838.00/2385: Telegram

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

106. Department’s 66, August 31, 6 p.m. It is true that the Department at no time suggested that the office of Vice President be created. President Borno mentioned this to me in our conversations regarding possible ways of orderly fulfillment of an unexpired Presidential term. The President has decided to leave article 72 in the Constitution as it is. In making this decision he stated again that he would have preferred a single term of 6 years without re-eligibility until after 6-year interval, provided the person elected to fill an unexpired Presidential vacancy would be sure of a 6-year incumbency in that office as was provided in the Constitution of 1889. He noticed that the text proposed by the Department omitted the clause prohibiting unlimited reelection President.

Regarding the terms of judges, President Borno is willing to accept term of 10 years for judges of Court of Cassation and of 7 years for other judges. However he referred to the apparent ease with which Wharf Company obtains judicial approval of its acts as one more argument in favor of short terms for judges.

Regarding Department’s suggestion that the number of judges of the Court of Cassation be reduced, the President stated as previously reported that this question will be carefully considered when framing the laws organizing the magistrature. He mentioned that the Haitian Constitution, like that of the United States, does not stipulate the number of judges on the courts. Nevertheless the President agrees in principle with the Department’s suggestion that the number of judges be reduced. As the Department doubtless knows there always [have?] been two sections to the Court of Cassation which for certain purposes hold combined sessions. Reference is made thereto in articles 99, 100, 101 of the Constitution. Each of these sections requires a modification of three judges. The President considers seven judges preferable to five.

Does the Department desire a final written or telegraphic draft of the Amendments as they stand after being changed in accordance with telegrams exchanged since June 15th?

The first available steamer leaves Port au Prince September 7th. Final draft could not reach the Department before September 13th. Please instruct.

Gross