Mr. Adee to Mr. Terres.
Washington, September 15, 1899.
Sir: I have Mr. Powell’s dispatch No. 648, of the 5th instant, in further relation to the question of the expulsion from Haiti of certain refugees sheltered by your legation.
It seems that after Mr. Powell had notified the Haitian Government that he was prepared to withdraw protection in respect to the refugees whose expulsion had been ordered by the Haitian Government he was orally requested, by a message from the President, that he would retain those persons a few days longer; that after waiting two weeks and hearing nothing further on the subject, he requested the minister for foreign affairs to inform him whether the gentlemen in his legation were to be permitted to return to their homes with a guaranty of safety from the Government, and notified Mr. St. Victor that otherwise he, Mr. Powell, would send them away by the first steamer.
This would seem to indicate an alternative proposition by Mr. Powell, either that the refugees should be pardoned and permitted to go to their homes in Haiti or that if this were not done he, Mr. Well, would himself deport them from Haiti.
It is not thought that either of these propositions was intended by Mr. Powell. Fortunately, no occasion for discussing his intent in this regard has arisen, inasmuch as Mr. St. Victor, in reply, on the 2d of September, hastened to inform Mr. Powell “that the Government of the Republic has reached the decision to embark these refugees upon the next steamer leaving” the port.
A new phase of the question, however, is presented by Mr. St. Victor’s further request that Mr. Powell would carry out (y dormer suite) the decision reached by the Haitian Government, in reply to which Mr. Powell informed Mr. St. Victor, September 2, that he would “see that the gentlemen who have sought asylum within the legation of the United States shall leave the country by first opportunity,” and would inform him of the date of departure, name of vessel, and destination.
The Department’s previous instructions will show that it was here held that the order of expulsion was not executable by the minister of the United States. My telegram of the 17th of August was explicit in directing Mr. Powell to inform the refugees that he could not protect them against the order of expulsion. By this was meant that Mr. Powell should withdraw his protection and request the refugees to leave his premises. It was certainly not intended that he should see that they left the country by the first ship, or make arrangements for their departure, or become in any way responsible for their deportation in the manner suggested by his note to Mr. St. Victor of September 2.
It is hoped that Mr. Powell will be able to make the attitude of the United States in this regard clear to the Government of Haiti, and to remove any impression which may exist in the mind of that Government that it was any part of the duty of the minister of the United States in that country to participate in the execution of the order of expulsion.
I am, etc.,