File No. 2126/195–197.
Minister Furniss to the Secretary of State.
Port au Prince , March 17, 1908 .
Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith the correspondence between this legation and the Haitian Government relative to extending a few days’ delay in the execution of the orders of expulsion which had been issued against two parties who claimed American citizenship.
As pointed out in my No. 327 of March 12, 1908, I asked this delay that I might have time to receive the department’s instructions on the subject and that I might have opportunity to examine the citizenship of the parties in question. There was not, in fact, any delay in the embarkation of the two parties, as my investigation was finished in time for them to take the first steamer after the promulgation of the decree and before the receipt of the note refusing me the delay requested.
After a careful study and investigation of this matter of expulsion in Haiti, I am convinced that, if the present methods are persisted in, it is going to lead to very serious trouble for the Haitian Government. My colleagues of the diplomatic corps have expressed themselves to me as being particularly hostile to this summary manner of expulsion, and I look for an outbreak against it at any moment. It happens that so far no one of great importance or influence has been expelled; but when such a one is, as now seems to be threatened, it can not help but assume a very serious phase. On the other hand, the apparent injustice of the treatment accorded some of those who have been expelled, makes them worthy of sympathy, even if they have not sufficient influence or importance to obtain protection.
It would seem to me proper that some power, which is a friend to Haiti, should use its influence with Haiti to induce Haiti to stop her drastic action of expelling foreigners on a moment’s notice and without a hearing. It may be a sovereign right to expel without assigning causes or giving the party expelled a hearing, but the often repeated injustice of such action can not help but bring that right in question, and particularly so when it happens that the citizens or subjects of more powerful Governments may suffer so much thereby.
If persons chosen for expulsion have broken laws of Haiti, it would seem that they should be fairly tried, and condemned, if guilty. Under such circumstances no self-respecting Government could complain; but with the present arbitrary methods, and when members of the diplomatic corps claim to believe, if not know, that parties are often expelled as a result of intrigue, Haiti, by carrying out summary expulsion, is always liable to have a demonstration of [Page 434] force which will put in peril that very sovereignty which she claims she is so jealously guarding.
There is another phase to the subject. It is the often expressed desire of the present Government to have foreign capital seek investment in Haiti, and from personal observation there are many opportunities for legitimate investment. But this matter of expulsion without a hearing creates distrust and hinders the entrance of capital. Personally, I have known several such cases, and there must have been numerous other cases which have not come under my observation. Leaving aside present political conditions, no foreigner would advise another to invest here, and most of those who are here would liquidate, if they could, and would withdraw. This matter of expulsion seems to be a constant dread to all and can not help but detract from the prosperity of the country.
I have, etc.,