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from Romana to Sevbo. Provision was likewise made for railroads from Barahona to the interior and from this city to San Cristobal, the latter by a concession granted E. A. Blanton, an American citizen, under which he is to receive $600 annually for each kilometer constructed. I doubt whether any practical good will result from these projects, with the possible exception that a real start may be made toward the construction of a line from Moca to Santiago, being the first section of the through line projected to Monte Christi. This line is only 18 miles long; the route offers no special engineering difficulties; the territory is already densely populated and highly productive, and the contractor expects to have at his disposal about $5,000 of government funds each month. Under these favorable circumstances it would seem probable that he will make a start at once and will soon be in a position to induce capitalists to make the advances necessary promptly to complete the line to a connection with the Puerto Plata road at Santiago.
Congress passed a law opening Romana as a port of entry from and after January 1, 1907. Romana is 70 miles east of this city and is a convenient port for the most easterly province of the Republic, that of Seybo. There are rich sugar lands and pasturage in its immediate vicinity and a few miles back from the coast are excellent cacao lands where planting and production has reached respectable proportions in the last few years. The railroad which the Government proposes to build under the contract with Pedro Marin is intended to reach this region and Romana will be its sea terminus. Several years ago a concession was granted to a Norwegian gentleman under which Romana was to be made a port of entry and he was to make improvements on the water front and build a railroad. To remunerate him he was to be allowed to collect a percentage-I think 30 per cent—of the customs duties at the new port, and other sums from sources I am not able to specify, not having seen a copy of the concesison. The Norwegian gentleman afterwards sold to or associated himself with certain American citizens-among them a Mr. Baum, a well-known merchant of Omaha, Nebr. Some tens of thousands of dollars were spent on the project, but for the last several years nothing has been done. A little more than a year ago I was informed by Mr. Baum and his American associates that they were ready to go on with the project as soon as financial and political conditions seemed to justify it. But since that part of the concession which refers to a payment of customs duties directly to a concessionaire could hardly be made effective while the modus vivendi was in force, they rightly came to the conclusion that beyond taking care that their concession was not allowed legally to lapse no immediate action was wise.
Congress revised the laws relating to medical practice, consumption taxes, municipal licenses, and wagon roads; abolished the 10-cent tax on sugar; places vaccine, water-closets, and burners for alcohol lamps on the free list, and made some minor changes in the criminal statutes. However, nothing practical was done in regard to the most important of the subjects upon which it is universally recognized that Dominican legislation is in need of reform.
A draft on an amended constitution was formally submitted and discussed. The present one makes no provision for the selection of a Vice-President in case of a vacancy in that office either by death or
resignation or by promotion of the incumbent to Presidency, and according to the letter of the constitution the President is a mere figurehead, all executive power belonging to the council of ministers. The proposed constitution provides for the succession to Presidency, and gives the President substantially the same authority as is possessed by the President of the United States. But after a little half-hearted discussion it was laid aside and the country continues without any legal provision for electing a successor to President Caceres. If he should die, the cabinet council would doubtless legally continue to conduct the Government, and would probably summon Congress, and probably the electoral college, for the purpose of selecting a President. But the constitutional right of either body to do so is not clear and grave consequences might ensue. Other important projects of reform submitted but not acted upon were those for a patent law, for the reorganization of the postal service, for a game law, and for a revised customs tariff. Of the latter there is urgent need, the present tariff schedules and system being antiquated. They have come down from the early days of the Republic without substantial changes except repeated horizontal increases in duties. As a whole the rates are so high as to limit consumption and even to reduce the revenue in the case of many articles. Since most duties are based upon valuations fixed by the schedules themselves, the great changes in prices since the schedules were enacted have brought about the most astonishing inequalities. The proposed new tariff offered informally by the minister of finance for the consideration of Congress is framed upon that now in force in Venezuela. It does not meet the approval of the general receiver, whose wide experience in customs matters was not utilized by the minister of finance and the informal commission of merchants who assisted him in framing it.
