The Minister in the Dominican Republic (Russell) to the Secretary of State

No. 768

Sir: I have the honor to refer generally to the subject of political conditions in the Dominican Republic and in particular to my telegrams No. 19 of April 24 [25], 5 p.m., and No. 22 of May 26, 5 p.m., 1922,18 relative to the contemplated visit of Mr. Federico Velasquez19 and Mr. Jacinto de Castro20 to Washington to discuss disoccupation, and in that connection to transmit herewith, for the information of the Department, a copy of notes on a conference held June 3rd between the above named political leaders and the Military Governor and myself.

I have [etc.]

William W. Russell

Notes on a Conference of the Military Governor (Robison) and the American Minister (Russell) with Federico Velasquez and Jacinto de Castro, June 3, 1922

At the request of Mr. Velasquez and Mr. de Castro the Military Governor and the American Minister held a conference with them in the office of the Military Governor on Saturday, June 3, 1922, in regard to the trip which they intend making to the United States for the purpose of reaching an agreement with the State Department as to the terms and method of dis-occupation of the Dominican Republic, Mr. Velasquez and Mr. de Castro expressed opinions on different subjects pertaining to the disoccupation as follows:

Ratification and validation of the acts of the Military Government—That they interpreted this to mean ratification and validation only of those acts of the Military Government done for and in the name of the Dominican Republic, and not the acts of the Forces of Occupation performed for and in the name of the United States Government. They wished to know, however, which government would be responsible for any damages to foreign subjects that may have been incurred by the acts of the Military Government for the Dominican Republic, and were told that this would be a matter to be settled in the negotiations of the United States and the Dominican plenipotentiaries prior to the disoccupation, and they agreed that this was the best procedure.
Holding of Elections—That elections should be held under convocatory order of the Military Governor under the present election law, with such minor changes as may be found necessary and desirable, one desirable change being the inclusion of a prior registration requirement for voters. They stated their objection to the holding of elections under any of the several plans formulated by various Dominicans and bodies of Dominicans, such as under convocatory order of the Supreme Court or by a restoration party in accordance with the Plan of Puerto Plata, such bodies not being authorized by law to hold elections, and requiring either a change in the constitution or an Executive Order of the Military Government clothing them with the power, and a further objection that these bodies could not properly control the public forces necessary for the holding of a fair and orderly election.
Plan of Puerto Plata21—That neither of them were in accord with this plan and did not consider it practical, and that no one of the principal party leaders now subscribed to this plan.
Method of announcing agreement on the part of political party leaders to go to elections—That this announcement should be made by proclamation of the Military Governor, stating in simple form the basis of the agreement which the party leaders had reached with the United States Government.
Form of cooperation of party leaders in the organization and training of the P[olicia] N[acional] D[ominicana]—That this cooperation be given by them as party leaders and responsible citizens, both privately and publicly, and that it was not necessary for them to hold any government office in order to render efficient cooperation in this matter.

When questioned as to the length of time before they considered that all the Forces of Occupation could be withdrawn and asked for an intimation as to how they proposed to meet the announced requirements of the United States Government in this country, Mr. de Castro outlined his tentative plan as follows:
An agreement being reached with the United States Government, preparations for elections, the holding of elections for both houses of congress and a president, and the installation of a properly constituted Dominican Government, could be accomplished not prior to February 1, 1923.
An agreement once reached, the party leaders would assist the organization of the P. N. D. by supplying the best officer material in the Republic, and that these and the other officers already trained would furnish a nucleus for further training under a Dominican Government without need of further instruction of American Officers.
That the President-elect be installed in office one month after his election, as required by the constitution; his election and installation into office being under the agreement of the party leaders with the United States Government, so that after his taking of the oath of office, both he and the congress of the Dominican Republic would be bound to make such a treaty with the United States Government as outlined in the said agreement.
The Military Governor pointed out that the presence of a Military Governor and a President of the Republic in office would be conductive to friction. Mr. de Castro did not agree, but made no satisfactory explanation of how this difficulty could be avoided. The Military Governor further pointed out that, under the plans outlined by Mr. de Castro, sufficient training for the P. N. D. would not be insured, and that this would not meet the requirement of the United States Government that the P. N. D. be left in such state that peace and good order would be guaranteed. He further urged that the party leaders make some provision in this respect to meet the requirement of the United States Government that this national police force be properly organized and trained, either before or after the disoccupation. Both Mr. de Castro and Mr. Velasquez saw no personal objection to the Dominican President asking for American Officer instructors after his installation into office, but were of the opinion that, as public opinion was so firm against any form of military mission, that such action on the part of a Dominican President would be out of the question. In this respect Mr. Velasquez showed some inclination to compromise, and it is believed that he has some proposed solution which he does not care to announce at this time.
As to the time of the departure of these two gentlemen for the United States, Mr. Velasquez stated that he was ready to go any time and would probably leave on Monday, June 5th, or Wednesday, June 7th. However, Mr. de Castro stated that he had encountered certain difficulties, a difference of opinion in his party and pressure of legal business, and that he was not certain of the exact date of his departure. Mr. de Castro further stated that in order to strengthen his position in Washington, particularly in the eyes of Dominicans, and to avoid criticism of his acts and resulting dissension in his party, he considered it advisable for the chief of his party, General H. Vasquez, to accompany him to Washington, and that General Vasquez had agreed, but also that the exact date of his departure could not be stated.
Both of these Gentlemen are firm in their intention of proceeding to the United States and effecting an agreement with the United States Government, and even though their departure may be delayed, it is believed that they will carry out their intentions unless some unforseen events transpire. It may be probable that, as Mr. Velasquez is [Page 25] now ready, he may proceed to the United States and there await the later arrival of Mr. de Castro and General Vasquez.
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Leader of the Progresista (or Velasquista) party.
  3. A leader of the Nacional (formerly Horacista) party.
  4. A conference of chiefs of Dominican parties at the city of Puerto Plata on Dec. 9, 1921, repudiated the right of the United States to intervene in Dominican affairs and rejected the proposals made in the Proclamation of June 14, 1921. The conference provided for a Committee of Restoration to act as the representative of the Dominican people, particularly in the conduct of elections (file no. 839.00/2678).