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BY ARTHUR C. MILLSPAUGH
Financial Adviser-General Receiver
of Haiti, 1927-1929
WORLD PEACE FOUNDATION
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By ARTHUR C. MILLSPAUGH
ADMINISTRATOR GENERAL OF THE FINANCES OF PERSIA, 1922-1927;
FINANCIAL ADVISER-GENERAL RECEIVER
OF HAITI, 1927-1929
WORLD PEACE FOUNDATION
Copyright, November, 1931
BY WORLD PEACE FOUNDATION
/1/ ?,.2 .
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
I. THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION ................. 1
The Country .................................... 3
Discovery, Colonization, Independence, 1492-1804.... 5
From Independence to Intervention, 1804-1915 ....... 9
Conditions on the Eve of Intervention ............... 12
Foreign Interests ................................ 20
Development of American Policy ................... 25
II. INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 ................ 34
M military Intervention............................ 35
Election of a President........................... 38
Treaty Negotiation............... .............. 41
Haitian Ratification of the Treaty ................. 49
The Treaty of September 16, 1915 .................. 54
American Organization and Policy ................. 59
III. PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922 ........... 64
American Disorganization ......................... 64
Elections, the Legislature and a New Constitution..... 71
Legislation, Friction, Interpretation ................ 77
Finance ................ ...................... 82
Insurrection ................ ................. 86
Constructive Efforts.............................. 91
Criticism and Investigation ..................... ... 95
IV. JOINT DICTATORSHIP, POLITICS, PEACE, JUSTICE AND
FINANCE, 1922-1929. ........................... 99
The High Commissioner and President Borno ........ 99
Shall the People Rule? ........................... 108
Peace and Order ................................ 112
Justice and Constitutional Amendment ............. 113
The Public Debt.............................. 118
Other Financial Reforms.......................... 126
V. THE PROBLEM: ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL APPROACH, 1922-
1930 ....................................... 135
Elements of the Problem.......................... 135
Health ...................................... 138
Population and Production ....................... 141
The Service Technique.......................... 146
Public Domains and Large-scale Agriculture......... 151
Land Titles and Land Settlement .................. 157
Transportation and Communication................ 158
S Commerce ..................................... 160
/ Education ............... ...................... 162
Standards of Living........................... 165
VI. TRANSITION, 1929-1930............................ 168
The Time Element and Haitianization............... 169
Criticism and Disturbance ..................... 175
Presidential Inquiry and a More Definite Policy ...... 180
Investigation of Education ....................... 188
Preliminaries to Self-government under Civilian Super-
vision ....................................... 190
I. AMERICAN POLICY BEFORE INTERVENTION. ............. 197
Message of President Roosevelt to Congress, December
6, 1904 ........................................... 197
Statement of President Wilson, March 11, 1913 ....... 198
The Secretary of State to Minister Madison R. Smith,
February 26, 1914................................. 199
The Secretary of State to Minister Blanchard, July 2,
1914 ...................... .................. 200
The Acting Secretary of State to Minister Blanchard,
October 29, 1914.............. ................... 201
The Acting Secretary of State to Minister Blanchard,
October 30, 1914 .................................. 201
The Acting Secretary of State to Minister Blanchard,
November 4, 1914. ............... ................ 201
The Secretary of State to Minister Blanchard, Novem-
ber 12, 1914................................ 202
The Secretary of State to Minister Blanchard, Decem-
ber 12, 1914 ..................................... 203
The Secretary of State to Minister Blanchard, Decem-
ber 19, 1914................. ..................... 203
II. INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 ................. 204
The Acting Secretary of the Navy to Admiral William
B. Caperton, July 28, 1915 ........................... 204
Admiral Caperton to the Secretary of the Navy, August,
2, 1915 .............. ............................ 205
Admiral Caperton to the Secretary of the Navy, Au-
gust5, 1915 ............................ .......... 205
Proclamation of the United States, August 9, 1915 ..... 206
The Acting Secretary of the Navy to Admiral Caperton,
August 10, 1915 ................................... 206
The Secretary of State to Charg6 d'Affaires Robert
Veale Davis, Jr., August 10, 1915 ..................... 206
The Secretary of State to Charg6 Davis, August 18,
1915 ............................................. 207
The Secretary of State to Charg6 Davis, August 22,
1915 ............................................. 208
The Secretary of State to Charg6 Davis, August 24,
1915 .............................................. 209
The Secretary of State to Charg6 Davis, September 1,
1915 .............. .............................. 210
Treaty between the United States and Haiti, signed at
Port au Prince, September 16, 1915 ................... 211
The Secretary of the Navy to Admiral Caperton,
November 10, 1915 .............. ................. 216
III. SUPPLEMENTARY AGREEMENTS AND THE CONSTITUTION,
1917-1918 ................................... 217
Protocol Establishing the Gendarmerie.............. 217
Agreement Concerning, Control of Telegraphs and
Additional Act Extending the Treaty of
September 16, 1915 ................................ 221
The Haitian Constitution of 1918 ................. 222
Protocol of October 3, 1919....................... 225
IV. REPORT OF SENATE COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY, 1922 ....... 229
V. POSTPONEMENT OF ELECTIONS, 1925-1929.............. 233
Excerpts from President Borno's Message to the Pre-
fects, October, 1925................................ 233
Annual Message of the President of Haiti, April, 1928. 235
President Borno's Letter to the Prefects, October 5,
1929 ............................................. 237
VI. DISTURBANCE, INVESTIGATION AND CHANGE OF AMERI-
CAN POLICY, 1929-1930......................... 238
Message from President Hoover to Congress, December
7, 1929 ........................................... 238
Proclamation of President Borno, December 9, 1929... 239
President Hoover's statement, February 4, 1930....... 241
Excerpts from Report of President's Commission,
M arch 26, 1930...................... ............ 242
The State Department Announcement, October 2, 1930 250
Haitianization Agreement, Port au Prince, August 5,
1931 .......................... ................ 250
HAITI UNDER AMERICAN
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION
RELATIONS of the United States with the Republic of
Haiti since July, 1915, illustrate instructive aspects of
foreign policy and of political science. The effort of a prim-
itive negro population, once in slavery, to govern itself in a
tropical environment by orderly constitutional processes, on
the basis of an independent nationality which it nominally
won by revolution more than a century ago, would by itself
provide a fascinating theme for a study in political science.
But this interesting experiment became a problem not only
of Haiti but also of the United States. In the black republic
chronic revolutionary disorder, economic stagnation and
financial bankruptcy gained special significance by reason of
foreign investments and Haiti's strategic location. With
the object of stabilizing the country and thus safeguarding
foreign interests, the Government of the United States,
assuming-as it had assumed in other cases-what was con-
ceived to be its peculiar obligation in the Caribbean region,
first had recourse to diplomatic methods. These failing and
the situation continuing to appear intolerable, American
forces were landed in July, 1915. Intervention was followed
by occupation, by a native insurrection, by military opera-
tions and by pacification. In the meantime, naval and
marine officers, largely representing and strongly influencing
American procedure, undertook to establish a legal basis, in
general conformity with previous diplomatic demands, for
cooperation between the Governments of the United States
and Haiti in the stabilization and development of the re-
public. Americans in Haiti actively interfered in domestic
2 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
affairs, influenced the election of a new and supposedly
friendly President, obtained by coercion a treaty and a new
constitution, and participated in the suspension from 1916
to 1930 of popular elections and an elected legislature.
Nevertheless, there were six years of intermittent and irritat-
ing controversy between American representatives and
Haitian officials; and the Government of the United States
insisted on interpretations and supplementary agreements
designed to meet what appeared to be defects in the treaty or
practical exigencies in the situation. Disorganization and
protests in Haiti, reinforced by criticism in the United
States, led to a congressional investigation. As a result,
under the treaty American officials-naval, marine and
civilian-were placed under the coordinating supervision of
a military high commissioner, in whom were combined
diplomatic, military and administrative functions.
Coincident with this form of organization, a Haitian
President was elected, reelected and kept in office from 1922
to 1930; and he gave to American officials cordial coopera-
tion and a measure of leadership. Government took the
form of dual dictatorship. Thus, since 1915, but more
particularly since 1922, Haiti has been in a peculiarly inti-
mate and quasi-dependent relation with the United States;
and the country has constituted in fact a unique laboratory
for social, economic, political and administrative paternal-
ism. Late in the period covered by this study, it appeared
that much material accomplishment had resulted. Never-
theless, the treaty was to expire in 1936; the national elec-
tions and the representative legislature provided by the
constitution had not been restored; articulate opinion in
Haiti had not yet been conciliated; there seemed no assur-
ance either of achieving stability or of renewing the treaty;
and in 1930 the investigations of American commissions
appointed by President Hoover brought about the reestab-
lishment of the machinery of self-government, the replace-
ment of the military high commissioner by a civilian and
diplomatically accredited minister, and the announcement of
new policies by the Government of the United States. At
the date of writing, Americans in Haiti are again faced by a
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION 3
President and a legislature apparently hostile, and the
American task assumes an especially difficult transitional
phase-in short, preparing for withdrawal in 1936, while
insuring so far as possible continuance of stability and
progress after that time.
It is the purpose of this book to relate objectively the story
of American relations with Haiti, particularly since 1914,
with an attempt to make clear what the Haitian problem-a
complex of social, economic, political, administrative and
other factors-was and is, and how the United States
Government and its representatives have tried to solve it.
The problem is clearly one of diplomacy as well as of ad-
ministration. It is definitely conditioned by its compromise
with Haitian sovereignty. It involves personal and politi-
cal relations with a people as well as reform of government
and promotion of general welfare. It is a problem that has
been in many respects baffling; the American attitude in
relation to it has had its times of quickened discussion, ap-
praisal, restatement and realignment; it has had its acute
phases, another of which may well occur in 1936 if not
earlier; and it is a problem which has occasioned extreme
divergencies in opinion, much of it uninformed. The pur-
pose of this book is to provide, by means of an impartial
factual presentation, material essential to a clearer under-
standing in the future.
Traveling by steamship almost 1,400 miles directly south-
ward from New York, a visitor to Haiti, near the end of his
four-day journey, sails through the Windward Passage, with
the United States naval base at GuAntanamo not far to the
southwest on the Cuban coast and on the opposite side Mole
St. Nicholas, at the northwestern corner of the island of
Haiti or San Domingo.' The Republic of Haiti occupies
the western third of the island;2 the Dominican Republic, the
remainder. East of the latter country, across the Mona
I Haiti was the aboriginal name of the island, San Domingo being the
more particularly Spanish form.
I Between parallels 17 39' and 200 north latitude.
4 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
Passage, lies Porto Rico, and, still farther to the east, are the
Virgin Islands. Beyond toward the south, ocean commerce,
after filtering through the Antilles, may pass by way of the
Panama Canal into the Pacific. Haiti forms the second
largest link in the island chain which marks the boundary
of the Caribbean. With its contiguous islands-chief of
which is La Gonave in the Bay of Port au Prince-the area
of the republic is about 10,700 square miles; its greatest
length 183 miles; and its width near the Dominican bound-
ary, about 114 miles.
That Haiti is a tropical country is evident from its loca-
tion. Its temperature is high but equable, varying chiefly
with elevation; and it might well be thought that climate,
together with the racial history of the people, may have con-
tributed to the retardation of political progress, just as it has
removed certain incentives for sustained labor, production,
education and the improvement of living standards.
It is not so evident or commonly known that the country,
though small, is impressively mountainous.3 It is a land of
rugged mountains, plateaus, small isolated valleys and
coastal plains. Steep ranges, rising from the coast and criss-
crossing each other in the interior, have made internal
communication and the marketing of products difficult,
restricted the urban centers to the seaboard, tended to
encourage sectionalism and individualism, accentuated dis-
tinctions between city and country, weakened government,
sheltered banditry and helped to incubate revolutions.4
Although coffee, the chief export of the country, grows
mainly on the mountain slopes, the population is most dense
in the valleys and plains; and the limited productive area,
with a large population and other factors, has made Haiti
in the main a nation of small farmers and determined to a
considerable extent the limits of wealth, income, standards of
living, taxation and governmental expenditure.
Chiefly due to the mountains, rainfall varies not only
The greatest altitude in Haiti, that of the Massif de la Selle, is 8,790 feet.
The mountains cover about 8,000 square miles; the plains, about 2,700
square mdes. Republic of Haiti, Bureau of Public Works, Report on Irri-
gation Possibilities in the Republic of Haiti. 1927. p. 9.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION 5
with the seasons but also in different localities.5 Some re-
gions enjoy excessive precipitation; others are semi-arid or
arid; and these differences "are characteristic not of large
and homogeneous regions but of small and scattered dis-
tricts."6 The general direction of the trade winds which
blow across Haiti are from the northeast or east. Moisture
borne by these winds is largely deposited on the northeastern
slopes of the Massif du Nord, which flanks the north coast.
The Central Plain and the Gonaives Plain become increas-
ingly arid as their altitude decreases. Much of the north-
west peninsula and the western plateau, as well as the lower
Artibonite Plain near St. Marc and the Cul de Sac Plain near
Port au Prince, are arid or semi-arid. The end of the south-
ern peninsula, in the region of Jeremie, however, is one of the
best-watered parts of the country.
One fairly uniform characteristic of the rainfall is its con-
centration into two rainy seasons. Except in the north and
extreme southwest, rainstorms are usually short and violent,
often followed by destructive floods. Most of the streams
of Haiti are at one time dry beds, at another raging torrents.
The most notable exception is the Artibonite-a deep, wind-
ing, mud-laden river-which drains approximately three-
tenths of the country. Floods render road maintenance
additionally difficult and expensive, and it is not surprising
that after a long period of political and financial disorganiza-
tion there should have been in 1915 hardly the semblance of
a highway system in the country.
The fertility of its soil is Haiti's chief resource; I and its
economic problem is basically one of agriculture.
DISCOVERY, COLONIZATION, INDEPENDENCE, 1492-1804
Discovered by Columbus on December 6, 1492, first oc-
cupied by adventurous Spaniards lured by the hope of
fabulous wealth, its aboriginal inhabitants quickly exter-
minated by forced labor in the cultivation of sugar cane,
For climatic data, see ibid., p. 13-17; Woodring, Wendell P., Brown,
John S., and Burbank, Wilbur S., Geology of the Republic of Haiti, 1924, p.
Ibid., p. 43.
Bureau of Public Works, op. cit., p. 25 et seq.
6 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
the island of Saint-Domingue became the prized object of
the colonial rivalry of Spain, France and England, and as
early as 1510 was committed to agricultural exploitation and
negro slavery.8 The history of the western part of the is-
land began with the settlement of French, English and Dutch
refugees on the island of Tortuga, or Tortue. The middle
of the seventeenth century found France in control of this
region, with scattered French settlements along the north
coast, growing, in spite of continual warfare with the
Spanish, into prosperous agricultural colonies. In 1697
Spain recognized the right of France to the western part of
Tobacco, indigo and sugar successively became leading
crops. Coffee, cotton and dyewoods were also important
articles of export.10 By large-scale exploitation and with the
labor of a constantly increasing number of negro slaves, the
French developed the richest colonial possession of the time.
At the end of the French colonial period, "the population
was estimated at 536,000, consisting of 32,000 whites, ex-
clusive of the troops and seafaring people; 24,000 freedmen
and 480,000 slaves," although in fact the slaves were prob-
ably considerably in excess of this estimate." While
some of the freedmen were full-blooded negroes, the greater
number were mulattoes.12 Across the plains-to which
cultivation was largely confined-splendid roads were built;
massive stone aqueducts carried water for irrigation; much
of the exported sugar was refined in the mills of the colony."
The mass of black slaves, who outnumbered the other
classes of the population ten to one, were in no way assimi-
lated-except in the condition of slavery and in the inciden-
8 St. John, Sir Spencer, Hayti or The Black Republic, 1889, p. 28, 30;
Davis, H. P., Black Democracy, 1928, p. 12-15; Woodring et al., op. cit., p. 424.
For early French colonization in what is now Haiti, see Davis, op. cit.,
10 Woodring et al., op. cit., p. 70; Davis, op. cit., p. 25.
11 Davis, op. cit., p. 24; cf. Stoddard, T. Lothrop, The French Revolution in
San Domingo, 1914, p. 8-9.
12 Stoddard, op. cit., p. 37.
13 "Approximately 2,500,000 acres of land were in cultivation, almost half
a million Negroes were employed in the various establishments, and the
commerce of the colony with the mother country comprised over a third of
the total foreign trade of France." Davis, op. cit., p. 25.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION 7
tal relations of concubinage14 and intermarriage,-either
economically, socially or politically to the whites. Negroes
in Africa were probably not lacking in rudimentary culture,
in simple political organization and in capacity for progress;"1
but the slave trade could hardly have been without effect on
the psychology of the people who were to found and popu-
late the Republic of Haiti.16 The degradation of labor, fear,
cruelty and caste feeling were the inevitable accompani-
ments of slave systems. The French slave code was com-
paratively enlightened; but the actual treatment of the
bondsmen degenerated at times into fiendish cruelty.7
Among the slaves deaths considerably exceeded births; im-
portations became progressively larger; and at the end of
the eighteenth century the majority of the negro population
of Haiti had been born in Africa."8 While the differences
between the negroes, as they came from Africa, were ap-
parently not important, these men and women nevertheless
had been drawn from different tribes and separated regions.
In their new home plantations were isolated, and until inde-
pendence was obtained there seems to have been little
except color, common misfortune and hatred of the whites
to create in the slave population feelings of solidarity and
national unity.19 Acquiring many of the marks of white
civilization, they retained their African dialects, which modi-
fied the French of the ruling class and formed a new patois
commonly called Creole, and they long preserved their
primitive fetishism and voodooism.20 They were by no
means passive: slave conspiracies and revolts were not
The mulattoes and freedmen steadily increased in num-
14 The census of 1774 showed 5,000 out of 7,000 free colored women living
as white men's mistresses. Stoddard, op. cit., p. 38.
11 Du Bois, W. E. Burghardt, The Negro. 1915, p. 103-142.
19 Ibid., p. 143-159; Weatherford, W. D., The Negro from Africa to America,
1924, p. 70-89; Johnston, Sir Harry H., The Negro in the New World, 1910,
1" Johnston, op. cit., p. 135-137, 140; Weatherford, op. cit., p. 102.
1s Davis, op. cit., p. 303-305; Stoddard, op. cil., p. 50-53; cf. Weatherford,
op. cit., p. 94-96.
1" Stoddard, op. cit., p. 53-54; Johnston, op. cit., p. 133.
20 Stoddard, op. cit., p. 57; S abrook, W. B., The Magic Island, 1929; St.
John, op. cit., p. 187-231; Johnston, op. cit., p. 193-194.
"l Stoddard, op. cit., p. 64-67.
8 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
ber.22 Free mulattoes shared on practically the same terms
as the whites in the acquisition and holding of property;
many possessed wealth and a European education.23 Be-
tween the mulatto and the white on the one hand and the
mulatto and the black on the other the color line was drawn
almost as sharply as between white and black. The free
mulatto was subjected to social, political and legal discrimi-
nations which became increasingly severe, and engendered in
him a sense of oppression and a bitter hostility toward the
politically dominant white.24
Within the white class there was antagonism between the
native-born "Creoles" and the foreign-born "Europeans."
The official class held aloof from the other whites and was
disliked by them. Not only were a majority of the whites
born in Europe, but few of them adopted the country as
their own or desired to remain there.25 The situation was
socially and economically unstable, and change was inevita-
ble.26 To make matters worse, the home government by its
restrictive policy had given the colonists a number of real
grievances. Revolution in France came when colonial dis-
content was undiminished27 and class hatreds in Saint-
Domingue were ready to explode.
In the slave mass there was overwhelming power which
only required favoring circumstances to unloose it. The
planters demanded and were accorded representation in the
Estates-General; but the attitude of the planters toward the
mulattoes and the slaves was inconsistent with the princi-
ples of the French Revolution, and raised an issue which the
French National Assembly could not successfully evade.
Dissension among the whites in Haiti was followed by mu-
latto revolts, and they in turn by slave insurrections.
a2 Not all the full-blooded Negroes were slaves; some had fled to the moun-
tains and lived a life of banditry. A few others were freedmen, some edu-
cated and well-to-do. The free Negroes numbered about 27,000 in 1789,
and most of these were mulattoes of white paternity; but not all of the
mulattoes, probably not even a majority, were free. Ibid., p. 36-38, 49,
62-64; Johnston, op. cit., p. 143.
2 Stoddard, op. cit., p. 46.
24 Ibid., p. 38-47; Johnston, op. cit., p. 141-143.
5 Stoddard, op. cit., p. 19-36.
2Ibid., p. 64-67.
27 Ibid., p. 10-18; Davis op cit., p. 26-28.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION
Matters were made worse by the incompetence of the com-
missioners sent from France. The Spaniards and British
both intervened. Toussaint l'Ouverture, a slave born of
slave parents, assumed leadership of the blacks, and by his
intelligence, shrewdness, strong personality and military
skill subjected the mulattoes, forced out the British and took
possession of the Spanish part of the island. Leclerc, dis-
patched by Bonaparte, reached Haiti in 1802, defeated the
negro generals, Toussaint and Dessalines, captured Tous-
saint and sent him to France; but, his forces weakened by
battle and fever, Leclerc finally capitulated to Dessalines.
This ferocious negro leader on January 1, 1804, formally
proclaimed the independence of Haiti-as the new nation
was to be called-and sealed his act by massacring most of
the remaining white inhabitants.28
FROM INDEPENDENCE TO INTERVENTION, 1804-1915
The black population and in almost equal degree the
mulatto minority were unprepared either for national inde-
pendence or self-government. Homogeneity was lacking;
the masses were ignorant and politically inexperienced; the
French estates, irrigation systems, mills and many of the
towns lay in utter ruin; labor was distasteful; leadership had
appeared, but it was for the most part personal and military.
Dessalines, wholly incapable of constructive statesmanship,
was now supreme, and, taking the title of emperor, became
in fact a tyrant. His rule was soon terminated by revolt, and
he was assassinated.29
After the death of Dessalines, the north formed the
"State of Haiti" with Cap-Haitien as the capital and Henri
Christophe, a full-blooded negro of remarkable ability, as
President with dictatorial powers. In the south and west,
Petion, an enlightened mulatto, brought about his own elec-
tion as "President of the Republic of Haiti"; and a demo-
cratic constitution was promulgated.3A In the north,
Christophe ruled with conspicuous but brutal effectiveness,
For the Haitian revolution, see Stoddard, op. cit.; Davis, op. cit., p. 36-98.
Ibid., p. 96-98.
o Ibid., p. 100-103.
10 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
and by means of strict military rule and compulsory labor
succeeded in temporarily restoring prosperity to that region.
He made himself king in 1811, and the ruins of his royal
palace of Sans Souci and of the amazing citadel of La Fer-
riere bear witness to his ruthless despotism and misdirected
energy." The illness of Christophe in 1820 led to revolts;
and when he saw his power crumbling the king shot him-
self."2 In the south, P6tion sought the betterment of the
people; but he was too utopian and failed to restore pros-
perity. He distributed the land in small plots but could not
compel productive labor. On his deathbed he named as his
successor General Boyer, a mulatto, who was elected Presi-
dent for life in 1818 and actually acted as chief of state for 25
years.33 On Christophe's death, the country was united
under Boyer, and in 1821 the Spanish part of the island
voluntarily entered into a union with Haiti.34
Boyer saddled the republic with a burdensome debt to
France for the purpose of indemnifying the former colonial
proprietors, and granted French merchants a 50% reduction
of all import and export duties. In return France recognized
the independence of Haiti, and the Haitian state became the
owner of much of the land which formerly belonged to the
Major Charles Herard in 1843 forced the retirement of
Boyer and his own election to the presidency. Another mili-
tary revolt a year later brought Herard's abdication and
placed in the presidency an aged General Guerrier, who
died eleven months later, being succeeded by General Pier-
rot, who retired after an even shorter tenure. General
Riche now became head of the state but died within less than
a year. The incompetent black General Soulouque was now
elevated to the office, and executed or exiled many of the
prominent mulatto leaders. Presidency for life had been
abolished in 1843, but in 1849 Soulouque proclaimed himself
emperor. His "reign" was terminated by an insurrection
inaugurated by General Geffrard, who in 1859 forced Soul-
31 Davis, op. cit., p. 110-112. 52 Ibid., p. 112-113.
sa Ibid., p. 109, 114. 34 Ibid., p. 115.
