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Simultaneouly with the signature of the treaty Supreme Chief Gonzalez summoned a constitutional convention and to this body it was submitted for ratification. When it came up for consideration a few members objected to the fourth article, on the ground that it might be construed as definitely settling the boundary at the uti possidetis of 1874. Thereupon a resolution was adopted stating that in voting to ratify the treaty the convention did not intend to establish a definite and permanent boundary or to commit the country on the boundary question. No amendment was incorporated in the treaty, nor any explanatory protocol signed. The convention voted unanimously for ratification and inserted a clause in the new constitution explicitly stating that the boundary with Haiti should be determined by a future special treaty with that country.
The Haitian Congress ratified without comment or amendment. Two years later there was, however, another revolution in Haiti, followed by a complete change of policy. The new Government declared all the acts of the outgoing administration, including the Dominican treaty, null and repealed, and refused the demand of the Dominican Government for payment of the subvention stipulated in article 12. Thereupon the boundary clause in the Dominican constitution was promptly changed back to what it had been before the Gonzalez régime.
Diplomatic relations were not resumed until after the pacification of Santo Domingo by General Heureaux in 1880. Then a preliminary convention looking toward a revision and modification of the 1874 treaty was signed. While neither Government was willing to formally derounce the 1874 treaty, the only legal basis upon which the relations of the two countries rested, it had become evident that serious theoretical and practical difficulties existed as to many of its provisions, and especially that the interpretations of the boundary clause differed so widely that it could not peacefully be carried into execution. Haiti contended that it established the uti possidetis of 1874 as the definite boundary, and that the special treaty referred to would be only for the purpose of arranging the mechanical details of the demarcation of a line already indicated. Dominican public opinion insisted that the 1974 boundary clause did not touch the ultimate claim of either country to the disputed territory; that it was intended only to provide a provisional boundary on the basis of the status quo, and that the special treaty would determine the definite boundary. Most Dominicans further believed that if the Haitian interpretation were the true one the clause was unconstitutional and its acceptance by the Gonzalez Government ultra vires. Many Dominicans also insisted that the expression “actual possessions" did not refer to the uti possidetis of 1874, but to that of 1856, the date on which hostilities ceased, and that an evacuation of territory usurped between the ending of the war and the signing of the treaty of peace was a condition precedent to putting it into effect. Others contended that a payment by Haiti of the subvention provided for by article 12 was also a condition precedent.
On the other hand the Haitians insisted that this subvention provision should not be carried out, at least until statistics had demonstrated that Haiti had, in fact, derived greater benefit than Santo Domingo from the free-trade arrangement. No statistics had been kept and the relative advantage of the two countries was as yet undeterminable.
The net result of all these divergencies was that the preliminary convention of 1880 was never ratified or put into execution.
In 1883, Heureaux being then president and firmly intrenched as the dominant leader in Dominican politics, plenipotentiaries met at Port au Prince to discuss the revision of the treaty and the framing of a new one as to the establishment of a permanent boundary. Their efforts, however, were fruitless. Four years later Heureaux felt so assured of his power at home and of the strength of his Government relative to that of Haiti-the latter being hampered by internal troubles—that he vigorously renewed negotiations with a view of securing a practical settlement. In 1887 he sent a confidential agent to Port au Prince who offered to concede the disputed territory west of the uti possidetis of 1856 in considertion of a cash indemnity. The Haitian Government was willing to accept the principle of cash compensation but insisted that the boundary be so drawn as not to include territory occupied by Haitians, and altogether did not meet Heureaux's advances in the same direct and businesslike fashion in which he made them. He thereupon disavowed the proposition of his confidential agent, reiterated the Dominican claim of right to the wbole territory east of the 1777 line, and proposed arbitration. The Government of
President Salamon answered evasively, the Dominican agent was withdrawn, and shortly afterwards civil war broke out in Haiti.
