338.1121 Zrike Bros. and Johnson/15: Telegram

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

44. The President and the Minister for Foreign Affairs have both given me categorical assurances on points 3 and 4 of your telegram 24, April 11, 11 a.m. In accordance with Haitian law trial will be held before a judge without jury. It will be tried on its merits alone and should sentence be disproportionally heavy the President will at once exercise his constitutional prerogative to make appropriate reduction. Under points 1 and 2, while they promise that proceedings will be carried on expeditiously they both state (and I have confirmed this in other quarters) that under Haitian procedure it will be juridically impossible to separate the proceedings and place Z. Brothers on trial before Johnson in view of the fact that all parties are charged with the same general offense, namely, having conspired together to defraud the Government and under Haitian law the case is a unity and must be dealt with in one proceeding. Even the fact that Johnson may plead guilty, as he has indicated he intends to do it would not entitle him to a separate trial.

In view of the above and since I am satisfied from the earnest assurances given me by the President and the Minister for Foreign Affairs that Johnson will secure fair trial I plan to surrender him to Haitian jurisdiction today unless I am instructed to the contrary by the Department. In conclusion I may state that Johnson continues in his desire to make full restitution, to assist in bringing the guilty parties to justice and to surrender himself voluntarily and accept whatever punishment may be forthcoming. With his consent, his confession of guilt has been communicated to the press and the Minister for Foreign Affairs.