838.5045/18: Telegram

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

103. The following letter and enclosure have been received from President Borno:

“Mr. High Commissioner:

I enclose a copy of the proclamation which I have addressed to the Haitian people in regard to the recent events.20 I wish to profit by this occasion to congratulate you again on the measures taken by you in establishing martial law. It was the only means of guaranteeing public security in the face of the imminent and grave dangers caused by the passionate enemies of the regime of cooperation which no one can ignore has given the most happy results for the Republic of Haiti.


Borno, President, Republic of Haiti, to the Haitian people:

Fellow citizens: Once more the ambitious impenitents have accomplished their criminal designs. They knew perfectly well the Government of the United States was obliged by formal treaty to maintain public order in Haiti. They knew perfectly well the American military occupation has, according to international law, its sole and only justification in assuring the loyal execution of that contractual obligation. They knew this. But they foolishly imagined the Government of the United States would betray its trust and favor their plans for disorder, their dreams of anarchy. Foolishly, they imagined the American forces of occupation would become accomplices of their machinations. Thus, with the fixed intention of embarrassing and annihilating the Constitutional Government of the Republic in order to place it in a position where it would be forced to resign, they have fomented throughout the country a political agitation, camouflaged under the pretended student demands. Exploiting by its equivocal maneuvers the ardent and generous sentiments of youth, they have succeeded in casting into the streets students, the young boys and young girls of the schools, thus disorganizing education, thus compromising the future of this entire body of young people and children.

In the midst of this student turbulence the Government has maintained the greatest calm and manifested the highest sentiments of benevolence.

Always dominated by consideration for the public welfare and regard for the interests of the young people, it has on two occasions accorded to the students the greatest concessions; but each time the leaders of the underground politics have raised absurd difficulties and placed obstacles in the way of the good intentions of the students.

And in the meantime the secret agents of those politicians, employed in the public services, in the customs, in the internal revenue service, have actively instigated demands, in appearance purely administrative, in order to bring about a desertion of the offices and the complete paralyzation of the fiscal services of the State.

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It was in the face of the extension of these insidious acts, confronted by the partial realization of their plans, confronted by the alarming attitude of the elements of disorder who audaciously began to take possession of the streets of Port-au-Prince, Cape Haitien, Aux Cayes, Jacmel, Gonaives, that the chief of the American forces, as equally responsible for the public safety as the Haitian Government itself, intervened and put into effect martial law.

It is clearly evident that it is the policy [political opposition] which provoked and justified this measure for the defense of public order, which has been dangerously menaced.

For the energetic measures of repression which may thereby [follow], it is therefore the leaders of the opposition who must, before the nation and history, assume the grave responsibility.

In any case and under whatever circumstances, the Government will fulfill to the end its imperious duty of safeguarding public [peace].

It has the right to count, and it firmly counts on the sincere aid of every good citizen.”

  1. Corrections in proclamation based on text in Department of State, Latin American Series No. 3: Eighth Annual Report of the American High Commissioner at Port au Prince, Haiti, to the Secretary of State, 1929 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1930), p. 12.