3 Ibid., p. 116-117.
THE BACKGROUND OF If RVENTION 11
ouque to leave the country and ma himself President for
life of the reestablished republic. A revolt beginning in
1864 forced Geffrard to sail for Jamaica in 1867, and the
leader of the revolt, Major Salnave, became President under
a new constitution which limited the presidential term to
four years. After, however, having reestablished the presi-
dency for life, he was ousted by another insurrection in 1869
and was finally court-martialed and shot. Nissage-Saget
was then named President and finished his term without revo-
lution, being succeeded by his personal choice, General
Michel Domingue. The latter's tenure of two years was
characterized by utter incompetence and flagrant corrup-
tion, a feature of which was the floating in France of a loan
of 26,000,000 francs." Boisrond-Canal, becoming Presi-
dent in 1876, succeeded in adjusting the debt; but in 1879,
disturbances forced him and his chief ministers into exile,
and Lysius Salomon became President. At the end of the
presidential term, now seven years, Salomon was reelected,
but, warned by insurrection, he chose to leave for France.
Chaos followed for a time; the north had one government, the
west and south another under L6gitime, who was recognized
by all foreign powers except the United States. L6gitime
resigned, however, and in 1889 Hippolyte was elected. A
new French loan of 50,000,000 francs was floated in 1896;
and in the same year Hippolyte found in natural death an
unusual end for a Haitian President.
Then followed the administrations of General T. Simon
Sam, who resigned in 1902; General Nord Alexis, who abdi-
cated in 1908; Antoine Simon, elevated by insurrection in
1908 and overthrown in the same manner in 1911, and Le-
conte, leader of the revolt, who while President was killed
by an explosion in the palace. His successor, Tancrede
Auguste, served until death, possibly by poisoning, overtook
him in 1913. Thereupon the National Assembly chose
Haiti's first-civilian President, Michel Oreste; but he was
forced out after nine months by a gathering insurrection,
which resulted in the election of Charles Zamor, who met
military defeat at the hands of General Th6odoi,2 about nine
Ibid., p. 131-132.
12 HAITI UNDER IERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
months later. The la. ;r, becoming President in November,
1914, lasted only three months and a half; and another
revolution, originating like most of the others in the north,
brought General Vilbrun Guillaume Sam to power on March
4, 1915.37 Disorder in the country now seemed to be chronic.
CONDITIONS ON THE EVE OF INTERVENTION
Between 1804 and 1915 there were periods of comparative
peace and order, notably under Christophe, P6tion and
Boyer from 1811 to 1843, and under Hippolyte, Simon Sam,
and Nord Alexis from 1889 to 1908. There had also been
along certain lines a measure of constructive achievement.
Treaties were negotiated with foreign powers and a con-
cordat with the Holy See. The revolutionary claims of
France were funded. A considerable body of law was en-
acted.38 The need of education was recognized and schools
were established. Several economic concessions were
granted to foreigners and Haitians. Telephones were intro-
duced, cable communications established, telegraph lines
constructed and public buildings erected. There were ef-
forts, sometimes courageous, to combat graft.
Nevertheless, representative self-government had at no
time actually functioned. As a general rule, presidents
were made and unmade in rapid succession by means of in-
37 For the history of Haiti between 1804 and 1915 the best account is
Davis, op. cit., p. 99-160. See also St. John, op. cit., p. 76-129; Johnston,
op. cit., p. 160-167; Survey of American Foreign Relations, 1929, p. 114-117.
The following is the record of the Presidents of Haiti since 1879:
General Salomon ............. .1879-1886 (full term)
General Salomon ............ 1886-1888 (killed after two years)
General Hippolyte. ... ......... 1889-1896 (died near close of term)
General Simon Sam ........... 1896-1903 (overthrown)
General Alexis Nord .......... 1903-1908 (overthrown)
General Antoine Sam .........1908-1911 (overthrown)
General Cincinnatus Leconte. .1911-1912 (killed in office)
General Tancrgde Auguste. ..'..1912-1913 (killed in office)
General Michel Oreste. ...... .1913-1914 (overthrown)
General Oreste Zamor ........ 1914-January to December (overthrown)
General Davilmar Theodore.. .1914-1915 December to April (overthrown)
General Vilbrun Guillaume Sam 1915-April to July (killed in office)
Senator Sudre Dartiguenave.. .. 1915-May 15, 1922
Joseph Louis Borno. .......... May 15, 1922-May 15, 1930
Eug6ne Roy .................May 15, 1930-November 19, 1930
Stenio Vincent ...............November 19, 1930-
(For. Rel., 1916, p. 311, with additions.)
as St. John, op. cit., p. 305.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION 13
surrections headed by military chiefs.3 Revolt commonly
started in the north; and the revolutionary army was largely
made up of conscripted peasants or of cacos.4 Payment of
troops was effected by the looting of towns or by drawing on
the public treasury. Elections merely registered the results
of revolutions.41 Once in power, presidents tended to be-
come dictators. Constitutional and statute law was common-
ly disregarded. Members of the two-chambered legislature
were puppets of the President, and the judiciary was dila-
tory, quibbling, incompetent and for the most part corrupt.42
It is true that revolution and civil war have played a part
in the evolution of more advanced nations; but in Haiti the
tendency was for the end of one revolution to mark the
beginning of another. Politically, the country appeared to be
drifting steadily toward chaos.
Since colonial times there had been no official census; but
it may be guessed that in 1915 the population was approach-
ing 2,000,000,43 with a density of almost 200 per square mile.
Generally speaking, the Haitian people could be divided into
two classes: the 61ite and the mass of peasants and laborers.44
1" Inquiry into Occupation and Administration of Haiti and Santo Domingo.
Hearings before a Select Committee on Haiti and Santo Domingo, United
States Senate, 67th Cong., 1st sess., pursuant to S. Res. 112, p. 1277. Foreign-
ers, particularly Germans, were believed to have participated to some extent
in Haitian revolutions and in some cases may have assisted in fomenting
Ibid., p. 155; Inquiry into Occupation and Administration of Haiti and the
Dominican Republic, 67th Cong., 2d sess., Senate Report No. 794, p. 35.
The two documents cited are hereinafter referred to as Hearings and Sen.
Rept. No. 794.
40 Sen. Rept. No. 794. p. 35. The cacos were peasants from the hills who
sold their services to presidential aspirants. Davis, op. cit., p. 145.
"Johnston, op. cit., p. 200-202; Hearings, p. 1247, 1251, 1277; Papers
Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1915, p. 466.
'" St. John, op. cit., p. 299-307; Kelsey, Carl, The American Intervention in
Haiti and the Dominican Republic, reprinted from Vol. C of the Annals of
the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1922, p. 129-130.
f* The population in 1824 or previously was estimated at figures ranging
from 351,716 to one million. President Geffrard put it at 900,000 in 1863.
St. John, writing in 1888, believed that it had probably doubled since 1825
(op. cit., p. 130-132). Johnston in 1910 thought 2,700,000 a modest esti-
mate and was inclined to put it at 3,000,000. Ibid., p. 182-183. The general
estimate in 1922 was 2,000,000. Kelsey, op. cit., p. 118; Hearings, op. cit.,
p. 129. Gen. Smedley D. Butler's estimate in 1922 was 2,500,000. Ibid.,
p. 515. See also ibid, p. 193. The Senate Committee of Inquiry fixed the
population in 1922 at about 3,250,000, Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 1.
S"The Haitian people are divided into two classes; one class wears
shoes and the other does not. The class that wears shoes is about 1%."
Testimony of Brig. Gen. Smedley D. Butler, Hearings, p. 517.
14 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
Only the nucleus of a middle class existed, but there were
among the Haitians a number of merchants, small trades-
men, artisans and professional men. Lawyers were nu-
merous, and for the most part unlearned and unscrupulous.
A majority of them gravitated to the class of professional
politicians, but a few, like the rest of the middle class, were
inclined to hold aloof from politics and revolution.45
The color line, while lacking the element of legal discrimi-
nation, was still in evidence socially and politically.49 At
least 90% of the people were black.47 Most of the mulat-
toes were in the cities and towns, and formed the larger and
more influential part of the educated and office holding
class.48 White men, few in the country, although generally
respected, were at the same time disliked by the mulattoes
and suspected by the blacks.49 Haitians of character and
ability had appeared from time to time, and among the
61lite, many of whose members had been educated in France,
there were abundant evidences of intelligence and culture.50
Unfortunately, members of this class were conspicuously
devoid of social sympathy or sense of public responsibility.
In the main, they depended on governmental offices for the
maintenance of their way of living, indeed for their liveli-
hood. Their personal interests excluded any conception of
government as a means of promoting the general welfare.
In politics, their distinguishing class characteristics were
selfishness and dishonesty: their goal was access to the
treasury. In general, the only political parties were the Ins
and the Outs. The press was neither free nor enlightened.61
The elite, including most of the professional politicians,
may be put at less than five thousand persons. From 95 to
98% of the population was illiterate 52 and characterized by
45 Report of American High Commissioner, 1925, p. 6.
a St. John, op. cit., p.140-142; Kelsey, op. cit., p. 125-126.
47 St. John, op. cit., p. 133.
Ibid., p. 167-186.
41 Ibid., p. 142-143, 166-167, 172, 179; Hearings, p. 114; Kelsey, op. cit., p.
"6Johnston op. cit., p. 177, 188; Kelsey, op. cit., p. 126; Sen. Rept. No.
794, p. 32.
"1 Hearings, p. 1245.
6 Ibid., p 114, 124, 517, 1245; Johnston, op. cit., p. 187; Sen. Rept. No.
794, p. 2-3.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION 15
the ignorance and mental outlook of African tribesmen.
This section constituted the mass of peasants and laborers,
who, barely subsisting, inarticulate, with no civic conscious-
.ness or national feeling, incapable of opposing-even of
recognizing-misgovernment,6 were nevertheless simple,
kindly, inoffensive, carefree and gay.54 Continuously ex-
ploited and manipulated by the politicians, they constituted
in reality a subject and dependent people. Even the scheme
of legislative representation, as it existed on paper, dis-
franchised the peasants because of the joining of rural areas
and urban districts.
When independence was proclaimed in 1804, Haiti was
practically a devastated country. In 1915, there was not a
single plantation in the country, and in spite of relatively
prosperous periods agriculture and peasant life in general
had remained on a primitive level. Extensive areas, once
cultivated and highly productive, had been entirely aban-
doned and were overgrown with brush. There was little
cultivation of tobacco, and exports of cacao had declined,-
two products which manifestly called for skill in raising and
harvesting. Sugar, although still produced for local con-
sumption, was no longer shipped abroad. Coffee predomi-
nated in the export trade, and Haiti had shifted to the
economically and financially unstable situation of a one-crop
country. Generally speaking, there was no tilling of the
soil, fencing, breeding of live-stock or use of farm imple-
ments. The only cultivation deserving the name was of
garden vegetables. Coffee, cotton, bananas and other
products grew in a semiwild state. The rural homes were
thatch-roofed shacks. Sanitation was practically non-
existent.55 The Haitian woman, the chief worker in the
country, made a favorable impression, but the men seemed
to white observers not only lazy and shiftless but lacking in
stamina.6 The stigma which slavery had cast on manual
labor 7 was perpetuated by a system of literary education
Kelsey, op. cit., p. 127-128; Hearings, p. 1277.
Ibid., p. 153.
Ibid., p. 108; Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 3.
"Johnston, op. cit., p. 196-197; Hearings, p. 108-109, 203.
t Ibid., p. 1251.
16 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
which, apart from its inefficiency and its almost complete
failure to reach the mass of the people, was unsuited to the
primary needs of the country, accentuated class distinctions
and was viewed mainly as a ticket of admission into the
Revolution and misgovernment were factors which con-
tributed to the discouragement of agricultural production.
The methods of recruiting for the armies-both government
and revolutionist-forced the men quite generally to stay in
the hills. Work in the gardens and the marketing of prod-
uce were almost entirely left to the women.59 Peasant
shacks were built as a rule some distance off the most
traveled routes. Much of the private land was owned by
city residents, who took little interest in the improvement
of their properties; and peasant owners were frequently
despoiled of their land by politicians and military chieftains.
Plundering in the towns, fires-accidental and incendiary-
occasional hurricanes, perennial floods and at least one
earthquake occasioned serious setbacks;60 and reserves of
capital, morale and confidence were lacking for recuperation.
Agricultural recovery depended in a measure on the restora-
tion of irrigation, but this required capital, managerial skill
and security, all of which were lacking. Constitutional
prohibition of the ownership of real estate by foreigners, al-
though evaded to some extent, prevented any substantial
investment of outside capital in agricultural undertakings.6
Land titles were in a chaotic state. Prior to independ-
ence, practically all privately owned land belonged to French
colonists, whose titles were taken with them or destroyed
in the Revolution. Afterward, the Haitian state became
the owner of these lands but had no formal titles to them,
and a fire in 1888 destroyed all the domanial records. Fol-
"5St. John, op. cit., p. 291-299; Johnston, op. cit., p. 187; Sen. Rept.
No. 794, p. 3; Hearings, p. 1264.
6* St. John, op. cit., p. 315; Johnston, op. cit., p. 200; Sen. Rept. No. 794,
*"Hearings, p. 109, 117; St. John, op. cit., p. 108, 115, 118, 319-320; Blue
Book of Haiti, 1920, p. 64.
6 Hearings, p. 112, 197, 1284, 1434; Davis, op. cit., p. 96, 201, 212-214;
St. John, op. cit., p. 263; Marcelin, Frederic, Une Evolution Nicessaire,
1898, p. 10, 18, 23, 30, 196.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION
lowing the indemnification of the colonial proprietors, much
of the property thus acquired by the state was in various
ways passed to private ownership.62 Though it was esti-
mated that one-half of the land in the country still belonged
to the Government, little effort was made to ascertain what
and where it was, or to encourage its settlement and culti-
vation. There was no system for the determination and
registration of titles. Due to the insecurity of landholding
and the Government's lax administration of its properties, a
considerable proportion of the peasants were squatters, and
many of these were itinerant, shading into the class of rural
vagrants. Title to private land could be acquired by pre-
scription or adverse possession, but from 1864 on Haitian
law consistently provided that no person could invoke pre-
scription against the state.63 A system of homesteading
through so-called conditional concessions was put into opera-
tion in 1883, but its administration was so palpably corrupt
that the law establishing it was repealed in 1897.64
There appears to have been no interest in the protection
of the forests. Some of the mountain ranges were still
heavily wooded, but over much of the country large areas
had been denuded.
Incompetence, demoralization and corruption in finance
had brought the Government to virtual bankruptcy. Po-
litical and personal plundering of the treasury had been so
flagrant, so customary and so shameless that it may best be
characterized as unmoral rather than immoral. The total
Government receipts in the fiscal year 1912-13 65 amounted
to $5,225,416.48,66 or about $2.60 per capital. These re-
ceipts had been exceeded in 1911-12, but with this exception
. "Report of Financial Adviser-General Receiver, 1927-1928, p. 69-70; Hear-
tngs, p. 115, 1248-1249; St. John, op. cit., p. 359-360.
C Report of Financial Adviser-General Receiver, 1927-1928, p. 77-78; Civil
Code, Arts., 35, 1995; Laws of Oct. 28, 1864, Art. 4, August 14, 1877, Art. 6,
August 21, 1908, Art. 6.
"6 Law of August 21, 1908; op. cit., p. 77.
*5 The Haitian fiscal year is from October 1 of one calendar year to Sep-
tember 30 of the next, inclusive.
The Haitian currency unit is the gourde, the gold value of which was
fixed in 1919 at five gourdes to the dollar. In the figure given in the text,
fluctuations in the gold value of the gourde prior to its stabilization have
been calculated, making the figure comparable with statistics for years
suice 1919. Report of Financial Adviser-General Receiver, 1927-28, p. 55.
18 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
had not been equaled since 1896-97.67 Most of the receipts
were derived from customs revenue collected on the basis of
an antiquated tariff which taxed luxuries lightly and necessi-
ties heavily, thus favoring the elite and discriminating
against the peasantry.68 Loans were floated on onerous
terms to meet recurring deficits and to satisfy the rapacity of
successful revolutionists and their followers. As the public
debt swelled, customs duties were pledged as security, and
export duties, also pledged, were placed on the country's
agricultural products. In 1912-13, export duties produced
about two-thirds as much as the import tariff; but in 1911-12
receipts from exports had actually exceeded those from
imports.69 Haiti's revenue structure was lopsided and un-
stable, lay too heavily on the backs of the peasants and
played its part in discouraging Haitian industry.70 On
August 31, 1915, the total debt of Haiti, including external
and internal funded debts, the internal floating debt and
fiduciary currency (nickel and copper coin and paper
money), amounted to $32,105,843.68.71 In 1913-14 about
80% of the Government revenue was required for debt
service.72 In 1912-13 there was a deficit, amounting to
almost one-quarter of the receipts, which was partly covered
by an internal loan and partly by borrowing from the
National Bank of Haiti. In the following year the deficit
amounted to about 60% of the receipts and was covered by
an issue of paper money.73 In June, 1914, another internal
"7 It appears that from 1890-91 to 1894-95 Haiti experienced a period of
financial prosperity" which was not approximated in point of governmental
income until 1924-25, and was not exceeded until 1925-26. "Following
1896-97 there was progressive financial deterioration due to political turbu-
lence, until in 1907-08 the revenues were only one-quarter of those of 1890-
91." Ibid., 1923-24, p. 56.
as The tariff law was passed in 1905 but it was practically a repetition of a
law of 1872, which was "merely an adaptation of a tariff enacted in 1858."
Report of Receivership of Customs, 1916-1917, p. 10.
'9 Report of Financial Adviser-General Receiver, 1927-28, p. 55.
70 Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 9, 27-28.
i1 On August 31, 1915, the unpaid balances of the three French loans of
1875, 1896 and 1910, with accruals of interest, amounted to Frs. 122,382,-
522.56 or, converted at Frs. 5.70 to the dollar, $21,470,617.99. There were
four unliquidated internal loans, the last three dating from 1912, 1913 and
1914 (that of 1914 being in three series), the whole, with accruals of interest,
amounting to $2,380,753.94. The internal floating debt stood at $5,029,-
877.35 and fiduciary currency at $3,224,594.40. Cf. Hearings, p. 1226,
1228-1229. ,7 Ibid., p. 1224. 73 Ibid.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION 19
loan was floated.74 In the meantime Haitian currency,
ordinarily subject to violent fluctuations,75 responded to the
issuance of paper money by further depreciation.
In expenditure from ordinary receipts or from loans the
budget was commonly ignored; and Government funds were
rarely applied to constructive and productive undertakings.
In appearance education was best provided for, but the
teachers were ill-trained and in some cases illiterate, school
facilities in general were inadequate and the system was
permeated with politics.76 Government efforts to promote
and diversify production through the Haitian Department of
Agriculture or by any other means appear to have been
negligible.77 Probably not more than 210 miles of roads
were passable even in dry weather.78 Bridges were so few
and so dangerous that, it is said, the proverb "never cross a
bridge until you come to it" had been changed in Haiti to
"never cross a bridge if you can go around it." 7 Trans-
portation routes were in general trails or bridle paths, over
which produce was carried to market on the backs of mules
or the heads of women.80 An ill-fated railroad, however,
had been partially constructed,8" and in the capital there
was a tramway and the beginning of paved streets.
Before the intervention, sanitation laws were either non-
existent or unenforced; the national school of medicine was
inadequate and ineffective; hospitals had been provided by
law in 1808 and some were established, but all were grossly
[ For. Rel., 1914, p. 345-346. ". [It] is undoubtedly true that it
[the Haitian Government] had exerted itself to an extraordinary degree to
maintain the service of its foreign debts. To do this the Haitian Gov-
ernment had, during the three years immediately preceding the occupation,
floated internal loans at the rates of 59, 56 and 47, to a gold value of $2,868,-
131, had defaulted on salaries, pensions, etc., to the extent of $1,111,280,
had borrowed from the Bank of Haiti $1,733,000, had issued fiat paper
money and had borrowed to a very large amount from private individuals
at enormous discounts on treasury notes. The Haitian Government had,
at the time of the American intervention, totally exhausted its credit both at
home and abroad. The amortization of the loan of 1875 was in arrears. "
Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 8-9.
Kelsey, op. cit., p. 157.
"7 Hearings, p. 571-573.
7 Relations with Haiti, 1926, p. 22-23.
8 Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 2.
Report of American High Commissioner, 1929, p. 26.
Hearings, p. 113, 125.
Infra, p. 20-21.
20 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
neglected.82 There was a vital statistics law but no agency
charged with its enforcement, and there were no reliable re-
ports of births or deaths.83 It has been estimated that
syphilis and yaws affected 80% of the population.84 Pre-
intervention Haiti from the standpoint of public health has
been described as a "great mass of morbidity against which
no preventive measures had ever been used and, as far as
the majority of the people is concerned, no systematic thera-
peutic or diagnostic measures had ever been attempted."85
Tradition, language, religion and culture rendered French
influence strong in Haiti. French was the official language,
although the mass of the people spoke Creole.86 Catholi-
cism was the established religion of the state; the archbishop,
bishops, priests and teachers in the church schools came from
.France and exercised a strong and civilizing influence on the
masses. In the interior the practice of voodooism persisted,
but it was neither general nor open, and tended to disap-
pear.87 Haiti's foreign loans and the bonds of the National
Railroad were held in France; the National Bank of Haiti
was originally a French concession, and the French owned a
For a brief history of hospitals and medical education in Haiti, see
Republique d'Haiti, Service National d'Hygihne Publique, Annual Report,
1924-1925, p. 76-82. An eyewitness before 1915 described the Haitian
General Hospital as follows:
"The building resembled one used for a stable, being divided into stalls
or small rooms, without floors and none had beds. On the first day that
I went to the hospital, shortly after landing, I saw three men lying dead
among the others." Report of American High Commissioner, 1929, p. 32.
8 Melhorn, Kent C., Health of Haiti, 1930, p. 93-97.
'4 But "much of this syphilis was innocent." Butler, C. S., The Medical
Needs of the Republic of Haiti at the Present Time, 1926, p. 5, 9. "An actual
blood test taken by me of 1,200 gendarmes selected at random, which gen-
darmes had been previously selected from 50,000 of the best Haitians,
showed that 95% of them were diseased. An examination showed
that 95% of them had blood diseases and 85% had intestinal worms."
Testimony of Gen. Smedley D. Butler, Hearings, p. 514. "All the epidemic
diseases except perhaps plague, typhus and relapsing fever have from time
to time visited Haiti. Even Asiatic cholera has visited the island twice, in
1851 and again in 1866. Frightful epidemics of smallpox have decimated
the population from time to time. Historically it is of interest that the first
epidemics of smallpox which occurred in the New World visited the Island
of Haiti, those of 1507 and 1517 Butler, op. cit., p. 5.
St. John, op. cit., p. 340-357; Johnston, op. cit. p. 185-186.
