The Haitian President's Proclamation

IN the Moniteur, official organ of the Republic of Haiti, for September 4, 1915, in a column headed "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," the president of Haiti published a proclamation on the situation arising from the occupation by American troops of the customs-house at Port-au-Prince.

Haitians! At the very moment when the Government, engaged in negotiations to settle the question of the presence of American military forces on Haitian territory, was looking forward to a prompt solution in accordance with law and justice, it finds itself faced with the simple seizure of possession of the customs administration of the capital.

Previously the customs-houses of several other cities of the republic had been occupied in like fashion, and whenever the news of such occupation reached the National Palace or the Department of Finances, it was followed by an energetic pro[39]test, demanding that the diplomatic representative of the American Government residing at Port-au-Prince restore the customs-houses and put an end to acts so contrary to the relations at present existing between the Government of Haiti and the Government of the United States of North America.

Haitians! In bringing these facts officially to the attention of the country, I owe it to myself to declare further, in the most formal fashion, to you and to the entire civilized world, that the order to carry out these acts so destructive of the interests, rights, and sovereignty of the Haitian people is not due to anything which can be cited against the patriotism, devotion, spirit of sacrifice, and loyalty of those to whom the destinies of the country have been intrusted. You are the judges of that.

Nor will I conceal the fact that my astonishment is greater because the negotiations, which had been undertaken in the hope of an agreement upon the basis of propositions presented by the American Government itself, after having passed through the ordinary phases of diplomatic discussion, with frankness and courtesy on both sides, have now been relieved of the only obstacles which had hitherto appeared to stand in their way.

Haitians! In this agonizing situation, more than tragic for every truly Haitian soul, the Government, which intends to preserve full national sovereignty, will be able to maintain the necessary resolution only if all are united in exercising their intelligence and energy with it in the present task of saving the nation....

Sudre Dartiguenave
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