The Minister in the Dominican Republic (Schoenfeld) to the Secretary of State

No. 3416

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s airmail instruction No. 437 of July 11, 1936, (File No. 839.51/4407) in relation to conversations had with the Dominican Government on the subject of the interpretation to be given Article III of the Dominican-American Convention of December 27, 1924, and to inform the Department that I had occasion last evening to speak to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the terms of the second paragraph of the Department’s instruction under acknowledgment.

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The Minister for Foreign Affairs seemed to regard my statement to him as most significant and satisfactory. He conducted me to the presence of the President of the Republic who happened to be in the National Palace at the time. I repeated to the President the statement previously made to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The President answered, as he said in the name of the Government, that he had never had any doubt of the friendly disposition of the American Government towards his Government and that he was confident that any differences of opinion regarding current issues would be adjusted by “frank and understanding” discussion.

President Trujillo further stated, with special reference to the formula which I had submitted to him on July 14, as reported in my despatch No. 3413 of that date, for the guidance of the Dominican Government in complying with Article III of the Convention, that he thought this formula would be acceptable to the Dominican Government “with slight changes,” and he indicated that he desired to have a further conversation with me, presumably for the purpose of discussing the “slight changes” he apparently had in mind. In this relation, the President asked me what could now be done by the Dominican Government to consult our Government with reference to the bridge contract with the United States Steel Products Company and the contract with Mr. Félix Benítez Rexach for the construction of the Santo Domingo port works, to both of which reference was made in my note of May 18 last on the subject of Article III of the Convention. I told the President that, off hand and without an opportunity to refer to my Government, I thought that, as the port works were approaching completion and as the Camú River bridge was shortly to be opened (it is to be inaugurated on July 19 next), little could be done to consult the American Government now regarding these contracts and that it might be deemed sufficient if the Dominican Government should undertake, by acceptance of the formula I had submitted, to consider the procedure suggested as governing its future consultations of the American Government regarding proposed increases in its public debt.

During my statement to President Trujillo in the sense of the second paragraph of the Department’s instruction under acknowledgment, the Minister for Foreign Affairs explained to the President and to myself that his references in recent conversations with me to the policy of the United States, which were reported in my despatch No. 3373 of June 17 and in other recent despatches, were the expression of a “personal impression” only. I may say, however, that this personal impression appears to have been shared by President Trujillo himself, as I gathered in a conversation with him on July 11 last. The Department’s instruction has, therefore, been especially timely in enabling me to confirm my own previous statements designed to correct the evident misapprehension, whether real or assumed, under [Page 453] which the Dominican Government has been laboring in recent weeks with respect to the nature of the representations we have made. In order to leave no doubt of the precise terms of my statement to the President and the Minister for Foreign Affairs yesterday, and to strengthen the pleasurable impression which it apparently made upon them, I deemed it desirable to leave with the Minister for Foreign Affairs a copy of the second paragraph of the Department’s instruction under reference.

I now look for early acceptance of the formula regarding the method of compliance with Article III of the Convention which I submitted to the President on July 14, notwithstanding the influences which may have been exerted upon President Trujillo, more especially by his Minister for Foreign Affairs and perhaps by others, to lead him to continue to disregard certain important obligations under the Convention, as the Dominican Government had been doing.

Respectfully yours,

H. F. Arthur Schoenfeld