838.00 Elections/5: Telegram

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

36. Committee of Federal groups representing the opposition has issued formal invitation as follows:

“The Federative Committee of the Patriot Groups of Haiti has the honor of inviting you to the solemn meeting of the Assembly of the [Page 212] delegates of the arrondissements of the Republic which will take place at the Hotel de Ville of Port-au-Prince Thursday, the 20th of March, at 10 o’clock in the morning. The meeting will proceed to the election of the Provisional President of the Republic.”

These invitations were sent to President Borno and to members of the Cabinet. The Minister for Foreign Affairs called on me late yesterday afternoon and informed me of the above and that the president of the communal commission has been instructed to write to the committee stating that the Government cannot allow a meeting in the Hotel de Ville for the purpose stated in the invitation. The Minister then said that the meeting could be held only to vote for a party candidate and that the Government will instruct him to prevent the meeting.

The plan and statements of the President’s Commission clearly state that the purpose of the meeting is to vote Patriots’ candidate for the Presidency.

I have endeavored to adjust this matter through Leger and Pradel, who were in thorough accord with my viewpoint and had not known of the issuance of the invitation. Pradel arranged an interview for Grummon19 with Rigal, president of the Opposition groups. At the meeting were also Moravia and Vilaire doyen of today’s meeting, all of whom showed themselves absolutely intransigent. Moravia stated that the time had come to shed blood and that Haitians were prepared to die for their country as in 1802. However, Mangones, Poae [Placide] David and Chauvet later joined the group and urged conciliation. After much vituperation and vacillation, through the efforts of the moderates they decided to hold the meeting at the Chamber of Commerce instead of the Hotel de Ville; so as to advise the public through the morning papers and at the same time they decided to state that the meeting would be in harmony with the plan of the President’s Commission. Leger and Pradel are at this time comparatively moderate but I am uncertain as to whether they will be able to control the radical element.

Russell
  1. Stuart E. Grummon, Second Secretary of Legation.