The Minister in the Dominican Republic ( Russell ) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 458

Sir: I have the honor to report that the spirit of banditry in the eastern part of this Republic is still dominant. Our military forces have been very active in the pursuit of the bandits, and the presence of a large number of marines in the infected district has made it more difficult for the bandits to attack as openly as formerly. The topography of the district is so rugged that it is almost impossible for the marines to cover all parts, and just at the points where there are no marines the bandits appear in considerable numbers and [Page 119] pursue their campaign of pillage and murder. There is a great feeling of uncertainty amongst the people and it is not safe to travel without guard.

On May 18th near Hato Mayor a group of bandits, various reports as to number, presumably about 100, attacked a patrol of fifteen marines, and in the encounter one marine was killed. The bandits escaped with a loss of probably a dozen. Information has come to me that on or about May 15th near San Pedro de Macoris a sugar plantation was attacked by the bandits who demanded money—this was refused, and in the firing up that ensued a Haytian cane cutter was killed. At San Isidro plantation, ten miles from this city, an entertainment was given last week, and, as a precautionary measure, a force of twenty marines was sent for protection. At Porvenir sugar estate, on the outskirts of San Pedro de Macoris, an assault was made by bandits last week. It has been reported to me also that an American in charge of Public Works construction near San Pedro de Macoris, has stated that it will be dangerous for him to proceed with his work unless under guard.

I am strongly of the opinion that an efficient Guardia Nacional of Dominicans efficiently officered by Americans and acting as a national police force in co-operation with our marines would be an important factor in putting an end to this lawless condition in the Republic.

I have [etc.]

William W. Russell