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

No. 496

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of a proposed letter from the Military Government to the Haitian Government, through the Haitian Minister here, in regard to a definite settlement of the boundary between the Republics of Santo Domingo and Haiti. The proposed letter will not be sent until the Department of State approves, and if this approval is obtained, it is the desire of the Department of Foreign Relations that the American Minister in Haiti be informed, and instructed to use his influence to have the Haitian Government accept the proposal from the Dominican Government.

I have [etc.]

William W. Russell

Draft of Proposed Note from the Official in Chargé of the Dominican Department of Foreign Affairs to the Haitian Minister in the Dominican Republic41

Sir: I find that for a long time the question of the location of the boundary line between Haiti and Santo Domingo has been a fountain of distrust and disorder between the two countries, whose common interests should produce only friendship and kindness. It is certain that if this question is not settled it will lead to misfortune, extending perhaps at some future day to armed conflict between the two peoples.

This seems to be a favorable time to undertake the settlement of the boundary, which, taking for granted the good will of the two countries, should be very easy. I find fortunately that on June 1st and June 2d, 1895, that there was a plebiscite by the Dominican people, authorizing the submission of Article 4 of the treaty of 1874 to the arbitration of the Pope, and other things which seem to be exactly suited to the purpose I have in mind.

The proposition is to submit to the Pope, if he will consent to act as arbitrator, the question of the interpretation of the said Article 4, together with all other questions arising thereunder for the determination, location, and establishment of a permanent boundary line. [Page 297] The arbitrator should be empowered to make all rules and provisions of every kind, and settle every question whatsoever of uti poseditis [sic], statu quo, or any other points arising.

The treaty could be very short, only a few brief articles being necessary, which would lodge every possible power of decision in the hands of the arbitrator. In this way every conceivable difference of opinion could be brought to a practicable settlement, and generations unborn would reap a great benefit.

I submit this idea for transmission to your Government, in the hope that there may be initiated a movement which will remove this ancient source of conflict between the two countries.

I take [etc.]

For the Department of Foreign Relations:
Rufus H. Lane

Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps
  1. The note was sent Dec. 22, 1919.