838.00 Elections/12: Telegram

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

46. This morning, President Borno informed me that yesterday he had sent a telegram to the Haitian Legation at Washington, directing the Chargé d’Affaires to present his views to the Department of State regarding the carrying out of the plan of the President’s Commission. He then stated in substance that the Council of State will not elect Mr. Roy unless it receives a declaration from the latter that he will not call legislative elections until January 1932. President Borno feels that there should be a declaration made by the President’s Commission or by the Department of State to the above effect.

I argued with President Borno for an hour, pointing out to him that the United States Government desires his administration to end with prestige; that he has carried out the laws and the Constitution of Haiti during his administration and that on May 15th his responsibility ends; that that [the?] Council of State should elect Mr. Roy as the neutral candidate; and that Mr. Roy will have to take the oath of office in article 74 of the Constitution. I added that Mr. Roy’s intended action after his assumption of office is something not to be considered by President Borno or the Council of State. Furthermore, that it appeared to me that the members of the Council of State are placing their own interests above the interests of their country; that failure to elect Mr. Roy will unquestionably mean a revolution in Haiti and that responsibility for any bloodshed would only rest on his administration, including the Council of State. President Borno countered by saying that the holding of national elections before 1932 would be a violation of the Constitution and would in itself mean revolution. I used every endeavor to win President Borno to my opinion, informing him, however, that the views I have presented were only personal views. He remained intransigent.

He then stated that if the Department of State fails to agree with his point of view and refuses to issue an announcement that national elections [cannot be?l held before January 10, 1932, the only possible cause [course?] of action will be for him and the Council of State to resign before the 7th of April next, the date when the Council meets in regular session. In such event President Borno stated that an American military government would have to be installed. The military government would then, according to President Borno, draft and place before the people a new constitution permitting the calling of national elections immediately. I informed President Borno that I considered such a step would be a catastrophe, and 1 asked him again [Page 239] if he would not consider the transitory provision of the Constitution regarding the calling of elections as being directly [directory?] in nature rather than obligatory. Borno stated he could not. He said that there are but three men at the present time in the Council of State who would vote for Mr. Roy. Mr. Roy has informed him that he intends to dismiss the Council of State on the 16th of May and that he will not remain in office for more than five months. Knowing Mr. Roy’s intentions which he believes violate the Constitution and the Council of State knowing that they are to be dismissed, President Borno considers the election of Mr. Roy by the Council of State to be an impossibility. I informed President Borno that I would place his views before the Department.