur le Haut-Commissaire,

Thank you very much for your letter dated 1. March 1999, which we received on April 27 1999. We have happily reached the Polynesian island of Hawai’i.

My pregnant wife mastered the sporty windward passage from the French-Polynesian Marquesas archipelago with elegance.

Please be so kind to understand that I prefer to continue my correspondence with you in English, since my desire to converse in French with your autocratic administration has reached a record low. For many years, I have been avidly pro European and until recently have been particularly attracted to France. I met my wife in France, have lived and worked in France, graduated with a "Maîtrise" from a French University, own a French yacht designed by a French architect, understand and speak French and have many friends in your beautiful country. "Amitié Franco-Allemande" was "l’esprit" of those historical decades. It seems to me that, as we enter the new millenium, this spirit is rapidly deteriorating.

The orders and instructions for the Gendarmerie officers and immigration authorities in French Polynesia originate on your desk, or lie under your responsibility as the Haut-Commissaire of French Polynesia, Monsieur Aribaud. You have continued to deny us the permission to stay in French Polynesia since our arrival on the 19 October 1998. Many officers showed quite openly their personal embarrassment about their obligation to follow your orders, and politely requested our understanding. We were told on numerous occasions that "these changes take time." Other officers seem to be delighted to enforce your rules with great satisfaction and with almost totalitarian demeanor: Chef Gendarme Pierre Cotiche would certainly deserve to be honored as "Chevalier de la legion d'honneur." He bravely insisted on his right to demand the immediate payment of US$ 1324.74 in CASH from me as a German EU-citizen and an additional US$ 956.99 in CASH from my wife Erika as a US Citizen with permanent EU-residency upon our arrival : La Caution de Rapatriement. Cotiche proceeded to boldly confiscate our passports. Then, with patriotic fervor and an open longing to intimidate us, he threatened to seize our sailing yacht and deport us.

Our credit cards remained in the wallet and Chef Gendarme Cotiche’s confidence seemed to have faded since he received our registered letter dated 19. November 1998. It seemed to have disappeared entirely when we handed him the papers to file our lawsuit No. 99-36 against him and your Haut-Commissariat in person. Until today he has not had the courage to reply to our registered letter.

As you know, we applied for our Carte de Séjour on the 27th of January 1999, and we could not stay in French Polynesia because you continued to refuse us your official permission. The Polynesians in the Marquesas do not value your "Farani" authority very highly and we accepted their unofficial invitation instead to stay on their islands which they inhabit since several hundred if not thousand years. We have shared all correspondence with our Marquesan friends during many kai-kai’s, and in order to respect their feelings we requested their advice. All letters that you have received from us were accompanied with Marquesan prayers for our success. Our time on Hiva Oa and Fenua Enata was filled with unforgettable magic, mana and romantic beauty.

As response to our letter of Feb. 2nd 1999, French Polynesia’s President Gaston Flosse forwarded us the Lettre du Gouvernement No. 9, 1997 

Les PTOM se mobilisent ! "Quel intérêt d'être associé à l'Europe?. A l'occasion de la renégociation de la quatrième partie du Traité de Rome, la Polynésie Française à prévu son retrait de l'association avec l'Europe en cas d'échec complet des négociations. Associé depuis quarante ans à l'Union Europeenne, le Territoire juge que ses intérêts ne sont plus préservés. A commencer par son statut d'autonomie qu'il sauhaite voir protégé."

To our knowledge, French-Polynesia has never seceded from the European Union.

You wrote to us via your secretary M. Jeanjean on the 8. Feb 1999 : "...les Territoires d'Outre Mer ne font pas partie du Territoire européen de la République française. Aussi le Traité de Rôme et le Traité de Maastricht ainsi que le principe de libre circulation qui en découle ne sont pas applicables."

I do not trust your above argumentation and think the European Commission was kind to give you two months time to explain yourself during the administrative stage of the infringement procedure under Article 169 of the EC Treaty, before the Commission considers legal proceedings.

On which official agreement or treaty do you base your decision to ignore the EC-Treaties and the Community law ? We do not understand why President Gaston Flosse would be so concerned about the content of the Rome Treaty if your above statement is correct, Monsieur Aribaud. Do you really believe President Flosse tried to "mobilize the PTOM" (Pays Territoire d’Outre Mer) with zeal, if the Treaty of Rome would not apply in French Polynesia ?

If we understand your definition correctly, the French Republic has recently been divided into two separate parts, of which only one exclusive enclave, French Polynesia, demands the right not to pay income-tax and the right to disrespect EU-Treaties and Community law under the guise of a privileged "territoire" status.