During this war certain Dominicans who were acting with the Legitime faction obtained possession of the Haitian frontier posts of Cacmillian and Biassou—the first being immediately west of Comendador and the latter of Banica. When hostilities ceased with the victory of Hippolyte over Legitime they were in the hands of the Dominican Government. Hippolyte promptly demanded their evacuation and Heurea ux was forced to consent in order to avoid a war, protesting, however, that this act must not be considered as prejudicing Santo Domingo's right to insist on the uti possidetis of 1856 as the provisional boundary under the treaty of 1874, nor its ultimate rights to all the territory east of the 1777 line.
In 1890 Heureaux and Hippolyte signed a memorandum by which they agreed to begin negotiations looking toward a definite settlement of the boundary controversy. But this fresh attempt came to nothing as had the previous ones. Indeed, the Haitian Government almost immediately ordered full duties to be collected on goods imported from Santo Domingo—a direct violation of article 13 of the treaty of 1874.
Not until 1894 were negotiations renewed. Haiti initiated them by a request that commissioners be appointed to carry out the boundary provision of the 1874 treaty. As a matter of fact President Heureaux had assured the Haitian Government that if it would pay him a satisfactory money indemnity he would consent that it retain permanently most of its conquests. Officially, however, the Dominican Government replied that it would join in the naming of such commissioners if Haiti would agree to advance to accept the uti possidetis of 1856 instead of that of 1874 as a provisional boundary, and to consent that the 1874 treaty be revised so as to clearly provide for an equitable permanent boundary. But the latter would imply a renunciation of the Haitian contention that that treaty had already established the basis according to which the permanent boundary should be drawn. The Haitian Government shrank from explicitly yielding this vital point, while President Heureaux realized that Dominican public opinion might become dangerously excited by the announcement that he was contemplating abandoning for a mere money consideration a national claim sustained through so many years.
Finally an apparent agreement was reached -Ilaiti consenting that the true interpretation of article 4 be submitted to the arbitration of the Holy See, and Heureaux abandoning the contention for the uti possidetis of 1856. The Dominican President privately assured the Haitian Government that in case the arbitral decision should be in favor of the Dominican interpretation, he would accept a money indemnity for the territory occupied by Haiti up to 1874, but in order to conciliate the public opinion which insisted that a concession of territory in any form would be ultra vires and unconstitutional, reserved the privilege of submitting the making of the proposed treaty of arbitration to a popular vote.
Accordingly on May 16, 1895, he convoked a plebiscite to determine the following questions:
"1. Whether the uti possidetis contended for by the Government of Haiti onght to be accepted, or whether the opposing interpretations of article 4 advanced by the two Governments should be submitted to arbitration ?
" 2. Whether in case arbitration should be accepted the Dominican Government might confide the function of arbiter to His Holiness?
“3. Whether in case the decision were favorable to the Dominican Government the latter should be authorized to fix territorial compensations, or another line (than that of 1777) to serve as a permanent boundary?
" 4. Whether in case of an adverse decision the Dominican Government might accept it in all its parts?"
In the plebiscite all four questions were affirmatively voted, but the congressional resolution based upon this vote and authorizing the executive to proceed was drawn in the following limited form:
“ The executive is authorized to submit to the arbitration of the Pope the Dominico-Haitian dispute occasioned by the different interpretations given to article 4 of the treaty of 1874. The executive, in accordance with the opinion expressed by the people (in the plebiscite), will make all provisions relating to the arbitration, informing Congress opportunely of the result.”
Thereupon-July 3, 1895-a treaty was signed which provided that the interpretation of said article 4 should be submitted to the arbitration of the Holy
See. If the decision was favorable to the Haitian contention Santo Domingo was to agree to the marking of a permanent frontier following the line of the posts actually occupied by Haiti in 1874. If favorable to the Dominican contention, Santo Domingo was to agree that Haiti retain possession of the territory west of the same line upon receiving just pecuniary or territorial compensation.
