File No. 838.00/625.

The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy.

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the Department is in receipt of a telegram from the American minister at Port au Prince to the effect that immediately prior to his departure former President Simon entrusted important military positions to sympathizers of Gen. Firmin, who are now in control; that several attempts have been made to form committees of public safety capable of inspiring confidence, which have failed because the Firminists continue to dominate; that this makes the situation grave, as Gen. Leconte at the head of an army is now approaching Port au Prince and it seems inevitable that he will be opposed by the local armed forces. The minister adds that the diplomatic corps has been unable to conciliate the different factions, and requests instructions in the interest of humanity in order that he may protect life and property [Page 287] of foreigners should conflict, looting, and incendiarism take place in the streets.

In view of the above I have the honor to request that instructions be sent immediately to the commanding officer at Port au Prince directing him to prevent armed conflict within the city limits of Port au Prince, and to take such further action as may be necessary for the protection of the life and property of American citizens.

I have, etc.,

P. C. Knox.