'7 Ibid., p. 193-194; Kelsey, op. cit., p. 122-123; Hearings, p. 199-200, 203,
1260; St. John, op. cit., p. 187-257, 277-290; Seabrook, op. cit.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION 21
cable monopoly; but traders of this nationality were not
numerous and were established principally at Cap-Ha'itien.88
Germans dominated Haitian commerce and shipping 89 and
had obtained a number of concessions. British interests
claimed to have obtained the so-called Daniel petroleum
concession, and owned part of the stock of the railroad.
The principal foreign concessionary interests were the
National Railroad, the National Bank and a group of
enterprises at Port au Prince including the wharf, the
electric light plant, the tramway and the P. C. S. Rail-
The expensive involvement of the Haitian Government in
the National Railroad dated from July 19, 1904, when a
concession was granted under dubious circumstances to one
Rodolphe Gardere, who sold control to American interests.
Several other contracts and agreements were concluded
subsequently. The final contract, which was promulgated
on August 5, 1910, provided that two unfinished lines
of railroad, one from Cap-Haitien to Port au Prince and
Arcahaie, and the other from Gonaives to Hi'nche and Gros
Morne, should be consolidated into one system. It also
extended the term of both concessions to 50 years. The new
concession provided that the railroad company should issue
bonds at the rate of $20,000 per kilometer of constructed
track. The Haitian Government guaranteed payment of
6% interest on these bonds and, from January 1, 1916, a pay-
ment also of 1% on account of sinking fund. The Govern-
ment was to make these payments only when the railroad,
after meeting costs of operation and maintenance, was un-
able to pay all of the interest and sinking fund charges.
When profits reached 12% or more the state was to receive
one-sixth of all profits. The railroad property was to revert
to the state on the expiration of the concession. From the
financial point of view, participation by the Haitian Govern-
ment in the National Railroad of Haiti was one of the most
disastrous ventures in the history of the Government. The
railroad was a failure from the beginning; misfortune and
mismanagement added to the difficulties both of the Gov-
"s Hearings, p. 122. e" Ibid., p. 110, 112, 122, 516.
22 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
ernment and of the individuals interested in the project." o
Foreclosure proceedings were initiated by the Haitian
Government against the railroad on September 9, 1914, but
on the intercession of Secretary Bryan proceedings were
postponed and actual foreclosure never took place.9"
American interests had also taken over a sugar mill, as well
as concessions for a wharf, an electric light plant and a tram-
way, all at or near Port au Prince, and the concession for
the P. C. S. Railroad,-enterprises originally controlled by
Germans.92 The P. C. S. Railroad had in its concession a
provision by which the Government guaranteed it a certain
sum annually; but the road had failed to develop as a public
utility and was used principally for the carrying of cane
from the plantations to the sugar mill.
The Haitian Government had granted in 1880 a 50-year
concession to French interests for the establishment of a
national bank which was to act as the Government de-
pository. In connection with the loan of 1910, a reorganiza-
tion of the bank took place, and, apparently at the suggestion
of the Department of State, four American institutions,
including the National City Bank, took 20% of the stock,
German interests at the same time acquiring 5%.93 Under
the circumstances then existing conflict between the Haitian
Government and the bank could hardly have been avoided.
Under the loan agreement of 1910 a substantial sum had been
reserved from the proceeds of the loan and held in the cus-
tody of the bank for monetary reform; but when the
Haitian Government passed a law suspending the retirement
of fiduciary currency the bank declined to hand over to the
Government the money so reserved. According to its
contract the bank was the sole treasury of the Government:
it received all Government funds; it was further empowered
to hold such funds intact until the end of the fiscal year, and
it was in no way legally obligated to make advances. Nev-
o0 Report of Financial Adviser-General Receiver, 1923-1924, p. 87.
For. Rel., 1915, p. 538-548; ibid., 1916, p. 377.
92Hearings, p. 111-112, 1237. The full name of the railroad was Com-
pagnie des Chemins de Fer de la Plaine du Cul-de-Sac.
3"Ibid., p. 105-106. The National City Bank had also loaned the rail-
road company S500,000, and in 1920 a vice president of the National City
Bank was appointed receiver of the railroad. Ibid., p. 107.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION
ertheless, under agreements entered into annually, it had
advanced from month to month amounts required for
ordinary governmental expenses, reimbursing itself at the
end of the fiscal year from the surplus remaining after the
service of the three foreign loans had been met. In June,
1914, because of its differences with the Government, the
bank was contemplating refusal to renew for the following
fiscal year the budgetary convention by which it was mak-
ing these advances. When in September a bill was intro-
duced into the Haitian Chamber of Deputies authorizing
another issue of paper money, this action was protested by
the bank as a violation of its contract; and when a similar
bill was introduced in November the bank indicated that it
would refuse to recognize the issue as legal tender. On
December 24, 1914, however, a law authorizing the issue of
eight million gourdes in fiat money was promulgated,94 the
Haitian Foreign Office contending that the bank by refus-
ing advances had forced the Government to take this ac-
In its differences with the Haitian Government, the bank
was strongly supported by the State Department. The
Haitian Foreign Office in vain denied the right of the Ameri-
can legation to intervene in behalf of a corporation of French
nationality, and equally in vain called attention to that
article of the bank's contract by which this institution had
renounced recourse to diplomatic intervention.95 In De-
cember, 1914, the bank controversy had reached a critical
stage, and the American minister informed the Haitian
Foreign Office that the United States would refuse to recog-
nize as legal the proposed issue of paper money.96
The bank now requested the Department of State to ar-
range for the transfer to New York on an American warship
of a portion of the retirement funds, and explained that "ow-
ing to the state of mind of the people" the transportation of
the money from the bank to the wharf presented serious
danger. It was arranged that the money should be trans-
For the controversy between the bank and the Haitian Government,
see For. Rel., 1914, p. 334-382; ibid., 1915, p. 496-521.
"Ibid., 1914, p. 373-375; ibid., 1915, p. 501-502.
"Ibid., 1914, p. 365.
24 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
ported on the gunboat Machias, and Secretary Bryan in-
structed Minister Arthur Bailly Blanchard to request the com-
manding officer of the Hancock, then at Port au Prince, "to
land as many marines as necessary to guard the gold from the
bank to the Machias. Unarmed marines were landed on De-
cember 7, 1914, and the money was embarked without dis-
turbance.97 At the close of 1914, the Haitian Government,
executing a court judgment rendered two months previously
by default, took from the bank vaults about $67,000 in gold,
sealed the safes containing what was thought to be the bal-
ance of the retirement funds, and passed a law authorizing
the creation of a new government bank and the flotation of
an internal loan to be guaranteed by all free duties.98 In
January, 1915, there were rumors of threats against the
French manager of the bank" 5-which turned out to be
groundless-fears of an attempt by the Haitian authorities
to remove additional bank funds1'0 and repeated protests
by the American legation;101 also the printing of the new
note issue was begun.m" Early in February, the Haitian
Government transferred the treasury service from the bank
to various merchants designated by the Government,'03 an
action which was promptly protested by the American
minister.104 Haitian authorities offered without result to
submit all differences to arbitration in accordance with the
bank's contracts."'0 Thereafter, until the intervention, the
operation of the concession was in effect suspended.
"7 On the Machias incident, see For. Rel., 1914, p. 366, 369, 370. The
Haitian Government protested this action on December 22 and 29, 1914,
and January 11, 1915. Ibid., 1914, p. 371-372, 377-378; ibid., 1915,
p. 499-500. Secretary Bryan argued that it was "a protective measure
merely, in behalf of American interests which were gravely menaced" and
the action of the bank was merely a withdrawal of funds by the authorities
of a private bank in Port au Prince from the jurisdiction of Haiti as a meas-
ure of precaution for their security." Ibid., 1914. p. 380-381.
"* Ibid., 1914, p. 381-382; ibid., 1915, p. 501-502, 506.
9" Ibid., 1915, p. 502.
0oo Ibid., 1915, p. 504-510; Hearings, p. 291-293.
101 Admiral Caperton, then at Port au Prince, was instructed on January
28 to warn the Haitian Government that removal of the bank funds would
compel consideration of "means to prevent such violation of foreign stock-
holders' rights." Ibid., p. 292.
S102 For. Rel., 1915, p. 505; cf. p. 503.
oin Ibid., 1915, p. 510-511.
104 Ibid., 1915, p. 511.
1os Ibid., 1915, p. 512-514.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION 25
DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN POLICY
The United States did not recognize the Republic of Haiti
until 1864, when a commercial treaty was signed and
ministers were exchanged.'06 Interposition or intervention
before 1915 had not been infrequent.107 According to navy
records, United States warships had visited Haitian waters
no less than 20 times because of disorder in the country.",s
In January, 1914, United States warships visited Port au
Prince, and on January 28 marines were landed to cooperate
with forces from British, French and German vessels in the
protection of foreign interests.109 An American warship
remained in the harbor of Port au Prince most of the time
from January 28 to April 14, 1914, and other naval vessels
visited that port and also Cap-Haitien during the spring
As a problem in American foreign relations Haiti was by
no means a unique, an isolated or an unprecedented case.
Qualified principles of intervention were already embodied
in international law."1 In the Caribbean area there had
been the Platt amendment, the Panama revolution, an
intervention in Nicaragua and an intervention in the
Dominican Republic, with occupation and customs control
under a treaty. The apparent success of intervention in the
latter country was an important influence in the develop-
ment of American policy toward Haiti.112
In 1904 President Roosevelt announced the doctrine of
"international police power" as a corollary of the Monroe
doctrine, to be applied to Latin American countries in
'"' Davis, op. cit., p. 115, 125, 313; Richardson, James D., Messages and
Papers of the Presidents, VII, p. 3248.
"' Davis, op. cit., p. 123-124, 130-131, 135, 144-145, 314-318, 324-325.
198 Hearings, p. 63.
Davis, op. cit., p. 151; Hearings, p. 63.
10 Davis, op. cit., p. 151-152; Hearings, p. 63.
u Stowell, Ellery C., Intervention in International Law, 1921, p. 51-306;
Orchard, Edwin M., The Diplomatic Protection of Citizens Abroad, 1914,
P. 25-30, 435-456; Right to Protect Citizens in Foreign Countries by Landing
Forces: Memorandum of the Solicitor of the Department of State, October
5, 1912. Second Revised Edition, 1929, p. 3-48, 51-78; Offut, Milton,
The Protection of Citizens Abroad by the Armed Forces of the United States,
S'For. Rel., 1914, p. 348, 367, 371; ibid., 1915, p. 464. For the text of
the Dominican treaty, see Welles, Sumner, Naboth's Vineyard, 1928, II., p.
1005-1011; Malloy, Treaties, Conventions, etc., I, p. 418.
26 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
flagrant cases of "chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence
which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized
society."" a A week after his inauguration President Wilson
issued a statement declaring that international cooperation
in the Western Hemisphere demanded "orderly processes
of just government, based upon law, not upon arbitrary or
irregular force." 114
The support given by the Department of State to Ameri-
can interests in Haiti, especially to the National City Bank,
appeared at the time to give color and motive to our entire
Haitian policy, which in the minds of many became one of
"imperialism" or "dollar diplomacy." There is no evi-
dence, however, that President Wilson, Secretary Bryan,
Secretary Lansing or Secretary Daniels was predisposed to
favor unduly American capitalistic enterprises in foreign
countries.115 The aggravated nature of the bank contro-
versy, as well as the plight of the National Railroad, doubt-
less stimulated officials who were temperamentally reluctant
to intervene. Haiti did not loom large on the diplomatic
horizon of the United States. It is not apparent that even
in the spring of 1915 Washington had a full and accurate
understanding of general conditions in the republic. Com-
plaints raised by American interests contributed to an
understanding of the situation and probably accelerated
action, particularly when they brought the reminder that
'i Infra, p. 197.
114 Infra, p. 198-199. The Wilson statement was transmitted on March
12, 1913, by Secretary Bryan to all American diplomatic officers in Latin
America. For. Rel., 1913, p. 7. On January 25, 1914. Secretary Bryan .
instructed the American minister in Haiti: "If possible, impress upon revo-
lutionary leaders the President's policy as set forth in statement of March 12,
and insist upon constitutional methods for reform of any abuses." Ibid.,
1914, p. 336. A part of the Wilson statement was repeated in substance
in the Department's instruction of February 26, 1914. Ibid., 1914, p. 339.
See also Department's instructions of November 4, 1914, ibid., p. 357-358,
and 1915, p. 464.
115 See President Wilson's address at Mobile, October 27, 1913, quoted in
Hart, A. B., The Monroe Doctrine: An Interpretation, 1917, p. 239-240; Shaw,
Albert, editor, Messages and Papers of Woodrow Wilson, I, 32. "Our obli-
gation to the American people requires that we shall give all legitimate assist-
ance to American investors in Haiti, but we are under obligations just as
binding to protect Haiti, as far as our influence goes, from injustice or ex-
ploitation at the hands of Americans." Secretary of State Bryan to the
American minister in Haiti, December 19, 1914, For. Rel., 1914, p. 370-371.
Infra, p. 203-204.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION 27
French nationals were interested in the bank and the debt,
and both the French and the British in the railroad.
The fact that customs revenues were pledged for the serv-
ice of Haiti's foreign debt and were to be deposited in the
National Bank gave the United States Government from
two points of view concern in the proper administration of the
Haitian customs service: first, to insure service of the debt,
thus precluding the possibility of complications with France,
and, second, to safeguard the rights of the bank, in which
Americans were minority, and the French majority, stock-
holders. American representatives in Haiti were instructed
in January, 1914, to protest the seizure of customs houses
by revolutionists, and to impress upon the de facto authori-
ties "the necessity of complying with national obligations
with respect to assignment of customs funds for the pay-
ment of definite debts.""I' During the following month,
the Department of State instructed Minister Blanchard
to "suggest" to the Haitian minister for foreign affairs
that "the United States is, as is natural, on account of
the vested interests of American citizens in the Republic of
Haiti, interested in the proper administration and collection
of customs, and would be well disposed toward lending its aid
in any practical way to the Government of Haiti if such
were desired.""7 In June, 1914, the American minister
expressed the opinion that the suspension by the bank of its
monthly advances to the Government "most likely would
bring the Government to a condition where it could not
operate." "It is just this condition that the bank desires,"
added the minister, "for it is the belief of the bank that the
Government, when confronted by such a crisis, would be
forced to ask the assistance of the United States in adjusting
its financial tang'e and that American supervision of the
customs would result." 118
The Department of State transmitted to Minister Blanch-
ard on July 2, 1914, a draft of a proposed convention between
the United States and Haiti, modeled on the Dominican
nG For. Rel., 1913, p. 335-336; ibid., 1914, p. 336-337.
117 Ibid., 1914, p. 339-340.
"u Ibid., 1914, p. 345-346.
28 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
treaty of 1907, providing for customs control under an
American general receiver, and for an American financial
adviser who, in addition to certain defined duties, should
"generally exercise the functions of a comptroller of ac-
counts.""9 It was reported to the State Department on
July 30 that "financial distress and inability to borrow
sufficient funds to complete the military campaign" might
"eventually cause the downfall of the Zamor Government,"
and that the political situation was "subordinate to and
embodied in the financial situation."120
Late in October the Secretary of State wrote to President
Wilson, expressing the opinion that "the naval force in
Haitian waters should be at once increased, not only for the
purpose of protecting foreign interests but also as evidence
of the earnest intention of this Government to settle the un-
satisfactory state of affairs which exists." Accordingly the
Hancock was sent to Port au Prince with 800 marines, with
orders to land men and take charge of the city should Min-
ister Blanchard so request.121 In November, at the moment
when Oreste Zamor was falling before the revolt headed by
Theodore, the Department of State was considering a plan
for holding an election in Haiti under American supervision,
as had been done in the Dominican Republic the previous
month; and Acting Secretary of State Lansing believed such
procedure to be as important as the negotiation of a customs
After the downfall of Oreste Zamor, the United States took
the position that it would recognize Theodore as "provi-
sional" President when the Haitian Government demon-
strated its willingness to negotiate conventions which would
provide for the following: American fiscal control as proposed
on July 2; settlement of the railroad and bank controversies;
agreements by Haiti to give full protection to all foreign
interests in the republic, and "never to lease any Haitian
territory at Mole St. Nicholas or anywhere else in the
"* For. Rel., 1914, p. 347-350; ibid., 1915, p. 313, 353; Sen. Rept. No. 794,
p. 35; Hearings, p. 477-478; infra, p. 205.
120 For. Rel. 1914, p. 351-352.
121 Hearings, p. 338; For. Rel., 1914, p. 355; infra, p. 201.
122 For. Rel., 1914, p. 357-358; infra, p. 201-202.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION
country to any European Government for use as a naval or
coaling station;" and, finally, settlement by arbitration of
American claims against Haiti.123 As a special inducement,
the Department of State offered to use its "good offices"
with the bank to procure the traveling expenses of the
Haitian commission, and, as soon as the commission should
be furnished with satisfactory credentials, "a further loan to
take care of the running expenses of the Government during
the time that the commission [was] in session." 124
The Haitian Government refused to negotiate on the
subject of customs control, and in the Haitian Senate the min-
ister for foreign affairs was denounced and accused of en-
deavoring to sell the country to the United States.12' Haiti
accepted the proposals relative to the lease of territory and
the protection of foreign interests, suggested settlement by
arbitration not only of American claims but of all outstand-
ing disputes, proposed modification of the bank contract,
and suggested the grant to American citizens of certain
economic privileges and preferences, and assistance by the
United States in obtaining a loan for Haiti.126
Apparently before his receipt of the Haitian counter-
proposals, Secretary Bryan made a sudden shift from
practical demands to abstract principles-a shift which, to
judge from internal evidence, may have resulted from a dis-
cussion of the matter with President Wilson. Minister
Blanchard was now instructed to say that the United States
had "no desire to assume responsibilities in regard to
Haiti's fiscal system except in accordance with the wishes"
of the Haitian Government. Recognition was no longer to
be conditional on treaty negotiations but would be "con-
sidered on its merits," and would be granted whenever the
Government of the United States was "satisfied that there
[was] in Haiti a government capable of maintaining order and
meeting the country's obligations to outside nations. Such
a government [was] impossible, however, unless it [rested]
upon the consent of the governed and [gave] expression to the
123 For. Rel. 1914, p. 355, 361, 364; infra, p. 202.
IN Ibid., 1914, p. 362.
125 Ibid., 1914, p. 363.
1" Ibid., 1914, p. 363, 367-369.
30 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
will of the people."127 A week later Secretary Bryan pro-
nounced the Haitian counterproposition unacceptable, as
the Government of the United States desired to encourage
American investments in Haiti rather "by contributing to
stability and order than by favoring special concessions to
When the revolution of General Sam was attaining serious
proportions in the north in January, 1915, the American
consul at Cap-Haitien requested the presence of an Ameri-
can warship, and on January 23, Admiral William B. Caper-
ton arrived at that port on the U. S. S. Washington under
orders to report conditions, although Secretary Bryan in-
formed Minister Blanchard that the presence of the cruiser
was for the purpose of protecting Americans and other
foreigners.29 Admiral Caperton adopted a unique method
of "unofficial" interposition in the revolution, supervising
the southward progress of the revolutionary army, but land-
ing no American forces.'3' Proceeding to Port au Prince,
Admiral Caperton was there instructed by the Secretary of
the Navy: "If deemed necessary in cooperation with
minister land marines and sailors.""3' With the occupation
of Port au Prince by the revolutionary forces on February
23, however, the country became at the moment compara-
tively quiet; and, after the inauguration of Sam, Admiral
Caperton, who had refrained from landing forces, departed
on the Washington, leaving one vessel at Port au Prince.132
When the administration of Theodore was tottering in
February, 1915, and the United States was still considering
its recognition, President Wilson decided to negotiate
through a commission composed of Ex-Governor J. Franklin
Fort, Charles C. Smith and Minister Blanchard;'33 but after
127 For. Rel., 1914, p. 367; infra, p. 203.
us For. Rel., 1914, p. 370-371; supra, p. 26, n. 115; infra, p. 203-204.
"u For. Rel., 1915, p. 461; Hearings, p. 64, 286-287; Davis, op. cit., p. 155.
Four days before the arrival of Admiral Caperton, Consul Livingston re-
ported that "the situation has more the appearance of a great holiday than
of a revolution. There is the utmost order, tranquillity and respect both of
foreign and native interests." For. Rel., 1915, p. 462-463.
130o Hearings, p. 64, 288-291; Davis, op. cit., p. 155-156.
131 Hearings, p. 292.
u' Ibid., p. 295, 299.
13' For. Rel., 1915, p. 464-467.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION
presenting itself to the Sam Government, which was in-
stalled on March 4, the commission abandoned its attempt
and Messrs. Fort and Smith sailed for the United States on
About two months later Paul Fuller, accredited as special
agent and minister plenipotentiary, arrived at Port au
Prince and presented to the Haitian minister for foreign
relations a draft treaty which proposed the armed interven-
tion of the United States whenever necessary to protect the
Republic of Haiti from outside attack and from the aggres-
sion of any foreign power" and "to aid the Government of
Haiti to suppress insurrection from within." The Govern-
ment of Haiti would obligate itself in return not to grant in
any manner whatsoever any rights, privileges or facilities
concerning the occupation or use of Mole St. Nicholas "to
any foreign government or to a national or the nationals of
any foreign government," and to enter into an arbitration
agreement for the settlement of foreign claims, "such arbi-
tration agreement to provide for the equal treatment of all
foreigners to the end that the people of Haiti may have the
benefit of competition between the nationals of all coun-
To the Fuller proposals the Haitian Government offered a
counterproject, accepting the armed intervention of the
United States to prevent "intrusion of any foreign power in
the affairs of Haiti and to repulse any act of aggression at-
tempted" against Haiti. It also accepted the American
proposal regarding Mole St. Nicholas. It was further pro-
posed that the United States "shall facilitate the entrance
into Haiti of sufficient capital to assure the full economic de-
velopment" of the country, to improve its financial situa-
tion, to unify the debt and to reform the currency. The
Haitian Government was willing to agree to employ in the
customs houses "only Haitian officials whose morality and
capability" were "well known," and the "lenders" might be
"consulted regarding the choice of the higher customs offi-
cials." The Haitian Government further agreed to organize
34 Ibid., 1915, p. 464, 468; Davis, op. cit., p. 156-157.
13 Hearings, p. 35-36.
32 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
a rural horse guard, and in the meantime resort might be had
to the aid of the American Government "to check disorders
and serious troubles." In such case, however, the American
forces "must be withdrawn from Haitian territory at the first
demand of the constitutional authorities."136
In the published material regarding these negotiations
references to the Monroe doctrine are significantly rare, and
it may be doubted whether there was any serious danger in
1914 or 1915 of European intervention in Haiti. The
French legation in Port au Prince had, of course, lent its
support to the bank,17 and in February, 1915, the French
embassy in Washington requested that, in the event of a
financial reorganization of Haiti by the United States,
"France should naturally be taken into partnership in those
measures."138 Germany demanded participation in cus-
toms control or, failing that, maintenance of the status
Writing on May 4, 1922, Ex-Secretary Lansing stated
that there was "good reason to believe that in the years
1913-14 Germany was ready to go to great lengths to secure
the exclusive customs control of Haiti, and also to secure a
coaling station at Mole St. Nicholas."'14 With respect to
customs control, Mr. Lansing cited the landing of "a num-
ber of boatloads" of armed German sailors at Port au
Prince on July 31, 1914, and believed that the "local situa-
tion was, by the outbreak of war, relieved of a conflict of
interests, which might have caused serious embarrass-
The German attempts to obtain a foothold at Mole St.
Nicholas cited by Mr. Lansing appear to have been made
by German shipping interests rather than by the German
Government. Whether that distinction was important or
not, the United States was evidently concerned only with
preventing the acquisition of a base on the Haitian coast by
a European Government.142 It is also clear that, as early as
13" Hearings, p. 36-37. 137 For. Rel., 1915, p. 511.
13s Ibid., p. 514-515. "9 Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 34.
