The British Chargé to Acting Secretary of State Loomis.

No. 113.]

Sir: I have received the instructions of His Majesty’s secretary of state for foreign affairs to call your attention, on behalf of the British subjects interested in the Santo Domingo Improvement Company and the companies allied to it, to the position of these companies as affected by the President’s order of March 28, 1905, providing for the collection and disposal of the Santo Domingo revenues.

The British interests involved in the claims of the Improvement Company and its allied companies are, as you are aware, considerable, being estimated at one-third of the whole amount; and at the time when the United States Government was negotiating with the Santo Domingo Government on behalf of the companies, in 1901–2, the British Government, having at first expressed its willingness to take joint action with the United States Government should they desire it, subsequently sent instructions to the British chargé d’affaires at Santo Domingo to support the action of his American colleague. As a result of the intervention of the United States Government the amount of the indebtedness of the Dominican Republic to the companies was fixed by an agreement between the United States Government and the [Page 375]Dominican Government, dated January 31, 1903, at $4,500,000. The terms of payment were referred by this agreement to an international commission of arbitration, and in pursuance of the award rendered by that commission, on July 14, 1904, the revenues of the four Dominican ports of Puerto Plata, Samana, Sanchez, and Monte Christi, and of any other custom-houses that might be opened within a designated zone, were assigned as security for the payment of monthly installments of specified amount upon the debt to the companies; and at the time of the issue of the President’s order of March 28, 1905, financial agents appointed by the United. States were in possession of the customhouses of Puerto Plata and Monte Christi and collecting the revenues of these ports on behalf of the companies.

The President’s order provides for the collection by United States agents of the revenues of all Dominican ports, including those specially assigned as security for the debt to the companies, and the deposit of the proceeds, after payment of 45 per cent to the Dominican Government, in a New York bank. If the Senate ratifies the protocol of agreement between the United States and the Dominican Republic of February 4, 1905, the sum thus deposited is to be distributed among the creditors of Santo Domingo in proportion, “to their just claims” under that agreement; should the Senate decline to ratify the agreement, it is provided that the money will be returned to the Dominican Government.

Some anxiety has been aroused in the minds of the British shareholders by the fact that while the President’s order puts an end for the time being to the payment of the monthly installments which the improvement and allied companies have been receiving, it does not contain any explicit recognition of the special rights which the companies possess over a certain part of the revenues which under the present arrangement are being lodged in a New York bank. An assurance from the United States Government to the effect that it had no intention of disregarding these special rights, based upon the agreement between the United States and Santo Domingo of January 31, 1903, and the arbitration award of July 14, 1904, would go far to allay the shareholders’ apprehensions, and I am instructed by Lord Lansdowne to state that His Majesty’s Government would be glad to receive such an assurance.

I have, etc.,

Hugh O’Beirne.