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

No. 639

Sir: I have the honor to submit the following confidential report covering recent developments respecting the Dominican-Haitian boundary question.

During the recent visit of President Vasquez to Port-au-Prince it was suggested by President Borno that a brief convention be signed which should declare (1) that all controversies and questions now existing between the two Governments or which thereafter might arise should be settled if possible through direct and friendly negotiations, and (2) should such direct negotiations prove unsuccessful the good offices of a friendly third power, if proferred, must be accepted.

The Convention was not signed, President Vasquez asserting that the death of the wife of Señor Ricart, Dominican Secretary of State for Health and Welfare, impelled him to return at once to Santo Domingo and that he would later accord careful consideration to the matter. Shortly after his return, President Vasquez called at the Haitian Legation to express to the Minister his appreciation of the many courtesies extended to himself and his party during their stay on Haitian territory, and stated that in the near future he would cause to be sent to the Haitian Minister an important communication. When three weeks had passed without any further development, the Haitian Minister addressed a personal and confidential communication to Minister for Foreign Affairs Sanchez in which reference was [Page 348] made to the President’s visit to the Legation and his statement regarding the formulation at an early date of an important communication. The Haitian Minister pointed out in his note that he had not as yet received any communication of the nature mentioned by President Vasquez and stated that he would be most happy to receive at an early date, for transmission to his Government, any communication which the Dominican Government might see fit to address to him in the light of the mutual desire of both Governments to effect a friendly settlement of any and all questions pending between the two countries. After some delay Minister Dejean received a note in reply from the Minister of Foreign Affairs saying in substance that the Dominican Government was continuing to accord to the questions its most sympathetic consideration but that for the moment he was unable to amplify that statement.

The Haitian Minister, doubtless reflecting the attitude of his Government, feels that since Haiti proposed the conclusion of a convention of the nature mentioned above as preparatory to a serious consideration and discussion of the boundary question the next move ought properly and appropriately to come from the Dominicans.

In conversation with me last week at his summer home at Las Matas, where in response to his invitation I spent two days, the President told me confidentially that he had recently received a report from Port-au-Prince to the effect that certain differences had arisen between the American High Commissioner and President Borno respecting “certain amendments to the Haitian Constitution,”89 and that he felt somewhat apprehensive lest the situation might impair President Borno’s energy in dealing with the frontier question. The President stated that he realized fully that an adjustment of the boundary question could only be had if President Borno was in a position to count upon the full support and cooperation of General Russell. He added that he was causing a discreet investigation to be made, and that if his previous information should be confirmed he intended to send a personal message to President Borno counseling him in view of the great importance of the boundary matter to make every effort to procure the full cooperation of the High Commissioner and not permit any other question to impair the fullest cooperation. I stated merely that I had not received any information which would tend in any way to confirm his report. President Vasquez then went on at some length, and in a very earnest and sincere manner, to impress upon me his desire for an early settlement of the question. He said that he regarded the present time as a very opportune one and that if no agreement was reached it would not be because of any lack of desire or earnest effort on the part of the Dominican Government.

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The Haitian Minister informed me yesterday that he has been asked by President Vasquez to visit him this week and he assumes that the boundary question will be rather fully discussed. The Legation is in close touch with the situation here and will promptly report to the Department all developments of interest.

I have [etc.]

Evan E. Young