The High Commissioner in Haiti ( Russell ) to the Secretary of State

No. 1566

Sir: I have the honor to report that the striking students of the Ecole Centrale and other institutions have not returned to their [Page 182] schools, and their efforts to spread the strike have resulted in the students of the schools at Jacmel and Gonaives walking out.

The question of striking has become more or less contagious and rumors are constantly reaching me that the efforts of delegates will result in government employees leaving their work. One rumor is that the customs employees of Port-au-Prince will strike to-day. Delegates of the strikers have been very active at Port-au-Prince and it is understood they are even endeavoring to have the servants of the white families strike.

Unquestionably, the strike is being fostered by politicians, the mulatto class who do not desire to see the condition of the peasant improved, and the French Brothers who are opposed to our system of education.

President Borno informed me that he was considering the taking of drastic action against certain politicians whom he believed to be stirring up the people. Among others, he named Mr. …, and showed me a letter addressed to him by a government official at Jacmel, in which it was stated that Mr. … had written to Jacmel asking why the students had not struck, and that as a result of this communication delegates immediately visited the schools and succeeded in having the students walk out. I strongly advised against such action and in order to prevent it, I sent for Mr. … and informed him that I had heard rumors concerning his political activities which resulted in the fomenting of trouble. Mr. … strenuously denied the accusation but I took the occasion to speak with him very frankly as I know he is a great talker and would probably tell all of his friends what I had said to him. Among other things I informed him that it was the United States Government’s desire, as well as my own, to stabilize conditions in Haiti to such an extent that the Intervention could be withdrawn but that it appeared, at the present time, that the politicians were doing all in their power to retain us here by stirring up trouble and clearly showing that the country was not ready for self-government.

Although endeavors have been made to enlist the sympathy of members of the Garde, up to the present time such efforts have been fruitless, and it is my opinion that no plot of any size within that organization could be formed without white officers of the Garde obtaining information of it.

I have [etc.]

John H. Russell