14 Ibid., p. 32. 14t Ibid., p. 35.
142 For. Rel., 1914, p. 340, 359, 367; ibid., 1915, p. 433; Hearings, p. 315;
Art. XI of treaty of September 16, 1915, infra, p. 214.
THE BACKGROUND OF INTERVENTION 33
the spring of 1914, American officials were no longer inter-
ested in obtaining for the United States the lease or cession of
Mole St. Nicholas or any other Haitian territory.143
Neither did American policy directly aim at specific con-
cessions or exclusive economic privileges. Prior to July,
1915, the Government of the United States seems to have
made it known to the German, French and probably other
foreign Governments that the United States proposed to
maintain-in-Haiti-a-rkgime.of equality of economic oppor-
American policy toward Haiti, so far as it has been here
comprehended, was probably a product of various motives
and viewpoints; but its basic purpose was the creation in the
republic of stable conditions.145 Ordinary and extraordi-
nary diplomatic methods had failed to accomplish that pur-
pose, and the most interesting developments of policy were
now to be procedural rather than substantive.
143 Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 33; For. Rel., 1914, 340, 347-350, 359; ibid., 1915,
p. 431, 437, 441, 478; Hearings, p. 312, 313, 325, 327, 363, 364, 1487-1488,
144 For. Rel., 1915. p. 515; Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 34.
145 For. Rel., 1914, p. 357-358, 367, 371; 1915, p. 435, 440-441, 479-480.
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915
V ILBRUN GUILLAUME SAM became President on
March 4, 1915, and Admiral Caperton departed from
Port au Prince. But in the same month Dr. Bobo, attack-
ing the proposed American control of customs, issued from
his place of sojourn in the Dominican Republic a revolution-
ary call to Haitians.1 In June, Cap-Haitien was occupied
by a caco army supporting Bobo, and the French cruiser
Descartes arrived in the harbor, landing a small detachment
to protect French interests.2 Admiral Caperton, then at
Vera Cruz, was instructed to proceed immediately to Cap-
Haitien and take necessary steps to "protect property and
preserve order."3 He arrived at Cap-Haitien on July 1, and
found that the French.landing force had been withdrawn a
Believing that fighting within the city would endanger
the lives and property of foreigners, Admiral Caperton in
written demands to both the Government commander and
Dr. Bobo insisted that all fighting be done well clear of the
city, and declared that, "if it should become necessary,
[he was] prepared to land United States forces at Cap-
Haitien," although he had "no intention of questioning the
sovereignty of the Haitian nation or of maintaining any but
a neutral attitude toward the contending factions."' On
July 3 he landed a small detail to guard and operate a field
radio station,' and until the 27th took no further action ex-
cept to maintain an attitude of watchfulness.
I For. Rel., 1915, p. 467. The Department of State expressed the view
that Dr. Bobo showed "manifest hostility toward the United States."
Ibid., p. 470.
2 Ibid.. p. 472-473; Hearings, p. 64, 299-300; Davis, op. cit., p. 157-158.
3 Ibid.; Hearings, p. 299.
Ibid.. p. 64, 300; cf. Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 31-32.
SHearings, p. 302. There had been no recorded instance of a foreigner be-
ing killed in a Haitian revolution. Ibid., p. 297, 359; Sen. Rept. No. 794,
Hearings, p. 303. On July 9. the admiral decided as a precautionary
measure to land an outpost detachment of marines, but, failing to obtain
the consent of the Government commander, desisted. Ibid., p. 304.
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915
There was fighting at Port au Prince on July 27; revolu-
tionists were reported to be in control and President Sam
took refuge in the French legation. On that day political
disorder and misgovernment reached an unexpectedly
shocking culmination in the massacre of 167 prisoners, who
were held in the capital as political suspects. Whether
Sam had definitely ordered this butchery is not entirely
clear; but it was carried out by supposedly responsible
officials, the chief of whom was General Oscar Etienne, the
highest military officer of the Government and a close friend
of the President. In reporting this occurrence to Admiral
Caperton, the United States charge d'affaires at Port au
Prince stated that the city was quiet but under the circum-
stances he desired the presence of the admiral and an Amer-
ican warship. Later in the same day Charg6 Robert Beale
Davis telegraphed that the French legation had been threat-
ened and forcible entry attempted with a view to taking out
Sam, that the British charge and the French minister had
cabled for ships, and that the situation was grave. There-
upon, Admiral Caperton proceeded in the Washington to
Port au Prince.
Late in the forenoon of the 28th, while the admiral's
Flagship was steaming into the harbor, a Haitian mob, in-
furiated by the prison massacre, gathered at the French
legation, which was entered by a small number who seized
Sam and threw him to the mob. The erstwhile President
was literally torn to pieces, and his head and dismembered
body were paraded through the streets. The Dominican
legation was also entered, and General Oscar Etienne was
dragged from it and shot.7
Assured by the United States, British and French diplo-
matic officers that no governmental authority existed in
Port au Prince, Admiral Caperton had already decided to
act when he received on the 28th instructions from the
For a detailed report by the American charge d'affaires at Port au
Prince of the events of July 27-28, 1915, see For. Rel., 1916, p. 314-317.
See also ibid., 1915, p. 474-475; Hearings, p. 305, 307; Davis, op. cit., p.
36 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
Secretary of the Navy to land forces.8 Two companies of
marines and three of bluejackets were sent ashore in the
afternoon of the same day.9 Before landing, Admiral
Caperton had communicated his decision to four of the
politically more prominent Haitian leaders, explaining that
"the landing was entirely friendly and for the preservation
of order and protection of legations, etc." The Haitians
were understood to have made no objection and to have
agreed to cooperate.10 There was little resistance from the
population; and on the following day the American force
proceeded, apparently with the cooperation of native
leaders, to the disarming of Haitian soldiers and civilians.
Admiral Caperton asked for a regiment of marines, and on
the following day Charg6 Davis telegraphed a similar re-
quest to his department." The French, with the consent
of the Department of State, landed a legation guard from
the Descartes on August 2, the guard remaining for a few
weeks within the legation premises.12 A self-constituted
"revolutionary committee" of Haitians consented to the
assumption by the admiral of entire military control of the
city, and agreed to meet his representatives daily to insure
During the following week it appeared that Haitians in
general, with the exception of politicians, soldiers and
cacos, felt relief at the presence of American troops; but
there was "quite an undercurrent of excitement and un-
rest," heightened by a fear that the United States had
I "State Department desires that American forces be landed Port au
Prince and that American and foreign interests be protected; that represent-
atives England, France be informed this intention; informed that their in-
terests will be protected, and that they be requested not land. In acting
this request be guided your knowledge present condition Port au Prince and
act at discretion. Hearings, p. 307; Davis, op. cit., p. 167-168; For.
Rel., 1915, p. 475-476. These instructions were sent at the request of
Secretary Lansing. Ibid., infra, p. 204.
Davis, op. cit., p. 168; Hearings, p. 308; For. Rel., 1915, p. 476.
1o Ibid.; Hearings, p. 308.
11 Ibid.. p. 308-309; For. Rel., 1915, p. 476. After the actual landing, the
Department of State telegraphed Charg6 d'Affaires Davis of the Navy
Department's instructions to Admiral Caperton, instructed Mr. Davis to
inform his British and French colleagues, and added: "You will confer and
cooperate with Admiral Caperton in all possible ways." Ibid.
12 Ibid., p. 357-358.
Ibid., p. 477; Hearings, p. 309. 360.
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 37
designs on Haitian independence.14 Admiral Caperton re-
ported that a large number of cacos were in the city demand-
ing the election of Dr. Bobo as President, that the members
of the National Assembly were terrorized, that stable
government was not possible in Haiti until the cacos were
disbanded and their power broken, and that such action
seemed imperative "if United States desires to negotiate
treaty for financial control" of Haiti.15 The admiral ex-
pressed the opinion that the United States "must expect to
remain in Haiti until native government is self-sustaining
and people educated to respect laws and abide by them." 1
Admiral Caperton on August 5 put Captain Beach "in
charge of such civilian matters and negotiations as [would]
grow out of military control."17 Two days later the admiral
reported that "because it did not keep faith" he had cur-
tailed the power of the revolutionary committee, and that
his orders were "gladly accepted and executed by the civil
officials of the late Government."18 In the meantime, the
marines were beginning to disperse and arrest the cacos in
Port au Prince."9
The National Bank, reminding the Secretary of State that
American authorities had taken over the customs services
at Port au Prince and Cap-Haitien, now requested that
moneys collected at these ports should be turned over to the
bank. It was also pointed out that there was "no longer
.any government at ports that are not occupied by the forces
of the United States," that the revenues collected by local
authorities were being used for the subsidizing of revolu-
tionists and that an undetermined amount of paper money
had been put into circulation.20 Admiral Caperton con-
firmed this information in his reports, and, "on account of
military necessity," returned the treasury service at Port au
Prince to the bank,21 and arranged for certain payments to
disarmed Haitian soldiers.22 Charg6 Davis was instructed
1 Ibid., p. 308, 312; For. Rel., 1915, p. 476-477; infra, p. 205-206.
n For. Rel., 1915, p. 477-478; Hearings, p. 313.
SIbid., p. 312. 1" For. Rel., 1915, p. 478.
sIbid., 1915, p. 478-479; Hearings, p. 360-361.
1 Ibid., p. 314. 2o For. Rel., 1915, p. 515-516.
SIbid., p. 519; Hearings, p. 334. 22 Ibid., p. 519-520.
38 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
on August 12 to consult with Admiral Caperton and arrange
for the seizure of any further consignments of paper money
that might arrive from New York.3
In response to the admiral's request for a statement of
policy24 the Navy Department instructed him to "con-
ciliate Haitians to fullest extent consistent with maintaining
order and firm control of situation," and to issue a proc-
lamation assuring the people that the only object of the
United States was "to insure, establish and help to maintain
Haitian independence and the establishing of a stable and
firm government by the Haitian people," and that American
forces would be kept in Haiti "only so long as will be neces-
sary for this purpose.""2
ELECTION OF A PRESIDENT
With the election of a President impending, the admiral
believed on August 2 that in spite of the cacos he could
control the National Assembly.26 The election, set for the
next Sunday, was postponed at his request, although he
stated that the people were anxious for an election because
at the time there was no central government except as
directed by him.27 After further observation he believed
that Dartiguenave would be elected, and reported that this
presidential aspirant "realizes that Haiti must agree to any
terms laid down by the United States."28 But Dr. Bobo,
resigning the "chief executive power," now arrived on the
scene.29 Admiral Caperton, personally or through his naval
officers, was having "daily conferences with the president
of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, with senators,
deputies, ex-cabinet ministers and many leading Haitians"
23 Hearings,'p. 517.
2*"As future relations between the United States and Haiti depend
largely on course of action taken at this time earnestly request to be fully
informed of policy of United States." Telegram from Admiral Caperton
to Navy Department, For. Rel., 1915, p. 477-478; Hearings, p. 313; infra,
25 Hearings, Admiral Caperton issued a proclamation in these words on
August 9, 1915. Infra, p. 206.
6 Hearings, p. 313; For. Rel., 1915, p. 477-478. The Haitian Constitu-
tion then in effect provided that the President should be chosen by the two
chambers of the legislative body meeting together as the National Assembly.
27 Ibid., p. 478; Hearings, p. 312.
29 Ibid. "2 Ibid., p. 360-361.
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 39
and reported that, according to Dartiguenave, members of
the legislature were willing to "cede outright without re-
striction St. Nicholas Mole, granting us the right to inter-
vene when necessary, customhouse control and any other
terms." He now stated that, unless otherwise directed, he
would permit" the National Assembly to elect a President.30
At a conference, held at the American legation on August
8, attended by both Dartiguenave and Bobo, the admiral's
chief of staff, Capt. Edward L. Beach, addressed the two
candidates as follows:"3
"Gentlemen, it seems likely that one of you will be elected Presi-
dent of Haiti. Haiti is in great trouble; she has suffered much.
The United States has come to Haiti as a good friend, interested
only in Haiti's welfare, in her happiness, in her prosperity. The
United States has determined that revolution and disorder and
anarchy must cease in Haiti; that unselfish and devoted patriotism
must characterize hereafter the acts of the Haitian Government.
Senator Dartiguenave and Dr. Bobo, realizing this momentous crisis
in Haitian history, with the eyes of Haiti and of the United States
upon you, do you promise that if elected President of Haiti you will,
in your official acts, be guided solely by earnest devotion to Haiti's
honor and welfare?"
"I will so promise," replied Dartiguenave. "I have no other
ambition than to be of service to my country."
"I promise," exclaimed Dr. Bobo, rather theatrically. "I would
be happy to lay down my life for my beloved country."
"Senator Dartiguenave, in case Dr. Bobo should be elected will
you promise that you will exert every influence in your power to
assist him for Haiti's good; that you will join with him heartily
and helpfully and loyally?"
"If Dr. Bobo is elected President I will give him the most loyal,
earnest support in every effort he may make for Haiti's welfare,"
replied Dartiguenave, with simple dignity.
"Dr. Bobo, if Senator Dartiguenave is elected President, will you
help him loyally and earnestly in his efforts to benefit Haiti?"
"No; I will not!" shouted Bobo. "If Senator Dartiguenave is
elected President I will not help him. I will go away and leave
Haiti to her fate. I alone am fit to be President of Haiti; I alone
understand Haiti's aspirations, no one is fit to be President but me;
3o Ibid.; For. Rel., 1915, p. 478-479.
a' Testimony of Admiral Caperton, Hearings, p. 316.
40 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
there is no patriotism in Haiti to be compared with mine; the
Haitians love no one as they love me."
On the next day the Navy Department, instructing
Admiral Caperton to allow the election to take place when-
ever the Haitians wished, informed him that the United
States "prefers election of Dartiguenave." 32 The Secretary
of State, referring to the fact that the Navy Department had
authorized Admiral Caperton to permit the Presidential
election to take place, instructed the charge d'affaires in
cooperation with the admiral to make clear to the Congress
"that the Government of the United States intends to
uphold it, but that it can not recognize action which does not
establish in charge of Haitian affairs those whose abilities
and dispositions give assurances of putting an end to fac-
tional disorders"; and "it should be made perfectly clear to
candidates as soon as possible and in advance of their
election, that the United States expects to be intrusted with
the practical control of the customs and such financial con-
trol over the affairs of the Republic of Haiti as the United
States may deem necessary for an efficient administration."
The telegram concluded with a brief but clear statement of
policy and purpose: that the United States meant "to assist
in the establishing" of a constitutional government and
"to support it as long as necessity may require," and that
the United States had "no design upon the political or
territorial integrity of Haiti" but, "on the contrary, what
has been done, as well as what will be done, is conceived in
an effort to aid the people of Haiti in establishing a stable
government and in maintaining domestic peace throughout
Under the influence of the Bobo faction, the revolutionary
committee, foreseeing the defeat of their candidate in the
election, ordered the dissolution of the National Assembly
and was prevented by marines from sealing the door of the
Chamber of Deputies. Thereupon, Admiral Caperton
directed the revolutionary committee to resign.34 Charg6
o2 Hearings, p. 315; infra, p. 2)6.
3S For. Rel., 1915, p. 479-480; infra, p. 206-207.
Hearings, p. 315-316.
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 41
Davis and Captain Beach were communicating the views
of the Department of State to the senators, deputies and
candidates; and on August 12 Dartiguenave was chosen
President in an election "held under protection of marines,"
the President-elect expressing "gratitude for protection
afforded which alone made an election with any degree of
freedom possible."35 While there is no proof that the
members of the National Assembly were directly coerced
into voting for Dartiguenave,36 his election was evidently
attributable to the American intervention. Had matters
taken a more precipitate and in Haiti more natural course,
Dr. Bobo apparently would have been elected by a caco-
Military intervention and the presidential election, in the
minds of American officials, were closely related to the con-
Charge Davis to Secretary of State, August 12, 1915, For. Rel., 1915,
11 In 1921. Admiral Caperton testified before the Senate Committee:
"My idea was that the man most suitable for the Haitian presidency was
one in whom the Haitians had confidence, one whose animating purpose would
be Haiti's welfare, to which purpose he would give unselfish devotion; and,
also, one who combined such qualifications with confidence in the United
States, who was friendly disposed toward the United States, who wanted her
help, and who would listen sympathetically to the intentions of the United
States. There was never any bargaining of any kind whatever with Darti-
guenave, as far as I know. No pressure of any kind was brought to bear
upon any Haitian elector in Dartiguenave's interest. The Haitians them-
selves, without any outside influence or pressure or bargaining, made him,
later, their president." Hearings, p. 317, 362-364.
It appears that efforts to bargain for the presidency were made by adher-
ents of Bobo and by Bobo personally, "the idea being that the United
States in its dealings with Haiti was actuated only by selfish interested mo-
tives, and it was thought that the United States wanted the cession of St.
Nicholas Mole. So the Bobo crowd offered this and anything else I wanted."
Testimony of Admiral Caperton, ibid., p. 319.
At the election, cacos were excluded from the Chamber of Deputies; the
galleries were filled with Haitians invited by senators and deputies; marines
and marine officers were present; and Captain Beach was among the mem-
bers on the floor. Ibid., p. 320-321.
The vote was 94 for Dartiguenave out of a total of 116. The new Presi-
dent was inaugurated on the same day, and a short time later Bobo departed
for Cuba. For. Rel., 1915, p. 483.
For the election of Dartiguenave, cf. Davis, op. cit., p. 173-179; Survey of
American Foreign Relations, 1929, p. 126-127; Buell, Raymond Leslie, The
ANerican Occupation of Haiti, Foreign Policy Information Service, Vol. V,
Nos. 19-20, p. 345; Douglas, op. cit., p. 17-18. It was the opinion of the
""nate Committee of Inquiry in 1922 that the "American representatives
Influenced the majority of the Assembly in the choice of a president."
Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 7.
42 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
clusion of a treaty;37 and the Department of State took up
this question with President Dartiguenave immediately
after his inauguration.
"For more than a year," the Secretary of State tele-
graphed the American minister, "the Haitian Government
has been familiar with the terms of the treaty contained in
the Department's instruction of July 2, 1914, with which they
have already expressed their agreement regarding principal
parts. Recently, however, assurances have been received
that Haitian authorities are willing now to go farther than
before, including cession to the United States of Mole St.
Nicholas. In view of the friendly attitude of the Haitian
Government as shown by these proposals," the minister was
instructed to draft immediately a treaty as outlined in the
telegram, submit it informally to the President, and request
him to have the legislative body pass a resolution authorizing
him to conclude without modification the treaty submitted
by the minister. When officially notified that such a
resolution had been passed, the minister was to extend
recognition to the President.38
The treaty as projected by the Department had in view
broader and stricter supervision than that contemplated in
the draft of July 2, 1914; and, in addition to clearly specified
financial control, new articles were now proposed, including
one for a Haitian constabulary to be organized and officered
by Americans designated by the President of the United
States. An additional article sought to bind the Haitian
Government "not to surrender any of the territory of the
Republic of Haiti by sale, lease or otherwise, or jurisdiction
over such territory, to any foreign Government or power
except to the United States, nor to enter into any treaty or
contract with any other foreign power or powers that will
impair, or tend to impair, the independence of Haiti."39
Supra, p. 27-28.
"For. Rel., 1915, p. 431-433; Hearings, p. 327-328.
It may be mentioned that the treaty of peace, friendship, commerce,
navigation and extradition of November 9, 1874, between the Dominican
Republic and Haiti in an article "obligatory forever" provided:
"Art. 3. The two contracting parties engage to maintain with all their
strength, with all their power, the integrity of their respective territories;
not to cede, compromise or alienate in favor of any foreign power either the
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 43
A protocol was to be executed for the settlement of foreign
claims; and Haiti, "being desirous to further the develop-
ment of its national resources," was to undertake and
execute "such measures as in the opinion of the Government
of the United States may be necessary for the sanitation and
public improvement of the republic," under the supervision
of American engineers. Finally, the United States was to
"have authority to prevent any and all interference with the
attainment of any of the objects comprehended in this
convention as well as the right to intervene for the preserva-
tion of Haitian independence and the maintenance of a
government adequate for the protection of life, property
and individual liberty."40 Charg6 Davis was informed on
August 18 that the Department expected "prompt ratifica-
tion by Haiti of this treaty."41
At the same time the Navy Department, on the request of
Secretary Lansing, instructed Admiral Caperton to take
charge of the customs houses at all of the important sea-
ports, and to deposit the receipts with the bank.42 In reply,
the admiral on August 19 telegraphed that the United
States had "now actually accomplished a military inter-
vention in affairs of another nation." After pointing out
that his force at the time was sufficient only for holding the
capital and two other seaports then occupied, he explained
that taking charge of the seven other customs houses meant
practically the military occupation of the entire seacoast of
Haiti. Such occupation would require considerable rein-
whole or any part of their territories or any of the adjacent islands forming
They also engage not to solicit or accept any foreign annexation or con-
trol." For. Rel., 1904, p. 371; 65 B. & F. S. P., 235.
41 For. Rel., 1915, p. 434.
42 The reasons for this request were that these receipts should "not be
lost to the Haitian people, and in order to provide funds for organizing and
maintaining an efficient constabulary, for conducting such temporary
public works as will afford immediate relief through employment for the
starving populace and the discharged soldiery, so as to bring that peace and
contentment to Haiti which is the sole purpose and desire of this Govern-
ment, and, finally, for supporting the Dartiguenave Government." Ibid.,
P. 518-519; Hearings, p. 333.
The customhouses named for seizure were: Jacmel, Aux Cayes, J&6rmie,
Miragoane, Petit Goave, Port au Prince, St. Marc, Gonaives, Port de Paix,
44 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
forcements, and the admiral considered it "imperative that
these contemplated operations be kept for the present
secret," secrecy being "extremely important now pending
treaty negotiations."43 Nevertheless he proceeded with the
seizure of customs houses, appointed a naval officer ad-
ministrator of customs for the entire coast of Haiti, issued
general instructions relative to customs organization and
other civil matters, and deposited all collections with the
Charge Davis was now informed by his department that
it contemplated using its unofficial good offices, as soon as
possible after ratification of the treaty, to obtain the im-
mediate renewal of railroad construction so as to furnish a
means of livelihood for the unemployed. In the meantime,
the charge was to confer with Admiral Caperton to the end
that, under the latter's direction, "such public works may
be conducted" as would relieve unemployment and dis-
courage factional strife. The charge was also to confer
with the Catholic Archbishop Conan with a view to the
issue of a proclamation to the natives through the clergy
'that they will be protected from interference in their rights
to barter and sell their products and to enjoy the fruits of
their labors." 45
Shortly afterward the Department of State sent to Charg6
Davis a statement of the "views and purposes" of the Gov-
ernment of the United States. "To establish a stable
government and lasting domestic peace," it was argued,
"the treaty submitted ought to be ratified immediately, and
at the same time" a modus vivendi should be concluded to
operate until ratification of the treaty by the United States
Senate. As an inducement to the Haitian Government to
request a modus vivendi, the charge was authorized to
"express the conviction that the Haitian Government
would not find this Department unsympathetic toward any
proper effort which might be made to place the Haitian
finances on a sound basis so that the Haitian Government
may be able to pay promptly adequate salaries to its officials;
Is Hearings, p. 335. 44 Ibid., p. 339-341, 345, 619.
For. Rel., 1915, p. 434-435; infra, p. 207-208.
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 45
to establish a good school system"; to construct roads and
various other public works; "to furnish employment to the
people and afford them opportunities to improve their
industrial and intellectual condition."46
These altruistic and somewhat remote inducements did
not stimulate the Haitian Government to act as promptly
as the Department of State wished; and the charge reported
that if the Department insisted on a resolution of the cham-
bers authorizing the executive to conclude the treaty with-
out modification, the President and Cabinet would be
forced to resign. Charge Davis expressed the opinion that
the Haitian Government desired to avoid yielding customs
control.47 Thereupon, American tactics became less im-
personal and shifted from vague promises to guarded threats.
