The Italian Embassy to the Department of State.
Washington, D. C., January 27, 1905.
By the three Italo-Dominican protocols of May 1, 1904, a part of which was merely a confirmation of the previous protocol of July 4, 1903, and which deal with debts of as long standing as those of the Improvement Company that come under the arbitral award of July 14, 1904, 5 per cent of the revenues of the custom-house of Puerto Plata were assigned to the Italian creditor.
Messrs. C. H. Loinaz & Co., of Puerto Plata, who had been charged to collect this amount, called on the American fiscal agent on the first day set for the payments (November 1 last), and the latter replied that there was no provision in the award for the payment of such a quota and that he could do nothing without special instructions.
Our chargé d’affaires, Chevalier Cambiaso, applied to the minister of the United States, Mr. Thomas C. Dawson, who, under date of November 14 last, replied as follows:
I take pleasure in acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 12th instant in regard to the collection at Puerto Plata of the 5 per cent of the customs revenues provided for by the Italian protocol of May 1, 1904.
I have sent a copy thereof to my government and asked for instructions, which I will promptly communicate to you when received. It appears that the arbitrators who made the award of July 14, 1904, under which the American financial agent has entered upon the collection of the revenues at Puerto Plata had no information about the consolidated Italian claims, and therefore could not make provision for their payment, as they did in case of the Vicini claim. My government is now informed of the existence of the protocol of May 1, and will doubtless promptly take such action as the equities of the case demand.
As I have already had the honor of saying to you in our personal conversations, it seems to me that an understanding as to their relative rights satisfactory to both the Italian and American governments can be reached more speedily and certainly at Washington, where the subject can be treated upon a broad basis of all the true interests of the nations interested.
Here you and I could do nothing more than discuss the strict legal rights under the respective protocols, and this would be probably barren of any beneficial practical results.
Should your government bring this matter directly to the attention of our State Department, it will find the latter well disposed and already in possession of all the information I have been able to gather.
I think you will agree with me in thinking that in the present financial and political situation of the Dominican Government it is doubtful, to say the least, whether the payments provided for by the protocol of May 1, 1904, would not be neglected, just as those provided for by the protocol of July 4, 1903, have been. It is my firm conviction that the execution of the award of July 14, 1904, will strengthen and change this regrettable situation, and if followed up by prudent action will very likely make the collection of the Italian claims more certain.
The royal embassy at Washington has recourse to the good offices of the Federal Department to the end that in compliance with the foregoing assurances and by virtue of the powers recently assumed at Santo Domingo the Federal Government will kindly make arrangements for the payment of the above-mentioned 5 per cent from the date set (November 1, 1904) agreeably to the obligations entered into by the Dominican Government in the above-mentioned protocols.