Minister Dawson to the Secretary of State.
Santo Domingo, March 7, 1905.
Sir: I have the honor to report that on February 22 the U. S. S. Tacoma and Castine, then lying off this city, dressed ship and fired the national salute in honor of the day. The Dominican Government had been notified that this would be done, and the flagship Presidente also fired a salute of twenty-one guns, hoisting the American flag.
Desiring to reciprocate this courtesy, and believing that in the present critical condition of the relations between the United States and the Republic a good effect would be produced by a public demonstration of our friendly feeling on the occasion of the anniversary of the Dominican national independence—February 27—I solicited the cooperation of Rear-Admiral Sigsbee, commanding the Caribbean Squadron in these waters, by the following telegram:
Santo Domingo, February 23, 1905.
Sigsbee, Newark, Guantanamo:
Special celebration here anniversary independence 27th. Your presence would be much appreciated by President and produce happy effect.
To which he replied:
Playa del Este, February 24, 1905.
Dawson, American minister, Santo Domingo:
Newark will arrive Santo Domingo City 26th.
Accordingly, on the morning of the 26th, the Admiral arrived with his flagship, finding here the Castine and Stewart. He kindly assured me of his willingness to take part in all the functions and rejoicings, and I furnished him with the requisite information to enable him to do so.
At 3 o’clock that afternoon he came ashore, accompanied by the commanders of his ships, by the fleet staff, his personal staff, and numerous other officers, and went to the Government Palace, where we joined the President, the Cabinet, a commission of Congress, and various other dignitaries, and with them proceeded to the newly repaired House of Congress to assist at its formal dedication.
Thence we all went to the Cathedral, where it is the custom each year to place votive crowns upon the tombs of the three fathers of Dominican independence—Duarte, Sanchez, and Mella. After the Dominican authorities had deposited their offerings, Admiral Sigsbee and I placed a crown on the tomb of Gen. Francisco del Rosario Sanchez, who was the military head of the revolt against the Haitians in 1844. It seems particularly appropriate for us to select him, because the present minister of foreign affairs, who has shown himself to be so steadfast a friend of American ideas during the last year, is his son. Minister Sanchez was personally deeply affected, and among all classes of Dominicans our act was considered a most striking assurance that their independence would be respected.
I inclose a copy and translation of the account of the ceremonies of February 26, published in the Official Gazette. [Not printed.]
On the morning of the 27th Admiral Sigsbee had his three ships dressed with flags and national salutes fired simultaneously with the salutes of the Dominican forts and ships.
At 8 o’clock in the morning Admiral Sigsbee came ashore, accompanied by the same officers as before, all in full dress uniform, and assisted at the opening of the regular session of Congress and the reading by the President in person of his message. A copy and translation of the latter is inclosed, and to it I invite the careful attention of the Department. Instead of the usual comfortable generalities President Morales frankly exposes the real situation of the Republic and points out specific reforms.
The Dominican authorities, the diplomatic corps, and the American naval officers then went to the cathedral, where we assisted at the Te Deum, afterwards returning to the palace for the reception to the diplomatic corps. I inclose herewith copies and translations of the President’s toast and the reply of the dean. [Not printed.]
In the evening the admiral and officers attended the formal ball, and left behind them, I believe, a conviction in the minds of all those present that Americans respect, and will continue to respect, Dominicans as individuals and as a nation. The fleet band also came ashore and played during the evening in the plaza, alternating with the Dominican band.
I highly appreciate the assistance Admiral Sigsbee gave to this legation, not only in securing by firm and adroit diplomacy a peaceful acceptance of the award by Monte Christi, but also in consolidating by this visit to the capital an already favorable impression as to the American character and aims.
I have, etc.,