839.51/2012

The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy ( Daniels )

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of January 25, 1919, in which you quote a despatch received by you from the Military Governor of Santo Domingo regarding the interpretation of this Government’s consent to the issuance of the 1918 Dominican Bonds, it being the desire of the Governor, as expressed in a prior communication, that such consent should be construed as an extension of the provisions of the Convention of 1907 between the United States and the Dominican Government until both the bonds of the 1918 issue and those of 1908 are fully redeemed. The Governor states that this Department’s action was considered by him as conclusive approval of the issuance of the Executive Order and the Bonds as recommended by him. The action referred to is understood to be that comprehended within this Department’s letter of July 19, 1918, expressing the consent before mentioned, and the Governor requests authority to publish this letter.

In reply I beg to state that the sole question considered by this Department and covered by its letter to you of July 19, 1918, was the request of the Governor for this Government’s consent under Article 3 of the Convention of 1907, to an increase in the public debt of the Dominican Republic. In passing on this general question the Department did not feel called upon to consider the particular form or phraseology of the proposed Executive Order or of [Page 148] the bonds. Naturally, the granting of consent under the terms of the treaty, to an increase of the public debt, could not have the effect of extending the period of the Convention, since any arrangement respecting such extension, or modifications of the provisions of the Convention, would have to be in accordance with the usual formalities in such cases.

With respect to the Governor’s request for permission to publish the Department’s letter of July 19, 1918, I beg to state that if it is the purpose to connect with the publication of the letter comments intended to convey the impression that by giving its consent to the proposed bond issue, this Government had extended the period during which the Convention should continue in force, the Department could not authorize such publication. If, on the other hand, it is desired merely to show that this Government has consented to the increase of the public debt through the bond issue, there would appear to be no objection to publishing the letter.

I have [etc.]

Frank L. Polk