838.00/1565: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Commission to Negotiate Peace

1193. Your 1170 March 14th, 11 P.M. and your 992 March 2nd, 10 A.M.27

The considerations set forth in your cables have been cabled the American Minister in Haiti and he has been instructed to discuss them at conference of treaty officials.

[Page 329]

The Department is not, however, of the opinion that “gendarmarie has proved its ability to handle almost any situation in the Republic.” On March 15th the Legation in Haiti cabled “During the past three months the number of bandits have increased in the mountains. Steps have been taken to replace the gendarmarie [in towns by marines] in order that the full force of the gendarmarie can be advantageously employed at chasing down the bandits.” If the occupation were replaced by a mere Legation guard it is obvious that the marines could not be used for this purpose and it is probable that banditry would become very serious. Owing to the present situation General Catlin has requested another battalion of marines and General Barnett has informed the Department that this battalion would be sent immediately. Catlin’s telegram reads as follows:

“Request increase Brigade by at least one Battalion of Marines. Bandit band[s] have increased to such an extent that Gendarmes are unable to put them down. Due to lack of work and financial situation making it impracticable to reduce the present garrison, unrest in Port au Prince, Haiti. A number of proclamations posted last night, reviling the United States and President Wilson, and calling on Haiti to drive the invader out. Bandits operating principally in Hinche and Mirebalais, Las Cahobas district. Have sent Marines to Saint Michel, Maissade, Hinche, Thomonde, and Las Cahobas. Will send one more company from Cape Haytien, Haiti to the affected district. This will leave only one company in Cape Haytien. As yet disturbance apparently not political, but it is liable to become so.”

Mr. McIlhenny28 is very doubtful whether the conditions of the proposed protocol29 could be carried out if the occupation should be changed to a Legation guard and martial law abolished. He especially desires that banditry should be kept well in hand in Haiti at this time in order that news of this increase may not prevent a market for Haitian bonds in the United States.

  1. Neither printed; for substance, see telegram of Mar. 20, 6 p.m., to the Minister in Haiti, infra.
  2. John A. McIlhenny, successor of A. T. Ruan as Financial Adviser of the Haitian Government.
  3. Protocol for the establishment of a claims commission and for a loan, signed Oct 3, 1919; see pp. 340 ff.