France demanded from Germany to discontinue the subsidy "Kohlepfennig" for our coal miners on the basis of Community law, and sells us now "cheap" nuclear electricity instead. Our government followed the signed European Treaties and thousands of workers lost their jobs because our mines had to close down. Every member needs to make sacrifices, including you, as long as you remain officially associated with the European Union.

You do not only violate European Treaties and Community law, Monsieur Aribaud, you also ignore the judgements of your own Tahitian Tribunal Administratif de Papeete. Over five years ago, on the 26th October 1993, this Tahitian court decided "...M. Jan van Drunen, citoyen néerlandais, [est] dispensé de l'obligation de visa liant la France aux pays membres de la CEE...." Furthermore the Dutch EU-citizen Mr. Jan van Drunen has never paid your repatriation bond, caution de rapatriement, and the Tribunal Administratif stated clearly in the same judgement that he has legally entered French-Polynesia on several occasions. How can that be? Is this official Tahitian court judgement, like the EC-Treaty, not applicable?

"Miss Tahiti", Mlle Maréva Galanter, was elected "Miss France" during our stay in French Polynesia. Congratulations! Will she become our new "Miss Europe?" 

Does Maréva Galanter have to wait meekly for over four months to obtain her permission to stay or a work permit for a EU-member state like us when we arrive in Tahiti? Does she need to pay US$ 1324,74 caution de rapatriement  in cash upon arrival in Germany for her modeling jobs?

You must have nerve to tell all visiting yachtsmen with EU-Passports, that they need to meekly beg your Haut-Commisariat for a special "visa" after three months if they need to seek shelter during the hurricane season. I sincerely doubt that this lack of reciprocity is legal.

We agree with you completely that Germany’s honorary consul Mme Weinmann should know your regulations and court decisions. This is not the case. She also does not follow the press and has misinformed arriving yachtsmen repeatedly, by telling them that everybody, including French Nationals, need to pay your caution de rapatriement. I apologize for her incompetence. Mme Weinmann is a very proud French lady from Paris and feels "chez elle" in Polynesia as she states. She also openly refuses to defend the interest of German citizens or residents.

I am embarrassed about the decision of the German government to select her as our representative in Tahiti. We feel very poorly represented by her and have therefore requested her to resign from the position as honorary consul.

During our last days in French Polynesia, we could hear President Gaston Flosse on the radio demanding a special financial aid fund for French Polynesia from the European Commission in Brussels. The millions he receives from the FED do not seem sufficient to him. According to the magazine Tahiti-Pacifique French Polynesia received 13.5 Million Euro in 1998, 27 Million DM for environmental cleaning and for a high sea fishing fleet, under the headline "Stingy Europe!" Do you make us European taxpayers pay for your nuclear decontamination or am I just dreaming, Monsieur Aribaud ?

On the next day President Flosse welcomed our common currency, the euro, and encouraged the listeners of Radio France Outre Mer to vote for Jacques Chirac's Gaullist party in the upcoming elections for our mutual European Parliament.

We realize that you want to vote for the European Parliament, travel with our European passport and maintain the presence of M. Bruno Poncellier, the French Polynesian representative at the EU in Brussels. But you don't want to respect our treaties, our Community law and our civil rights!

You must think that European citizens exist merely to donate their hard earned money to Marlon Brando's private and income-tax exempt paradise in tropical French Polynesia. How can a province of the EU-member state France, that sees itself in the heart of the French Republic, as you describe, act with such presumptuous arrogance ? Then again, we have seen similar behavior before, when Defense Minister Charles Hernu and Admiral Pierre Lacoste were held responsible for the deadly bombing attack on the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior.

Yes, French Polynesia is a unique tropical paradise, well worth "protecting." But from whom? I am certain that many young European couples would love to experience, for example, an extended honeymoon on the exotic Tuamotu Atoll of Hao. But your administration wants to grant this privilege only to a very exclusive group of people: French Nationals, and in one case, not just any French nationals, but secret service hit men.

The DGSE killer squad, Mme Dominique Prieur and M. Alain Mafart did not need to serve their 10 year prison sentence in New Zealand for the cold blooded murder of Greenpeace member and EU-Citizen Fernando Perreira . Instead they were promoted in their "professional" careers and invited to enjoy the tropical beaches of the romantic Tuamotu Atoll Hao from November 22 1985 until May 6 1988. United with their loving spouses they obtained permission to stay for over 2 years. Passionate nights with her lover, on white coral sand, under palm trees in the moonshine of Hao Atoll resulted in Mme Prieur’s pregnancy. Needless to say, that she was flown to a better Hospital in Paris for the birth of her child. Thus proof that French administration can be humane.

