File No. 839.00/1843

Admiral Caperton to the Secretary of the Navy

At 10 a.m., May 13, I called upon the United States Minister at the Legation, and after discussing the situation with him, arranged to see, at the Haitian Legation in Santo Domingo City, General Arias and some of the other rebel leaders. There were present at this conference, in addition to the Minister and myself, Commander W. S. Crosley, Lieutenant-Commander William D. Leahy, my Chief of Staff, Mr. Johnson, Secretary of the Legation, General Desiderio Arias, General Mauricio Jiménez, Commandant of the fortress, and Mr. Cesáreo Jiménez. After an extended discussion undertaken with the object of finding an amicable method of supporting the constituted government, I delivered at 11.50 a.m., to General Arias, a written communication signed by the United States Minister and myself, (Inclosure D) which informed him that, if the rebel forces now in the city of Santo Domingo do not disarm and turn over their arms and ammunition to the United States forces by 6 a.m. Monday, May 15, 1916, it is my intention to occupy the city and forcibly disarm the rebels therein. I informed General Arias that my purpose in doing this was only to insure the peaceful performance of the work of the constituted government without fear of armed coercion, and that I would regret very much the necessity for the use of force.

May 14, 1916.

At 9.20 a.m., I received a radio request from the United States Minister to come ashore and see him, as important developments had occurred during the night. I immediately went ashore, landing through the surf, and was informed by the American Minister that General Arias, with other leaders of the rebel forces, had abandoned Santo Domingo City before daylight today, taking with him the rebel soldiers and a number of released convicts from the prison, with small arms and as much ammunition as they could carry.

[Inclosure D]

Minister Russell and Admiral Caperton to General Arias, General Mauricio Jiménez and General Cesádreo Jiménez

Gentlemen: In view of the fact that the armed forces in rebellion against the present constituted authority of the Government of the Dominican Republic are occupying all the military positions of the city of Santo Domingo and are forcibly preventing the constitutional executive representatives of the Dominican Republic from entering the city in safety to take charge of their respective portfolios; and in view of the fact that all efforts to bring about a pacific agreement with those in control of the military power of the city have failed; and in view of the publicly announced policy of the United States of America to support, by force if necessary, the present constituted authority of the Republic;

Therefore, we, the undersigned hereby call upon you to disarm the military force at present in the City of Santo Domingo, to evacuate all fortified positions within the city, and to turn over to the custody of the forces of the United States of America all arms and ammunition now in the city; and we [Page 227] hold each and all of yon responsible for the consequences that may result from a refusal to comply with the terms of this communication.

The demands herein made must be complied with at or before the hour of 6 a.m., May 14, 1916, and must be indicated by the hoisting of white flags on the tower of the fortress and of the municipal building and at other fortified places within the city in such a way as to be plainly visible from the sea and from commanding positions outside the city wall; and we hereby formally demand that in case a disarmament is not made, as above specified, you notify all the civilian population, native and foreign, to leave the city within 24 hours after the day and hour above specified, that is 6 a.m. May 14, 1916, at which time, to wit 6 a.m. May 15, 1916, force will be used to disarm the rebel forces in the city of Santo Domingo and to support the constituted government.

Noncombatants leaving the city by water transportation must keep out of the line of fire of the American warships.

Noncombatants must leave the city via Avenida Bolívar (Santa Ana Road) to or beyond the point where it meets the Carretera del Oeste.

A copy of this communication has been delivered to the representatives of foreign nations and to the President of the City Council (Ayuntamiento).

William W. Russell
American Minister
W. B. Caperton
Rear Admiral,
United states Navy