The Minister in the Dominican Republic (Russell) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 21.]
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that, in accordance with your instructions of February 10, the following political leaders and representative Dominicans were invited to a conference with the Military Governor and myself. The conference took place in the Palace of the Archbishop on February 23rd, the following being invited: Archbishop Noüel; General Horacio Vasquez; Federico Velasquez; Enrique Jimenez; Dr. Ramón Baez (ex-President); Francisco J. Peynado; José M. Cabral y Baez (ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs); Rafael J. Castillo (President Supreme Court); Tulio M. Cestero; Jacinto R. de Castro; Manuel de J. Troncoso de la Concha; Juan Fco. Sanchez (Civil Gov. Santo Domingo Province); Manuel de J. Lluveres (Sub-Secretary of Interior).
The Archbishop did not attend on account of the delicate state of his health. Dr. Henriquez y Carvajal11 is absent in Cuba, but was represented by Tulio Cestero. Dr. Ramón Baez excused himself on account of professional duties.
I am enclosing herewith a copy of the statement that was given to each one of those present, and also a copy of their reply.
It seemed that all of those attending the conference came with their minds made up to accept nothing, as very little attention was paid to our statement, and nothing whatever was said in regard to the financial [Page 14]plan that accompanied the statement. The main objection was the question of the Legation guard in place of the military commission, as it was stated that this matter of having foreign forces in Dominican territory would bring about a condition similar to that in Nicaragua, and that a continuance of the occupation for a hundred years would be preferable. The Admiral and I stated that we would like every one to study the statement very carefully for a few days, and that we would be glad to have another conference for further discussion. That same afternoon those who attended the conference held a meeting and drafted and signed the reply as enclosed. This reply was printed in the Listin Diario, and the signers were all characterized as heroes, and this seems to have ended the matter. The general opinion is that the leaders, not wishing to assume responsibility for anything, and to avoid attack in the press, preferred to allow matters to remain as they are for two years longer; and that the question of permanent financing is very acceptable, but the responsibility therefor has been evaded.
It is quite evident that the leaders and representative Dominicans, and through them the people, will never accept anything in the nature of the military mission, nor anything similar to it. The press has been notably mild, and there has been less agitation than for many months. …
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I have [etc.]