Mr. Powell to Mr. Hay.

No. 766, San Domingo series.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose to the Department the correspondence relating to the Villain incident.

I am, etc.,

W. F. Powell.

Mr. Villain to Mr. Powell.

Sir: The disorder reigning in this part of the Republic of Santo Domingo has come to such a pitch that no respect is entertained for foreigners, and not even to the representatives of foreign governments.

On the 1st of February I was asked by the delegate of the Government here to deliver up the late governor, Mr. Charles Anderson, who had taken refuge in my office against the persecutions of his political opponents.

I refused to deliver up Mr. Anderson to his enemies as there were strong and public menaces of shooting political prisoners.

My action was based purely from a standpoint of humanity, as in these moments of political effervescence the friendly intervention of consuls is calculated to avoid many misfortunes.

In view of my reiterated refusal to deliver Mr. Anderson the delegate of the Government, with an armed force of several men, invaded my house and violently took away the political refugee against my protest that I at that moment made in his presence.

This act of violence to an office of the United States of America constitutes, according to my manner of seeing, an insult and disrespect to the American flag, and I hastened to telegraph you the facts since the 4th instant, not having found an opportunity before, as communications of all sorts are interrupted since over a week.

The Italian consulate was also raided and 11 refugees taken out and sent to prison.

I wrote to Consul Simpson on the 4th, communicating to him what had happened, and asking him to see the commander of the United States ship at Puerto Plata and ask him to give me some protection, as I do not see any guaranty of order in this district, and that, according to my appreciations, the worst is still to come.

The Jiminez faction has its stronghold at Sanchez, while the Morales people are in possession of Samana. Undoubtedly before long there will be a terrible encounter between the two parties, the disastrous consequences of which no one can forsee.

I am, etc.,

J. M. Villain.
[Page 287]
[Inclosure 2.]

Mr. Lithgow to Mr. Powell.

Sir: Yesterday I received a letter from Mr. J. M. Villain, United States commercial agent at Samana, inclosing a copy of bis protest to Mr. D. Shepard, delegate of the Government, against the violation of his office. He requested me to inform the commander of the United States ship here.

The Hartford arrived yesterday, and the commander, after seeing that his presence was not needed, decided to return to Guantanamo, Cuba.

It was after taking this determination that I received Mr. Villain’s letter, but I was able to get on board before he left.

He advised me to see President Morales personally and tell him that he must not violate our consulates, for it would bring ill will toward himself by our Government.

I saw President Morales, who is here, and he tells me that he did not take Mr. Charles Anderson from Mr. Villain’s consulate, but from his country house, called “La Pascuala,” and that he took all the legal steps to enter the house.

The giving of asylum to political refugees in the consulates is destined to give serious trouble in the present unsettled state of the country, for the Dominican Government does not recognize this right, nor, do I believe, does our Government allow it, but if anyone asylums himself in the consulate I do not see how the consul can very well refuse it, knowing that whoever is caught has a very small chance of being tried and receiving justice.

I am, etc.,

A. W. Lithgow.

Mr. Villain to Mr. Shepard.

Sir: The act perpetrated this morning by yourself, accompanied by an armed force in the name of the Government of Santo Domingo, entering my premises against my protest and carrying off, to be incarcerated on board of the gunboat Presidente, Mr. Charles Anderson and other parties, who were by the fact of being in my house, where I had temporarily established my office, under the protection of the United States Government, constitutes an open violation to established rules and an insult and disrespect to both the American flag and the Government of the United States of America.

I, therefore, in the name of the United States of America, as its legal representative here in Samana, protest, and by these presents do protest against the act aforementioned, reserving the right of asking further redress from the Government of Santo Domingo through the intermediary of the American diplomatic agent.

I am, etc.,

J. M. Villain.
[Inclosure 3.]

Mr. Powell to Mr. Villain.

Sir: I have your favor of February 9, 1904, informing me of the disordered condition of affairs in your section, and am very sorry to hear that your agency has been violated by the Government forcibly taking therefrom persons who sought your protection. I shall send to the Department the account of this matter, as it involves a question as to whether cosular and commercial agencies are clothed with the “right of asylum.” As this Government disputes the same, it is a question the Department alone should settle and not this legation. * * *

I remain, etc.,

W. F. Powell.
[Page 288]
[Inclosure 4.]

Mr. Powell to Mr. Lithgow.

Sir: I have your favor of February 6 inclosing a copy of a “protest” lodged at your office by Mr. Villain, the United States commercial agent at Samana, stating that his premises had been violated by the provisional Government by making a forcible entry and taking therefrom certain persons who had come to him for protection.

I am very sorry that this has occurred, as the Government by this act has clearly violated the sanctity of this commercial agency. The Government has not the slightest right to enter Mr. Villain’s home for such a purpose, or to take anyone from there. This question of right of asylum I have referred to the Department, and within a few weeks I hope to receive an answer as to your rights in the matter in regard to accepting refugees, and how far the consular flag covers you. Upon the receipt of this information I will be pleased to communicate it to our consuls.

I remain, etc.,

W. F. Powell.