838.5045/3: Telegram

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

90. This morning custom house employee became insolent and threatened Mr. Johnson, collector of customs. Johnson was finally forced in self-defense to push him aside with his open hand. All the Haitian employees then left the customs building, throwing typewriters and ink wells on the floor and breaking furniture. Johnson was hit on the arm with a club in an endeavor to prevent his telephoning. Mr. Haag, an American assistant, was also struck with an iron bar. Neither seriously hurt. Employees in the Financial Adviser’s office have walked out with the exception of contributions and control. Disorderly crowd gathered about the Ministry building and entered the Financial Adviser’s office but did not threaten [Page 189] Americans. Conditions now quiet. I have held the marines in barracks but I am now of the opinion that drastic action is necessary. I shall have the marines take charge of the city and place it under martial law which is still in force but has not been operative for some years.

I shall also have the brigade commander issue a proclamation calling attention of the inhabitants to that fact as well as to the proclamation of 1921 regarding the press14 and I shall require all the inhabitants to remain in their homes from 9 p.m. until daylight, this until order is completely restored and government offices are functioning properly.

Report has just reached me that two ships at Aux Cayes cannot be loaded in view of the strike of laborers.