The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy (Daniels)
Sir: I have the honor to refer to the communication addressed to you by the Secretary of State on November 27,18 last, enclosing a copy of a letter addressed to him by the President dated November 15, in which the President instructed the Secretary of State to make the necessary announcement and prepare the method of fulfilling our assurances to the Dominican people that the Government of the United States was prepared to take at once the first steps towards returning to them the governmental control which has been exercised by the United States since 1916, and to your reply dated November 20 , 1920.19
In order that the announcement of the purposes of the United States may be favorably received in Santo Domingo, and in order that the Commission, whose appointment is referred to in the Proclamation to be issued by the Military Government, may count upon popular support, I have the honor to inform you that the Department considers that the Provost Courts, now functioning throughout the Dominican Republic, should be abolished at once in order that all cases which are now brought before them may in the future be handled by the Dominican courts.
It is likewise the desire of the Department that Executive Order No. 385,20 issued by the Military Governor, restricting the liberty of the press and the right of free speech, be cancelled. The Department considers it of the highest importance that this form of censorship imposed upon the Dominican people by the Military Government be withdrawn as soon as the Commission above referred to commences its duties. In this connection the Department believes that the effect upon public opinion in Santo Domingo would be excellent if the sentences imposed upon certain journalists in the Dominican Republic found guilty, after trial by court-martial, of violating the provisions of Executive Order No. 385, which were later suspended in accordance with your instructions, were at once remitted by decree of the Military Governor.
Upon further consideration the Department has reached the conclusion that it would be advisable to limit the number of the members of the Commission, mentioned in the second paragraph of the Proclamation to be issued by Admiral Snowden, to nine.[Page 148]
The Department is likewise of the opinion that since certain of the members of the Dominican Senate elected in 1914, which it was suggested might as a body form the Commission above referred to, have not the necessary experience or qualifications to undertake the important duties which will be entrusted to the Commission, it would be well to appoint to the Commission only such among the Senators as are properly qualified for these functions. The Department believes that the Commission might well be composed of the following representative Dominicans, of which three were elected to the Dominican Senate in 1913:
- Monsenor Adolfo Alejandro Nouel, Archbishop of Santo Domingo, and ex-President of the Republic.
- Doctor Francisco J. Peynado, former Minister of Finance.
- Don Federico Velasquez y Hernandez, former Minister of Finance.
- Doctor Jacinto R. de Castro, former Senator.
- Doctor Enrique Jimenez, former Minister of the Interior.
- Doctor Emilio Prud’homme, former Minister of Justice.
- Doctor Rafael J. Castillo, former Senator, and actual [present] President of the Supreme Court.
- Don Mario Fermin Cabral, former Senator.
- Don Emilio Tejera, son of Don Emiljano Tejera, and representative of the Legalista Party.
The Department would be glad if the above list were referred to the Military Governor for such comment or recommendations as he may care to offer.
I have [etc.]