Both countries sent their plenipotentiaries to Rome, who submitted their respective evidence and argument to Cardinal “Rampolla, papal secretary of state. The latter, however, refused to advise the Holy Father to act as arbiter under the treaty as drawn, at the same time stating that he would accept if the whole boundary case should be submitted in a form permitting his decision to be a final determination of the whole question at issue. As a matter of fact, the Dominican plenipotentiaries did not want an arbitral decision merely on the meaning of article 4, knowing that grave difficulties would subsequently arise in regard to the amount of pecuniary compensation and the demarcation of the uti possidetis of 1874. They earnestly desired an opportunity to maintain their country's right to the ancient boundary of 1777 on the broadest historical and legal basis. So Cardinal Rampolla's determination to refuse to act under the treaty of July 3, 1895, was eminently satisfactory to them.
In 1898 a treaty was signed and ratified by which the countries agreed to submit the boundary question to the Holy See without restrictions.
After this treaty had been signed neither Government showed any disposition to proceed with the arbitration. Commissioners were named to demark the line of the uti possidetis of 1874, but hardly had begun their labors when they disagreed and returned to their respective capitals. In 1899 President Heureaux and the Haitian Government signed another secret agreement during a visit the former made to Mole St. Nicolas. This agreement is said to have been more favorable to Santo Domingo than the secret treaty of 1898, but information as to its exact terms is not obtainable. It does not appear to have been ratified or even to have been drawn in the form of a formal treaty.
That same year President lleureaux was assassinated, and the succeeding administration showed no disposition to continue his Haitian policy. Accordingly Haiti took steps to push the arbitration and sent plenipotentiaries to Rome. But the Dominican Government failed to take similar action; Haiti did not insist; and no advance has since been made toward a solution of the controversy. Public opinion in Santo Domingo is overwhelmingly opposed to yielding to the Haitian demand for the line of 1874, and insistent that equitable territorial as well as pecuniary compensation be given in a final settlement; the short-lived governments which have succeeded one another since Heureaux's death have never been strong enough, even if they were so disposed, to hope to force a settlement through Congress or a plebiscite, as he did. On the other hand, Haiti is not anxious for a definite settlement unless it can be obtained on the basis of the 1874 line and no further pecuniary compensation. She is already in possession of the disputed territory, and believes she has everything to lose and nothing to gain by any arbitral decision.
When the present Horacista government came into power late in 1903 its members, being notoriously opposed to an acceptance of the Haitian interpretation of the treaties of 1874 and 1898, sent ex-President Gonzalez as minister to Port au Prince in the belief that he, being the author of the treaty of 1874, would be regarded with particular favor by the Haitian Government and be able to prevent the question from reaching an acute phase. In July, 1905, the Haitian minister at Santo Domingo indicated his Government's willingness to resume immediately the demarcation of the 1874 line. The Dominican answer was evasive, asking for time to study the matter, and in subsequent correspondence reserving the privilege of discussing the constitutional status and international validity of the treaties. But both sides carefully avoided pushing this correspondence to an ultimatum, and it was soon dropped.
The real peril of the situation lies in the ever-present possibility that Haitian authorities or individuals on the frontier will take action which would be construed by the Dominican public as an aggression or invasion. Not only did Haitian officials take and keep possession of the region between Comendador and Los Puertos in the years previous to 1874, but they also then or subsequently occupied several villages north of Banica, others southwest of Comendador, and still others south of Lake Enriquille. Besides these official acts of occupations large numbers of individual Haitians, who for the most part were fleeing from the arbitrary rule of the local military chiefs of their home villages,
have crossed over into uninhabited Dominican territory. For example, the populous village of Restauracion is inhabited entirely by French-speaking negroes immigrated from Haiti, although they have obeyed a Dominican official since Heureaux's time.
