File No. 711.38/24.
Chargé Davis to the Secretary of State.
Port au Prince, August 23, 1915—4 p.m.
Having seen that the Haitian Government did not seem disposed to act promptly, I informed the Government on Saturday [August 21] that I hoped to be advised on or before August 25 of the passage of a resolution by the Chambers authorizing the President to conclude, without modification, a treaty in accordance with submitted draft; and reminded them once more that under my instructions passage of such resolution was a condition precedent to treaty negotiations.
At noon Minister of Foreign Affairs himself delivered a note in reply and said that he begged to state officially that should the United States insist upon other action than that which the Government had expressed itself in the note as willing to perform, the [Page 437]President and Cabinet would be forced to resign. In the note the Government says, after expressing its great desire to enter into an arrangement with the United States, “it holds itself at the disposition of your Government to commence pourparlers”; and further: “Anxious to avoid all difficulties which would be of a nature to alter the good relations which exist between Haiti and the United States, the Haitian Government would be disposed, since the United States insists upon it, to suggest to the Legislative Chambers the vote of a resolution expressing the desire to see the President of the Republic Conclude a convention with the United States to the best reciprocal interests of the two countries.”
The difficulty rests upon the expression “without modification” as given in my instructions. In the opinion based on what I have been able to learn through unofficial channels, it is the hope of the Government to begin pourparlers to the end that customs control may be avoided.
Even should the Government make good its statement as to resignation, in view of all the circumstances as one sees them here, I believe it will be highly detrimental to a satisfactory and permanent settlement of the question if any concession be made at this time since none of the conditions imposed can be omitted without endangering the efficacy of the entire plan.
Unless I receive instructions to the contrary, I shall continue to use my best efforts to have treaty signed under the conditions of my original instructions.