Charge Davis was now informed that unless the treaty were
promptly ratified the Government of the United States
would be "compelled to consider" the establishment in
Haiti of a military government until honest elections could
be held, or, "permitting the control of the Government to
pass to some other political faction representative of the
best elements of Haiti whose members will be willing to join
in the prompt reestablishment of a stable government and
permanent domestic peace."48
As the discussion of the treaty continued the elements of
the Haitian people which had profited from the old regime
set themselves to creating unrest and influencing opinion
against the Government and the Americans. In order to
give the agitators fewer pretexts for their propaganda, the
charge d'affaires suggested that no steps should be taken
which "would arouse public opinion," except those dictated
by military necessity; and Admiral Caperton simultaneously
informed his Department that he would defer the seizure of
customs houses, and would "for the present conduct no
further military operations except those necessary for pre-
serving peace and order or for other important military
4 For. Rel., 1915, p. 435-436; infra, p. 208-209.
7 For. Rel., 1915, p. 436-437; Hearings, p. 337.
a For. Rel., 1915, p. 437-438; infra, p. 209-210.
"For. Rel., 1915, p. 438; Hearings, p. 338.
46 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
The Department of State proposed to bring further
pressure on the Haitian Government; but, instead of doing
so, it received and considered various modifications of the
draft treaty which were proposed on August 29 by President
Dartiguenave and his Cabinet.50
In the meantime, the Haitian Government was receiving
no funds from the American authorities for current ex-
penses,51 and was making its pecuniary embarrassment
known to Admiral Caperton and the legation. On the
arrival of a consignment of paper gourdes from New York,
the Department instructed Charg6 Davis to confer with
Admiral Caperton and arrange that the paper money should
"be held for the time being." He was also to obtain the
consent of President Dartiguenave to such retention, as the
Department had "consented to use its good offices to ar-
range for the temporary loan desired by the Haitian Govern-
ment for $1,500,000 on the express understanding that there
would be no further emission" of paper money.Y2 The
charge d'affaires, however, was of the opinion that the paper
money should be placed in circulation, as the withholding of
it was embarrassing the Haitian Government and was being
used by the opposition to prevent ratification of the treaty.
Admiral Caperton, who had no knowledge of the charge
d'affaires' dispatch, had worked out a plan with the bank
whereby the notes would be put into circulation immediately
after the ratification of the treaty.53 The Department of
State approved Admiral Caperton's plan in principle and
so instructed the legation; but the Haitian Government
objected. Thereupon, Davis recommended an immediate
loan of $100,000 or the payment of that amount by the
customs officials; and Admiral Caperton asked for permis-
sion to make the payments.54 Permission, however, was
not immediately forthcoming.
so For. Rel., 1915, p. 439-440; Hearings, p. 344.
51 In directing seizure of customs houses, the Navy Department on August
19 had directed that receipts should be used only for the organization and
maintenance of an efficient constabulary, for emergency public works, and
for "supporting the Dartiguenave Government." Ibid., p. 333. Admiral
Caperton on August 23, 1915, issued orders governing disbursements in
compliance with the above instructions. Ibid., p. 341-342.
62 For. Rel., 1915, p. 521. 53 Ibid., p. 523-524; Hearings, p. 379-380.
&" For. Rel., p. 524-525.
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 47
Instead, Secretary Lansing pointed out to the charge
that the proposed convention [was] necessary to make peace perma-
nent and to give Haiti a new basis of credit.
The next concern of the United States [was] to see prosperity
throughout the republic. Haiti should appreciate that means for
economic and industrial development can not come from within and
that foreign capital must be sought and secured, and this can not be
expected unless there is reasonable assurance against internal dis-
sensions. Not until the proposed convention is ratified and
those in authority manifest a disposition to pursue a progressive
policy for the development of Haiti, can foreign capital be expected.
Admiral Caperton on September 2 took over the ad-
ministration of the customs house at Port au Prince, thus
completing American military control of the Haitian cus-
toms service.5' On the following day he issued a proclama-
tion of martial law applicable to Port au Prince," and
imposed certain restrictions on the press."5
Caco activity was increasing in the north and northwest,
and Admiral Caperton believed that resumption of railroad
construction might induce many of the cacos to desert their
chiefs and go to work.59 The Department of State, how-
ever, informed the legation that "those connected with the
financing of the railway" had "indicated that if the treaty is
ratified these matters can then be adjusted and work re-
Ibid., p. 441; infra, p. 210.
M This action was protested to the Haitian Government by the German
minister at Port au Prince. For. Rel., 1915, p. 519-520; Hearings, p. 65-
66, 336-347, 619.
51 Admiral Caperton gave as his reasons for the declaration of martial
law: ". increasing uneasiness Port au Prince, present Government
confronted with conditions apparently unable to control; propaganda by
newspapers and public men of inflammatory propaganda [sic] against Gov-
ernment and American occupation; disloyalty to present Government of
some Government officials; and in order to better support the present Gov-
ernment ." President Dartiguenave had requested establishment of
martial law. Ibid., p. 67-68, 346-348. 373-374.
"8 The proclamation of September 3, 1915, declared that the "freedom
of the press will not be interfered with, but license will not be tolerated.
The publishing of false or incendiary propaganda against the Government
of the United States or the Government of Haiti, or the publishing of any
false, indecent or obscene propaganda or matter which tends to dis-
turb the public peace will be dealt with by the military courts. The writers
* and the publishers will be subject to fine or imprisonment or
both. Ibid., p. 70.
Ibid., p. 349-352.
48 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
newed with a clear understanding regarding the extension
of time to be granted in which construction under concession
is to be terminated." The Department expressed "regrets"
that customs revenues would not suffice to provide employ-
ment and so stop disorder in the north, and stated that,
should this condition persist, it would, "looking to a main-
tenance of public order, provided Admiral Caperton con-
siders it to be urgent, endeavor to arrange with bankers for
an advance sufficient to employ the hungry and indigent
The admiral stated on September 4 that, if measures such
as railroad construction were not promptly undertaken, he
would be forced very soon to consider offensive operations
against the cacos.61 This brought prompt instructions from
Secretary Daniels to take "no offensive action against
Haitians without first consulting Navy Department unless
absolutely necessary to prevent loss of life or property."'2
Although President Dartiguenave expressed the opinion
that the declaration of martial law had greatly strengthened
his position,63 certain members of the Cabinet were opposed
to signing the treaty, and on September 7 the minister for
foreign affairs and the minister of public works refused to
accept that part which related to the financial adviser,
whereupon the President requested and accepted the im-
mediate resignation of those officials. The Haitian execu-
tive then discussed with Charge Davis the filling of the two
Cabinet vacancies; and on September 9, Louis Borno was
appointed minister for foreign affairs and Paul Solomon
minister of public works.64 Nevertheless, Minister Borno
assured the American charge that he too would resign if the
United States Government insisted on the original draft of
the treaty. He also proposed various changes in the treaty
which, he declared, "were made in the attempt to concede
all United States demands but to do so in a manner less
humiliating to the Haitian people, and also to avoid certain
points which in the opinion of the Government are not
possible under the Haitian Constitution."65 During the
so For Rel., 1915, p. 549. 61 Hearings, p. 349-350.
62 Ibid., p. 350. For. Rel., 1915, p. 442.
Ibid., p. 442-443; Hearings, p. 352. For. Rel., 1915, p. 443.
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 49
Cabinet crisis, Admiral Caperton stated in a dispatch to the
commanding officer of the Connecticut:"6
Successful negotiation of treaty is predominant part present
mission. After encountering many difficulties treaty situation at
present looks more favorable than usual. This has been effected
by exercising military pressure at propitious moments in negotia-
tions. At present am holding up offensive operations and
allowing President time to complete Cabinet and try again. Am
therefore not yet ready to begin offensive operations at Cap-Haitien
but will hold them in abeyance as additional pressure.
The Department of State on September 12 accepted a
number of the changes proposed by Minister Borno,67 and
the latter assured Charg6 Davis that the Haitian Govern-
ment was now ready to sign the treaty, enter into a modus
vivendi and submit the treaty for immediate ratification.
At the same time, the Haitian Government pointed out that
it had only 600,000 gourdes with which to meet current
expenses and pay arrears of salaries, and desired assurances
that the Government of the United States would use its
good offices in obtaining for Haiti a temporary loan.68 The
Department of State gave assurance that upon ratification
of the treaty the United States would "lend its good offices"
to the obtaining for Haiti of "such loans as may be neces-
sary," and would also "take the necessary steps to obtain
an advance by the National Bank of Haiti of $100,000 to
meet pressing needs."69 The treaty was signed by Charg6
Davis and Minister Borno on September 16, and at the same
time the Dartiguenave Government was formally recognized
by the United States.70
HAITIAN RATIFICATION OF THE TREATY
Cacos had continued to give trouble and were reported in
some places to be interfering with the bringing of foodstuffs
to market;71 there had been firing between marine patrols
and caco bands ;72 martial law was extended on September 21
to all of the coast towns and contiguous territory;73 and a
Hearings, p. 353. 47 For. Rel., 1915, p. 445-446.
Ibid., 446-447; Hearings, p. 375. "* For. Rel., 1915, p. 447-448.
0 Ibid., p. 448; Hearings, p. 375-376. 7" Ibid., p. 375.
72 Ibid., p. 376. 73 Ibid., p. 68.
50 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
provost marshal and provost judge were appointed for each
of the areas under martial law. 4 Late in September scout-
ing detachments were sent from Cap-Haitien into the
interior. Marine patrols were frequently fired on by cacos,
and a small engagement occurred at Petite Riviere d'Arti-
bonite.75 Finally, on September 29, a caco chief was
persuaded to sign an agreement intended to insure the dis-
arming of the cacos and their return to peaceful pursuits.
The agreement seems to have proved ineffective and condi-
tions in northern Haiti remained unsettled,76 although dis-
arming made progress.77 In Washington, the departments
were studying the question of organizing a Haitian con-
The Chamber of Deputies voted ratification of the treaty
on October 6;79 but there was opposition in the Senate and a
desire in that body to reopen negotiations.80 Charg6 Davis,
however, informed Minister Borno that "the Government
of the United States would expect definite action on the
treaty as signed within the next few days."81
A day before the deputies ratified the treaty, authorization
came from Washington to furnish the Haitian Government
out of customs receipts sufficient amounts weekly to meet
current expenses. On October 13 Admiral Caperton was
authorized to establish a weekly allowance of $25,000,82
74 Hearings. 75 Ibid., p. 378-379.
17 Ibid., p. 77, 378, 380, 611-612. 77 Ibid., p. 384.
7' Ibid., p. 380-381. 7' For. Rel., 1915, p. 453.
80 Ibid., p. 452-453. On September 25, Charg6 Davis reported there would
be opposition in the Senate "due to the desire of certain members with
presidential aspirations to see present Government fall, also to influence of
certain foreigners here who are attempting to block treaty through the
Senate." Ibid., p. 452.
The Department of State instructed Charg6 Davis on September 27: "To
prevent ill-advised legislators from seeking to produce a situation out of
which one of their number may hope to ascend to the presidency, you should,
if the fears expressed in your September 25, 3 p. m., seem likely of realization,
opportunely let it be known that this Government will not countenance
efforts, either direct or indirect, to overthrow Dartiguenave administration,
to support which the United States purposes to lend all proper aid so long as
that administration shall adopt the steps necessary to give to Haiti peace
and prosperity." Ibid.
8" The Charg6 added: "This communication is entirely in accord with
wishes of the Haitian Government, which wishes to force Senate committee
to report even if unfavorably as they believe the Senate as a whole will
vote ratification irrespective of committee report." Ibid., p. 453.
8" Hearings, p. 383-385.
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 51
and about a week later he paid the current salaries of sena-
tors and deputies.83
Some days later, he reported to the Secretary of the Navy:
"Inasmuch as I have received continued assurance that
majority in Senate favors treaty, have refrained from taking
any steps which might appear as using force to secure ratifi-
cation, believing it to best interests of both countries that
treaty be ratified after full discussion following Haitian
rules of procedure."84 The Department of State, "be-
coming apprehensive lest elements lobbying at Port au
Prince may defeat ratification of treaty," expressed the
conviction that certain of the senators were "endeavoring to
prevent action by the Haitian Senate until after the United
States Senate shall meet," with the idea of conducting a
lobby at Washington "in the hope of producing a political
situation in this country which will result in the withdrawal
of the American marines from Haiti."85 Admiral Caperton
called on President Dartiguenave on November 3, and
began by explaining that he had given Captain Beach
"orders to do everything in his power to get the treaty
ratified," and that Captain Beach had "repeatedly seen
different members of the Senate treaty committee, as well
as other prominent and influential Haitians," and had
"earnestly and forcefully" argued for the ratification of the
treaty. The admiral then requested the names of any
Haitian senators whose attitude toward the treaty was
doubtful, in order that his arguments might be presented
to them. Failure to ratify, the admiral stated, "will delay
regeneration, and the tens of thousands who are crying for
food will become hungrier. It must be clearly understood
that the outside world will not invest money nor start
business enterprises in Haiti until Haiti's relations with the
United States are settled." The admiral declared that it
was his plan, as soon as the treaty had been ratified, "to
institute systematic methods to inform the people of Haiti of
the benevolent, unselfish and helpful purposes of the United
States Government, and he intended, as soon as conditions
would permit, "to visit different ports of Haiti, either per-
Ibid., p. 387. s" Ibid. gs For. Rel., 1915, p. 456-457.
52 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
sonally or by my representative, and perhaps at times to go
into the interior to meet Haitians of all classes and to
explain to them the friendly intentions of the United
At this time patrolling by marines was being continued
in the north;87 bands of cacos were raiding and pillaging
small towns; and Admiral Caperton informed the Navy
Department that he had ordered operations to suppress the
marauding bands.88 These operations resulted in the cap-
ture on November 17 of Fort Riviere, the most important
stronghold of the cacos.89 Conditions now became com-
paratively peaceful, and Admiral Caperton hoped that "no
more such organized brigandage or revolutionary activity
[would] occur.""8 Secretary Daniels, however, telegraphed
Admiral Caperton that "in view of heavy losses to Haitians
in recent engagement" he desired that "offensive be sus-
pended in order to prevent further loss of life"; to which
Admiral Caperton replied that American operations, con-
sisting of patrolling, were purely of a defensive nature, and
that occasional hostile contacts were unavoidable. The
cacos, he explained, were bandits pure and simple, and their
suppression was "absolutely essential to peace and security
in Haiti "; the American operations were approved by the
Haitian Government; and, unless he were otherwise directed,
he would continue the movement southward to include the
occupation of Hinche.91 Secretary Daniels, however, was
"strongly impressed with number Haitians killed." He
believed that order and security could be maintained with-
out "further offensive operations," and directed Admiral
Caperton to "inform department before taking steps that
would lead to loss of life on either side, except in case of
urgent necessity."92 Thereupon Admiral Caperton sus-
pended all operations except "protective patrolling," and
gave directions that "loss of life both sides be avoided if
*8 Hearings, p. 391-392. 87 Ibid., p. 387, 613-614.
as Ibid., p. 389-390.
89 Fifty-ore cacos were killed and the rest captured. Ibid., p. 77-78,
go Ibid.,p. 397-398. *1 Ibid., p. 398. '2 Ibid., p. 399. Ibid.
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 53
The treaty remaining unratified, the Secretary of the
Navy on November 10 instructed Admiral Caperton to
appear at a meeting of the Haitian Cabinet and state on his
own authority that he was confident "if the treaty fails of
ratification that my Government has the intention to retain
control in Haiti until the desired end is accomplished, and
that it will forthwith proceed to the complete pacification of
Haiti so as to insure internal tranquillity necessary to such
development of the country and its industry as will afford
relief to the starving populace now unemployed. Mean-
while the present Government will be supported in the
effort to secure stable conditions and lasting peace in Haiti,
whereas those offering opposition can only expect such
treatment as their conduct merits. The United States
Government is particularly anxious for immediate ratifica-
tion by the present Senate of this treaty, which was drawn
up with the full intention of employing as many Haitians
as possible to aid in giving effect to its provisions, so that
suffering may be relieved at the earliest possible date." 4
This action proved effective and the treaty was ratified by
the Senate on November 11, 1915.96
The State Department had endeavored to effect an ar-
rangement with the New York representative of the National
Bank for meeting the urgent demands of the financial
situation."6 Admiral Caperton on November 19 recom-
mended that the "loan to Haitian Government of $1,500,000
which State Department [had] mentioned in its dispatch to
legation, of which the Haitian Government [had] been in-
formed, be made immediately available after signing modus
vivendi" and that "the $100,000 promised upon ratifica-
tion9 should be cabled at once." The admiral
"For. Rel., 1915, p. 458; Hearings, p. 394; infra, p. 216.
For. Rel., 1915, p. 458; Hearings, p. 394-395. President Dartiguenave
immediately issued a proclamation announcing the ratification and declaring
that this event, "the most important in our national history, is the founda-
tion of Haitian independence, of the solemn consecration of the new era of
progress for the nation after the days of the 27th and 28th July, which days
we cannot think of without a shudder of horror." For. Rel., 1915, p. 459;
Hearings, p. 395.
SIbid., p. 391.
In his dispatch of September 14, Charg6 Davis stated that Haitian
officials were "most anxious to have an official statement to the effect that
the United States will use its good offices to aid Haitian Government in
54 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
considered that "American prestige [was] involved in this
matter."98 A week later Secretary Lansing informed the
legation that, "should the impression prevail that this
Government's good faith was involved, the admiral Imight]
make immediate payment of $100,000 out of funds in
hand. ." Minister Blanchard, who had arrived in
Port au Prince on November 10, signed on the 29th a modus
vivendi embodying the exact terms of the treaty;x00 and
immediately thereafter Admiral Caperton paid the Haitian
Government $100,000 out of customs receipts.1'0 When
questioned in 1921 about the character of the "military
pressure"102 which he had used during the treaty discus-
sions, Admiral Caperton said he thought the reference had
been to measures which he had taken "to quiet the cacos
and keep them from intimidating the members of Congress
and the Senate." The pressure, as he recalled it, "was more
moral than military. There was no actual military
movement made against the Congress." 103
THE TREATY OF SEPTEMBER 16, 1915
The Haitian-American treaty as finally concluded 104
was wider in scope than the project of July 2, 1914,105 which,
it would seem, was intended to relate exclusively to fiscal
securing immediate temporary loan ."; he had told them that in his
opinion "it would not be difficult to secure such a loan upon ratification of
treaty"; and he calculated that the Haitian Government would "require
from $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. ." Secretary Lansing replied that upon
"ratification of treaty the United States [would] lend its good offices to
secure such loans as may be necessary," and suggested that a commission be
sent to Washington "to negotiate this loan" and arrange other matters.
"Meanwhile, upon ratification of the treaty by the Haitian Congress, this
Government will take the necessary steps to obtain an advance by the
National Bank of Haiti of $100,000 to meet pressing needs." For. Rel., 1915,
p. 447-448. See also ibid., p. 521, 525, 527.
*' Hearings, p. 397; For. Rel., 1915, p. 529.
Ibid., 1915, p. 530.
100 Ibid., p. 460-461; Hearings, p. 399.
101 For. Rel., 1915, p. 531; Hearings, p. 400.
102 Supra, p. 49.
o3 Hearings, p. 353. The Senate Committee of Inquiry in 1922 reported:
"The American representatives exercised pressure to induce the
ratification by Haiti of the convention in September, 1915, precisely as the
United States had exercised pressure to induce the incorporation of the
Platt amendment in the Cuban Constitution Sen. Rept. No.
794, p. 7.
04: Infra, p. 211-215.
10s Supra, p. 27-28.
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 55
administration. At that time it was contemplated that the
appointment of a financial adviser should be discretionary
with the President of the United States, unless the Haitian
Government should request the appointment of this official,
and the financial adviser should "generally exercise the
functions of a comptroller of accounts." The draft of
August 12, 1915, represented a significant advance in def-
initeness and amplification.106 Instead of signing and
ratifying this project without modification, as the United
States Government wished, Haitian officials, of whom
Foreign Minister Borno was probably most influential,
succeeded in drawing the Department of State into negotia-
tions which resulted in the vague and ambiguous phrasing
of certain provisions which had previously been clear and
specific. Nevertheless, in many respects the instrument as
signed was essentially the same as the draft of August 12.
Art. I of the treaty stipulated that the United States
"will, by its good offices, aid the Haitian Government in the
proper and efficient development of its agricultural, mineral
and commercial resources and in the establishment of the
finances of Haiti on a firm and solid basis." This article
had not been in the original draft and was suggested by
Foreign Minister Borno,107 evidently with an eye to loans
and investments of capital. The treaty went on to provide
that the President of Haiti should appoint, upon nomination
by the President of the United States, a general receiver,
his "necessary" aids and employes, and a financial adviser.
Nothing was said of the possible dismissal of these officials.
The powers of the financial adviser were rendered ambigu-
ous, by providing that he "shall be an officer attached to
the Ministry of Finance, to give effect to whose proposals
and labors the minister will lend efficient aid." The finan-
cial adviser's duties were enumerated but they apparently
related to inquiry and recommendation, with possibly one
exception-that which bound him to "aid in increasing the
revenues and adjusting them to the expenses." The Haitian
Government agreed to "provide by law or appropriate
decrees for the payment of all customs duties to the general
lea Supra, p. 42-43. 1o' For. Rel., 1915, p. 443.
56 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
receiver, and [to] extend to the receivership, and to the
financial adviser, all needful aid and full protection in the
execution of the powers conferred and duties imposed
herein"; and the United States on its part agreed to "extend
like aid and protection." It was prescribed that the Haitian
Government, "in cooperation with the financial adviser,"
should "collate, classify, arrange and make full statement"
of the debts of the republic. The general receiver should
apply all his collections and receipts, first, to the expenses
of his office and that of the financial adviser, second, to the
interest and sinking fund of the public debt, third, to the
maintenance of the Haitian constabulary, and the balance
to the Haitian Government for current expenses; but ex-
penses of the receivership and of the financial adviser should
not exceed 5% of customs revenue, unless by agreement of
the two Governments. It was stipulated that the general
receiver should make monthly reports to "the appropriate
officer of the Republic of Haiti and to the Department of
State of the United States."
Haiti agreed not to increase its public debt "except by
previous agreement with the President of the United States,"
nor to "contract any debt or assume any financial obliga-
tion" unless a surplus of ordinary revenues were available
for the interest and sinking fund of the new obligation.
It was also provided that Haiti would not, without a pre-
vious agreement with the President of the United States,
modify the customs duties so as to reduce customs revenue,
but would "cooperate with the financial adviser in his rec-
ommendations for improvement in the methods of collect-
ing and disbursing the revenues and for new sources of
As a measure "necessary to prevent factional strife and
disturbances," the Haitian Government obligated itself "to
create without delay an efficient constabulary, urban and
rural, composed of native Haitians," to be "organized and
officered by Americans, appointed by the President of Haiti,
upon nomination by the President of the United States."
The Haitian Government agreed "not to surrender any
of the territory of the Republic of Haiti by sale, lease or
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 57
otherwise, or jurisdiction over such territory, to any foreign
government or power, nor to enter into any treaty or con-
tract with any foreign power or powers that will impair or
tend to impair the independence of Haiti." Provision was
made for the execution of a protocol for the settlement of
foreign claims against Haiti.
Art. XIII is of particular interest as in conjunction with
Art. I if included within the scope of the treaty the develop-
ment of the natural resources of the country; and to this
end the Haitian Government agreed "to undertake and
execute such measures as in the opinion of the high con-
tracting parties may be necessary for the sanitation and
public improvement of the republic, under the supervision
and direction of an engineer or engineers" to be appointed
like other Americans in the Haitian service.
