The President to the Acting Secretary of State.
Washington, March 28, 1905.
To the Acting Secretary of State:
I have carefully considered the following cablegram from Minister Dawson:
Secretary of State, Washington:
Under pressure foreign creditors and domestic peril, Dominican Government offers nominate a citizen of the United States receiver southern ports pending ratification protocol. Four northern ports to be administered under the award. Forty-five per cent total shall go Dominican Government, fifty-five to be deposited New York for distribution after ratification. Creditors to agree to take no further steps in the meantime, and receiver to have full authority to suspend importers’ preferential contracts. Italian, Spanish, German, and American creditors, except the Improvement, accept unconditionally. Belgian and French representatives will recommend acceptance. Some modus vivendi absolutely necessary. I am ready, if desired, start Washington, D. C., 28th to explain details and modifications to plan obtainable. Whole matter can be held open during my absence.
I direct that the minister express acquiescence in the proposal of the Government of Santo Domingo for the collection and conservation of its revenues, pending the action of the United States Senate upon the treaty, to the end that in the meantime no change shall take place in the situation which would render useless its consummation or bring complications into its enforcement. The Secretary of War of the [Page 361]United States will present for nomination by the President of the Dominican Republic men to act in the positions referred to in both the northern and southern ports. The utmost care will of course be taken to choose men of capacity and absolute integrity, who, if possible, shall have some knowledge of Spanish. All the moneys collected from both the northern and southern ports not turned over to the Dominican Government will be deposited in some New York bank to be designated by the Secretary of War and will there be kept till the Senate has acted. If the action is adverse, the money will then be turned over to the Dominican Government. If it is favorable, it will be distributed among the creditors in proportion to their just claims under the treaty. Meanwhile, Mr. Hollander will thoroughly investigate these claims, including the claim of the American Improvement Company, and will report in detail all the information he is able to gather as to the amount actually received by Santo Domingo, the amount of indebtedness nominally incurred, the circumstances so far as they are known under which the various debts were incurred, and so forth.
This action is rendered necessary by the peculiar circumstances of the case. The treaty now before the Senate was concluded with Santo Domingo’s earnest request repeatedly pressed upon us and was submitted to the Senate because in my judgment it was our duty to our less fortunate neighbor to respond to her call for aid, inasmuch as we were the only power who could give this aid, and inasmuch as her need for it was very great. The treaty is now before the Senate and has been favorably reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations. It is pending, and final action will undoubtedly be taken when Congress convenes next fall. Meanwhile, Santo Domingo has requested that the action above outlined be taken—that is, she desires in this way to maintain the status quo, so that if the treaty is ratified it can be executed.
With this purpose in view I direct that the proposed arrangement be approved. It will terminate as soon as the Senate has acted one way or the other.