838.00/1787

The Haitian Minister ( Blanchet ) to the Secretary of State

[Translation14]

The Minister of Haiti presents his compliments to His Excellency the Secretary of State, and has the honor, in compliance with his Government’s instructions, to deliver to him the following note:

“The Haitian Government deems it its most imperative duty to remind the Government of the United States, as the presidential term is nearing its end, of a few provisions in the Constitution of the Republic voted by a plebiscite on June 12, 1918, and to apply for its cooperation in the measures to be taken for their enforcement so that no infringement will be made of the main object of the convention of September 16, 1915, which is to maintain order and tranquillity in the territory of the Republic.

“Articles 40, 41, 42, 43, and 44 of the Constitution map out the rule of the National Assembly. It is the National Assembly which, among other functions, elects the President of the Republic and administers to him the Constitutional oath.

“Article C of the provisional clauses of the Constitution reads:

‘The first election of members of the legislative body after the adoption of the present Constitution shall take place on January 10 of an even-numbered year.

‘The year shall be fixed by a decree of the President of the Republic published at least three months before the meeting of the primary assemblies.’

“In October 1919, the President of the Republic did not deem it necessary to avail himself of the right conferred upon him by the second paragraph of that article. He did not consider the moment to be favorable, as public opinion was too divided.

[Page 200]

“Is it necessary to recall that on the day after the convention was voted on, the legislative chambers, because of their hostile attitude, were dissolved, and that those elected in January 1917 showed such obstructive apathy in their opposition to the enforcement of the convention that they had the same fate two months after they had met?

“It is needless to say that those measures were not provided by the Constitution of 1889 then in force, and that they were imposed by circumstances.

“Since then, under the authority of the Constitution, a Council of State, consisting of 21 members, has been exercising the legislative power.

“At the present time, although public opinion is still divided—perhaps more so—the President of the Republic should apply the rules laid down by the Constitution, by fixing the date of the forthcoming elections at January 10, 1922, if no cloud arises to darken the political horizon and threaten order in the country.

“But in order to facilitate a loyal execution of the convention, it is important to have a legislative body composed of men animated by the desire to effect a peaceful transfer of power, and not of professional politicians who afford no guarantee of morality or patriotism.

“On that account the Government must not and may not stand aloof from the election. It is a sacred duty entailed upon it to assist by honest means the candidates whom it believes apt to promote the welfare of the nation. There must be no impediment to its action as there was in the elections of January 10, 1917, and its best friends, who are also the best friends of the Government of the United States, must not be systematically ignored and opposed by the ill-informed American occupation.

“The Haitian Government therefore calls upon the Government of the United States for its earnest cooperation in the legislative elections. To its mind that cooperation must consist in joint action looking to happy results for the country, that of the Haitian Government consisting in giving by every means at its disposal aid and comfort to the candidates whom it may deem worthy of election; that of the Government of the United States, in guaranteeing order and, so far as it may be in its power, supporting those candidates.

“That policy of cooperation will end in endowing the country with legislative chambers equal to their mission, the main attribute of which is to make the Haitian Nation great and prosperous.

“Port au Prince, June 10, 1921.”

A. Blanchet

  1. File translation revised.