Congress seems to have given no attention whatever to the matters of providing for the organization of the army, the introduction of a scientific system of accounting for expenditures and collections of internal revenue, the appointing of a commission to prepare the way for a modern system of taxation, or the protection of small farmers against the depredations of live stock running at large.
The expenses incurred in the raising and paying of troops to meet the attacks made by Demetrio Rodriguez and his fellow-revolutionists on Puerto Plata, Santiago, and Sanchez in December last were the subject of acrimonious discussion. The minister of finance and the cabinet council had taken it upon themselves to authorize and pay these accounts, submitting a detailed statement thereof to Congress immediately on its assembling. The debate ended with a vote of ratification, the members dividing on party lines.
On May 29 Congress ratified the extradition treaty with Cuba. I suppose that the department has already received a copy and translation from the legation at Habana. The text of the treaty has not yet been published here. If the department desires, I shall be glad to send a copy and translation when it appears in the official organ. Congress also ratified the convention about patents, signed ad referendum in Mexico on January 27, 1902, by the representatives of Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Its text has not yet appeared in the official organ. The sanitary convention of October 14, 1905, and various other
treaties, among them the Dominican-American convention of February 7, 1905, are still pending for ratification. On two important subjects Congress expressed an opinion in the form of a resolution, but took no definite action. It urged the Executive to settle the boundary difficulty with Haiti, and protested against any action tending to enforce the improvement award of July 14, 1904, unless such action had been previously authorized by Congress. I have, sir, etc.,
T. C. DAWSON.
MESSAGE OF PRESIDENT CACERES.
Minister Dawson to the Secretary of State.
[Extract.] No. 231.]
Santo Domingo, March 7, 1906. Sir: I have the honor to report that on the 27th ultimo, being the anniversary of Dominican independence, the usual official exercises were held, and Congress assembled and listened to the reading of his annual message by the President.
President Caceres's message is a shorter and more businesslike document than most messages of Dominican Presidents. Still, it contains much rhetoric, and most of the suggestions are rather vague and generalized.
The more important points touched upon are: Insurrectionary movements, whose prevalence hitherto he attributes to atavism, the selfishness, ignorance of administration and lack of patriotism of the ruling class, and to the neglect of agriculture. He announces the existence of complete peace in the Republic except at Dajabon, and promises that the bandits under arms there will soon be compelled to surrender. This promise has since been fulfilled.
He recommends the amendment of the constitution without specifying the particular defects he has in mind. I understand that the providing of a mode of selecting a Vice-President in a situation like the present one is considered urgent, and that many advocate extending the President's prerogatives. Under the actual constitution his sole legal prerogative is to select or dismiss the cabinet which exercises all executive functions.
He also recommends a general revision of the laws relating to government administration and of the school laws, giving especial attention to practical subjects.
He refers in general terms to the advisability of encouraging immigration and of guarding against the danger of the national type being overwhelmed. He thinks the two objects can best be reconciled by a system of colonies. He urges the immediate necessity of organizing the rural guard and artillery corps, the police, and the navy.
Speaking of foreign relations, he says:
The relations of the Republic with foreign nations are those of the sincerest cordiality. Paying its debts, respecting foreign rights, defending our own rights with firmness and discretion, the Republic will live in peace with all nations. To attain the maximum of economic power is the ambition of all
great peoples. The conquest of world markets is the fight in which the productive races are expending their energies. The Republic ought to take advantage of this conflict of interests to make treaties which will enable us to dispose of our products with positive advantages.
The convention signed February 7, 1905, is now submitted to the vote of this house and of the Senate of the United States. You know its antecedents; you can intelligently consider its consequences; and, following the dictates of your patriotism, determine upon its ratification or rejection. It has not been the will of the Executive that has brought us to the grief of making this agreement, but an accumulation of circumstances that have arisen from the errors of all. As to this matter being exhausted by necessity we are in the position of needing to make sacrifices for the payment of our debts and the preservation of our independence.
Speaking of the financial situation and the modus vivendi he says:
Peculation and extraordinary military expenditures have been the bottomless pits in which the nation's wealth has disappeared. To chaos has now succeeded regularity. During the last year our receipts have covered the appropriations made by the law of public expenditures, and on December 31, 1905, the deposit in the National Bank of New York amounted to $815,027.13 gold-a sum destined to the payment of the interest and amortization of our debts.
