838.5045/6: Telegram

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

95 [96?]. Magistrate at Cayes reported whole countryside in revolt. Information was received by garde commander at Cayes that a mob was moving on the city. Garde guarded city while marines were at garde barracks at entrance to town. Marines sent by patrol with garde commander out to meet advancing mob about two hundred yards from barracks. Leaders of mob of about fifteen hundred demanded to enter city to assist strikers. They were told strikers were back at work, but as they would not believe Captain Swink, the leaders were allowed to pass through the line, enter town, and confer with strike leaders. They returned in half an hour and demanded the release of three prisoners otherwise they should advance on the town. Their request being refused they advanced down road toward patrol and through cane fields on each side. Patrol of 20 marines fired over their heads and mob halted but after half an hour again advanced. Patrol fired again over mob; but when mob closed in a rush and leader was in the midst of patrol, the patrol fired into the mob killing 5 and wounding 20. All reports to the effect that patrol exercised great forbearance as it was being constantly stoned and mob was in an ugly mood. Effective fire was not employed until necessary in self-defense. Mob dispersed and all now quiet at Cayes. I arranged for evacuation women and children tomorrow by the steamer.

At Jacmel papers have been seized showing that many automatic pistols had come into the country from Guatemala. Rumored that country people around Jacmel are in revolt. Garde commander has sent 50 men from the reserve company at Port-au-Prince to Jacmel. This leaves about 25 garde reserves at Port-au-Prince. Have requested that Galveston proceed immediately to Jacmel. Telephone line from Gobedere to Jacmel cut as well as line from Gonaives to Grosmorne. It is apparent that the opposition press and the agitators have inflamed the country. As the situation is not clearing up as rapidly as I had hoped I suggest that the reinforcements be sent.