Memorandum by Mr. Orme Wilson of the Division of Latin American Affairs

At the request of Mr. White83 I informed Mr. Ariza84 that the Department felt that the presence of President Borno85 in Washington was a particularly favorable opportunity for using its informal good offices with a view to assisting both countries to reach a settlement of the boundary question. I inquired what the status of the boundary question was and whether any negotiations were now in progress.

The Minister expressed his appreciation of the Department’s offer. He said that no negotiations were now in progress but that President [Page 545] Vasquez,86 who is a good friend of President Borno, desires greatly to have this matter settled during his term of office. The Minister feared, however, that the delicate political situation in the Dominican Republic would prevent President Vasquez from taking any definite action in response to the Department’s offer as his opponents would use the opportunity to arouse public sentiment against any proposed settlement. I replied that it appeared to me that it would do no harm to lay the Department’s suggestion before the President in order to obtain his views, as he might instruct the Minister to discuss the question with President Borno and thus help to bring about a settlement. Mr. Ariza hesitated at first to transmit any message by cable, as he was apprehensive that unauthorized persons would see it. He subsequently consented to do so, however, and told me that he would have a reply by tomorrow.

I pointed out to him the distinct advantage which a definite and final boundary settlement would confer on his country, as such a settlement would put a stop to the constant infiltration and encroachment of Haitian squatters. He appeared to realize this fully and told me that although the land along the boundary had little value now, it would be worth much more in the future.

The Minister also informed me that during a dinner party which he gave in honor of President Borno last evening the President on his own initiative discussed the matter with him. Although Mr. Ariza did not tell me the exact nature of the President’s views he stated that they were very conciliatory and encouraging.

  1. Francis White, Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs.
  2. José del Carmen Ariza, Dominican Minister at Washington.
  3. Joseph Louis Borno, President of Haiti.
  4. Horacio Vasquez, President of the Dominican Republic.