File No. 839.51/1567.

The Special Dominican Commissioners to the Department of State.



Respecting the customs service employees, the Dominican Government understands that the treaty now existing between the Dominican Republic and the United States of America does now restrict, cannot restrict nor has it at any time restricted the power which the President of the Dominican Republic holds, by virtue of the Constitution and other laws of the country, to appoint customs inspectors and other employees of the same service, independently of the general receiver and of the employees of the receivership, whose appointments are by the treaty made by the President of the United States.

This point was definitely settled by the Dominican Congress in approving the Dominican-American Convention of February 8, 1907, and understood in the same sense by the American Government, as shown and confirmed in the letter of the Honorable Secretary of State, Mr. Root, to the Dominican Minister in Washington, dated May 24, 1907.7

Upon assuming his office, Mr. W. E. Pulliam, the first general receiver of customs, appointed by virtue of the convention of February 8, 1907, believed, as at present Mr. Baxter believes, that he could object to the appointment of inspectors and other employees nominated by the President of the Dominican Republic, and after much discussion on the subject in Santo Domingo, he returned to the United States with the intention of clearing up the question, taking advantage, of the presence in Washington of the then Secretary of the Treasury, Señor Velazquez. In the office of Mr. Root and jointly [Page 310]with him, the matter was discussed by Mr. Pulliam, and the judgment of the Dominican Government was again confirmed in this respect, in the sense that being to the best interests of the Dominican Government to obtain and assure the best assistance in its customs service, both parties, the Government itself as well as the general receivership, should endeavor to maintain the most complete harmony among the employees, and if at any time it should happen that any one of the employees appointed by the Dominican Government should prove incompetent for the post to which he has been nominated the general receiver may, through the Secretary of the Treasury, request the Dominican Government to remove such employee and obtain such removal and in a like manner the Dominican Government may request of the general receivership the removal of any of its employees who may prove incompetent and a detriment to the service.

This decision has been maintained firmly, with no thought of modifying it in any respect until now, since the arrival of Mr. Baxter in Santo Domingo, the decision given by the Honorable Secretary Root having obtained on the two or three occasions which had to do with the removal of employees. That this judgment always has prevailed is confirmed by the fact that nothing to the contrary is to be found in the files of the offices of either country from the beginning of the carrying out of the treaty up to the present date, but certain reports in its favor are to be found from the general receivership.

The Dominican Government being interested in the establishment of an excellent customs service in the country has not attempted at any time, in its desire to effect certain removals from the service, to exchange a competent personnel for an incompetent, but merely to replace competent employees, openly disaffected and hostile to the present administration by those others of absolute honesty and competency who are friendly, or not hostile to the administration. As the predominant interest of both Governments is to obtain an efficient customs service, the Dominican Government, in whose name the commission is authorized to speak, can not see why there should be any difference between its judgment and that of the American Government in this respect.

In the Dominican Republic up to the present date, there is no law whatsoever establishing the civil service; but in all pertaining to the employees of the customs service there has always been a tendency on the part of the Dominican administration to effect as few changes as possible, which has resulted in the fact that to-day the greater portion of the customs employees in active service have been many years so engaged.

The Dominican Government sincerely hopes that the judgment which has always prevailed respecting the appointment of customs employees, may be maintained.