The term of the treaty was to be ten years; but it might be
extended for an additional ten years if, "for specific reasons
presented by either of the high contracting parties, the
purpose of this treaty [had] not been fully accomplished."
The final substantive article gave to the high contracting
parties "authority to take such steps as may be necessary
to insure the complete attainment of any of the objects
comprehended in this treaty; and, should the necessity occur,
the United States will lend an efficient aid for the preserva-
tion of Haitian independence and the maintenance of a
government adequate for the protection of life, property
and individual liberty."'08
Haitian diplomacy and, perhaps, a desire in the Depart-
ment of State "to show every possible consideration for
Haitian sensibilities, ""'--with probably a lack at Washing-
ton of a clear and comprehensive understanding of social
and economic conditions in the republic-had produced a
treaty which, in the light of the apparent determination of
the United States at that time to accomplish its purpose in
Haiti, would require supplementary agreements and many
interpretations. Whether the financial adviser could pre-
pare the budget or control ordinary governmental expendi-
tures was far from clear. Whether American officials in
lo0 Cf. supra, p. 43. log For. Rel., 1915, p. 445.
58 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
Haiti were to be responsible to the President of the United
States who nominated them, to the President of Haiti who
appointed them, or to the Haitian minister with whom they
were to work was not specified. The financial adviser was
to be "attached to the Ministry of Finance," but the general
receiver and the financial adviser were evidently vested
with functions the exercise of which depended entirely on
their own judgment. There was no suggestion in the treaty
that Americans engaged in the finances, the constabulary,
sanitation or "public improvement" should by themselves
form a unified organization. Nothing was said in the
treaty about the presence of American forces in Haiti, about
education or about the judiciary, and American supervision
of agricultural development was, if intended by either
Government or both Governments, left largely to inference.10
no Hearings, p. 68-69, 86-87. The Department of State on August 22,
1915, said that it "would not be unsympathetic toward any proper effort
which might be made to establish a good school system ." For.
Rel., 1915, p. 436. On September 16, 1915, Minister Borno wrote to the
American charge giving the Haitian Government's interpretation of Arts.
2, 5 and 6 of the treaty; and in replying on September 20 Charg6 Davis
took occasion to call attention to the words "will lend an efficient aid" in
Art. 14, explaining that this "undertaking by the United States Government
naturally implies the lending of its armed force should internal strife or
uprising endanger the existence of the Government" and that "the United
States considers it its duty to support a constitutional government and aid
the people of Haiti in maintaining domestic peace throughout the country."
Ibid., 1915, p. 454-455.
When the Chamber of Deputies ratified the treaty, it did so with an
"interpretative commentary," expressing the view that the President of
Haiti could dismiss the general receiver for malfeasance in office and the
"delinquent could even be amenable to an action" under Haitian law; that
the customs force is "exclusively and directly" appointed by the President
of Haiti; that the financial adviser is no longer a "comptroller placed above
the executive and legislative powers" but "is nothing but an official at-
tached to the Ministry of Finance where he collaborates with his work and
advice"; that the financial adviser "confines himself to pointing out, en-
lightening, recommending, suggesting, prompting"; that the Hague Tribunal
would be the competent jurisdiction to decide disputes in the execution of
the treaty. Ibid., 1916, p. 322-325. The interpretative commentary was
sent to the Department of State with the exchange of ratifications on March
15, 1916. On April 5. 1916, Secretary Lansing pointed out to the Haitian
legation at Washington relative to the interpretative commentary that, "as
this paper was not before the United States Senate at the time it gave its
advice and consent to the ratification of the treaty by the President, it is
impossible to consider the views expressed therein as having any binding
force on the Government of the United States." Ibid., p. 325-326.
Ratifications were exchanged on May 3, 1916, on agreement that any
provision, on which the interpretative commentary should be found not in
accord with the English text of the convention, should be construed and
interpreted in accordance with the clear language of the English text. Ibid.,
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 59
AMERICAN ORGANIZATION AND POLICY
It may be assumed from available evidence that President
Wilson was kept conversant with what were believed to be
the most important developments in the Haitian situation.
War in Europe, however, was the overshadowing inter-
national problem and events in Haiti must have seemed
of minor significance. President Wilson, it appears, was
frequently consulted on affairs touching the republic, but
no special organization seems to have been established at
Washington to handle the Haitian intervention or other
similar cases. Coordination between the State and Navy
Departments seems to have been effected very largely by
informal conferences between the chief of the Latin Ameri-
can Division of the State Department and the chief of the
Division of Operations of the Navy Department.
Navy opinion must have influenced State Department
officials; but decisions in Washington in 1915, particularly
with regard to the treaty, had been determined in the main
during the previous year. Intervention occurred when it
did because of events in Haiti regarding which there could
not have been among responsible American officials any
marked divergency of interpretation. Subsequent develop-
ments in Haiti, particularly with respect to American
procedure in carrying out basic purposes, was under the
control and direction of the departments at Washington;
but this control and direction was necessarily dependent to
a great extent on information received by the departments
from Admiral Caperton, from the legation and from the
National City Bank, and most weight was evidently given to
the reports communicated by Admiral Caperton.
One may conjecture why during the crucial period of
intervention and treaty negotiation the Department of
State should have been represented in Haiti only by a charge
After the landing of marines Admiral Caperton was recog-
nized as the ranking American official in Haiti. He and the
111 On the departure of Charge Davis at the end of October, 1915, Lieuten-
ant Oberlin of the Navy was in charge of the American legation until the
arrival of Minister Blanchard on November 10. Hearings, p. 389.
60 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
head of the legation were instructed by their respective de-
partments to act in consultation and cooperation; and for
the most part they seem to have so acted."2 It appears,
however, that the treaty negotiations, directed by the
Department of State, were largely handled by the charge
While the United States did not use military force directly
and openly to overawe or coerce the Haitian Government or
legislature, and while Haitian officials were able at times by
delay and skilful tactics to obtain in part their own way,
nevertheless circumstances were such that the Haitian
authorities did not in fact function as an independent
government, nor was the legislative body free from strong
American influence.114 Representatives of the United
States in Haiti were instructed on many occasions to obtain
the "consent" of President Dartiguenave before adopting
some new line of action. His consent was usually forth-
12 Hearings, p. 67, 316, 333,'347, 348, 368, 375, 377, 378, 380-382, 399.
Admiral Caperton on August 15 informed the American charge d'affaires
that he would "directly, either personally or through members of my
staff, and in conjunction with you, attend to such civil matters on
shore and such important relations with the Haitian officials as may
from time to time be undertaken by the United States forces." Ibid., p.
ns Ibid., p. 336, 337, 343. In 1921, Admiral Caperton remarked, relative
to the treaty negotiations: "Well, I do not know everything the charge
d'affaires did, but in running my work I cooperated with him and Captain
Beach. The charge d'affaires, of course, conducted it, you know; but
I assisted him. .
"Mr. Angell: If I understand you rightly, then, the charge d'affaires
really controlled and was the general directing head of the American side of
"Admiral Caperton: Certainly. He made the reports and conducted the
affairs, and I assisted him in every way I could. ." Ibid., p. 367. See
also ibid., p. 371, 372; For Rel., 1915, p. 454.
114 Hearings, p. 360-361. In his proclamation of martial law on September
3, 1915, Admiral Caperton declared himself "invested with the power and
responsibility of government in all its functions and branches throughout
the territory" then occupied by his forces. Ibid., p. 39, 67; For. Rel., 1915,.
p. 484. But martial law thus proclaimed was not to be construed as in-
terfering with "the proceedings of the constitutional Government and
Congress of Haiti, or with the administration of justice in the courts of law
existing therein, which do not affect the military operations or the authorities
of the Government of the United States of America." Hearings, p. 69,
On September 22, 1920, the Judge Advocate General of the Navy issued
a legal opinion in which he stated:
"The military forces of the United States have not displaced the civil
government of Haiti. ." With reference to the period before the sign-
ing of the modus vivendi he called attention to the fact that martial law was
originally established at the request of the Haitian President. Ibid., p. 68-69.
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 61
coming, and some of the measures taken by Admiral Caper-
ton were on Dartiguenave's request. In many cases, his
request or consent was a formality; in some cases it was not
given; and American seizure of the customs houses was
publicly protested by the Haitian President.11-
It has become clear that American action in the summer of
1915, particularly in its manifestation during and after the
presidential election, was considerably more than an inter-
vention or interposition for the protection of American lives
and property."' It speedily became a political intervention
and a military occupation, intended not only to put an end to
a situation which had become intolerable, but also to create
in Haiti the conditions essential to permanent stability.117
115 Ibid., p. 69, 368-369. On August 19, 1915, the Navy Department in-
structed Admiral Caperton: "State Department desires you assume charge
of following customhouses Confer with charge d'affaires for purpose
of having President Dartiguenave solicit above action. Whether President
requests or not, proceed to carry out State Department's desire "
Ibid., p. 333.
H1 Although no foreigner was known to have lost his life on account of a
Haitian revolution, Admiral Caperton seems to have understood that his
landings at Cap-HaTtien and Port au Prince in July, 1915, were for the pres-
ervation of order and the protection of the lives and property of foreigners.
Ibid., p. 4, 296-297, 307, 314; For. Rel., 1915, p. 475. At the start, he
evidently intended to remain neutral in factional contests. "The dif-
ference between intervention and interposition is most clearly drawn
in the principles which have governed and the practice which has been
followed by this country, while it has been the studied policy most rigidly
adhered to (with one or two isolated exceptions-for example, our political
intervention in Cuba and perhaps Samoa) to refrain from interfering in the
purely political affairs of other countries (but see Monroe doctrine), yet no
nation, it would seem, has with more frequency than has this Government
used its military forces for the purpose of occupying temporarily parts of
foreign countries in order to secure adequate safety and protection for its
citizens and their property." Right to Protect Citizens, p. 33. But, in the
case of nonpolitical intervention or interposition, when the protection of
citizens is accomplished, "the interposing state withdraws, leaving the gov-
ernment either as it found it or as it may have been altered or changed by
purely internal and local means, with which matters the interposing govern-
ment has had no interest, concern or connection." Ibid., p. 25.
"I On May 4, 1922, Robert Lansing, then ex-Secretary of State, wrote a
letter to Senator McCormick, chairman of the Senate Committee on Haiti and
Santo Domingo, in which he stated that in the course of the events "leading
up to the establishment of treaty relations between the United States and
Haiti, the Government of the United States was animated by two domi-
"1. To terminate the appalling conditions of anarchy, savagery and op-
pression which had been prevalent in Haiti for decades, and to undertake the
establishment of domestic peace in the republic in order that the great
bulk of the population, who has been downtrodden by dictators, and the in-
nocent victims of repeated revolutions should enjoy a prosperity and an
economic and industrial development to which every people of an American
nation are entitled.
62 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
American officials appear to have overestimated the
resources of Haiti,18 and to have underestimated the diffi-
culties of creating stable conditions. Because of this and
of a desire to provide inducements for the signing and
ratification of the treaty, representatives of the United
States in Haiti made promises-or what resembled promises
-and raised hopes which could not be quickly or easily ful-
filled.119 Assurances regarding the use of "good offices"
with the bank and the railroad, statements concerning loans
which would have one meaning to Haitian politicians and
quite a different one to American officials and bankers, dis-
cussion of conditions on which capital would be invested,
rosy pictures of future prosperity in Haiti, repeated assur-
ances that the territorial integrity and political independence
of the republic were to be respected, the intention to preserve
nominal constitutionalism, the conclusion of a treaty-
which might be expected to limit thereafter the rights of the
United States in Haiti,- the generalities, ambiguities and
lacunae in the treaty, apparent disinclination at Washington
"2. A desire to forestall any attempt by a foreign power to obtain a foot-
hold on the territory of an American nation which, if a seizure of customs con-
trol by such a power had occurred, or if a grant of a coaling station or naval
base had been obtained, would have most certainly been a menace to the
peace of the Western Hemisphere, and in flagrant defiance of the Monroe
doctrine." Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 37.
On August 24, 1915, the Department said: "The United States desires
to deal justly and considerately with Haitians. It covets no Haitian terri-
tory, nor does it desire to usurp Haitian sovereignty or seek treaty conditions
other than for the welfare of the Haitian people." For. Rel., 1915, p. 437,
In a proclamation to the people of Haiti on August 9, 1915, Admiral
Caperton stated that it was the "intention to retain the United States
forces in Haiti only so long as will be necessary" "to insure, to establish and
to help maintain Haitian independence and the establishment of a stable
and firm government by the Haitian people." Ibid., p. 481. See also ibid.,
1914, p. 357-358, 367, 371; ibid., 1915, p. 435, 440, 441, 479-481; Hearings,
p. 312, 313, 356-357, 1487-1488.
u1 Cong. Rec., Vol. 62, p. 8945; Jones, Chester Lloyd, Caribbean Interests
of the United States, 1917, p. 145-147.
"* Supra, p. 45-49. On November 3, 1915, Admiral Caperton proposed to
President Dartiguenave that the people of Haiti be informed of "the benevo-
lent, unselfish and helpful purposes" of the United States. According to
the admiral, "justice and prosperity will mark the life in Haiti, the country's
fertility and possibilities will be developed, there will be plenty of work
with good wages for the country's peasantry, and employment for the
abilities and intelligence of the upper classes. It is easy to see that instead
of misery and desolation, with misfortune knocking at every door, Haiti
will be a land of honor, peace and contentment. ." Hearings, p. 392;
For. Rel., 1915, p. 435-436, 441, 458.
INTERVENTION AND THE TREATY, 1915 63
to organize for a unique task,-all of these things were to
complicate further an already complicated problem and were
in great measure to determine the course of events during
the next six years.120
120 On the period covered in this Chapter (II), cf. Davis, op. cit., p. 149-
188; Survey of American Foreign Relations, 1929, p. 117-133; Kelsey, op. cit.,
p. 134-136, 144, 152-154; Douglas, Paul H., The American Occupation of
Haiti, 1927, p. 4-23; Buell, op. cit., p. 335-347; Hopkins, J. A. H. and Alex-
ander, Melinda, Machine-Gun Diplomacy, 1928, p. 71-94.
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922
HAVING pressed the Haitian Government for the rati-
fication of the treaty and the signing of a modus
vivendi, the Government of the United States found that
because of restrictions in the constitutional and statute law
of the United States it was unable to appoint members of
the Navy and Marine Corps to Haitian offices. The United
States Senate advised and consented to the ratification of
the treaty on February 28, 1916; it was ratified by President
Wilson on March 20, 1916; and ratifications were exchanged
on May 3, 1916.1 It was not until June 12, 1916, however,
that Congress passed a law authorizing the President to
detail officers and enlisted men of the Navy and Marine
Corps to serve in Haiti under the treaty.2
From 1915 to 1922 was a period when the President and
Secretary of State were engrossed with problems arising from
the War and the peace treaty, and for some months both
President Wilson and Secretary Lansing were absent in
Europe. In this period there were four secretaries of state
and a change of presidential administration.
Execution of the treaty and conclusion of supplementary
agreements were obviously functions of the Department of
Hearings, p. 78-79; For. Rel., 1916, p. 327, 328. Exchange of ratifica-
tions was delayed because of an unsuccessful effort by the Haitian Foreign
Office to persuade the Secretary of State to accept the interpretative com-
mentary of the Haitian Chamber of Deputies. Supra, p. 58, n. 110. For.
Rel., 1916, p. 322-327.
2 The legislation of June 12, 1916, was the first of several authorizations
for foreign detail (United States Code, Title 34, Chapter 8). The principal
provision of the law is:
"The President of the United States is authorized, in his discretion, to
detail to assist the Republic of Haiti such officers and enlisted men of the
United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps as may be mutually
agreed upon by him and the President of the Republic of Haiti: Provided,
That the officers and enlisted men so detailed be, and they are hereby,
authorized to accept from the Government of Haiti the said employment with
compensation and emoluments from the said Government of Haiti, subject
to the approval of the President of the United States."
REPUBLIC OF HAITI
SCALE OF MILES
10 0 10 20 30 40 50
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922 65
State; but they involved not only relations with Haiti but
also the internal affairs of that country. It was by no
means an ordinary diplomatic task: at one moment it was
diplomacy of a special kind; at another moment it was in
effect colonial administration. For such work the Depart-
ment of State did not appear to be appropriately organized
or staffed. In 1918, it is true, a number of specialists in the
social sciences were appointed to the Foreign Trade Ad-
visers' Office; but in 1921 most of them were distributed
among other bureaus, the handling of Haitian questions
being assigned to the Latin American Division. The chief
of this division was perhaps the most important "key"
official in the organization at Washington.3 The practice,
which was quite consistently followed, of assigning career
diplomats to posts in the department resulted in frequent
changes in the officials who handled Haitian questions.'
Moreover, the trained diplomat often acquires habits of
thinking and acting quite different from those of the ex-
The Department of the Navy was also intimately in-
volved; and in his annual report for 1919 Secretary Daniels
referred to the "naval administration of Haiti."5 Military
officers serving in Haiti attended conferences at the Depart-
ment of State and on occasion were called to Washington for
that purpose:6 but none of them reported officially to the
Secretary of State or were under his authority.7 For about
a Hearings, p. 1411.
From June, 1915, to March, 1922, there were five different chiefs and one
acting chief of the Latin American Division. The longest period of service
was about two years and ten months. Cf. ibid., p. 1391-1392, 1410;
Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 25.
Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 1919, p. 140.
SHearings, p. 631, 717.
7 "Mr. Howe. Did the American minister exercise any control over the
"General Barnett. No, sir." Ibid, p. 446.
"Mr. Angell. The brigade commander, of course, did not report to the
State Department directly?
"General Waller. No; except in personal communications." Ibid.,
"Mr. Angell. Did you discuss the affairs of Haiti with Mr. Daniels?
"General Waller. Yes; to some extent. I do not recall what, though,
because he had really no jurisdiction over those affairs, over the State De-
partment affairs, but I had been ordered up here by the Navy Department
for this consultation with the State Department." Ibid., p. 631.
66 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
a year after the intervention there were no civilian American
.officials serving in Haiti, except at the legation; while naval
and marine officers in the republic seem to have received
few instructions or suggestions from Washington with regard
to constructive activities.8
In the Haitian area, the commander-in-chief of the cruiser
squadron was viewed as the superior American official.
On account of disturbances in the Dominican Republic,
however, Admiral Caperton proceeded to the other side of
the island on May 10, 1916; and thereafter admirals residing
at Santo Domingo City as military governors of the Do-
minican Republic were still styled "senior naval officer and
military representative in Haiti."9 The commander of the
marine brigade reported in duplicate to the military governor
of Santo Domingo and to Marine Corps headquarters in
The American minister at Port au Prince had apparently
no authority over the brigade commander or generally over
the treaty officials, with the possible exception of the finan-
cial adviser;u but the brigade commander and the chief of
the gendarmerie were at times active in matters of civil
Upon the signing of the modus vivendi Admiral Caperton
appointed naval officers to the positions named in the
treaty.13 Nevertheless, for several months American organ-
ization and activities remained practically unchanged; and
the Haitian Government repeatedly called attention to the
*"Mr. Angell. All of this work that you are just speaking of-this
agricultural work-was undertaken upon the initiative of the military
General Cole. Yes.
"Mr. Angell. Rather than upon a suggestion from Washington?
"General Cole. Oh, yes, Washington never made any suggestions ."
Ibid., p. 711.
"Mr. Angell. These plans for irrigation work were drawn up by you, or
under your direction, and upon your initiative?
"General Cole. Yes.
"Mr. Angell. Rather than by direction from Washington?
"General Cole. Yes; all of these things. I do not remember of anything
of that sort that we ever got from Washington." Ibid., p. 712.
SIbid., p. 88-89, 421.
"o Ibid., p. 71, 643.
Ibid.. p. 643-644; supra, p. 65 and n. 7.
12 Hearings, p. 646, 690, 1436, 1443.
1s Ibid., p. 399-400; For. Rel., 1915, p. 531-532.
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922
nonapplication of the treaty.14 On the other hand, no time
was lost by the Haitians in appointing a commission to
negotiate in Washington supplementary agreements for the
carrying out of the treaty.'" A general receiver and a
deputy general receiver were nominated by President
Wilson on June 26, 1916, and promptly appointed by Presi-
dent Dartiguenave.16 The financial adviser was nominated
in July,17 and the general receiver took over the customs
service from Admiral Caperton in August."8
The financial adviser stated that he referred matters of
financial policy to the State Department before discussing
them with the Haitian Government. On at least one occa-
sion he accepted an instruction from the American minister
and informed the Haitian Government at that time of
"orders" received from the American minister, and of in-
structions from "my Government," i.e., the Government of
the United States.'9 The financial adviser was in fact
spending much of his time in Washington consulting with
State Department officials. During his prolonged absences,
the routine duties of his office were delegated to the general
receiver;20 but the latter official was placed in 1920, on the
14 On December 14, 1915, Admiral Caperton reported to his department
that naval officers were "performing duties somewhat similar to those pro-
vided in the treaty for financial adviser, general receiver, engineer for public
works and engineer for sanitation" but that the "terms of the treaty as
placed into effect by the modus vivendi are not being carried out by anyone.
Haitian Government has made repeated requests that United States carry
out their part of modus vivendi agreement and urge immediate appoint-
ments be officially made." Hearings, p. 403-404; see also For. Rel., 1916,
P. 344, 363-364.
On June 30, 1916, the brigade commander wrote to the American minister:
If, as stated by the minister of foreign affairs, the treaty has been in opera-
tion since May 3, 1916, I know nothing of it. I must receive my information
through proper military channels before I can relax our established rules
under which we have been operating." Hearings, p. 643-644.
Ibid., p. 401; For. Rel., 1915, p. 531.
Ibid, 1916, p. 354, 356. The "general receiver" was now called the "gen-
eral receiver of customs." Hearings, p. 283. For text of the agreement,
see For. Rel., 1916, p. 332-333.
1" Ibid., p. 357. The first financial adviser was Addison T. Ruan. He
was succeeded by John A. McIlhenny, who was appointed January 27, 1919,
and went to Haiti March 27, 1919. Hearings, p. 1223.
95 Report of Receivership of Customs, August 29, 1916, to September 30,
1916, and 1916-1917, p. 7; Hearings, p. 1226.
1 Ibid, p. 800-802.
"o Ibid., p. 1351-1352, 1396, 1404-1405, 1408, 1409. Questions of special
credits were referred to Mr. Mcllhenny in Washington.
68 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
request of the Secre*ary of State, under the direction of the
Bureau of Insular Affairs of the War Department."1
In the meantime, marine officers had been organizing and
training a Haitian constabulary;22 and on February 1, 1916,
Admiral Caperton proclaimed that all military and police
duties in Haiti would thereafter be performed by the
Gendarmerie d'Haiti supported by the expeditionary forces.
In addition to military and police duties the gendarmerie
was intrusted with a variety of civil duties.2
American marine officers who commanded the gendar-
merie were veritable potentates in their respective districts.24
An agreement relative to the gendarmerie was signed with
the Haitian Commission at Washington on August 24, 1916.
In Art. IV this police force was to be "subject only to the
direction of the President of Haiti," and Art. XI stated that
the "Haitian gendarmerie shall be under the control of the
President of Haiti." 1 Thereafter, the marine officer in
command of the gendarmerie took up matters directly with
the Haitian President; but the latter, in spite of the agree-
ment, does not appear to have exercised exclusive superior
authority over the gendarmerie,26 and the American brigade
21 On September 21, 1920, the Department of State requested the War
Department that the Bureau of Insular Affairs should "undertake the im-
mediate supervision and control of the Haitian customs receivership,"
adopting, so far as they might be applicable, the General Regulations which
had been issued in 1907 for the "government" of the Dominican Customs
Receivership. Report of the Haitian Customs Receivership, 1918-1919, p. 3-4.
