Courtesy Reuters

Our Haitian Problem

AS a result of acute manifestations of chronic political instability in Haiti, United States troops were landed at Port au Prince on July 28, 1915. Since that time a special relationship has existed between the United States and Haiti, the legal basis for which is provided in the treaty made on September 16 of that same year. Meanwhile the organization and functioning of the American effort in Haiti has been defined and extended, quite necessarily and legitimately, by interpretation, mutual agreement, and Haitian legislation. Thus, the Haitian Government agreed not to enact any legislation without the prior approval of the Government of the United States. Again, since the aims of the treaty can be carried out only as funds are conserved and made available for constructive projects, the Financial Adviser has been recognized as vested with authority to veto proposed appropriations and expenditures.

The general policy of the United States toward Haiti was summed up by Mr. Hughes at the Havana Conference as follows: "It is our desire to encourage stability in the interest of independence. . . . We would leave Haiti at any time that we had reasonable expectations of stability, and could be assured that the withdrawal would not be the occasion for a recurrence of bloodshed. Meanwhile we are endeavoring in every important direction to assist in the establishment of conditions for stability and prosperity, not that we may stay in Haiti, but that we may get out at the earliest opportunity."

To establish conditions of permanent stability and at the same time to respect the sovereignty of Haiti, to prepare the Haitians for independent self-government and then to give it to them -- these are evidently our purposes and obligations. It is not intended in this article to question the legality or the practical and moral justification of the intervention. Neither is it intended to criticize what has been done since 1915 or what has been left undone. Criticisms aimed at the past without regard to the present or the future are not

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