File No. 2126/81.
Minister Furniss to the Secretary of State.
Port au Prince , February 5, 1908 .
States that at a meeting of the diplomatic corps held this day, he explained the position of the department as to extending asylum to [Page 432] revolutionists. Mr. Furniss quotes a telegram sent by the French, German, and British representatives to their Governments, stating that the Haitian refugees in the different consulates sought shelter there because it had been customary to do so and believed the custom still existed, and that to give them up would be detrimental to the prestige of the different Governments; also that any guarantees the Haitian Government might offer as to the lives of these refugees would be deceptive, as justice does not exist in Haiti and the prisons are deadly.
Mr. Furniss states that it appears further from the telegram that the above-mentioned representatives desire to request the embarkation of the refugees, on the declaration that they will not return to Haiti during the present presidency. He says the telegram also refers to the abuse of the right of asylum, which in future should be restricted, if not abolished, for Haitians, and in regard to which an understanding will be had later on between the interested governments. Mr. Furniss remarks that he agrees with his colleagues in so far as conditions in Haiti are concerned.
Mr. Root’s attention is called to the fact that the President of Haiti gave no definite answer to the French minister’s request to embark the refugees in the French consulate at Gonaives, saying that for the present they could remain in the consulate, nor did he say anything as to his desire to have them tried.