The treaty made no mention of supervision and control of the receivership
by the Government of the United States and expressly stated that the general
receiver should report to the Department of State of the United States.
Infra, p. 213.
2 Hearings, p. 512.
23 Ibid., p. 79-81, 412, 511-512; For. Rel., 1916, p. 320. The former mu-
nicipal and rural police were abolished on July 5, 1916. Hearings, p. 80.
The opinion was expressed in 1921 that the gendarmerie had not had suffi-
cient training and took over the policing of the country too soon for "some
political reason in Port au Prince." Ibid., p. 682.
2f Ibid., p. 80. It is alleged that in 1916, the Department of State proposed
that there should be included in the gendarmerie agreement an article pro-
viding that the "department of public health and public works, as prescribed
by Art. XIII of the treaty, the operation, the management and maintenance
of telegraphs, telephone, the lighthouse service and the postal service"
should be directed and controlled by the commandant of the gendarmerie.
Ibid., p. 13.
25 Ibid., p. 280-282; For text of the agreement, see For. Rel., 1916, p. 334-
336. The gendarmerie was not brought into full conformity with the agree-
ment until about October 1, 1916. Hearings, p. 513.
N General Butler testified that from December 3, 1915, to September 1,
1916, he served as chief of the gendarmerie, but only under the orders of
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922 69
commander frequently gave orders to the chief of gendar-
Agreement having been reached regarding the compensa-
tion of the engineers for sanitation and public improve-
ment,28 a naval engineer was nominated and appointed on
July 5.12 As late as October, however, Minister Borno
asked that the sanitary and public works be turned over by
the marines to this treaty official."a The public works en-
gineer had an inadequate organization in 1916, so Secretary
Lansing insisted, notwithstanding objections of the Haitian
Government, that part of the engineer's functions should be
performed by the marines.3 In December there were new
appointments of engineers, a Navy engineer for public
works and a Navy surgeon for sanitation.32 Both reached
Haiti in January, 1917, but without assistants. There
was "some reluctance on the part of officers of the occupa-
tion and the gendarmerie to turn over to these designated
treaty officials the functions that properly would come
Admiral Caperton. After September 1, 1916, "mystatuswas simply changed
in this respect, that what I had been doing previously, under the orders of
the occupation, I proceeded to do under the orders of the President of Haiti.
I had always acted under the President of Haiti, but had consulted with
the American commander." After September 1, 1916, he "did nothing with
respect to the Haitian people without first discussing the matter with the
President of Haiti." Testimony of Brig. Gen. Smedley D. Butler, Hearings,
"General Catlin. Really, the marine occupation had nothing to do with
the policy of the gendarmerie-that is, with their actual work in the field.
They were theoretically under the brigade commander-that is, the general
of the gendarmerie-but the brigade commander had nothing to do with the
troops in the field or with the under officers except through the head of the
"Mr. Angell. Did the brigade commander confer with the chief of the
gendarmerie as to matters of gendarmerie policy and discipline?
"General Catlin. No; that was entirely a Haitian matter." Testimony
of Brig. Gen. A. W. Catlin, brigade commander, July 15, 1919-October 1,
1919, Hearings, p. 668.
27 Infra, p. 73-74.
"8 June 27, 1916. Hearings, p. 283. For text, see For. Rel., 1916, p. 333.
An agreement was concluded on August 24, 1916, placing the telegraph and
telephone system under an American engineer. Hearings, p. 13, 80, 207;
for text, see For. Rel., 1916, p. 337.
1" Ibid., p. 356.
"s Ibid., p. 363-364.
81 Secretary Lansing on December 22, 1916, could "see no difficulties in
the situation, inasmuch as all works are being satisfactorily carried out," and
"the Government of the United States considers that its observance of the
articles of the treaty has been carried out in strict accord with its interpre-
tation thereof." Ibid., p. 367-368.
82 Ibid., p. 366-367.
70 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
under their cognizance." 3 The public works engineer
pressed for a law to give him the organization and con-
trol which he felt had been contemplated by the treaty;
but the law was not enacted until July, 1920.34 The sanitary
engineer obtained no American assistants until the fall of
1917 and he did not take over all public health matters until
December, 1917.15 It was not until February, 1919, that a
National Public Health Service was created by law.6
In Haiti the principal American officials were either acting
on their own judgment, each independently of the others, or
were receiving instructions from three different departments
at Washington; and one of the military channels of commu-
nication passed through Santo Domingo City. Furthermore,
American personnel in Haiti was constantly changing.
Between the interventionin 1915 and March, 1922, therewere
four senior naval officers,37 six brigade commanders,38 four
chiefs of gendarmerie39 and two financial advisers. Ameri-
cans were "transferred from responsible posts before they
could very well have learned the duties to which they had
been appointed."40 It was not surprising that jealousies and
friction should develop among American officials in Haiti.41
In general, a more confused, disorganized and unsatisfactory
state of affairs could hardly be conceived.
Relations between American officials and the Haitian
Government were unfavorably influenced not only by this
division and confusion of authority and responsibility and by
disharmony among the Americans, but also by an apparent
inability on the part of Americans serving in Haiti to discard
color prejudice and to maintain sympathetic and cordial
03 Report of Admiral Knapp, October 14, 1920, Report of Secretary of the
Navy, 1920, p. 232.
: Blue Book of Hayti, p. 57.
Report of Secretary of Navy, 1920, p. 234-235.
36 Melhorn, op. cit., p. 10. In 1921 the gendarmerie, cooperating with the
sanitary engineer, supervised public sanitation in the interior of the country.
Hearings, p. 81.
:7 Ibid., p. 88-89.
Colonel Russell's separate tours of duty ibidd., p. 89, 1391) are counted
"g Ibid., p. 82.
40 Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 25.
4" Ibid., p. 199, 804-805, 1700; Report of Secretary of Navy, 1920, p. 236,
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922 71
relations, personal and official, with Haitians.42 There
was much contemporary criticism of the predominance of
the military element in the American undertaking.43
Appointment of an expert commission to investigate
conditions in Haiti and formulate a constructive program
was suggested to the Department of State in October,
1918;44 but although civilian experts and technicians were
sent to Haiti in addition to the treaty personnel45 it does not
appear that there was between 1915 and 1922 any special
civilian investigation started from Washington.46 There
was, however, a number of other formal and informal inves-
tigations. The State and Navy Departments sent Rear
Admiral Harry S. Knapp on a special mission to Haiti in
the summer of 1920 ;47 in September, 1920, Secretary Daniels
instructed General George Barnett and General John A.
Lejeune of the Marine Corps to report conditions,48 and in
October Secretary Daniels set up a court of inquiry under
Admiral Henry T. Mayo;49 there were visits by Assistant
Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt and by Secretary
Edwin Denby;s5 a number of American senators and repre-
sentatives visited the republic;51 and finally in 1921 an
investigation was made by a Senate Committee of Inquiry
headed by Senator Medill McCormick.52
ELECTIONS, THE LEGISLATURE AND A NEW CONSTITUTION
After the signing of the treaty there was little change in the
position of the Haitian Government or in the attitude of
Americans toward Haitian authorities. The latter were
"2 Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 23; Marvin, George, "Healthy Haiti," World's
Work, Vol. XXXIV, No. 1, May, 1917, p. 15; cf. Hearings, p. 239.
43 Cong. Rec., Vol. 62, Part 9, p. 8944, 8957, 8958; Hearings, p. 807-808.
Ibid., p. 134-136. Dr. Moton of Tuskegee was suggested as a member of
the proposed commission. Infra, p. 183.
4 Infra, p. 92-94.
14 The Department of State proposed an investigation of the Haitian
educational situation by a joint Haitian-American commission. Infra,
P. 94; see also infra, p. 189-190.
11 Report of Secretary of the Navy, 1920, p. 186-187; text of Admiral Knapp's
report, p. 222-240.
SHearings, p. 84, 139-143, 1777; text of reports in Report of Secretary of
the Navy, 1920, p. 241 and 245-311.
49 Hearings, p. 27-30, 1587; Report, op. cit., p. 186, 312-320.
so Ibid., p. 25-26, 88.
1 Ibid., p. 239.
4 Ibid., passim; Sen. Rept. No. 794, passim.
72 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
consulted but they were also coerced; they exercised influ-
ence but even with regard to matters apparently outside the
treaty they did not possess an exclusive power of decision.
The question immediately arose whether certain branches of
administration which had been taken over by the occupation
should now be returned to the Haitian Government.
Among these were the municipal administrations, which
clearly had not been included in the treaty; but Admiral
Caperton was instructed to retain control until the treaty
organizations should be "satisfactorily and permanently"
established.53 Furthermore, after the treaty officials had
begun work various services continued for some time to be
administered by the marines.
Late in February, 1916, President Dartiguenave informed
Captain Beach that it would be necessary to revise the
Constitution. According to the President, it was neces-
sary to reduce the number of senators and representatives
by more than half, permit-ownership of land by foreigners,
substitute the gendarmerie for the war department and the
army, reform the judiciary and civil service. The President
went on to say the he would urge the chambers to take the
necessary steps to revise the Constitution, and in case of
their refusal he would declare both chambers dissolved and
call for a constituent assembly of about fifty "patriotic"
Haitians. He requested assurance that, should the dissolu-
tion of the chambers become necessary, he would receive
American protection.54 The Constitution of 1889 was
inconsistent with the new order: in order to facilitate in-
vestment of American capital in Haitian agricultural
undertakings, the Department of Statewas prepared to insist
that prohibition of land ownership by foreigners should be
removed,55 and desired also an article in the Constitution
ratifying previous acts of the American occupation."6
The fundamental law then in force provided that revision
of the Constitution should be by a National Assembly, com-
5 Hearings, p. 10, 407; For. Rel., 1916, p. 360-361.
54 Hearings, p. 415.
5 Ibid., p. 112, 195, 197, 696, 1264; supra, p. 16.
"Hearings, p. 695.
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922 73
posed of the two legislative chambers.57 The latter were to
meet early in April, 1916; and in February it appeared that
if the enemies of the Government were strong enough they
would pass a vote of censure and possibly impeach the
President.58 Dartiguenave, apparently fearing impeach-
ment, attempted to prevent the meeting of the legislators;
but they assembled, though without a quorum, on April 3
The President forthwith issued a decree dissolving the
Senate and convening the more friendly Chamber of Depu-
ties as a constituent assembly. Another decree created a
Council of State of 21 members to be appointed by the
President.60 The Haitian executive requested the assistance
of American officials,61 and on April 6 when members of the
Senate attempted to meet they found that the doors of their
chamber had been locked by order of the President.62 The
deputies refused to function as a constituent assembly, and
Admiral Caperton attempted without success to make peace
between the Government and the legislative body.63
As the President had failed to persuade the deputies to
act as a constituent body and as their terms expired on
January 10, 1917, it became necessary to hold an election."
Deciding now that members of both houses should be
chosen, the President set the election for January 15 and 16,
1917, but again disregarded the Constitution by reducing
the number of senators to 15 and of deputies to 36.65 As the
1" Constitution of 1889, Arts. 60, 194-196; text in Dub6, Charles, La
Constitution de 1889 et sa Revision; Rodriguez, Jos6 Ignacio, American Con-
stitutions, II, p. 52-108.
"* Hearings, p. 415.
:" Ibid., p. 415-416.
50 Both decrees were evidently unconstitutional and were so declared
without delay by the civil court of Port au Prince. Ibid., p. 23, 416-418,
640, 719-720; For. Rel., 1916, p. 320-321.
Hearings, p. 641-642.
The President's order to lock the doors was apparently communicated
to the American chief of gendarmerie through the brigade commander; but
the latter was personally opposed to the dissolution of the Senate. The
actual locking was done by a Haitian lieutenant of gendarmerie who took
the keys to the President. The gendarmerie took steps to preserve order
but used no force against members of the legislature. Ibid., p. 418-419,
Ibid., p. 419-421. For a Haitian account of the dissolution of the
Senate, see ibid., p. 23-27.
*' Ibid., p. 25.
74 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
election drew near the Secretary of the Navy stated that the
United States would support President Dartiguenave "so
long as his conduct conforms to correct principles and to the
agreements between Haiti and the United States," and
would not permit "any legislative action annulling any
decree of the President during the time when no legislative
body was in session."66 The brigade commander ordered
that a representative of the occupation or of the gendarmerie
should be present at each voting place and decide all dis-
putes. American officials, so far as the evidence goes, at-
tempted to insure a free and fair election.67
The newly elected chambers assembled on April 21, 1917.68
In May the National Assembly refused the President's
request, probably suggested by American officials, for a
declaration of war against Germany.69 On the question of
foreign ownership of land the Assembly was sharply opposed
to the President. Brig. Gen. Eli K. Cole, the brigade
commander, thought that a "decidedly preferable" course of
action would be to suppress the Haitian Government alto-
gether and set up an American military government;70
but he counseled President Dartiguenave not to take drastic
action against the Assembly.n By the middle of June
General Cole believed that nothing short of dissolution of the
chambers would prevent the passing of a Constitution con-
trary to that desired by the United States;72 and President
Dartiguenave was prepared to dissolve the chambers, but
before doing so requested the approval of the United States.73
0 Hearings, p. 75, n. 62 and 63.
t7 Ibid., p. 625. "The only difficulty we had at any time during the elec-
tion, I understand, and I have every reason to believe it is true, was from
the people in the north, who came down from the mountains to vote, and
insisted on voting for the marines for deputies." Testimony of Lieut.
Col. L. W. T. Waller, ibid., p. 626.
Ibid., p. 25-26, 75.
"Ibid., p. 76. Haiti declared war on July 12, 1918. Ibid., p. 1703.
70 Relative to suppression of the National Assembly, and government by
President, Cabinet and Council of State, Colonel Cole wrote:
"This has been tried and found absolutely wanting, and in my opinion
would result in a still worse condition of affairs, and such a change would be
attended by greater danger of armed opposition than any other step we
might take short of actual annexation." Ibid., p. 1784-1785.
71 Ibid., p. 697.
72 Ibid., p. 698.
73 Ibid., p. 699.
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922 75
After reporting the situation to the Navy Department,
General Cole received the following: "The department vests
you with full discretionary power. Endeavor to accomplish
end desired without the use of military force." 74
General Cole informed President Dartiguenave that "no
Constitution could possibly be accepted which did not con-
form generally to the one prepared by the Council of State
and which was submitted to our State Department for con-
sideration, with modifications in accordance with the sug-
gestions of our State Department." 76 On June 19 the
Assembly had a turbulent session, and it appeared that an
attempt was being made to pass a Constitution. General
Cole sent Maj. Smedley D. Butler to the palace to get the
dissolution decree, and told Butler that in case the President
did not sign it he was to be informed that the brigade com-
mander would himself suppress the National Assembly and
recommend the establishment of a military government.76
The President prepared the decree and Major Butler, de-
livering it to the presiding officer of the Assembly, remained
in the chamber while it was read."
After the dissolution the drafting of the Constitution pro-
ceeded, with the participation of President Dartiguenave, the
State Department, Admiral Knapp, the charge d'affaires
and the brigade commander.78 When the drafting had
4 Ibid., p. 701. ,7 Ibid., p. 702. 7' Ibid.
77 Ibid., p. 536-538. About two hours prior to the dissolution of the As-
sembly, the brigade commander and the American minister were together at
the legation when a message came from the Navy Department: "Take no
action until arrival of State Department's message." Ibid., p. 702. Dis-
solution could have been stopped; but, according to General Cole, I had to
take the responsibility of carrying out what I considered the best thing to
do, being on the spot." Ibid., p. 703. The National Assembly "just
simply would not pay attention to what the United States considered neces-
sary. The United States felt that certain things had to be done to carry on
the work it had set itself in Haiti, and one of them was that a constitution
which was absolutely at variance with every expressed wish of the United
States should not be put into effect." Testimony of Brigadier General
Cole, ibid., p. 696.
78 Ibid., p. 628, 696, 718. Assistant Secretary Franklin Roosevelt said
in the course of a campaign speech in 1920: "You know, I have had some-
thing to do with the running of a couple of little republics. The facts are
that I wrote Haiti's constitution myself, and if I do say it I think it is a
very good constitution." Ibid., p. 195, 264. Mr. Roosevelt's remark
suggests that officials of the Navy Department were still influential-or con-
sidered that they were influential-with respect to the determination of
American policy in other than military matters.
76 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
been completed President Dartiguenave called a plebiscite
for June 12, 1918, to vote on the Constitution.9 Gendar-
merie officers were instructed to use their influence to obtain
a favorable vote. Before the plebiscite was held they ar-
ranged meetings, mixed with the people, "frankly advo-
cated the adoption of the Constitution," and when the
voting took place the same gendarme officers had charge of
the balloting. Under the circumstances, it seems correct
to say that the plebiscite, while regular in form, free from
corrupt practice and without disorder, was a mere formality
and that the result was predetermined by the American
authorities.80 It was not surprising that the new Constitu-
tion should have been adopted by a vote of 69,337 for and
335 against.8" The fundamental law so adopted was
promulgated by President Dartiguenave on June 19, 1918.12
In the new Constitution foreigners were permitted under
certain conditions to own real estate in Haiti;83 deputies
were reduced in number from 72 to 36 and senators from 39
to 15; senators, previously appointed by communal councils,
were now to be elected by popular vote; constitutional
amendments, proposed by either of the two houses or by the
President, could be adopted only by popular vote; all acts
of the Government of the United States during its military
occupation, as well as the acts of the Haitian executive up to
the promulgation of the Constitution, were ratified and
validated; and judges were made removable for a period of
six months. Two of the transitory provisions of the Con-
stitution were highly significant. It was provided that the
79 There was no provision for a plebiscite in the Constitution of 1889.
Dub6, op. cit.
80 Hearings, p. 77, 566-568. At the polling place in St. Marc, only bal-
lots marked "yes" were handed to the voters. Ibid., p. 1508-1509; see
also ibid., p. 43, 192-193.
81 Ibid., p. 77.
n For text of the Constitution of 1918, see Hearings, p. 1551-1562;
Constitution de 1918 de la Republique d'Haiti, etc., 1928; infra, p. 222-225.
The French text is printed in British and Foreign State Papers, CXII, p. 1113.
83 Art. 5: "Le droit de proprift6 immobilihre est accord A l'etranger r6-
sidant en Haiti et aux sociftgs formtes par des strangers pour les besoins de
leurs demeures, de leur enterprises agricoles, commercials, industrielles
Ce droit prendra fin dans une piriode de cinq annies aprhs que l'6tranger
aura cess6 de risider dans le pays ou qu'auront cess6 les operations de ces
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922 77
first elections of members of the legislative body should take
place "on the 10th of January of an even-numbered year,"
the year to be fixed by decree of the President. Further, a
Council of State of 21 members appointed by the President
should "exercise the legislative power until the legislative
body is constituted." These latter provisions apparently
represented an attempt to avoid popular elections, for which
the people were still seemingly unprepared, and at the same
time to escape the obstructiveness of an elected and inde-
pendent legislature. As a matter of fact, President
Dartiguenave called no more elections, and legislation was
thereafter enacted by an appointed Council of State.
LEGISLATION, FRICTION, INTERPRETATION
On the arrival of the financial adviser and the general
receiver disputes immediately arose, those officials demand-
ing what they considered was essential to the exercise of
their treaty functions and the Haitian Government charging
them with "encroachments" beyond the terms of the treaty.
Supported by the Department of State, the general receiver
obtained power to appoint and dismiss all Haitian employees
in the customs service84 and to receive internal revenues as
well as customs receipts;85 and the financial adviser estab-
lished his control of the budget and of all expenditures.8"
The Haitian Government, however, made no objection to a
suggestion from the Department of State that all matters
relative to concessions should be submitted to the financial
adviser for his recommendations.87
Unsuccessful attempts having been made to float a loan
'4 Hearings, p. 12; For. Rel., 1915, p. 454-455; ibid., 1916, p. 364-365;
supra, p. 56.
8" In order to obtain this power for the general receiver, the brigade com-
mander ordered the National Bank to make no payments authorized by the
Haitian Government unless the warrants were countersigned by the financial
adviser. A law was later enacted requiring the transfer to the general
receiver of all internal revenue. Hearings, p. 1395.
"6 For. Rel., 1916, p. 361-363; Hearings, p. 1406. On November 13, 1918,
Col. John H. Russell, brigade commander, instructed the National Bank to
make no payments from Haitian Government funds and informed the Presi-
dent that no payments would be made until proper action had been taken on
the budget. The Government then accepted control by the financial
adviser of all expenditures by a note addressed to the American minister
dated December 3, 1918. Ibid., p. 1436, 1443.
*7 Ibid., p. 40, 404.
78 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
in the United States,88 it was discovered early in 1917 that
procuring a long-term loan would be difficult unless the life
of the treaty were extended. Foreign Minister Borno, a
dominating member of the Haitian Cabinet, was in favor of
prolonging the convention, but when the Haitian Govern-
ment decided to approve this proposal the Cabinet re-
signed.89 Nevertheless, an additional act was signed on
March 28, 1917, by Minister Blanchard and Mr. Borno in
which the two Governments declared that, in view of "the
urgent necessity" of a long-term loan, the life of the treaty
was extended ten years, i.e., to May 3, 1936.19
A few days after the promulgation of the new Constitution
the American minister informed the Haitian Government
that the Government of the United States believed that ap-
propriate legislation was necessary for the execution of the
convention, that, accordingly, "all proposed legislation
bearing upon any of the objects of the treaty should be sub-
mitted to the representative of the United States near the
Haitian Government for the information of this Govern-
ment, and, if necessary, for discussion between the two
Governments, prior to the enactment of the proposed legisla-
tion," and that this arrangement should "be regarded as an
interpretation of the terms of that treaty." 91 On August
24, 1918, an agreement was reached by a counter-note of the
Haitian Government that "every project of law bearing
upon one of the objects of the treaty will be, before being
presented to the legislative power of Haiti, communicated to
the representative of the United States for the information of
this Government and, if necessary, for a discussion between
the two Governments." 92
Nevertheless, President Dartiguenave and his appointed
Council of State were not proving in legislative matters en-
tirely amenable to suggestions, and they passed a number of
88 Hearings, p. 1394, n. 86.
*9 Ibid., p. 691.
go Ibid., p. 1479. Text is in Treaties, Conventions, etc., III, p. 2677, and
Policies of the United States in Haiti, 71st Cong. 2nd sess. H. R. Report
No. 39, p. 2; infra, p. 221-222.
9" R6publique d'Haiti, Relations Ext6rieures, Documents Diplomatiques,
1921, p. 5, 15-16.
02 Hearings, p. 1443; Documents Diplomatiques, p. 6. 16.
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922 79
laws which, from the American point of view, were contrary
to the treaty and in violation of the agreement just referred
to.93 Not only were they passing laws which met American
disapproval but they were delaying or neglecting legislation
which treaty officials believed urgent and essential.94
Public works and sanitation laws seem to have been inor-
dinately delayed;9" and among the objectionable enactments
was one which practically nullified the new constitutional
provision regarding land ownership by foreigners. When
the law had been passed by the Council of State after having
been disapproved by Minister Blanchard the latter informed
the Haitian Foreign Office that the enactment was not rec-
ognized as law by the United States, and he demanded its
immediate repeal.96 Other enactments obnoxious to the
United States related to finance; and among the delayed
projects was one for putting into effect Art. 15 of a contract
between the National Bank and the Haitian Government,
which had been legally approved by the latter on May 2,
1919, and which provided means for the stabilization of
Haitian currency.97 A long correspondence developed over
the interpretation of the agreement of August 24, 1918, the
American minister insisting that in November, 1919,
President Dartiguenave had agreed that all proposed laws
should be submitted to the legation. In order to establish
this contention as well as to obtain legislation necessary for
financial reorganization, American officials and the Depart-
ment of State felt compelled to resort to an extraordinary
measure of coercion. Art. V of the treaty, which gave the
debt service priority over current governmental expendi-
tures, was not enforced between 1915 and 1920,98 for if it had
93 Hearings, p. 1426-1427.
'" On November 15, 1918, the Haitian legation at Washington protested
against "the distressing and unjust tyranny of American officials, who,
contrary to the treaty, are trying to impose upon the Republic of Haiti
budget laws and taxes, without examining anything with us, without recog-
nizing the right of the Haitian Government even to rectify evident errors,
. made in their projects." Ibid., p. 41.
