File No. 13116/3–5.

Minister Furniss to the Secretary of State.

No. 376.]

Sir: I have the honor to report in further reference to my No. 355, of April 9, 1908, that this legation has again had to call the attention of the Haitian Government to the fact that in spite of the assurances given by Secretary Borno, American passengers in transit on steamers calling here are frequently not allowed to come on shore.

[Page 450]

Secretary Borno called on me at the legation on the 11th instant, and during his visit I took occasion to mention the trouble to which I had been put in trying to obtain permission for Mr. Martin J. Iorns to come on shore from the French steamer on Sunday. I showed the manuscript of a note (copy inclosed) which I intended to send to him that day. Mr. Borno expressed himself as grieved that the assurances which he had given me had not been realized. He stated that he had been shown, in the office of the President, copy of and order which should have prevented the incident. He reminded me of the difficulty under which he, as secretary of foreign relations, labored, and begged me not to send him the note, lest I embarrass him personally by forcing him to officially reply to a matter which he had believed the President’s orders would adjust. He stated that -he would at once go and investigate the matter and would write me as if the refusal to allow Mr. Iorns to land here had been brought to his attention in some other way; that later he would call in person and make explanation.

Yesterday Secretary Borno called and said that the official who had refused to allow Mr. Iorns to come on shore had been punished. Personally I have doubts that even a reprimand has been given to the general of the port, as he is too intimate an adviser of the President for anyone other than the President to say anything to him, and I am sure the President has said nothing.

Personally I can not see how my note intended for Secretary Borno would have embarrassed him. As I understand it, orders were given by the President that in future passengers in transit should be allowed to land in Haiti if they so desired. If these orders were not carried out it would seem to me to be a case of disciplining the officials who had failed to do so. Other than Secretary Borno having to make an apology for the action of the officials who had not carried out the President’s orders, I can not see how Mr. Borno would be affected, and as Mr. Borno subsequently did make apology (copy inclosed) I can see no real reason for his requesting me not to send him the note, unless it is the personal embarrassment which he might feel in having to reply to my note, realizing as he must that he can give me no assurances which can be depended upon.

I am confident that there will be repetitions of Sunday’s incident whenever it pleases the officials to cause them. If mere apologies are to be taken for the trouble and inconvenience to which this legation and our consular officers, as a result thereof, are put, and for the more serious inconvenience and perhaps monetary loss occasioned our citizens desiring to land, the practice can be expected to be carried on indefinitely.

I have, etc.,

H. W. Furniss.
[Inclosure 1.]

Minister Furniss to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

(Not sent but read by Secretary Borno.)

Sir: Under date of March 31, 1908, I addressed a note to your excellency calling your attention to the fact that the authorities at various ports in Haiti were refusing to allow American tourists and business men to go on shore at different [Page 451] ports in Haiti where the boats, on which they were passengers, touch. I stated that this was not only causing unfavorable comment, but was seriously inconveniencing our business men to the detriment of American trade. I also remarked that this legation had frequently been greatly inconvenienced and annoyed by having to spend time to obtain permission for Americans, who were in transit, to come on shore here during the short time their steamers are in port. With these facts, I requested from your excellency a statement as to what is your Government’s policy in this matter.

In reply to my note, your excellency, under date of April 6, 1908, expressed regret that the authorities at the ports named had misinterpreted your Government’s orders, and you further stated that your Government particularly desired to facilitate the entrance into Haiti of foreigners, etc.

Your excellency will also recall that a few days subsequent to your official reply you personally called and assured me that orders had been given to the end that there would be no further cause for complaint.

Your excellency’s reply was communicated to my Government and in the last mail my Government expressed itself as pleased at the assurances which you gave me.

Yesterday morning, Sunday, Mr. Martin J. Iorns, a horticulturist of the United States Department of Agriculture at the agricultural experiment station, Porto Rico, arrived here on the S. S. Salvador. He was in transit for Cuba, but for various reasons was desirous of coming on shore to the legation. He made request of the Haitian official who boarded the Salvador for permission to land, which permission was refused. He explained who he was and gave one of his professional cards to the official with the request that it be handed to the general of the port, with the request that permission be granted him to come on shore during the stay of his steamer in port. After considerable delay, word came back that the general had refused the request.

About noon, a Haitian, an employee in the bureau of the port, brought me a letter from Mr. Iorns, in which he stated his case and asked that the permission desired be obtained for him. I explained to the employee who Mr. Iorns is and showed him, for his information, your note of the 6th ultimo referred to above. In addition I gave the said employee my card for delivery to the bureau of the port and on this card I explained who Mr. Iorns is, made request that he be allowed to land, etc. It seems to me that this would be more than enough to accomplish my desire, and, as I was particularly occupied at the legation for the moment, the matter was dropped. At 3 o’clock Mr. Moore of the legation staff, happening to call, I sent him to see what had become of Mr. Iorns, as he had not called at the legation. Mr. Moore went to the bureau of the port where he was told that my card had been received and understood, but that the general had not returned and as strict orders had been given not to allow anyone to land from the S. S. Salvador, the officials in charge could not grant the permission requested. Mr. Moore then proceeded on board to explain the matter to Mr. Iorns.

Meanwhile, about 4 o’clock, I went to the bureau of the port and after a short conversation with the official in charge, the same one Mr. Moore had seen, an order granting the permission requested was issued and sent on board the Salvador, but as the steamer was announced to sail at 5 o’clock, Mr. Iorns thought it too late to come on shore.

I have gone into details in this matter that you may be aware of all the circumstances.

What I am desirous of knowing is this: (1) If orders were issued, as you say in your note of the 6th ultimo would be, why did the general of the port in the first instance refuse permission to Mr. Iorns to come on shore?

(2) When my personal card with explanation and request was received at the bureau of the port, if the employee in charge was without power to grant the request, why did he not promptly refer it to a superior officer who had such power?

(3) If the officer in charge had not the power to grant the request on my card, or the personal request made by Mr. Moore of this legation, how is it that he had the power to grant it to me in person within half an hour afterward, when he told me that he had not seen the general of the port since the receipt of my card?

Yesterday being Sunday, and not knowing where you might be found, the matter could not be referred to you and attempt was made to settle the matter more speedily. To that end, recourse was had to communication with the bureau [Page 452] of the port direct, as it was the only office of your excellency’s Government open.

It was to prevent just this annoyance and waste of time that I addressed to your excellency my note of March 31, 1908, and it was the thought that your assurances would be realized which caused my Government to view your note with the satisfaction which has already been mentioned.

Your excellency will please accept, etc.,

H. W. Furniss.
[Inclosure 2.—Translation.]

The Minister for Foreign Affairs to Minister Furniss.

No. 91.]

Mr. Minister: I have just learned that Mr. Martin J. Iorns, an American horticulturist, arrived yesterday in our harbor on the French steamer, and wishing to come ashore, he was prevented by the commandant of the port.

I regret very much that that officer should commit such a breach against the orders that he had received and of which I had previously informed you.

In hastening to assure you that that officer will be punished as he deserves, I take this occasion to renew, etc.,

Louis Borno.