839.00/2561: Telegram

The Commissioner in the Dominican Republic (Welles) to the Secretary of State

5. I returned last night with the American Minister from a tour which included visits to Bonao, Moca, La Vega, San Francisco de Macoris, Navarette, Puerto Plata, Monte Christi and Santiago. These towns with Santo Domingo are the only towns of importance in provinces which contain approximately 650,000 of the Republic’s 900,000 inhabitants. In all of the cities mentioned I have spoken personally with from 25 to 50 of the leading citizens both those with party affiliations and independents asking them their opinion as to the sentiment of the people regarding the Department’s plan. Moreover in every city crowds of from 2,000 to a few hundreds, varying in accordance with the number of inhabitants, met me to signify their general approval of the plan and asking in some cases through spokesmen that one or two of the provisions of the plan be clarified. I consequently felt it desirable in certain of my responses to the public addresses of welcome to make quite plain the Department’s intentions in regard to such provisions namely that ratification of certain of the Executive and departmental orders issued by the Military Government did not imply that such orders must remain eternally immutable and the continued existence of the Military Government during the life of the Provisional Government did not mean that the latter would not in fact have all the necessary administrative powers to carry out freely without any control from the former, the purposes for which it was installed.

After the personal investigation which I have been enabled to effect in the cities above referred to and after a review of the authoritative information received regarding the localities which I have not visited my estimate of the situation is as follows:

At the present time the overwhelming majority of the Dominican people is in favor of the Department’s program. The only cities where there is real opposition to it are Santo Domingo and Santiago. In both cases this opposition centers around extremist agitators who oppose the plan for the sake of prominence which such notoriety will give them. In no instance have these extremists at present any following.
The only political parties organized at present in the Republic are the Partido Nacional Restaurador headed by General Vasquez, the Partido Progresista headed by Señor Velasquez and the two wings of the old Jimenista party known as the Partido Liberal and the Partido Unionista headed respectively by Dr. Baez and Señor Enrique Jiminez. A very small percentage of the voters not definitely affiliated with one of these parties either supports the opposition assumed by Dr. Henriquez y Carvajal or supports Dr. Peynado [Page 39] who has begun to create a considerable personal following. In country districts, the people are almost entirely illiterate and vote in accordance with instructions which they may receive from the local bosses who are without exception affiliated with one of the major parties. The four Dominicans therefore who signed the agreement in Washington represent without question the immense majority of the electoral vote in the Dominican Republic.

I have therefore to make the following recommendations:

That the committee to select the members of the Provisional Government be finally composed as follows: General Vasquez, representative of the Partido Nacional; Señor Velasquez, representative of the Partido Progresista; Señor Brache, representative of the Partido Liberal and of the Partido Unionista; Monseigneur Nouel, Archbishop of Santo Domingo, and as such bringing to bear in support of the plan the great influence of the church in this country as well as his own personal prestige; and Dr. Peynado, representative of the independent votes.
That I be authorized to publish officially and in a manner and at a time to be left to my discretion, the Department’s program as signed in Washington.

I request this authorization because of the fact that while I believe it desirable to postpone publication of the plan until such time as the work of compiling the Executive and departmental orders and contracts requiring ratification had been completed in order that they might be published by number in the plan, I am advised by the Military Governor that very little of the work required has been completed and that anywhere from two weeks or a month’s time may elapse before the task [sic]. The opponents of the plan are making much of the fact that its text has not been made public also that many important features have been concealed and it is possible that if publication is much longer delayed opposition may grow to a dangerous extent. If I ascertain this to be the case I desire authority to make the plan public before the compilation of the Executive orders, etc., is completed since the nature of such orders and contracts as require ratification is clearly set forth in the draft convention contained in the plan.

My recommendations are concurred in by the American Minister.

I beg to request approval by cable of these recommendations.