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


Sir: Referring to your letter of 19 December, 1919, (La 738.3915/201)45 relative to certain confusion which had arisen in connection with the settlement of the boundary line between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, I have the honor to transmit herewith the statement of the Military Governor of Santo Domingo in this connection.

It is requested that the enclosed correspondence be returned when it has served its purpose.

Sincerely yours,

Josephus Daniels

The Military Governor of Santo Domingo (Snowden) to the Secretary of the Navy (Daniels)

1994–19 (2) L–FF

Subject: Action in Matters of International Policy—Haiti-Santo Domingo Boundary Line

1. The undersigned regrets exceedingly that any confusion should have arisen over the settlement of this important question and there is forwarded herewith all correspondence relating thereto (Enclosures (1)–(5) Inc.), with the request that it be referred to the State Department.

2. The history of this matter is as follows:

On July 5, 1919, the undersigned made certain overtures to the President of Haiti in regard to the settlement of the Dominican-Haitian boundary line, proposing that the Governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic appoint a commission to delimit the proper boundary between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the United States Government being asked to appoint the fifth member of this commission and thus prepare a treaty between the two governments [Page 300] for ratification by the proper authorities thereof. Report was made of this action to the Secretary of the Navy and the approval of the State Department of the steps taken was received in a letter from the Secretary of the Navy of August 5, 1919 (Ref. a) included herewith (Encl. 2).45 However, after further study of this matter, and in view of the information brought to light by a report of the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Relations of the Dominican Republic, it was decided that a better solution of this problem will result in its submission to the Pope for arbitration, as this procedure had been previously authorized by the Congress of the Republic based upon approval of the voters of the country, as expressed in a Plebiscite in the year 1895 and that it was submitted to the Pope, but was not settled at that time on account of lack of power being given him. In Reference (b)46 the Military Governor set forth the result of his study in this matter and enclosed a copy of the proposed letter to the Haitian Minister outlining this new proposition. To this letter no reply was received from the Secretary of the Navy or the State Department and it was assumed that the action of the Military Governor in attempting to settle this question had been previously approved by the State Department in Ref. (a).

3. It is considered that the settlement of this boundary line at this time is a matter of paramount importance to the future welfare of both countries concerned, and that the last method of procedure, submission to the Pope, is preferable. Therefore, the approval of the State Department is again requested and also the good offices of the American Minister in Haiti be used to have the Haitian Government accept the proposal of the Dominican Republic.

Thomas Snowden
  1. Now filed under 738.3915/202.
  2. Quotes letter from the Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy, July 31, 1919, p. 295.
  3. Not printed; letter dated Sept. 13, 1919.