Mr. Hay to Mr. Powell.
Washington , November 27, 1899 .
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 655, of the 11th instant, in which you report to the Department the invasion of the premises of the deputy consul by the chief of police and a body of the police force for the alleged purpose of making search for a thief, and you ask instructions as to any further representation to the Haitian Government.
The search seems to have been immediately accomplished without awaiting the result of the formal application made to the legation for its sanction.
The application so made is somewhat vague, but in the light of Mr. Battiste’s report to Mr. Terres it appears that the entire square was being searched for an escaped thief who was supposed to have taken refuge there.
As the immunities attaching to the office of deputy consul do not include so-called asylum for persons charged with violating the law, no objection could be seen to effecting the proposed search after notification, and with the sanction and, if necessary, the full assistance of the officers of the legation. It seems clear, however, that the proceedings were not conducted with suitable consideration for Mr. Battiste’s official position, his yard fence having been broken down and his premises alarmingly invaded by an armed force.
The protest made by Mr. Terres is approved as proper and timely. The reply from Mr. St. Victor is evasive and unsatisfactory, being confined to an expression of regret that the exceptional precautions taken by his department to facilitate the execution of the proposed police measure had not produced the expected result.
You will impress upon Mr. St. Victor the obvious circumstance that no time was allowed to the legation to respond in the desired sense, inasmuch as the search appears to have been already in progress when the agents of the legation hastened to Mr. Battiste’s house for the purpose of aiding the local authorities in the orderly execution of the proposed search, and you will express the hope that you may not at any time hereafter be called upon to make renewed complaint respecting any such offensive disregard of the consideration and official amenities due to the representative agents of the United States at Port au Prince, or, indeed, anywhere else within Haitian jurisdiction.
As it would appear from Mr. Terres’s statements that Mr. Battiste’s fence has been broken down, you should insist, if it has not already been done, that any injury done to the property of this officer of the United States shall be made good.
I am, etc.,