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

No. 644

Sir: Adverting to the Legation’s previous despatches respecting the Dominican-Haitian boundary question, I have the honor to submit the following report.

As reported in the Legation’s confidential despatch No. 639, September 28, 1927, President Vasquez recently received information indicating that important differences of opinion had arisen at Portau-Prince between the American High Commissioner and President Borno regarding certain proposed amendments to the Haitian Constitution. During my recent visit to the President at Las Matas he expressed some concern over the information he had received, feeling that any important differences between General Russell and President Borno might react unfavorably upon an early settlement of the boundary question.

Mr. Dejean, the Haitian Minister here, went to Las Matas a few days ago, in response to an invitation from the President, and during the course of the visit President Vasquez inquired of the Minister whether he possessed any information regarding the matter. Dejean assured the President that there was no basis whatever for the report and stated that he had recently received a personal letter from President Borno in which he referred to the proposed constitutional amendments and said that he and General Russell were in accord in the matter. President Vasquez expressed his gratification and stated that a formal communication dealing with an important phase of the relations between the two countries would be addressed to the Minister at an early date.

In conversation with me, following his return from Las Matas, Mr. Dejean said that in general he felt optimistic as regards the possibility of effecting in the near future a final settlement of the boundary question. He again expressed the opinion that it would be preferable to conclude the proposed treaty of amity before entering into any formal negotiations respecting the boundary. He suggested [Page 350] it would be helpful if I continued to manifest a friendly interest in an early and amicable settlement of the controversy. I said that there could be no question but that the Dominican Government fully understood the attitude of the Department and that I should in the future, as I had in the past, in my informal conversations with appropriate Dominican officials impress upon them the friendly interest of my Government in the effecting of a final and definite settlement of the boundary question, an interest which was in entire harmony with that of the two Governments more directly concerned.

In reply to an intimation from me that I should be glad to have more definite and exact information with respect to the provisions of the proposed treaty of amity, Dejean said that the draft as submitted to President Vasquez was brief and embraced (1) a declaration outlawing war as between the two countries, (2) a provision stating that in the event friendly negotiations should fail of effecting the settlement of any question between the two Governments, the good offices of a friendly third power, if proferred, must be accepted. With regard to the second provision, Minister Dejean said that it had been suggested here, not however by any Dominican official, that the Dominican Government would construe the reference to the “friendly third power” as in fact meaning the United States, and that if the provision should be changed so as to provide for the submission to the League of Nations of any question not susceptible of settlement by direct negotiations the convention or treaty would find a ready acceptance by the Government here.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sanchez, together with the other members of the Cabinet, is at Las Matas engaged in the drawing up of the national budget for the coming year. I shall see him so soon as he returns to the Capital and endeavor in a discreet manner to procure full information respecting the Dominican Government’s attitude in the matter of the proposed treaty of amity.

The Department will be kept fully informed by despatch or cable of all developments.

I have [etc.]

Evan E. Young