838.00/2337: Telegram

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

53. [Paraphrase.] Department’s 32, June 24, 1 p.m. President informs me that the steps taken in matter of amendments to Constitution [Page 53]were taken in entire accord with High Commissioner, who had previously discussed them at some length with Department although he (the President) was not aware with what official of the Department. The existing Constitution requires the publication of proposed amendments. If the Department should press the point, I think that the President might consider presentation only of those amendments for the reform of the judiciary and would postpone the question of changing the Presidential term. Like the President I also understood that High Commissioner had discussed whole question thoroughly at Department last May, although I do not recall with whom. President stated that he was confident the amendments would create no disturbance and that at present he was not inclined to alter what he had already presented to Council of State and had published in the press. He said that as alternative he would consider, however, reverting to the condition which formerly existed of changing the Constitution by vote of existing assembly. [End paraphrase.] However, it was the President’s understanding that both the Department and General Russell had objected to such tactics and that the reference of the amendments to plebiscite resulted from the objections raised. The President is anxious to know where he stands as a result of the present apparent divergence of Department’s views. Please instruct.