Minister Dawson to the Secretary of State.

No. 118.]

Sir: Continuing the subject of my No. 110, of February 13, the negotiations for an arrangement in regard to the Dominican debt and custom-houses, I have the honor to confirm your telegram, as follows:

Washington, February 13, 1905.

Dawson, Minister, Santo Domingo:

Personal. Was Macoris custom-house taken over by you or your agent February 1st.


[Page 351]

and my reply:

Santo Domingo, February 13, 1905.

Loomis, State Department, Washington:

Most certainly not. Dominican authorities still in charge of all custom-houses, except Puerto Plata and Monte Christi. I have no agent. Dominican Government itself is pledging custom receipts Macoris and other ports to American citizen who advances funds under a private contract with it.


I have the further honor to report that on February 16 President Morales sent for me and said that the reports then current of his having been opposed to submitting the protocol to the Dominican Congress were creating a sentiment of dissatisfaction in the minds of the deputies, which he feared might have a deleterious effect on an unprejudiced consideration of the merits and advantages of the protocol when it came to be discussed in Congress. The members were jealous of their prerogatives and were inclined to resent what they might be led to believe had been an attempt on his part to ignore and override their constitutional functions. He asked me if I would not write him a communication on the subject, which he could make public. Accordingly, I prepared and sent him a letter in the Spanish language, copy of which, with English translation, is inclosed.

The fact is that in the early stages of the preliminary personal negotiations between the President and myself he did speak several times of the constitutional provision requiring treaties to be submitted to Congress, but he delayed saying definitely and finally that he proposed to risk a submission until he could be sure that Congress would ratify and that no revolution would break out while the arrangement should be pending before that body. He also understood that the proposed protocol would have to be submitted to the American Senate, but since one ratification implied the other he wanted to delay negotiations as to the manner and date of such submission until we had agreed upon the substance of the arrangement in a form that would be satisfactory to the Horacista leaders. The matter was therefore left open for subsequent definite arrangement.

When Commander Dillingham subsequently arrived, it became known at once that he came as special commissioner, and therefore the public immediately became aware that the government had finally determined to make a financial arrangement with the United States—a fact the knowledge of which had theretofore been confined to a few members of the administration. The popular excitement, the false reports and alarming plots which followed forced the President’s hand To avoid a revolution he was obliged to give his people immediate and detailed knowledge of the scope of the proposed arrangement and to let the malcontents understand that they must either accept it without substantial change or start a revolution, in which they would have against them the moral influence of the United States and the other creditor powers.

So the Dominican commissioners who were appointed on account of Commander Dillingham’s arrival avoided referring to the subject of ratification or our powers, and the President only spoke of it once, and that casually. Our discussions were confined to the substance of the proposed arrangement.

President Morales’s astute policy, aided by the financial assistance furnished by Mr. Michelena, succeeded, just as he hoped, and a few [Page 352] days after February 1st he became confident that he could safely announce what had been his intention all along, viz, that the protocol would be submitted for ratification in accordance with constitutional forms.

* * * * * * *

I have the further honor to confirm my telegram in regard to the plot to assassinate the President, as follows:

Santo Domingo, February 24, 1905.

Secretary of State, Washington:

Conspiracy to assassinate Dominican President. Five arrested and some escaped. The situation becoming more strained on account of delay and uncertainty ratification protocol now before the Senate.


The five individuals arrested are of the lower classes and known Jimenista sympathizers. The investigation has been conducted very secretly, and so far no charges of complicity have been made against any persons of prominence.

The whole country has continued quiet and obedient to authority, with the exception of an insignificant band under the command of Perico la Sala.

* * * * * * *

Admiral Sigsbee informs me that Lieutenant-Commander Leiper had received no instructions from Washington as to his powers in naming and paying the custom-house employees, nor in regard to the payment to Arias directly or through the Dominican Government of the amount necessary for his police and administrative expenses. Before Lieutenant-Commander Leiper took possession Governor Arias received the custom-house receipts of Monte Christi for the latter purpose. When this government made its arrangement with Mr. Michelena the latter was expected to get the receipts from Monte Christi, and to pay a weekly amount to Governor Arias out of the $75,000 a month he agreed to advance. This was, of course, on condition that Arias should permit the Monte Christi receipts to be turned over to him. But to do it is now out of Arias’s power, and the minister of finance and Michelena will probably not be willing to pay the Monte Christi budget. I respectfully suggest that I be instructed as to what is the wish of the Department on this point. To me it seems as if our action ought to be taken in view of the amount of the receipts of the ports, whose receipts go to Michelena—that is, all of them except Puerto Plata and Monte Christi. If these receipts are over $75,000 a month, plus salaries of custom-house employees, there would seem to be no injustice in our asking the minister of finance and Mr. Michelena to provide for the Monte Christi budget, since they have admitted that the whole administration of the country, including Puerto Plata and Monte Christi, can be conducted for that sum.

I have the futher honor to confirm my telegram, as follows:

Santo Domingo, March 5, 1905.

Secretary of State, Washington:

It is very important that I should be enabled to inform the Dominican President as to the status of the protocol in the Senate, and whether extra session has been called.


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and your reply thereto, as follows:

Washington, March 6, 1905.

Dawson, Minister, Santo Domingo:

Senate has convened in extra session and is considering protocol to-day. Unable say how long discussion will continue.


and to say that the opponents of the protocol and of the Morales government have been becoming more encouraged and active every day that has passed since the submission of the protocol to the Senate without news of ratification. The impression has been gaining ground that the Senate will refuse to ratify, and even that a revolution against Morales could count on a considerable moral support in the United States. On several occasions I have assured President Morales that it was our custom to call an extra session of the Senate immediately after the inauguration of our President, and that the protocol would almost certainly be considered by it; but he naturally wanted definite and official information. If some time is to pass before a vote on ratification cam be reached, President Morales feels that he must redouble his precautions against an outbreak here, and it is very important that he be informed before his opponents are.

The contract of the Dominican Government with Mr. Michelena of January 27 has been agreed to be abrogated. I exercised none of the personal powers conferred upon me by it. A substituted contract has been drawn up, which is retroactive in effect, and applies to the whole period since February 1. Since the Dominican Government has meantime proved its ablity and willingness to secure Mr. Michelena his money I declined to be concerned in the substituted contract further than to assure Mr. Michelena that, being an American citizen, he would receive the prompt diplomatic assistance of this legation in case its terms are violated.

I have, etc.,

T. C. Dawson.

Minister Dawson to President Morales.


My Dear Sir: In view of the contradictory reports as to your attitude in reference to the ratification of the Dominican-American convention by the Congress of the Republic, I agree with you in saying that in fact ever since the beginning of these negotiations you have expressed yourself as in favor of such ratification.

On various occasions you did so to me, and also to Commander Dillingham in a personal conversation which took place on January 16.

No conclusion was reached before signing the preliminary convention because Commander Dillingham and myself had not yet received instructions on this point, but the matter was deferred for subsequent determination without prejudice to the rights of both parties.

After the convention was signed, on January 20, you brought up the matter again, and when I received instructions from Washington indicating amendments and authorizing me to sign a formal convention and to agree that the convention be ratified by the American Senate you promptly declared that this was satisfactory to you and insisted on the convention being also submitted to the Dominican Congress.

Your final efforts to obtain a clause providing for ratification by this Congress coincided with the receipt of my instructions from Washington.

T. C. Dawson.