Mr. Bassett to Mr. Fish.
Port au Prince , May 9, 1874. (Received May 21.)
Sir: Le Moniteur of the 2d instant contains three official letters from Santo Domingo, all being dated the 16th ultimo. ‘Two of them are addressed by Señor Garrido, secretary of state for that republic, to the Haytian minister of foreign affairs. In one of these the Dominican minister announces to the Haytian minister “that on the 6th of this month (April) the most excellent citizen Ignacio M. Gonzalez took charge of the presidency of the republic, and that by decrees of the same date he constituted the ministry, of which the undersigned (Señor Garrido) has the honor to be a member for foreign affairs.” In his other note he prays the Haytian minister to be pleased to transmit to his excellency the President of the republic of Hayti the inclosed document, by which his excellency the General Ignacio Maria Gonzalez gives him knowledge of his (Gonzalez’s) elevation to the presidency of the Dominican republic.” The third of these dispatches (see inclosing) is from “Ignacio M. Gonzalez, President of the Dominican republic, to the most excellent General Nissage Saget, President of the republic of Hayti.” In it President Gonzalez announces to President Saget “that he has been elevated to the presidency of the Dominican republic by the direct universal vote of his fellow-citizens, and that he entered upon the discharge of the duties of his office on the 6th ultimo.” He further declares that he feels it his duty to express his ardent desire to see consolidated “the good relations, inaugurated since the glorious revolution of November between the two countries, by means of treaties which may establish definitely a durable peace between two peoples who, inhabiting the same territory, have identical interests.”
Le Moniteur, in introducing these communications, says: “The government has been very happy to receive from the Dominican government dispatches announcing to it the definitive establishment of that government and the taking of the oath conformably to the Dominican constitution by his excellency General Ignacio M. Gonzalez, elected President of that republic. It is with the liveliest pleasure and the greatest eagerness that we bring the tenor of these dispatches to the knowledge of the country, which will appreciate everything that they contain satisfactory for the future of the two republics and for the establishment, so necessary between them, of cordial relations of friendship.”
And on the 1st instant, at the agricultural fete, President Saget, in his address to the farmers and other country-people, said: “I affirm to you that the four years of peace which we have had have procured for us an immense result; they have furnished to the government the occasion for the restoring of concord between us and our brothers of the east; the two governments which watch over the destinies of the two peoples have extended the hand, the one to the other, (se sont donne’s la main.) I announce to you that to-day the Haytian, like the Dominican, can travel in a common hospitality, in a common reciprocity, from one end of the island to the other! For this let us render thanks unto Heaven.”
Notwithstanding these somewhat enthusiastic demonstrations of friendship between the two republics, I still adhere to the views expressed [Page 608] in my No. 278, of the 23d of January last. Whatever pleasant diplomatic notes may be exchanged between the authorities of the two countries, there still exists generally between the two peoples a mutual dislike, which only time and good conduct can correct. And notwithstanding the mention in the Dominican dispatches in Le Moniteur and in President Saget’s remarks of the “two republics” and “the two peoples,” it is believed that this government has felt and still feels that Santo Domingo by right belongs to Hayti. It has never yet fairly acknowledged the independence of that republic, and it is my opinion that it would hardly be disposed to do so if it could well act otherwise. There are facts which tend to substantiate this opinion. About the end of last year leading Dominicans and Haytians, who were holding high carnival here over the fall of Baez, found consolation in the conclusion that Hayti could negotiate, sign, and ratify with Santo Domingo a general treaty of friendship, commerce, and alliance without recognizing the independence of the latter.
About this time I had a conversation with the able Haytian minister of foreign affairs, in the course of which he distinctly said to me: “By right Santo Domingo belongs to us; of course she belongs to us; but we know that we are not in a position to enforce this right.” And when I reminded him that other governments, among them that of the United States, had acknowledged the independence of Santo Domingo, and stated that I hoped that in its own good time, and its own way, Hayti would manifest before the world a friendly disposition toward its neighbor, he said: “Yes, we ought to have a treaty with that country; we can do nothing else in the face of other powers.”
In short, it is my opinion that it will be a hard matter for this government to give up finally the hope (which I think it has cherished since 1843) of reestablishing its authority over the neighboring republic; and that when it must, from whatever considerations, face the reality of establishing a treaty with its neighbor, it will find that the Dominican is fully alive to his interests, and in no way disposed to be governed or overreached by the Haytian.
I am, &c.,