The Acting Secretary of State to Minister Powell.

No. 715.]

Sir: The Department acknowledges the receipt of your No. 1814, of the 14th instant, saying that, as you had previously advised the Department, you had granted asylum to Mr. Charles Cameau in the legation. The ground upon which asylum was sought in your legation was stated in your previous dispatch and in the inclosures contained in your No. 1814. These inclosures contained a copy of a communication to you from Mr. Charles Cameaua and a note to you from the minister for foreign affairs and your reply thereto.

* * * * * * *

The Department has already, in a previous instruction, been constrained to express its disapproval of the grant of shelter to Mr. Cameau. It appears that there was a controversy between the President and the auditing committee growing out of the report which the latter had made as Haitian officials to the Haitian Congress. There is not the slightest evidence that Mr. Cameau was in danger of mob violence or that he was even in imminent peril of his life. It appears [Page 554] that after the violent language used toward him by the President and after the latter had given him personal assurances of security Mr. Cameau returned that night to his family, and it does not appear that there was, therefore, any danger whatever to his person or to his liberty when asylum was granted. The ground assigned in your note of June 13 to the minister for foreign affairs that Mr. “Cameau had informed you that ‘his personal liberty was in danger’” could not possibly have justified the interference of the legation in a controversy which appears on the whole to be of a purely political character, and the grant of shelter under those circumstances might be considered as an interference in the internal politics of Haiti. The greatest circumspection should be used to prevent any appearance of any interference on the part of the legation in political controversies by granting shelter to either one of contending factions simply because the other may have been threatened with the loss of personal liberty. If unfortunate political conditions exist in a country, they can only be remedied by the people and government of that country, to whom the responsibility belongs.

The Department again calls your attention to previous instructions in which you have been fully advised as to the circumstances in which the grant of asylum would be given by the legation, and it is expected that those instructions will be carefully considered and observed in the future.

I am, etc.,

Herbert H. D. Peirce.
  1. Not printed.