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

No. 348

Sir: I have the honor to forward herewith for the Department’s confidential information a copy of a memorandum of a conversation which I had yesterday with the Haitian Minister in regard to the boundary question.

I have [etc.]

Evan E. Young

Memorandum of a Conversation With the Haitian Minister in the Dominican Republic (Dejean)

The Minister said that when he was appointed to this post he was of the opinion that there was little possibility of an agreement being reached with the Dominican Government on the boundary question unless negotiations were conducted under the auspices of the Department, and with its constant aid and assistance; that this opinion was based on a fear that the Dominicans would resort to delays and obstructions, and to the belief that President Vasquez was not sufficiently strong in his own country to procure the necessary ratification of an agreement even should one be reached. Recently, however, he had become much more hopeful of an adjustment of the long-standing controversy through direct negotiations, though he thought it would be wise to keep Washington fully informed in order that its good offices might be requested should occasion warrant.

The change in his opinion regarding the possibility of success attending direct negotiations was due, he said, to his belief that President Vasquez was now much stronger than some months ago and could probably procure ratification by the Dominican Senate of such agreement as might be reached, and, further, that as a result of his investigations here he had come to the opinion that the Dominican Government was now sincerely desirous of reaching a solution of the question.

The first practical move, he felt, should take the form of a visit of President Borno to Santo Domingo. There had been some talk of two Presidents meeting at the border, but this he thought would be unwise and not likely to be attended by any concrete results. He felt fairly confident, however, that during the course of a visit by President Borno to Santo Domingo, with more time at their disposal and better facilities for their conferences, an agreement in principle could be effected which could be followed up at once by negotiations carried on by duly accredited delegates and representatives.

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With regard to the position of his Government regarding the line itself, he said that he thought the “American Line” would serve as the basis of the discussion between the two Presidents, but that certain modifications should be made which would be equally advantageous to the two countries concerned.

He impressed me as being distinctly optimistic as regards the possibility of effecting a settlement of the question.

E[van] E. Y[oung]