838.00 Elections/14: Telegram

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

35. For General Russell. Your 46, March 28, 1 p.m. Please inform President Borno that the Government of the United States gave its approval to the plan agreed upon between himself, the leaders of the opposition and the President’s Commission because it felt that it offered the best means for averting serious difficulties and probable bloodshed in Haiti, and assuring that the President who took office on May 15 would be satisfactory to and representative of the wishes of all factions. This Government gave its consent to the plan because it felt confident that President Borno, with the same patriotism and good faith which has characterized his other official acts, would faithfully carry out his part therein. In his letter of March 10 accepting the plan President Borno specifically recognized that the question of the date of the congressional elections was one for the consideration of the new President, and that his own obligation under the plan was limited to bringing about the election by the Council of State of the candidate mutually agreed upon. This Government cannot therefore understand how any question regarding the date of the congressional elections can properly be raised at this time.

In order that there may be no misunderstanding, however, it should be made clear that the Haitian Constitution, in this Government’s opinion, could properly be construed to permit the calling of congressional elections at a date earlier than January 1932. This position does not imply any criticism of President Borno for not calling elections himself, as the call is clearly left to the President’s discretion.

The only step to be taken at present is the election by the Council of State of the candidate already agreed upon. This Government cannot [Page 240] countenance any alteration of the essential features of the plan to which both this Government and all parties in Haiti are definitely committed, and it feels that any political group which prevented the orderly execution of the plan would assume the entire responsibility for the very grave consequences which would ensue. The Government of the United States consequently confidently expects that President Borno and his followers in the Council of State will carry out their part of the plan in accordance with the commitments definitely assumed by him as the head of the Haitian Government and as the leader of his political party.

A similar statement is being made to the Haitian Chargé d’Affaires, who called at the Department on March 27 to make a statement similar to that made by President Borno to you.