033.1138/17a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Governor of Porto Rico (Towner)

Please communicate the following information to Senator King in reply to his telegram of March 12th to the Secretary of State:

The Haitian Minister called at the Department on March 9, and requested that the Department inform Senator King that his proposed visit to Haiti would be unacceptable to the Haitian Government. The Department informed the Haitian Minister that it had no authority to interfere with his visit and immediately telegraphed to the High Commissioner at Port-au-Prince instructing him to inform President Borno to that effect and to say further that the Department felt that should the Haitian Government carry out its intentions with reference to Senator King the effect would be most unfortunate for all concerned. The Department felt that the Senator should be given an opportunity to acquire first-hand information with regard to the American Occupation.

Today the Department received a telegram from the High Commissioner24 stating that he had informed President Borno of the contents of the Department’s message and endeavored to persuade him to that point of view but that President Borno had replied that Senator King had expressed himself in offensive terms about President Borno’s personality as Chief of State; that the Senator’s presence in Haiti would be a cause for great political manifestation by opponents of the present administration and that the economic interests of the country would be materially affected by creating a feeling of insecurity. Accordingly President Borno had felt obliged to issue instructions to prevent the entrance of Senator King into Haiti.

The Department deeply regrets that the Haitian Government has found it necessary to adopt this attitude. However, the Department has to recognize that the Government of Haiti has jurisdiction over its own territory and that the right of any person to enter is one of those domestic questions for its own determination with which another country has no legal right to interfere and should it insist upon refusing entrance to Senator King the Department does not now see what further action it can take.

Joseph C. Grew
  1. Not printed.