The Secretary of State to the Minister in Haiti (Bailly-Blanchard)

No. 431

Sir: The Department acknowledges receipt of your despatch No. 521 of July 15, 1921,15 forwarding a copy of a note received by you from the Foreign Office, dated June 10, 1921, regarding the legislative [Page 202] elections in Haiti in 1922, the original of which was received by the Department on July 2, from the Haitian Minister in Washington. The Department transmits herewith, for your information, a copy of its reply to the note of the Haitian Government above referred to, the original of which has been delivered to the Haitian Minister here.16

The views of the Department regarding the request of the Haitian Government to cooperate with it in securing the election of candidates to the National Legislature satisfactory to the Haitian Government are clearly expressed in its communication to the Haitian Government.

If the President of Haiti, therefore, feels it essential that Legislative elections be held on January 10, 1922, this Government, while assisting the Haitian Government to maintain order, will insist that no undue influence be exerted by the Haitian Executive to control the results of those elections. The Department recognizes the fact that present conditions in Haiti would render it improbable that any truly free elections could be held, because of the ignorance and illiteracy of the majority of the voters. It is likewise regretfully forced to the conclusion that the results of the Legislative elections, if held without the exertion of undue influence by the Haitian Executive, would probably result in the election of a National Legislature largely anti-American in sentiment. It appreciates the fact that the election of such a Legislature would render more difficult the efforts of the Government of the United States to cooperate with the Government of Haiti in pursuing a constructive policy contemplating rapid improvement in the economic and political life of the Republic.

Because of these considerations, the Department has not considered it necessary to advise the President of Haiti to decree the holding of Legislative elections on January 10, 1922, as he is authorized to do by the Constitution. In view of the special conditions now obtaining in Haiti, the Department would interpose no objection should the President of Haiti determine to abstain once more from holding the elections for the National Legislature, and thus permit the election of his successor to be undertaken by the Council of State, as it is authorized to do, in the event that no Legislative Body exists, by the transitory provisions of the present Constitution. You may so inform the President of Haiti after he has received the Department’s reply to the note addressed to it by the Haitian Government under date of June 10.

I am [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes
  1. Not printed.
  2. Supra.