However we remain optimistic, and trust that French politicians and bureaucrats have substantially evolved since 1985, the year of the bombing. We therefore have no fear to become the next target and forego the kind offer from the European Commission to protect our personal identity. We take full responsibility for our correspondence regarding Complaint No 99/4232, SG(99) A/1883/2. Enclosed you can find the letter from the General Secretary of the European Commission in Brussels who has recently considered our complaint in the light of the relevant provisions of Community law.

You will not only need to justify your policies before the Tribunal Administratif de Papeete in Tahiti Monsieur Aribaud, we have also requested the European Commission in Brussels to verify in our precedent case the legality of your regulations and your behavior concerning three different issues :

- Your "Caution de Rapatriement" for Citizens of the European Union.
- Your "visa" requirements for Citizens of the European Union.
- Your requirements to obtain a "Carte de Séjour" for Citizens of the EU.

By forcing your Haut-Commissariat to justify its peculiar rules it might seem we have the intention to impose a "New European Colonialism" in French Polynesia, as the Editor of the political magazine Tahiti-Pacifique, Alex du Prel, suggests in a March 1999 editorial. This is a superficial accusation. The opposite is the case.

Tahiti-Pacifique's Director and Chief Editor, Herr Alex du Prel, who is himself of German decent, arrived 1973 in Tahiti with his own wooden sailing-ketch Lutetia. He feels the calling now to speak for "us Polynesians" and talks about "our islands" as he purposefully misleads his readership: "....nous réplique alors la touriste flottante avec une sévérite tout à fait germanique. Le fait que une dame "purutia" (means German in Marquesan) de basse saxe se sente soudainement "chez elle" aux Marquises et à Tahiti donne à reflechir et devrait interpeler les autoritées de Paris, de Bruxelles et les specialistes de la justice administrative de Tahiti."

My wife is US-citizen and permanent resident in Germany. Erika is not a German lady from Lower Saxon with Germanic severity, but a charming Jewish lady from New York with Jewish severity and Herr du Prel knew this since our first correspondence in November 1998. Enclosed you can find a copy of his Editorial No. 95 including Erika’s response.

As the Director of French-Polynesia’s only monthly political magazine, Tahiti-Pacifique, he seems to compare the importance of our yacht's arrival in the Marquesas islands with the arrival of Admiral Dupetit-Thouars’ colonial fleet. Thanks for the flowers and watch out folks: A Jewish-American princess from New York and her German skipper are invading Polynesia on their sailboat.

Besides his untrue statements, we do agree with Herrn du Prel in one important stance: The people in French Polynesia should freely decide and vote about their membership in the EU and not be forced into our community that they might reject. If French-Polynesia desires to become independent: Why not? This option would save the European Community plenty of money. We would be delighted to help the citizens of French Polynesia obtain a referendum. People who are obliged by the French Government to be a part of something they were not asked about cannot be expected to be happy about their European passports and European civil rights. It must lie in the interest of the French people who reside in their south sea colony to change their attitude towards the original inhabitants who already lived happily in Polynesia before the "discoverers" arrived.

However, it is NOT an option, Monsieur le Haut-Commissaire, to pretend that French citizens in Polynesia can stay EU-citizens with all benefits, AND additionally be exempt from the need to comply to the implications of the treaties and our Community law. Who in Europe wants to welcome a remote Territoire d’Outre Mer in our community, which demands unreasonable, exclusive privileges and financial aid based on autocratic declarations? The European Union is not desperate for your continued membership and should not owe you one single euro. You should either respect the EU-Treaties or immediately leave the European Union. Five countries are waiting in line to take your place.

On the 29th of June 1999, my wife and I are invited speakers at the International Conference WEB EXPO 1999 in San Francisco at the Moscone Convention Center. We speak about our experiences in French Polynesia and would be delighted to welcome you as our guest. You also have the opportunity to participate in our roundtable discussion via Internet :

"Web if by Sea : Technomadic Web Challenges in the South Seas", (LTRT3) will be the theme from 12:45 to 13:45 and our trilingual political website the special feature :



Achim Klemmt, Dipl.Ing.

cc:European Commission, Secretariat Générale, Mme Martine Rozet, Brussels
cc:Monsieur Oscar Temaru, Parti Indépendantiste, Tahiti
cc:Herrn Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schröder, Bonn
cc:Monsieur le Président Jacques Chirac, Paris
cc:Herrn Aussenminister Joschka Fischer , Bonn
cc:Tribunal Administratif de Papeete, Tahiti
cc:Herrn Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Les Verts, Frankfurt-Paris
cc:Monsieur le Senator Gaston Flosse, Tahiti

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