File No. 839.51/1763

Minister Russell to the Secretary of State

No. 106

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith copies and translations of the answers to my two notes to the Council of Ministers in regard to control of all the Dominican finances by the General Receivership of Dominican Customs.

In this connection I have to advise the Department that the General Receiver has appointed Mr. J. H. Edwards to the new post of Controller and Disbursing Agent, and he takes charge on Monday. The control commenced to be effective on the 16th of this month, and no difficulty has been experienced so far in taking over the various branches of the service in connection with this change.

I have [etc.]

William W. Russell
[Inclosure 1—Translation]

The Minister for Foreign Affairs to Minister Russell

No. 146

Mr. Minister: I refer to your excellency’s note of the 5th instant in which you inform me through the Council of Ministers that the Government of the United States, by virtue of the rights granted to it in Article III of the Dominican-American Convention of 1907, will proceed at once to establish control of all Dominican finances, giving provisional charge of that function to the General Receiver of Dominican Customs.

[Page 252]

In my note No. 582, Book B, of December 8, 1915, in answer to your excellency’s No. 14 of November 19 of the same year,12 I stated to your excellency that the Dominican-American Convention does not grant, in Article III nor in any other, the right to create American control of Dominican revenues. This truth was recognized by the Government of the United States when it agreed with a Commission sent by the Dominican Government in suppressing the control which it established in the latter part of the administration of President Bordas.13

The Council of Ministers considers, moreover, that matters of this kind, foreign to administrative routine, should be postponed until the Executive Power recovers its normal aspect in the Republic.

I avail [etc.]

B. Pichardo
[Inclosure 2—Translation]

The Council of Ministers to Minister Russell

Mr. Minister: The Council of Ministers of State acknowledges the receipt of your excellency’s communication No. 64 of the 16th instant, and in reply expresses to you in the most categorical manner its protest against the violation of law implied by the notice your excellency transmits to it to the effect that, beginning today, the General Receivership of Customs has taken charge of the collection of all revenues of the Dominican Government, customs as well as internal, and will begin today to act as Disbursing Agent of the Republic in accordance with the provisions of the current budget.

The Dominican-American Convention of February 1907 expresses clearly the attributes which according to its terms belong to the two high contracting parties, and from its provisions cannot be deduced in any form whatever the right now attributed by the Government of the United States to it as against the Dominican Republic.

The Council of Ministers reiterates in all its terms the note No. 146 of the Department of State of Foreign Relations, dated June 6, 1916, and cannot close this note without expressing to the Minister of the United States the painful surprise which his note No. 64 of to-day has caused it.

With sentiments [etc.]

Jaime Mota

Secretary of Agriculture and Immigration, and temporarily of Interior and Police
J. M. Jimenes

Secretary of Finance and Commerce and temporarily of War and Marine
Federico Velasquez

Secretary of Fomento and Communications
B. Pichardo

Secretary of Foreign Relations, and temporarily of Justice and Public Instruction
  1. Inclosures with Mr. Russell’s No. 30 of Dec. 9, 1915; For. Rel. 1915, p. 332.
  2. Note to Dominican Legation, June 8, 1915, and instruction to Mr. Johnson, June 26, 1915; For. Rel. 1915, pp. 311 and 313.