File No. 839.032/6.

The American Minister to the Secretary of State.

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy in Spanish text of the message which the Provisional President of the Republic, Archbishop Nouel, presented to Congress convened in ordinary session on February 27th.

I have [etc.]

William W. Russell.

As the land customhouses of Comendador and Tierra Nueva were abandoned by the Assistants of the General Receiver in consequence of the state of war, the United States Government resolved to protect said employees by maintaining the Frontier Guard, in order to prevent the customs receipts allotted to the payment of the foreign debt from suffering any detriment.2

With this object, and in view of its contractual relations with the Republic and its position as mediator between the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Haiti in their boundary dispute3 the United States Government determined to consider as a de facto provisional line between the two Republics, without prejudice to the rights and obligations of either country and pending the conclusion of a final settlement of the boundary dispute, the line indicated on the map of Haiti and Santo Domingo prepared by the Second Division (Military Information) of the General Staff, Washington 1907 and 1908, sheet No. 6, of Monte Cristi, and sheet No. 7, of Barahona, which you will find appended to the Report on Foreign Relations.

Said measure, taken in order that the customs receipts might be duly protected and that the provisional line thus determined might be guarded and temporarily respected, was never carried out, for the reason that the abnormal situation of the country and the circumstances which occurred afterwards rendered unnecessary the action of the American Government along this line.

The commission sent here by President Taft at the beginning of September, 1912, after studying the situation not only with respect to the official object of its mission—that is, the restoration of the customshouses and of the Frontier Guard—but also with respect to our domestic policy, withdrew some days before the resignation of President Victoria, without the troops who came with it on the Prairie having to land at any point on Dominican territory.

* * * * * * *

I deem it my duty to copy here, for the information of the Congress, the messages which, under date of December 12, 1912,4 and January 23 last,5 I received from the President of the United States in regard to the state of our domestic [Page 418] politics at the time, and to the desire of that Government to guarantee the peace and prosperity of the Dominican Republic. I will also copy the answer at the foot of each document:

It is very distressing to me to know that your duties as Provisional President have proved so irksome, but I earnestly hope that you will continue to discharge them for the allotted time, in the interests of humanity and peace; and I can hardly doubt that every good element will join in supporting the Provisional Government and thus perform their patriotic duty toward the Dominican Republic, in whose welfare the United States is so vitally interested. I assure you that your efforts on behalf of the Dominican people will receive from the Government of the United States the sincerest and most earnest support.

Wm. H. Taft.

President Taft,

Accept this expression of my gratitude for Your Excellency’s message, received today. Like you, I hope that all good Dominicans will fulfill their patriotic duty to the Republic, which a long and cruel civil war has caused to suffer greatly. I must trust to the good faith of my fellow-citizens, who are well aware of the sentiment of the great American people, pioneers of liberty and justice, and of the desires of their Government.

The limit of my tenure will depend on circumstances, and it is my fixed intention to leave it as soon as the whole country is pacified.

In my name and that of the Dominican people receive, Mr. President, the expression of the most sincere gratitude.

Adolfo A. Nouel.

The most sympathetic interest is felt by the President and Government of the United States in your unselfish and patriotic efforts to maintain lawful and orderly government and to introduce needful reforms, thus assuring to the Dominican nation the blessings of prosperity and peace. The President and Government of the United States sincerely wish that your patient endeavors may so succeed as to exclude the possibility of a recurrence of such disorders as have afflicted the Dominican people. Those disorders would by their recurrence make more onerous the duty of the United States under its conventional and moral obligations never to be indifferent to the peace and order of the Dominican Republic.

Wm. H. Taft.

President Taft,

I am profoundly touched by the generous interest of the Government and people of the United States and their hope that my persevering efforts for the peace and prosperity of the Dominican nation may prove so successful as to exclude all possibility of a recurrence of the disorders that have afflicted it.

Notwithstanding the obstacles which the former state of war and its consequences have caused, I earnestly trust—and I beg Your Excellency to share this trust—that the occasion may not arise for the Government of the United States to fulfill in a manner painful to the Dominican people its moral obligations and those imposed by the Convention of 1907.

President Nouel.

  1. This passage is the only one making reference to the United States.
  2. For. Rel. 1912, pp. 340 et seq.
  3. For. Rel. 1912, pp. 380 et seq.
  4. For. Rel. 1912, pp. 378379.
  5. See post, p. 419420.