File No. 838.111/125.
The American Minister to the Secretary of State.
Port au Prince, May 29, 1913.
Sir: In further reference to my No. 1208 of April 10th last, wherein I spoke of the attitude of the Auguste administration towards those of Syrian origin, I have the honor to inform the Department that I recently had a talk with President Oreste on the same question.
[The] President said that as senator and private citizen he was opposed to the attitude of the Leconte and Auguste administrations relative to the Syrian question; that he believed that all those of Syrian origin, whatever their nationality or position in life, who were in Haiti prior to the promulgation of the Syrian Exclusion Law should have been allowed to remain unmolested in Haiti. He said that he realized then as now that from an economic standpoint it was a bad move to have expelled them, as the Syrian stores were beneficial to the masses in that their prices and terms were more reasonable than the Haitian stores. He reminded me that he had been attorney for some Haitians and others of Syrian origin and had gained licenses for them through the courts, though afterwards these persons were so persecuted that they had voluntarily left Haiti.
President Oreste assured me that under his administration such persons of Syrian origin as are in Haiti can count upon having full protection of their rights and that the Syrian campaign is at an end. He said, however, that he could not permit to return those who were expelled from Haiti by his predecessors as that might bring on disorders.
Yesterday when in conference with Secretary of Foreign Relations Mathon on another matter, he spoke of having received from Minister Ménos the Department’s aide memoire relative to the Syrian question. Mr. Mathon assured me that there would be no ground for complaint from the present administration. He stated that even the Haitian of Syrian origin would be unmolested; in other words, that the anti-Syrian campaign is at an end. I thanked him for the information and told him I would communicate it to my Government. I stated that my Government was determined to protect its citizens and would be pleased to know that its citizens could dwell in Haiti without being persecuted or subjected to annoyances by minor officials.
I have [etc.]