810.20 Defense/375/17: Telegram

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

91. With reference to our telegram No. 76, May 30, 7 [6] p.m. Despite every effort to impress upon President Vincent the necessity for absolute secrecy concerning the visit here of Colonels Del Valle and Randolph, President Vincent revealed the purpose of the visit to numerous Haitian officials as well as to the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince who apparently have been most indiscreet. Vague rumors have been circulating for some time but yesterday afternoon they were more specific. This morning La Phalange carries on the front page a double column article signed by the editor declaring that it has been public knowledge for several days that American military officers will shortly arrive here to study with the Haitian Government the best means of assuring the defense of this part of the hemisphere. Then follows a discussion of the problem. It is interesting and helpful to note that the immensely powerful Catholic clergy in Haiti thus places [Page 126] itself squarely on record in favor of the closest Haitian-American relations.

In view of my repeated injunctions to President Vincent to keep this matter secret, I am convinced that he has revealed it intentionally believing that he must prepare the people for military cooperation between Haiti and the United States for hemispheric defense and especially for the establishment of his long-sought air bases in this country.