Mr. Powell to Mr. Hay.

No. 655.]

Sir: I call the attention of the Department to the unwarranted invasion of the residence of our deputy consul-general, Mr. Alex. Battiste, by the chief of police, with revolver in hand, assisted also by a portion of the police force of this commune.

As the affair took place prior to my arrival, and as the vice-consul-general, Dr. J. B. Terres, had called the attention of the Haitian Government to this outrage, I did not feel warranted in taking action until I had reported this matter to the Department.

I feel though that some decided action should be taken on the part of our Government to prevent such occurrences in the future.

If this Government be allowed without the slightest pretense to invade the residence of our consular officers, without an energetic warning on the part of our Government that such unwarranted proceedings can not be allowed, our national prestige of protecting our officials abroad will soon be a nullity.

I feel that the Department should inform this Government that acts of this character will have a tendency to mar the cordial feeling which [Page 406] our Government has in the past as well as in the present extended to them.

On behalf of the deputy consul-general, Mr. Battiste, I desire to state that he did not wish that this matter should be brought to the attention of the Department, but I feel it a duty that the Department should be informed to prevent a like occurrence in the future.

I request that the Department instruct me so that a like flagrant outrage shall not again take place.

I have the honor to submit the correspondence of the vice-consul-general, Dr. J. B. Terres.

I remain, etc.,

W. F. Powell.
[Inclosure 1.—Translation.]

Mr. St. Victor to Mr. Terres.

My colleague of the department of the interior has just announced to me that he is about to proceed to make domiciliary searches in the square where resides Mr. Alexander Battiste, deputy consul of the United States of America in this city, and that it is possible that they may penetrate in his dwelling. I hasten to give you notice, in view of avoiding all misunderstanding on the subject. The police will, moreover, be accompanied by the justice of the peace.

Please accept, etc.,

B. St. Victor.
[Inclosure 2.]

Mr. Terres to Mr. St. Victor.

Sir: Your dispatch dated the 28th instant, informing me that domiciliary searches were about to be made in the square inhabited by Mr. Alexander Battiste, deputy consul of the United States, and that possibly they might enter into his premises, was duly received at this legation, but being unwell and in the country I did not receive it until this morning.

As the messenger represented the case as being urgent, Mr. Battiste, our deputy consul, opened the dispatch, and on reading the contents immediately proceeded to his residence, and found it surrounded by and being searched by the police, who represented that they were searching for a thief. The only persons in his house at the time were his wife, her aged grandaunt, and children, and the abrupt and unceremonious manner in which the chief of police, revolver in hand, followed by his escort, the invasion of the yard by the police entering by breaking down the fence, was therefore quite sufficient to terrify and shock persons unaccustomed to such proceedings.

Now, Mr. Battiste being our deputy consul, our Government considers him as a person without reproach in every respect, and considering the position held by him under our Government it seems to me that such should have been taken into consideration before violating his premises under such pretext; and moreover Mr. Battiste would have certainly in person given any information in regard to his private residence that your Government might have desired.

Please accept, etc.,

John B. Terres.
[Inclosure 3.—Translation.]

Mr. St. Victor to Mr. Terres.

Sir: I have received the letter that you have done me the honor to write to me, the 31st of October last, in relation to the searches made by the police of this city at the private residence of Mr. Battiste, Deputy Consul of the United States.

[Page 407]

In thanking you for that communication, I hasten to express the regret that the unusual precautions taken by my department to facilitate the execution of that police measure did not produce the desired result. I will add that my regrets are the more intense and the more sincere, that Mr. Battiste has always merited the consideration of the Government.

Please accept, etc.,

B. St. Victor.