Mr. Powell to Mr. Hay.
Port au Prince, Haiti , August 8, 1899 .
Sir: I respectfully inform the Department of the course of events up to the time (9 a.m.) of closing the mail. At present everything is quiet. The Government is still making arrests, though a few have been released. Many that are supposed to be suspected have been secluded by their friends until the excitement is over.
The number now confined in prison is 69, though many more have been arrested but released. These men will no doubt be exiled by a decree of the Government. The President has sent me word (orally) that none would be executed. The most prominent of the men arrested is C. Fouchard. He was at one time the minister of finance under President Salomon; upon the death of President Hippolite, was candidate for the office of President, at the time General Sam was elected, but withdrew in his favor. He is one of the wealthiest men in the Republic and has a large number of friends, but lately he has taken no part in politics. His arrest has therefore caused great surprise.
The Moniteur (the official organ), with an official statement of the Government’s action, appears to-day. I inclose it.
The foreign secretary, Mr. St. Victor, sent me an official communication late yesterday, requesting the number of persons who have sought our protection. I have not yet answered the communication. I have been informed the Government intends to issue a decree expelling those it has arrested and confined, as well as those that have sought refuge in the several legations, each of which have several. If such a decree be made, I shall promptly cable for instruction before recognizing it.
The financial condition is still grave; but was temporarily relieved by a loan of $200,000 by the bankers. This has had a tendency to relieve the situation greatly. I think the Government will, within a few days, realize the only steps to secure permanent security and allay the present feeling will be to consolidate their debts into one, retire the paper currency, and reduce the tariff on imports and exports, especially that on coffee. To do this they will have to secure a large loan and place the revenue derived from their customs, with the control of their custom-houses, as a guaranty for the repayment of such a loan, into the hands of a syndicate.
The surrender of their custom-houses they have heretofore refused. If they take this step, alluded to above, they will endeavor to float such a loan in the New York market. This will relieve the situation and bring immediate permanent relief.
I have, etc.,