839.00/2653

Mr. Sumner Welles23 to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: The two Dominican political leaders, General Vasquez and Señor Velasquez, leaders respectively of the Horacista and Velasquista parties, stated in the course of their first interview that they agreed entirely with the plan of evacuation already outlined by Dr. Peynado24 and with the supporting statements made by him to you.

This plan, as recapitulated to me by Dr. Peynado, appears to be as follows:—

1.
Election by the party leaders of a Provisional President, and previous agreement between the leaders as to the members of the Cabinet to be appointed by the Provisional President. Upon the installation of the Provisional Government, the Military Government is to cease, and the Military Governor and the military force under him, while remaining in the Republic during the life of the Provisional Government, are to limit their duties to acting as a reserve force to be used only in the event of the most serious disorder. The Provisional Government will assume control of the Guardia Nacional, and the Party leaders will use their personal influence to see that it is maintained at the highest standard of efficiency possible. [Page 26]In brief, the Provisional Government will assume the entire administration of the Republic.
2.
The Provisional President will promulgate new laws (which are already prepared) relative to the holding of elections, and the reorganization of the existing forms of Government in the Provinces and Municipalities (Ayuntamientos).
3.
The Provisional President will convoke the Primary Assemblies in accordance with the provisions of the new election law and these Assemblies shall proceed to elect the electors as prescribed by Article 84, Paragraph 1, of the existing Constitution.
4.
The electoral college thus elected by the Primary Assemblies shall proceed to elect members of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies.
5.
Congress will vote necessary reforms in the Constitution and will call for the election of a Constitutional Assembly (Constituyenta) elected by direct vote of the people, to which the suggested reforms to the Constitution will be submitted and by which these reforms will be amended or approved.
6.
The Electoral Colleges will then proceed to elect the President of the Republic and other members of the Executive Power, and the Provisional Government will thereupon cease.
7.
Immediately after taking office, the President will appoint plenipotentiaries to negotiate a Convention of Evacuation with the United States. Upon the satisfaction [ratification?] of this Convention, the military forces of the United States will immediately leave the Dominican Republic.

In my opinion, there are two very grave objections to this proposed plan. The objections which occur to me are as follows:

I. According to General Vasquez and Senor Velasquez, they themselves control a majority of the voters in the Dominican Republic, and any Provisional President upon whom they agree, would represent the majority of the Dominican people. They declare, however, that in addition, the leaders of the Unionista Party are in accord with their views, and that any Provisional President upon whom the Unionista, Horacista and Velasquista parties agreed, would, without any doubt at all, be agreeable to the great majority of the Dominicans. They state that if this Government is not satisfied with their assurances as to their political strength, they are willing to have the Provisional President be elected by a majority vote of a committee composed of representatives of the three parties above named, and of the Nacionalistas, under which name they class all those opposed to these three political parties. The leader of the so-called Nacionalistas is presumably Dr. Henriquez y Carvajal.

It does not seem to me that this Government can consent to this proposed arrangement without the most careful previous investigation. I, personally, do not believe that the political strength of these gentlemen is as great as they appear to believe, and it would, in my belief, be a serious error to permit the Provisional President, who can control the subsequent elections, to be placed in power by a group which may represent only a minority of the Dominican people. A satisfactory investigation of this aspect of the situation can only be [Page 27]made by a duly authorized representative of this Government in the Dominican Republic.

Furthermore, I do not feel that the Military Government can safely go out of being until this Government is advised that the new Dominican Government will positively ratify the Convention of Evacuation, upon which this Government must insist.

After consideration, it is my opinion that the following plan, which contains many of the features of the plan suggested by Dr. Peynado, is one which might be satisfactory to this Government, and which should represent the extreme limit of the concessions which the Department could admit.

1.
Ascertainment by this Government of the exact political situation in the Dominican Republic and determination as to whether an agreement can, in fact, be reached between political leaders representing a majority of the electorate upon a Provisional Government.
2.
If satisfactory information upon this point can be obtained, announcement by the Military Government that a Provisional Government will be installed (for the purpose of promulgating certain legislation, for the purpose of enabling the Dominican people to make such amendments to the Constitution as they may see fit, and for the purpose of holding general elections without the intervention of the Military Government), to which such administrative powers as may be necessary for the above specified purposes will be delegated by the Military Government.
3.
Selection by the Political leaders of a Provisional President and Cabinet. Upon the installation of the Provisional Government, the various Executive Departments will be turned over to the several Ministers so selected. The personnel of the Departments will not be changed except with the consent of the Military Governor, and the officials in charge of the Ministries during the Military Government will remain as advisers to the Ministers of the Provisional Government. (It is probable that it would be advisable to make the countersignature of the Military Governor’s representative in the Treasury Department on orders of the Minister of the Treasury necessary before such orders became effective.) As soon as the Provisional Government is installed, the Military Governor will turn over to the Provisional President the National Palace, and, at the same time, all the Military Forces of the United States in the Republic will be concentrated in one or two cantonments, as the Navy Department may determine. From that time on local order will be maintained solely by the Dominican Guardia Nacional.
4.
The Provisional President will promulgate new laws (which are already prepared) relative to the holding of elections, and the reorganization of the existing forms of Government in the Provinces and Municipalities (Ayuntamientos).
5.
The Provisional President will convoke the Primary Assemblies in accordance with the provisions of the new election law and these Assemblies shall proceed to elect the electors as prescribed by Article 84, Paragraph 1, of the existing Constitution.25
6.
The Electoral College thus elected by the Primary Assemblies shall proceed to elect members of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies.
7.
Congress will vote necessary reforms in the Constitution and will call for the election of a Constitutional Assembly (Constituyenta) elected by direct vote of the people, to which the suggested reforms to the Constitution will be submitted and by which these reforms will be amended or approved.
8.
The Provisional President will appoint plenipotentiaries to draw up a Convention of Evacuation with the United States. This Convention will thereupon be submitted by the Provisional President to the Congress by which the Convention will be approved. (Paragraph 17, Article 35, Section I, Title VI, Dominican Constitution).
9.
The Electoral Colleges will then proceed to elect the President of the Republic and other members of the Executive Power, and upon his inauguration, the Provisional Government will cease.
10.
Immediately after taking office, the President will sign the Convention of Evacuation approved by the Congress. Thereupon the Military Government will terminate, and the Military forces of the United States will at once leave the Dominican Republic.
Welles
  1. Mr. Welles resigned on Mar. 15, 1922, as Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs. On May 31 he was summoned to Washington to assist in the conferences between the Department and the Dominican Representatives.
  2. Francisco J. Peynado, formerly Dominican Minister in the United States, had come to Washington in March to confer with the Secretary on the program of evacuation. He did not represent any political faction.
  3. For the text of the Constitution, see Foreign Relations, 1908, p. 260.