The Minister in Haiti ( Munro ) to the Secretary of State

No. 455

Sir: I have the honor to report that the Department’s instruction no. 207 of July 5, 1932, regarding the reference to Navassa Island as Haitian territory in Article I of the new Constitution, was not received by this Legation until the work of the Constituent Assembly had been practically completed. The Assembly had already taken final action upon the text of the Article in question. Under these circumstances, I felt certain that no representations which this Legation might make to the Minister for Foreign Affairs would have the slightest effect in persuading the Constituent Assembly to change the proposed text of Article I. Furthermore, the political situation at the moment, with an impending change in the Cabinet and a considerable amount of discussion regarding the effect of this change upon the relations between Haiti and the United States made it seem extremely inadvisable to take any action which would serve no useful purpose but which would very probably afford an opportunity for one or another of the contending political elements to make capital out of the affair. For these reasons, and especially in view of the fact that Mr. McGurk had already pointed out to the Haitian Government the fact that Navassa Island was claimed by the United States, I did not consider it advisable for the time being to take the action indicated in the last paragraph of the Department’s instruction no. 207.

Since the new Constitution has now been promulgated and published, I should recommend that I be instructed to make a formal reservation of our rights, setting forth the facts outlined in the Department’s instruction no. 207, and stating that the Island is now actually occupied by the United States for the purpose of maintaining a lighthouse there.

Respectfully yours,

Dana G. Munro