838.00/2367: Telegram

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

60. Your 85, July 29, 2 p.m.

1. Amendment 6. The Department feels that if any change in the present Constitution is to be made a 6 year term without reelection would be preferable, it being clearly understood that President Borno is not to be a candidate again until after an interval of at least 6 years. The Department suggests the following text:

“The President of the Republic is elected for 6 years. His term begins and ends on May 15. No one who has been elected President or who is designated to complete a President’s term of office shall be eligible for reelection until after an interval of 6 years. A citizen who has been elected President twice shall not thereafter be eligible for that office.”

2. The Department believes that a provision should be added to Amendment 8 to the effect that a judge once appointed by the President cannot be removed before the end of his term except for impeachment for cause. The Department believes the treaty officials should give careful consideration to the question of improving the laws governing impeachment and the procedure provided. The Department is of the opinion that the terms of all the judges of the Court of Cassation should not expire at the same time, and furthermore that all of the members of the Court should not be appointed during any one presidential term. Otherwise there is too great a danger of the judiciary being subservient to the executive. The Department fails to see the necessity for 11 judges of Cassation in a country the size of Haiti and believes that this number could be reduced to 5 without seriously delaying the course of justice. The Department accordingly desires you to propose that the number of judges be reduced to 5, appointed for a term of 10 years, the term of one judge to expire every 2 years. Under the transitory provisions the President would appoint a new Court of Cassation as soon as the amendments to the Constitution go into effect. The 5 judges [Page 66] then named should be appointed for terms of varying lengths ranging from 2 to 10 years.

The Department further believes that other judges should be appointed for a term of 7 years subject to removal for cause on the recommendation of a committee of the Court of Cassation after due investigation.

3. The Department does not object to the suppression of Article 95 provided the treaty officials are sure that beneficial reforms will result from suppression of this article.

4. The Department cannot withdraw its objection to the suppression of Article 99.