The department will not fail to note this statement which shows that for the first time in its history the Dominican Government has been running without a deficit, and this in spite of the setting aside of more than half its revenues for debts, and the breaking out of a formidable though short lived insurrection on the occasion of Morales's abandoning the Presidency. Many of the officers and perhaps some of the troops which took part in suppressing this insurrection have, however, not yet received the pay and rewards to which they think they are entitled.
The President closed his message expressing the hope that public opinion, seeing the folly of such fractricidal strife, would prevent new disorder breaking out; and the promise that during his term the victorious party would not engage in punishing the vanquished, but would devote itself to the consolidation of peace and prosperity.
After the formal opening of Congress and the reading of the President's message the President, cabinet, Congress, and the diplomatic and consular corps assisted at a te deum in the cathedral. Returning to the government palace the President drank the usual toast to foreign nations and the other branches of the Government. Monsieur Louis Borno, minister plenipotentiary of Haiti, as dean of the diplomatic corps, responded on its behalf. He expressed very gracefully the customary compliments, adding his opinion that it was useless for weak nations to expend their resources in the maintenance of armies and fleets with the purpose of defending themselves against foreign aggression.
I regret that I have not had time to make a translation of all the message for the department's uise, but believe I have given above the important points. A copy is inclosed, and the translation I will try to prepare and forward by the next mail. I have, etc.,
T. C. DAWSOX.
WITHDRAWAL OF PORTUGUESE CONSUL'S EXEQUATUR.
Minister Dauson to the Secretary of State.
[Extract. ) No. 271.]
Santo Domingo, August 1, 1906. SIR: I have the honor to report that shortly after the armed attack on the government buildings in San Pedro de Macoris, which occurred on May 19, the minister of foreign affairs told me in the course of a personal conversation that he had reluctantly come to the conclusion that Señor Marchena, a Dominican citizen and ad honorem consul of Portugal to this Republic, had really been implicated. Proofs of his complicity as well as of his enmity to the governmental authorities had been presented and he had taken a defiant attitude, publicly proclaiming that the Government would
ot dare to interfere with him because of his consular character. The local authorities had begun preliminary proceedings against him, and he had called upon the consular body at Macoris to intervene. The cabinet, earnestly desirous of avoiding giving any cause for offense to a friendly government and of even seeming to interfere with the very wide interpretation given by custom in this country to consular immunities, had ordered the proceedings stopped. His Government, however, proposed to withdraw Señor Marchena's exequatur, directing a note to that effect to the Portuguese minister of foreign affairs because Portugal is not diplomatically represented in the Republic.
Accordingly on June 16 Señor Marchena was notified to this effect and about the same time the note referred to was sent to Lisbon. On the 18th Señor Marchena sent a note to the Dominican minister of foreign affairs vigorously protesting against the withdrawal of his exequatur, denying that he had been engaged in the conspiracy to shoot up the town, denouncing the local government authorities of Macoris as employers of spies, and announcing his intention of appealing to the Government of Portugal. On the same day he addressed a note to the dean of the consular corps at this capital in which he asked its intervention. Mr. Borno, Haitian minister plenipotentiary and ex-officio dean of the diplomatic and consular corps, being temporarily absent the note was delivered to me as next in rank.
I thereupon called upon the minister of foreign affairs and unofficially asked him about the matter. He at once showed me the communication he had written to the Portuguese foreign office, by which it appeared that a participation by Señor Marchena in a conspiracy which had resulted in an attack on the legal authorities of Macoris and the death of unarmed Dominican_citizens, was frankly and explicitly alleged as the reason why the Dominican Government had deemed it necessary to withdraw his exequatur immediately. The note further expressed the warmest friendship for the Government of Portugal and the earnest desire of the Dominican Government that the former should name another consul.
The matter being in this status, it seemed to me that I had no right nor would it have been prudent to take any action, except to turn over the correspondence to the dean of the corps when he should