File No. 838.51/461

The Secretary of State to Minister Blanchard


Your January 6, 5 p.m. Department understands that abolishment of so-called palace guard has been accepted.

In the negotiation of an agreement with the Haitian Commission, for the organization of the gendarmerie, the Department proposed inclusion of provision as follows:

The gendarmerie shall be the sole military and police force of the Republic of Haiti.

Minister Ménos claimed that this would be contrary to the Constitution of Haiti which provides for a personal guard for the President and objected to the words “sole military”. He now states that he received telegraphic instructions from his Government on the sixth instant to accept the wording proposed by the Department provided that there be added thereto “excepting the palace guard which shall not exceed two hundred and fifty men”. He argues that this would make provision conform to Article 175 of the Constitution.

Continuance of the palace guard aside from being an unnecessary extravagance may well prove a source of danger to the Government of Haiti in the future and it would be impossible for the gendarmerie properly to guard the palace or for any member of the gendarmerie to be detached for special duty for personal attendance on the President, if the palace guard were allowed to remain in existence.

You will bring the foregoing discreetly and orally to the attention of President Dartiguenave and point out to him that his personal safety may be at stake and that the Department believes it highly desirable that the following phraseology be accepted by the Commission:

The gendarmerie shall be the sole military and police force of the Republic of Haiti and the personal guard of the President shall be formed from members of the gendarmerie.

This phraseology meets the objection raised by Minister Ménos.

You will suggest to the President that he immediately telegraph the Commissioners to accept the above and you will furnish the Department a copy of the telegram which he may send in that sense. Hasten reply as Department desires to conclude matter with Commissioners Monday next.