The Chargé in Haiti (Gross) to the Secretary of State

No. 962

Sir: I have the honor to report that the text of the proposed amendments to the Constitution of 1918 were published in the local press on June 7, 1927. Since then the editorial comment in regard thereto has not been violent, although there are signs of marked organization among the members of the Opposition who will doubtless endeavor to gain a victory over President Borno when the amendments come to vote next January.

The chief criticism of the amendments is regarding the proposed six year presidential term. The Opposition will endeavor to convince the people that this portends President Borno’s continuation in office for life.

The amendments which contemplate the reformation of the judiciary are not severely criticised for most people have the opinion that the judges should be more highly paid and that there is room for improvement in the judiciary in general. Some consternation has arisen among those who are doubtful about obtaining judgeships under the new order.

The available government agencies throughout the country have been asked, when opportunity arises, to inform the people that the proposed amendments contemplate the appointment of judges highly enough paid to be above suspicion, to provide for fewer judges who work harder, to assure justice in cases of poor people as well as rich, and to give judges appointments of a temporary nature until such time as their reputations and records show that they merit permanent appointment. These are the considerations which will interest the Haitian peasants most, for justices of peace in Haiti treat them, as a rule, with cruel inconsideration.

I have [etc.]

C. Gross