No. 255.
Mr. Bassett to Mr. Evarts .

No. 538.]

Sir: Referring to my No. 523, of the 11th ultimo, which, in conveying to you a note of the Dominican envoys to Hayti, touched upon the relations between the two republics of this island, I have the honor to invite your attention to the accompanying translation of a proclamation (inclosure) which was recently issued by President Canal, and which has reference to the same subject.

It will be seen that while President Canal in this proclamation mildly deplores the existence of a situation “badly defined,” and of “uncertain relations equally dangerous for both nations,” and professes a desire for the maintenance of friendly relations with Santo Domingo, and that while he speaks with an air of frankness, he at the same time endeavors to justify the refusal of his government to recognize the treaty of November, 1874, between the two countries, on the ground that the Corps Lé-gislatif had annulled the acts of the Dominique Government, and also because it had not been considered that the “regrettable instability of the public powers” of Santo Domingo had yet put this government “in face of a government,” in that country, “offering the guarantees of order, of duration, and of national independence,” as well as because the treaty’s stipulations were “too onerous amd without compensation.”

The proclamation is couched in careful language, and I am inclined to think that it was called out by the note of the Dominican envoys, and and that it was intended to neutralize any effect which that note might have abroad. It seems also to betray a reluctance on the part of this government to treat with President Baëz, if indeed it does not even carry in its soft phrases a thread or trace of haughtiness and dictation toward Santo Domingo.

At all events, I think it rather confirmatory of the views expressed in my No. 523, as to the real sentiment which animates and controls the policy of this government toward President Baëz and toward the Dominican Republic.

I am, &c.,

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[Inclosure in No. 538.—Translation.]


Boisrond Canal, President of Hayti, to the people and the army:

Fellow-citizens: An important question preoccupies the thought of two peoples (lts esprits chez deux peuples) whom nature herself has destined for an intimate and fruitful union. The question is that of the relations between our country and the Dominican Republic. One asks himself what can come of a situation badly defined, of uncertain relations, equally dangerous for both nations, because of the hopes which these relations give, and of the support which they seem to promise, to the agitation of parties (par les espérances qu’elles donnent et Vappui qu’elles semblant promettre aux agitations des partis).

The government believes that it is its duty to dissipate these inquietudes in exposing what has been, up to this day, the rule of its conduct, and what are its designs for the future.

You, fellow-citizens, are not incognizant of the fact that the treaty signed by the fallen government was struck with the same nullity which touched the other acts of a power which your justice had condemned. It did not, however, enter into the spirit of the new government that no convention whatever should bind together for the future the two neighboring republics.

The National Assembly and the executive reserved it to themselves to study and to cause to be known at an opportune moment the modifications to be introduced in a work that was fruitful in itself, but that the strange inconsistency of the preceding rule had vitiated in its essence by stipulations too onerous and without compensation.

Penetrated with this truth, that a treaty can have a solid and durable basis only as it responds in an equal measure to the interests of each of the contracting parties, we, the National Assembly and myself, thought it our duty, without neglecting the maintenance of friendly relations with our neighbors, to await the moment when we should be free from the pressing questions of interior reorganization created by a disastrous past, and when, on the other hand, the end of the regrettable instability of the public powers among our neighbors should put us in face of a government offering the guarantees of order, of duration, and of national independence, which the Dominican Republic as well as ourselves were right to demand. Such has then been, fellow-citizens, the double impulse which has dictated the conduct of your great public powers; on one hand, the ardent and sincere desire of a close union with the sister republic, but of a serious union based on reciprocal satisfactions; on the other, the need and the evident necessity of treating only with a durable government, accepted by all as the sincere representative of the moral and material interests of Dominicans as the loyal guardian of their independence.

Yon will recognize with me, fellow-citizens, and all the patriotic minds among our neighbors will equally recognize, that our attitude in this question was inspired only by a real solicitude for the happiness of the two peoples. Nevertheless, the different commissions sent by the Dominican Government seemed to disown that our reserve had as its basis a kindly sympathy and friendly tendencies. In placing itself in the point of view of the strict maintenance of the old treaty, they appeared less preoccupied with the loyal conditions of a definite alliance than with the satisfaction of immediate and pressing needs. Neither their demands, nor our actual condition, nor the decisions of the assembly, permitted us to subscribe thereto in the conditions in which they presented themselves.

From this misunderstanding, which does not touch either the question of alliance, or even that of sacrifices which our country could impose upon itself in view of a serious union, have issued regrettable and dangerous interpretations. They have thrown trouble into the minds on both sides of the frontier, and they have created this uneasiness and these equivocations from which ambition seeks to profit.

Convinced that the Dominican people could not be less desirous than we for the maintenance of close and friendly relations, I have endeavored to restore the facts to their veracities, and I have endeavored to openly proclaim the intentions of the government in order to dissipate the inquietude formulated and turned to account by malevolence.

You will appreciate, fellow-citizens, and the Dominican people will appreciate as you do, the character of our true tendencies concerning them. They will understand that our apparent reserve, dictated as well by prudence as by a real sympathy for them, has had but one object: to assure the alliance of the two countries on definite bases, with guarantees which safeguard at once their reciprocal interests and their mutual independence.

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By the President:

Secretary of War, &c.

Secretary of Finance, of Commerce, &c.

Secretary of Interior and of Agriculture.

Secretary of Justice, &c.