Supra, p. 69-70.
9 Documents Diplomatiques, p. 105, 107; Hearings, p. 1351. Minister
Blanchard took similar action regarding a number of other laws. Documents
Diplomatiques, p. 7-8, 10.
'7 Hearings, p. 1417-1418, 1425-1426.
s Ibid., p. 1430.
80 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
been little or nothing would have remained for salaries and
other ordinary expenses of government. Unable to induce
the Haitian Government to pass the desired legislation,
John A. McIlhenny discussed with officials of the Depart-
ment of State the possibility of suspending the salaries of
Haitian officials, an action which was looked upon as merely
a strict application of Art. V of the treaty." The financial
adviser did not act on the budget for the fiscal year 1920-
21,100 and in July of that year he stopped payment of the
salaries of Haitian officials.101
At that time, Mr. McIlhenny wrote to the minister of
I find myself obliged to stop all study of the budget until certain
affairs of considerable importance for the welfare of the country
shall have been finally settled according to the recommendations
made by me to the Haitian Government.
When asked why salaries had not been paid, the financial
adviser referred to instructions received from "my Govern-
ment" (i.e., the Government of the United States), and ex-
plained that payment had been suspended "by order of the
American minister until further orders are received from
him.""'0 President Dartiguenave protested directly to
President Wilson.104 In reply the American minister at
Port au Prince pointed out to the Haitian Foreign Office
that close cooperation between the two Governments,
"which for a considerable period happily existed," had
"recently unfortunately been lacking," and that the treaty
officials had encountered "not only opposition on the part of
"* Hearings, p. 1432. ioo Ibid., p. 797-798.
'01 Ibid., p. 797. 102 Ibid., p. 798, 1407.
103 Ibid., p. 801-802. Mr. Mcllhenny discussed suspension of salaries
with the chief of the Latin American Division, who neither approved nor
disapproved it; but the Secretary of State approved and, according to Mr.
Mcllhenny, originally suggested it. Ibid., p. 1432, 1435. Minister Blanch-
ard and the brigade commander, Colonel Russell, concurred in the financial
adviser's recommendation that salaries be suspended. The State Depart-
ment and Minister Blanchard frankly assumed responsibility for the action.
Ibid., p. 799-802, 1437-1438. On August 10, 1920, the minister of finance
wrote that it was not the function of his department "to judge the motives
which led the American minister to take so exceptionally serious a step";
but it was the opinion of the Government that "the financial adviser, a
Haitian official, was not authorized to acquiesce." Ibid., p. 801.
104 Documents Diplomatiques, p. 76.
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922 81
the Haitian Government, but also a deliberate disregard of
the provisions of an agreement growing out of the treaty ."
Nevertheless, the American minister was ready to permit
payment of salaries, provided the Haitian Government would
repeal eleven laws and enact four.1"'
No budgets were adopted for the next two fiscal years,'1a
but payment of salaries was shortly resumed. In October,
1920, the Haitian Government agreed to submit to the lega-
tion for its approval the laws which had been passed and to
which the legation had objected. The legation did not insist
on the repeal of these laws but only on their modification
according to the wishes of the United States Government.'07
The American contention was thus accepted,s08 and there-
after the Government of the United States exercised what
amounted in practice to a right of veto of Haitian legislative
Haitian tactics, in general, seemed to Americans deliber-
ately obstructive."09 On the other hand, President Darti-
guenave was in the difficult position of having to please two
irreconcilable masters-the Haitian elite and the United
States Government-and it might have been difficult for the
most sincere Haitian of that time to decide which was God
10s Ibid., p. 79-81.
"o, Hearings, p. 1404-1406.
107 Documents Diplomatiques, p. 99.
"8I Ibid., p. 16-17, 20-22, 99; Hearings, p. 1444-1445.
1o9 Documents Diplomatiques, p. 171-177. On October 17, 1919, Colonel
Russell wrote: "The Haitians are a very hysterical people. Hundreds
of rumors are circulated among them daily that are simply ridiculous, but,
like children, they believe them and completely lose their heads. It is very
hard in consequence to quiet them; however, I believe I have now succeeded
in bucking them up. Of course, the officials seized the opportunity to make
as much as they could out of the affair until I sent for the President's brother
(minister of interior), told him plainly that the Government, instead of
cooperating with me, was obstructing my work and that I would not stand
for it; then things brightened up as far as the officials were concerned.
"Yesterday I accompanied the American minister on a visit to the Presi-
dent, with the result that one of the cabinet members who has been a great
obstructionist has resigned, so that the political situation is also much
brighter." Hearings, p. 428. On August 27, 1920, the Acting Secretary of
State wrote to the Haitian minister at Washington that he had been par-
ticularly gratified to note that "the members of the Haitian Government
.. [were] ready to carry out for the best interest of the nation such direc-
tions [directives] as may be given it [leur] by the Government of the United
States," and that the department believed that cooperation might again be
Possible if the Haitian Government would suspend ten laws and pass three.
Documents Diplomatiques, p. 94-95.
82 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
and which Mammon. Assuming his good intentions, the
ablest Haitian could hardly have been expected to grasp
preliminary technicalities or remote objectives. A sugar-
coating of money, positions or flattery might have made his
bitter pill more palatable; but instead the United States
officials too obviously forced him to swallow their medicine
and expected him to love the Department of State at Wash-
ington as they themselves did. The previous section on
American disorganization, moreover, may have suggested
some of the reasons why the early years of the treaty were
marked by delay and bickering. Where confusion and fric-
tion existed among Americans there could hardly be coopera-
tion and cordiality between Americans and Haitians. On
the American side, too, there were mistakes, slowness of
action, lack of foresight and planning, absence of under-
standing and sympathy, an evident willingness to disregard
constitutions, laws and treaty limitations, a tendency to
dictate and to encourage dictatorship, and, perhaps worst of
all, failure to keep what the Haitians understood to be
promises, with an inability to produce immediate and tangi-
On the signing of the modus vivendi both Admiral Caperton
and Minister Blanchard recommended an immediate loan of
$1,500,000,11" but they were informed that the loan could
not be arranged until after the arrival of the Haitian Com-
mission11 in Washington and the settlement of difficulties
with the National Bank.112 Admiral Caperton on December 6
again urged a loan as "vital and imperative," stating that
salaries and other obligations amounting to $500,000 should
be paid before December 20 or "Government prestige
[would] be lost among Haitians and serious conditions
[would] result;""' but the State Department was now
"averse to [a] loan being made unless assured it [would] be
properly disbursed." 114 Minister Blanchard on December 11
ito For. Rel., 1915, p. 531. 1i Supra, p. 53-54.
1i Hearings, p. 400; For. Rel., 1915, p. 532.
113 Hearings, p. 402. 1i Ibid.
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922 83
strongly supported the admiral's recommendations,"5 but
the State Department five days later wanted to know how
the money would be used."'6 It was then arranged that this
amount should be disbursed under the control of a naval
paymaster,17 but it next appeared that the bank would not
advance the money unless its contractual rights were re-
stored.118 Minister Blanchard thereupon telegraphed the
items of the Haitian budget, which showed more than
$600,000 in arrears;"9 and on December 20 Admiral Caper-
ton requested authority to use surplus customs receipts for
pressing demands.120 Nine days later the Department of
State telegraphed that, according to its calculations, the
deficit was only $65,000, and that it was "not prepared to
consent to the use of an advance of $500,000 for the
purposes contemplated" in the Haitian budget and would
not approve an increase of the foreign debt of Haiti for any
such purposes. Nevertheless, in view of the "alleged
urgency" of the matter the minister was directed to report
immediately the sum absolutely necessary to defray salaries
for November and December.121
As the year ended Admiral Caperton was instructed to
use $50,000 of Haitian funds for payment of salaries, this
sum to be paid directly to the employees.122 In January,
1916, the departments at Washington wanted Haitian
expenditures kept down to $100,000 a month: Admiral
Caperton was to use his discretion in disbursing funds and
was "not bound to be governed by the budgetary law in
making these disbursements." 123 Strict control of expendi-
tures stopped much petty graft and pleased those who now
received their salaries.124 But it also forced the discharge
of employees,125 and the Haitian Legation at Washington
reminded Secretary Lansing that in throwing "numberless
citizens" on their own resources the Haitian Government
"had relied to a certain extent on the industrial and agricul-
115 For. Rel., 1915, p. 533. 11 Ibid.
11 Hearings, p. 403. I18 For Rel., 1915, p. 533-534.
1u Ibid., p. 534. 1o Hearings, p. 404.
21 For. Rel., 1915, p. 536-537. 122 Ibid., p. 537-538.
123 Hearings, p. 409-410; For. Rel., 1916, p. 339-340.
124 Hearings, p. 410-411, 620-621; For. Rel., 1916, p. 341-342, 345-349.
2' Ibid., 1916, p. 345.
84 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
tural works that were to be started in the country by Ameri-
can capital." 12I
At the time of the intervention, amortization of the 1875
debt was in arrears from 1903 and amortization of the 1896
debt was in arrears from 1914. Default in payment of
interest first occurred after the intervention, funds not being
transferred to Paris to meet the interest maturity of Novem-
ber 15, 1915. Admiral Caperton in March, 1916, appears
to have transferred funds to Paris for the payment of over-
due interest, but in an amount insufficient to pay the interest
on any one of the loans, and no payments of interest were
made until the debt service was resumed in 1920, when all
arrears both of interest and amortization on the foreign debt
were paid.127 At this time the market for Haitian coffee was
closed by French war restrictions and the shortage of ocean
transportation. Haitian exports and revenues decreased,
and had Admiral Caperton met the entire debt service little
would have been left for the current expenses of the Haitian
An agreement was at last signed on July 10, 1916, be-
tween the Haitian Commission and the representatives of
the National Bank of Haiti, with a provision that on ap-
proval of the agreement by the Haitian legislative body the
bank would advance $500,000 to the Government.128
Flotation of a loan seems also to have been delayed by the
desire of the National City Bank to acquire sole control of
the National Bank of Haiti. This desire was gratified in
February, 1920, the State Department having insisted on
certain changes in the contract which were advantageous
A protocol was signed at Port au Prince on October 3,
1919, providing for the settlement of foreign claims against
Haiti by a claims commission. For the funding of the ob-
ligations so adjudicated, for the refunding of other debts of
i" For. Rel., 1916, p. 355.
127 Hearings, p. 414-419, 1393-1394; For. Rel., 1916, p. 351. The general
receiver was instructed in February, 1922, to resume payment of interest
on the funded internal debt, but postponed action on request of the Haitian
Government. Hearings, p. 1352.
12s For text see For. Rel., 1916, p. 358-359.
u1 Hearings, p. 1418-1426
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922 85
the Haitian Government and for constructive expenditure
Haiti agreed to issue within two years a 30-year loan of
$40,000,000. It was further agreed that the service of this
loan should be a first charge on the internal revenues of
Haiti and a second charge on the customs receipts. Al-
though in Art. I it was "clearly understood that this protocol
does not in fact or by implication extend the provisions of
the treaty," it was agreed in Art. VI that the terms and
dates of issue of the loan should be fixed "in accord with the
financial adviser," in Art. VII that any balance remaining
after foreign and domestic indebtedness had been taken care
of should be applied, "in accord with the financial adviser,"
either to public works or to the service of the loan, and in
Art. VIII it was agreed that, after the expiration of the
treaty and during the life of the loan, the collection and
allocation of the hypothecated revenues should be under the
control of an officer or officers appointed by the President of
Haiti upon nomination by the President of the United
Aside from the establishment of control over revenues,
the budget and expenditures, already mentioned, and the
conclusion of difficult and tedious negotiations relative to
the bank and the loan, there was little noteworthy financial
progress during this period.
"Following the American intervention in 1915, not only
was there a period of domestic readjustment and reorganiza-
tion, but the European war had created an entirely ab-
normal world situation which affected the income of the
Haitian Government as well as that of every other country.
Following the termination of the war there was experienced
the ill-fated period of inflation of 1918-19 and 1919-20,
during which the revenues of the Haitian Government were
practically double those of the year 1917-18, and then
followed the collapse of 1920-21." 131
The financial adviser and the Haitian Government could
not agree on a plan for the reorganization of internal reve-
3o Ibid., p. 1418-1426, 1521; text in Treaties, Conventions, etc., III, p.
2678 and Protocol with Haiti, 67th Cong., 2d Sess., Sen. Doc. No. 135; infra,
"I Report of Financial Adviser-General Receiver, 1923-24, p. 55-57.
86 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
nues;132 but certain internal taxes formerly unenforced were
now collected and total internal revenues were more than
tripled.133 Maintaining that the burden of the Haitian
tariff rested too heavily on the peasantry, Mr. McIlhenny
favored reduction or elimination of export duties. But no
tariff reform was possible until debt refunding had removed
pledges from specific revenues, and the State Department
disapproved a Haitian law reducing export duties on coffee.34
Abuses in the customs service had largely ceased, 135 and a
law to assist in the control of smuggling was passed."3
There was little improvement in accounting. Neverthe-
less, the public debt had been reduced and government
receipts in general were showing a tendency to increase.137
During 1916 and 1917 there were a few minor outbreaks,
rumors of plots and some fighting with bandits,138 but in
general relative quiet prevailed.1'9 In March, 1916, Ad-
miral Caperton had a force of not more than 1,700 men,140
and in May a number of marines were transferred to the
Dominican Republic;141 but there was no feeling that per-
manent peace had been assured.142
The mass of the people, free now to live on their little plots
of land and to market their products without fear of con-
scription or brigandage and feeling confidence in the honesty
and justice of Americans, were apparently contented with
the comparatively peaceful conditions brought by the occu-
132 Hearings, p. 1352-1353.
133 Internal revenues were $109,878.38 in 1915-16 and $360,102.42 in
1920-21. Hearings, p. 1353, 1399-1400.
"13 Ibid., p. 1351, 1396, 1400-1401; Documents Diplomatiques, p. 164.
135 Hearings, p. 1395.
"13 Report of Receivership of Customs, 1917-1918, p. 5.
137 "It may be frankly admitted that the financial results of the earlier
years of American participation in Haitian administration were not particu-
larly favorable, but this fact was due to causes over which neither Haiti nor
the United States had control, namely, the European war." Report of the
Financial Adviser-General Receiver, 1923-24, p. 57; Hearings, p. 1228-1233.
13s Ibid., p. 407-408, 1678-1698; For. Rel., 1916, p. 321.
10 Hearings, p. 80, 407, 412, 602-603, 682.
1o Ibid., p. 75, 414-415.
"14 For. Rel., 1916, p. 321.
-n Hearings, p. 75.
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922 87
pation.143 On the other hand, aside from color and personal
factors which played their part, there were reasons enough
why the Americans failed to win the friendship of the edu-
cated class. There were, of course, a few of this class who
were prompted by their conception of patriotism to favor
American control as necessary for the good of the country.
Personal interests of others were in one way or another
furthered by American activities and aims. But in general
the politicians were against the occupation because it de-
prived them of their former opportunities for power and
profit.1' The inauguration of strict financial control, the
stopping of graft, the dismissal of employees and the com-
pelling of those on the payroll to work, suspension of elec-
tions and of the legislature, support of the Government and
quarrels with the Government, the nonappearance of the
anticipated flow of American gold into the country,-these
fed the resentment of the politicians. Moreover, nonpay-
ment of interest on the internal debt had affected many
Haitian bondholders; and there was serious business depres-
sion due mainly to the war in Europe. Disorganization and
slowness of American action, continuance of military rule
and of domination by the United States, fear of exploitation
and of loss of independence,-these were either causes of
hostility or provided subject matter for propaganda. Among
all classes of Haitians there had been extravagant expecta-
tions. It was inevitable that such expectations among a
mercurial people should turn quickly to disappointment and
143 Ibid., p. 115, 142, 239, 242, 412, 1240. "At the very time when corv6e
was alleged to have been terrorizing the natives in Hinche and Maissade,
the weekly markets in Maissade were crowded by country people as they
never had been before. Than this attendance on market days there is no
better barometer of the state of feeling among the natives with regard to
protection and security. ." Testimony of Lieut. Col. A. S. Williams,
Hearings, p. 501. At the end of November, 1917, the "country people, and
particularly the country women, were almost invariably our friends and
thoroughly contented with our presence and administration of affairs. On
a number of occasions I was told by priests and others who had lived many
years in Haiti that it was no uncommon thing for the market women in
their prayers to thank God for the presence of the Americans." Report of
Brigadier General Cole to Secretary of the Navy, September 23, 1920, ibid.,
P. 1749-1750; see also Sen. Rept. No. 794, p. 3.
"I General Cole believed in 1920 that it would take a generation of edu-
cation and constant effort to change the attitude of the Haitian ruling classes.
Hearings, p. 1752-1753.
88 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
distrust. Failure to show quick and tangible results in
development and prosperity was capitalized by the Haitian
propagandists, while American interpretations of the treaty
and disregard of constitutionalism furnished a basis for a
plausible appeal to such sentiments of nationalism as existed
in the country. In spite of the intentions and verbal assur-
ances of Americans, the course of events to 1921 was such as
to strengthen the suspicion that their real purpose was to
destroy Haitian independence and exploit Haitian resources
for their own benefit.
Moreover, there were irritants and provocative which
operated directly on the masses. The gendarmerie, which
was in close contact with the peasants and villagers, had had
an insufficient period of training, and Haitian gendarmes,
not yet thoroughly disciplined, exhibited that brutal disregard
for individual rights which had been a habit with the police
and soldiers of the old r6gime.145 It is probable, too, that
some-though not many-'of the American officers of the
gendarmerie had somewhat the same attitude toward the
Furthermore, it seemed to the American naval and marine
officers in Haiti absolutely necessary for the pacification and
development of the country to make the main trunk roads
immediately passable. For this work sufficient government
funds were not available; and it was decided in the summer
of 1916 to apply a provision of the rural code which required
the men of each district to work a certain number of days
each year on the roads of that district. The corv6e, as this
system of road work was called, had not been recently
enforced; but, as prescribed in the code, it was neither
unreasonable nor oppressive. By means of the corv6e,
enforced by marines and gendarmerie, a serviceable road to
Cap-Haitien, largely a reconstruction of one of the French
colonial highways, was begun in October, 1917, and finished
at the end of the year; and about 100 miles of other roads
were built or rebuilt.146
i' Hearings, p. 650, 682.
146 Ibid., p. 76, 82-83, 113-114, 118, 530, 558-559, 605. Some Americans
in Haiti were opposed to reviving the corv6e. Ibid., p. 1266.
PACIFICATION AND ADJUSTMENT, 1915-1922 89
Haitians who were compelled to work on the roads were
not, at least in the beginning, generally illtreated or dis-
contented.147 In 1918, however, various abuses crept
into the enforcement of the corv6e, and in some cases Hai-
tians were forced to work outside their own districts and for
more than the legal number of days. The corv6e was or-
dered discontinued on October 1, 1918; but, apparently
through a misunderstanding, it continued, perhaps in a
modified form, in the Maissade-Hinche district.148 Most of
the mistreatment of corv6e workers appears to have been by
On December 1, 1918, when General Albertus W. Catlin
succeeded Colonel John H. Russell as brigade commander,
gendarmes had for some time been operating against bandits
around Hinche,15 which was in the caco region. The
corv6e was now stopped and marines were stationed in the
interior. Nevertheless, an insurrectionary movement under
Charlemagne Peralte assumed serious proportions. Grow-
ing by the forced recruitment of peasants and stimulated by
race hatred and by propaganda against the Government and
Americans, the insurrection was apparently a recrudescence
of that lawless violence, that form of political brigandage,
which had distinguished the central and northern regions
in the revolutionary history of Haiti."'5 It is possible that
Charlemagne's various bands did not at any one time exceed
2,000,152 but it was estimated that one-quarter of the country
was involved and one-fifth of the population.153
147 Ibid., p. 530-531, 533, 561, 627, 628.
148 Ibid., p. 83-84, 483-485, 494-495, 497-502, 559-565, 653-661, 1253-
1254; Report of Secretary of Navy, 1920, p. 184.
1t9 Hearings, p. 560, 599. "The results of this exploitation of labor were
two: First, it created in the minds of the peasants a dislike for the American
Occupation and its two instruments-the marines and the gendarmerie-
and, second, imbued the native enlisted man with an entirely false concep-
tion of his relations with the civil population. As the corv6e became more
and more unpopular, more and more difficulty was experienced in obtaining
men; and this difficulty caused the gendarme to resort to methods which
Were often brutal but quite consistent with their training under Haitian
officials. I soon realized that one of the great causes of American unpopu-
larity among the Haitians was the corve. ." Testimony of Lieut. Col.
A. S. Williams, ibid., p. 497.
1o Ibid., p. 429, 483, 650, 653-654, 1704.
11 Ibid., p. 241, 501, 603, 605.
1u Ibid., p. 428, 604; cf. ibid., p. 652.
HI Ibid., p. 1504.
90 HAITI UNDER AMERICAN CONTROL, 1915-1930
In March, 1919, it was necessary for the marines to take
charge. There were numerous small engagements in that
year, and Charlemagne was killed in October. In January,
1920, about 300 bandits attempted to enter Port au Prince,
but in April Charlemagne's successor was killed."54 Up to
November, 1920, several thousand Haitians, it was reported,
had surrendered,155 and their total casualties since the inter-
vention had been 2,250.156 Colonel Russell, who had again
become brigade commander, reported on June 19, 1920, that
pacification might be pronounced complete, although pa-
trolling would have to be vigorously continued for many
Martial law, which was continued during this period, was
used chiefly against the newspapers."58 Censorship appears
to have been applied not only to the press but also to tele-
grams, and for some of the time to postal correspondence."19
Restrictions on the press were apparently somewhat relaxed
in 1920, and the resulting activity of opposition newspapers
brought a suggestion from President Dartiguenave to
Colonel Russell in January, 1921, that more rigorous meas-
ures should be adopted.16' After the American commander
had repeatedly requested permission to "take some action
toward the bridling of the press" and to try by provost
court "those concerned in the publishing of falsehoods or
articles against the gendarmerie and occupation,"'u6 the
Secretary of the Navy on May 24, 1921, gave Colonel Rus-
1s' Hearings, p. 651, 1604-1605, 1705-1717.
u Ibid., p. 1600-1604.
10 Report of Secretary of Navy, 1920, p. 178; Hearings, p. 451, cf. p. 1507.
167 Ibid., p. 1721. Major General Lejeune in September, 1920, reported
"a state of peace and tranquillity prevailing throughout Haiti," although
some small bands of bandits were still hiding in the mountains. Ibid., p.
"s Ibid.. p. 43, 574. In 1917-1918, smugglers were tried by military
court. Report of Receivership of Customs, 1917-1918, p. 5. The Haitian
legation at Washington on April 5, 1919, protested against the "excessive
severity" of the provost courts. Hearings, p. 43. On September 22, 1920, the
Judge Advocate General of the Navy rendered a legal opinion in which he
stated that the marine brigade was then in Haiti "by authority of law,"
that the maintenance of martial law was legal, that "a state of domestic war"
had existed in Haiti, and that "military commissions and provost courts are
recognized instrumentalities of martial law." Ibid., p. 68-69.
n~ Ibid., p. 214, 231-232.
1o Ibid., p. 70, 73.
-' Ibid., p. 70-72. 75-76.