Minister Powell to the Secretary of State.
Port au Prince , May 23, 1905 .
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Department’s No. 697, of May 11, 1905, inclosing a copy of a memorial of grievances to the Department of Elie A. Mansour, an American naturalized citizen of Syrian origin, stating that the Haitian authorities have refused to give him a license.
All that Mr. Mansour states in his memorial is correct. The date to secure a license is October 1 of each year, the rule being that all applications must be filed with the communal magistrate (mayor of the city), who sends them to the minister of finance, who forwards them to the President, who examines them and issues orders that a patent be given, which is presented to the communal magistrate. A license is then issued to the petitioner to open and conduct business.
Owing to the number of fraudulent naturalization certificates, licenses were refused to all American naturalized citizens of Syrian origin until these applications were accompanied by a letter from this legation to the communal magistrate. At the time to procure these licenses Mansour and his brother Isaac, both American naturalized citizens, applied for licenses, each conducting a separate business. The brother secured his license, while Elie A. Mansour did not. The matter was brought to our attention, and we had several interviews with the minister of finance as to what was needed in order to secure him the license. I was informed that the whole matter rested with the President. I have had several interviews with the minister of foreign relations in regard to this case and have received the same reply. Nor can I secure from either of the two ministers any reason why the license should not be given.
I have taken a particular interest in this case. * * * I have exhausted all efforts to have the President grant him this paper and have failed. * * * *
I understand that the government has made a new rule prohibiting these people from doing a retail business and that the present Chambers are to pass a more stringent law regarding them, which will eventually compel all to close their stores and leave the Republic.
I have, etc.,