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The Haitian Minister informed me yesterday that he has been asked by President Vasquez to visit him this week and he assumes that the boundary question will be rather fully discussed. The Legation is in close touch with the situation here and will promptly report to the Department all developments of interest. I have [etc.]
Evan E. YOUNG
The Minister in the Dominican Republic (Young) to the Secretary
SANTO DOMINGO, October 5, 1997.
[Received October 18.] SIR: Adverting to the Legation's previous despatches respecting the Dominican-Haitian boundary question, I have the honor to submit the following report.
As reported in the Legation's confidential despatch No. 639, September 28, 1927, President Vasquez recently received information indicating that important differences of opinion had arisen at Portau-Prince between the American High Commissioner and President Borno regarding certain proposed amendments to the Haitian Constitution. During my recent visit to the President at Las Matas he expressed some concern over the information he had received, feeling that any important differences between General Russell and President Borno might react unfavorably upon an early settlement of the boundary question.
Mr. Dejean, the Haitian Minister here, went to Las Matas a few days ago, in response to an invitation from the President, and during the course of the visit President Vasquez inquired of the Minister whether he possessed any information regarding the matter. Dejean assured the President that there was no basis whatever for the report and stated that he had recently received a personal letter from President Borno in which he referred to the proposed constitutional amendments and said that he and General Russell were in accord in the matter. President Vasquez expressed his gratification and stated that a formal communication dealing with an important phase of the relations between the two countries would be addressed to the Minister at an early date.
In conversation with me, following his return from Las Matas, Mr. Dejean said that in general he felt optimistic as regards the possibility of effecting in the near future a final settlement of the boundary question. He again expressed the opinion that it would be preferable to conclude the proposed treaty of amity before entering into any formal negotiations respecting the boundary. He sug
gested it would be helpful if I continued to manifest a friendly interest in an early and amicable settlement of the controversy. I said that there could be no question but that the Dominican Government fully understood the attitude of the Department and that I should in the future, as I had in the past, in my informal conversations with appropriate Dominican officials impress upon them the friendly interest of my Government in the effecting of a final and definite settlement of the boundary question, an interest which was in entire harmony with that of the two Governments more directly concerned.
In reply to an intimation from me that I should be glad to have more definite and exact information with respect to the provisions of the proposed treaty of amity, Dejean said that the draft as submitted to President Vasquez was brief and embraced (1) a declaration outlawing war as between the two countries, (2) a provision stating that in the event friendly negotiations should fail of effecting the settlement of any question between the two Governments, the good offices of a friendly third power, if proferred, must be accepted. With regard to the second provision, Minister Dejean said that it had been suggested here, not however by any Dominican official, that the Dominican Government would construe the reference to the "friendly third power” as in fact meaning the United States, and that if the provision should be changed so as to provide for the submission to the League of Nations of any question not susceptible of settlement by direct negotiations the convention or treaty would find a ready acceptance by the Government here.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sanchez, together with the other members of the Cabinet, is at Las Matas engaged in the drawing up of the national budget for the coming year. I shall see him so soon as he returns to the Capital and endeavor in a discreet manner to procure full information respecting the Dominican Government's attitude in the matter of the proposed treaty of amity.
The Department will be kept fully informed by despatch or cable of all developments. I have [etc.]
Evan E. YOUNG
738.3916/316 The Minister in the Dominican Republic (Young) to the Secretary
SANTO DOMINGO, October 8, 1927.
[Received October 18.] Sir: Having reference to the Legation's confidential despatch No. 644, October 5, 1927, respecting the Dominican-Haitian boundary
question and the proposed treaty of amity, I have the honor to submit the following confidential information regarding the attitude of the Dominican Government in these matters as outlined to me yesterday by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sanchez.
With regard to the Haitian proposal looking to the conclusion of a treaty of amity between the two countries, Mr. Sanchez said that the Dominican Government would be unable to sign the treaty in the form in which it had been submitted by President Borno. The principal objection was to the provision under which each Government bound itself to refrain from war against the other. this point, the Minister expressed himself as being heartily in favor in principle of the provision in question, but asserted that the boundary controversy could be adjusted only through one of three methods, (1) arbitration, (2) direct negotiations, and (3) war. He felt that in view of the past history of the question the Dominican Government could place little hope in any recourse to arbitration, and that if direct negotiations between the two countries should fail, and the use of armed force precluded, the Dominican Government would find its hands tied. Sanchez asserted that the Dominican Government had in fact no intention of resorting to the use of armed force, but he emphasized the point that under the status quo the situation is much more favorable to Haiti than to the Dominican Republic, and said that he felt strongly that to outlaw war through the medium of a solemn written undertaking, prior to the settlement of the boundary question, would weaken the position of the Dominican Government in any negotiations with Haiti looking to the definite settlement of the problem.
