838.00 Commission of Investigation/95: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chairman of the President’s Commission (Forbes)


2. Your telegram No. 5, dated March 12, received. You will realize that the Government of the United States, on account of its Central American Treaties,10 is committed to the general principle of the recognition of peacefully and constitutionally created governments. Also, that if your plan is carried out, the new President who will, by agreement among the various political parties, take President Borno’s place as his lawful successor will undoubtedly be recognized [Page 204] by the Government of the United States, provided he has not obtained the position by force or fraud; but we have encountered difficulties in the constitutional questions of electing a legislature and a further President before 1932. If, under the Constitution of Haiti, such an election could be construed as a delayed election, it might do. But on first reading of the Constitution of Haiti, especially the transitory clauses, it appears there might be a really serious question as to the legality of such an election; again, we are not willing to make a secret promise to any group in Haiti which the Government of the United States might be obliged to honor at some future period when the President’s Commission had gone out of existence and when the persons who received the promise may have proved unworthy of it.

Please examine the constitutional questions involved and suggest a solution.

  1. See Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. i, pp. 320 ff.; also Conference on Centra American Affairs, Washington, December 4, 1922–February 7, 1923.