Mr. Hay to Mr. Powell.
Washington , September 2, 1899 .
Sir: I have received your dispatch No. 629, of the 18th ultimo, reporting the departure on that day, by the German steamer, of the three persons to whom your legation had afforded shelter during the recent political troubles in Port au Prince.
You remark, in this relation, that Messrs. Duvivier, Ciceron, and [Page 390] Seneque had not been accused of criminal or political offense, but that their offense, if any, was in going to the legation for protection.
The Department does not so understand the situation. It is a right of sovereignty, more or less regulated by the constitution or law of the State, to expel from the national territory any citizens or subjects whose presence may be deemed to imperil the public good. The men in question appear from your statements to have been political suspects in this sense, and as such to have taken refuge in your dwelling to escape pursuit. On several occasions in the past your predecessors have exceeded their legitimate rights and functions in demanding and obtaining for this class of persons, natives of the country, permission to quit the territory unmolested—a practice which the Department has uniformly condemned. In this instance the Haitian Government seems to have anticipated some such demand on the part of the foreign representatives, and to have either ordered or permitted—it is not clear which—the departure of the refugees.
I am, etc.,