The Minister then went on to say that once the boundary question was settled he would be heartily in favor of the conclusion of the treaty of amity as proposed by President Borno, or, if preferred by Haiti, the text of the provisions of the proposed convention could be made a part of the final treaty settling the boundary question.
Mr. Sanchez very confidentially informed me that the program of the Dominican Government respecting the settlement of the boundary controversy and the conclusion of a treaty of amity is at present as follows:
1. Refusal to sign the proposed treaty of amity unless it be so modified as to eliminate the provision outlawing war perpetually.
2. To propose to Haiti that a joint topographic study of the frontier zone be made by the two Governments. With reference to this point he remarked that the absence of topographical information, accepted by both Governments, rendered it very difficult to deal in a satisfactory manner with the frontier question. He suggested that if the so-called “American Line” had been definitely established by markers from one coast to the other it would have been of immeasurable assistance to
both Governments in connection with the boundary negotiations. He added that while both Governments today possessed their own official maps it was a matter of common knowledge that neither one was accurate.
3. With the necessary topographical data in hand and approved by both Governments, there should then be, in the opinion of the Minister, no serious obstacle to the speedy settlement of the entire question. The Minister intimated that should the Haitian Government agree to the proposal which the Dominican Government intends to advance in the near future looking to the establishment of a topographical commission the work would probably be done by, or at least under the supervision of, American experts.
In according me the information set forth above Mr. Sanchez requested that it be regarded as highly confidential. I thanked the Minister for the frank expression of his views and the statement of the present attitude and policy of the Dominican Government, and I reiterated the hope that the settlement of the question would continue to receive his most sympathetic and careful attention and a very sincere and earnest effort made to arrive at an early agreement with Haiti.
The Minister said that he would be glad to keep me informed of all developments, and that he would wish to confer with me from time to time. He added that he considered it highly important that the Government of the United States be kept promptly and fully apprised of all developments and that he felt that full and frank discussions with me would serve the best interests of both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. In conclusion, he stated that he had not considered it advisable as yet to discuss the entire matter with the Haitian Minister as freely and fully as he had in his conversation with me, but that a communication setting forth the Dominican Government's attitude toward the proposed treaty of amity would be addressed to Minister Dejean in the near future. I have [etc.]
Evan E. YOUNG
The Secretary of State to the Minister in the Dominican Republic
WASHINGTON, October 27, 1927. SIR: The Department acknowledges the receipt of your confidential despatch No. 644 of October 5 concerning the Dominican-Haitian boundary negotiations.
The Department has noted in this despatch that some consideration is apparently being given by certain Dominicans to a plan whereby the boundary question may be submitted for arbitration by the Dominican and Haitian Governments to the League of Nations. Please keep the Department informed concerning this matter and state whether or not in your opinion there is any possibility of the Dominican Government suggesting such a course to the Haitian Government. I am [etc.]
For the Secretary of State:
The Minister in the Dominican Republic (Young) to the Secretary
SANTO DOMINGO, November 10, 1927.
[Received November 22.] SIR: Supplementing the Legation's previous despatches respecting the Dominican-Haitian boundary question and the conclusion of a suggested treaty of amity, I have the honor to submit the following confidential information with respect to the present status of these matters.
The efforts of the Haitian Legation here to effect the conclusion of a convention or treaty of amity of the nature mentioned in my despatch No. 644 of October 5th have thus far proven unsuccessful. I am confidentially informed, however, by the Haitian Minister that in a recent informal conference with the Dominican Minister of Foreign Affairs he inquired whether the Dominican Government would be inclined to enter into the treaty without further delay if there should be eliminated from the present draft the provision to the effect that if friendly negotiations should fail of effecting the settlement of any question between the two governments, the good offices of a third power, if proferred, must be accepted. Minister Dejean informs me that the Minister of Foreign Affairs indicated that it was his personal opinion that the Dominican Government would be prepared to conclude the treaty without delay with the elimination of the provision mentioned. Minister Sanchez agreed to submit the matter to President Vasquez and to inform Mr. Dejean of the President's views, but the Haitian Minister has heard nothing further in regard to the matter.
From the conversations which I have had with the Haitian Minister and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs it is my opinion that the Dominican Government is not considering suggesting to the Haitian Government any plan whereby the boundary question may be submitted for arbitration to the League of Nations. From the inception of the present negotiations the Legation has of course kept this point carefully in mind and it will continue to do so. Should it at any time appear that there exists any real possibility of such a suggestion being