Several times in the last twenty years the report of real or supposed aggressions or invasions into Dominican territory has brought the countries to the verge of war. Such a report always arouses Dominicans of all classes, and bands of volunteers offer themselves to the Government, and sometimes even march for the frontier without that formality. Once during President Jimenez's administration the news that Haitians had occupied an insignificant and uninhabited place east of the Massacre occasioned the instantaneous mobilization of two or three thousand men, and without the prompt intervention of the present Haitian minister to Santo Domingo and of Vice-President Vasquez grave results would have followed.
The Acting Secretary of State to Minister Dawson. No. 120.]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, July 11, 1906. Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 261, of the 16th ultimo, reporting on the Dominican-Haitian boundary controversy.
The intelligence and industry shown by you in the preparation of your report are highly commended. I am, etc.,
ENFORCEMENT OF THE SUGAR PRODUCTION TAX.
[Continued from Foreign Relations, 1905, pp. 391-394.)
Minister Dawson to the Secretary of State.
Santo Domingo, January 17, 1906. Sir: Referring to the subject of your No. 48, of March 23,9 the collection of the sugar production tax, I have the honor to confirm your telegram as follows:
WASHINGTON, December 31, 1905. Referring to your telegram 16th last March and department's 48 of March 23. Please report status of suit then proposed to be brought to collect sugar tax.
In view of this Government's course in not taking action while the treaty is pending you may in a friendly way intimate to Dominican Government that until the question is judiciously determined it would be appropriate and courteous to defer collection of the tax by seizure of sugar or by detention of steamers awaiting this season's crop or by other forcible measures.
Root. and to say that I immediately called upon the minister of finance, who was then acting as minister of war ad interim and whom I found absorbed in the then pressing duties of that portfolio. He said that he would be able later to give the matter proper consideration, and assured me that until we had further discussed it the prohibition of the export of sugar by persons in default on the sugar tax, would be
a Printed in Foreign Relations, 1905, p. 393. 59605—F R 1906-39
suspended, and that the ships then loading at Macoris would not be interfered with. Accordingly I telegraphed you as follows:
SANTO DOMINGO, January 1, 1906. Sugar tax suit pending supreme court on appeal by Bass. The Dominican Government promises not to interfere with shipments this week.
Dawson. I confirm your reply as follows, which on account of the interruption of telegraphic communication during the fighting at Puerto Plata did not reach me until January 5.
WASHINGTON, January 3, 1906. Promise not to interfere with shipments this week not understood. Such a limitation not available, illusory, and not responsive to the attitude of this Government in refraining from pressing isolated matters pending complete adjustment under the treaty.
Root. On its receipt I visited the minister of foreign affairs, who called in the minister of finance. They gave the assurance suggested by you and I accordingly telegraphed as follows:
SANTO DOMINGO, January 5, 1906. Dominican minister for foreign affairs further promises that sugar exportation will be permitted until final decision supreme court. Negotiations for amicable settlement are pending.
Dawson. A few days later the managers of the Santa Fé and Cristobal Colon estates came to this city and had several conferences with the minister of finance looking to a concession of time for the payment of the accumulated tax. The minister made them a proposition which they agreed to submit to their principals.
The minister said that he would prefer that the whole amount in question be deposited in the hands of third parties pending the decision of the case now pending before the supreme court, but if the resources of the Sante Fé and Colon estates made this inconvenient he would consent that the arrears be paid in installments.
I ascertain from various deputies and cabinet members that it is the intention of Congress to abolish the sugar-production tax immediately upon its assembling in regular session on February 27. Although they expressly assert that their action in this respect will not be a ffected by the attitude taken by the sugar planters in regard to the payment of arrears in case the decision of the Supreme Court is in favor of the Government, it is probable that this attitude will nevertheless have its effect when the time actually comes to repeal the present law.
I herewith inclose a note sent by me to the minister of foreign affairs by which our verbal understanding made in pursuance of your telegraphic instructions is made a matter of record.
The only important point which seems to remain open is the form of security to be given by the sugar planters pending the judgment in the court of last resort. Minister Valasquez gives me to understand that he has communicated to Señor Joubert powers to arrange as to it. I have, etc.,
T. C. DAWSON.