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

Sir: By despatch dated August 20 last, the American Minister at Santo Domingo conveyed to this Department a copy of a proposed letter from the Military Government of Santo Domingo to the Haitian Government in regard to a definite settlement of the boundary between the Republics of Santo Domingo and Haiti. This proposed letter, according to despatch from Santo Domingo, was sent to the Department of State for its approval, with the request that in the event of the Department of State giving its approval to the plan outlined in the proposed letter, that the Department instruct the American Minister in Haiti to use his influence to have the Haitian Government accept the proposal from the Dominican Government. The despatch enclosing the proposed letter was received on the ninth of September,42 and under date of September 11, the Department informed the American Minister in Haiti as to this proposed plan for a definite settlement of the boundary between the two Republics, and instructed him to use his good offices with the Government of Haiti to induce it to accept this proposal.43

According to a despatch dated November 10,44 from the American Minister in Haiti, replying to the Department’s instruction, the proposed plan is not in accordance with the preliminary arrangements made by the American Minister in Haiti and Admiral Snowden with the President of Haiti at the time of Admiral Snowden’s recent visit there. The plan considered and discussed during Admiral Snowden’s visit to Haiti was for the formation of a commission, composed of two Haitians, two Dominicans, and the Government of the United States as umpire, whereas the plan outlined in the proposed letter provided for the submission of the difference between the two countries to the Pope for arbitration in pursuance of the treaty of 1895 between the two Republics. As the question becomes somewhat confused by the introduction of more than one [Page 299] plan and as the State Department should normally have cognizance of matters which arise between foreign countries, I venture to suggest that it would seem advisable for the Military Governor of Santo Domingo, before taking action on matters of international policy, to present them to the Department of State for its advice and approval.

I have [etc.]

Robert Lansing
  1. Received in the Department of State Sept. 8, 1919; received in the Division of Latin American Affairs Sept. 9.
  2. Instruction not printed.
  3. Not printed.