The High Commissioner in Haiti ( Russell ) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 3.]
Sir: Referring to my despatch No. 1550, of November 12, 1929, I have the honor to report that the committee of Haitian citizens appointed to report on the alleged grievances of the striking students, made its report to President Borno; that after numerous consultations with the committee and with me, President Borno issued an arrete, copy and translation of which is hereto attached. Each department concerned accordingly issued instructions through the press to the striking students to return to their schools to-day, November 21, 1929.
The students of the Ecole Centrale (Damien) were not entirely satisfied with the provisions of the Presidential arrete and after a meeting decided to demand certain changes. This the Government refused to do. Mr. Charles Rouzier, a member of the committee with two sons among the striking students, spoke to the students and informed them that in view of their attitude whereby they had increased their demand, he was entirely out of sympathy with them. Mr. Delva, President of the Communal Commission, and a member of the committee, also spoke to the striking students along the same lines.
This morning President Borno informed me that he intended closing Damien as the students had not returned. I strongly opposed such action and requested that he give the students until Monday, November 25, 1929, to return to their schools, students not returning on that day to be dropped. This he agreed to do. It later appeared that the students of the law school decided to return to their school this afternoon at five o’clock. The students of the Medical School called on [Page 177] Dr. Kent C. Melhorn, stating that they would return on Monday, November 25, 1929, and in consequence the students of that school are registering to-day.
A report is current that the students of the Ecole Centrale (Damien), will send a committee to see Dr. Freeman9 to-day with the intention of making arrangements for the students to return to the school on Monday, November 25, 1929.
In the event that these students do not return on Monday next, I am having Dr. Freeman prepare a plan of reorganization which I have informed President Borno I would present to him. Such plan would contemplate bringing in young men, after examination, from other cities in the rural districts of Haiti and placing them in a dormitory at Damien. At the present time, the Service Technique10 would probably not be able to provide for more than fifty such students but dormitories could shortly be erected and the number gradually increased. Such action would unquestionably solve the problem and the expense to the Government would be very slight, if any, in view of the fact that there would be the saving in transportation which would be augmented by the October and November bourses.
I have [etc.]