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better than to recommend to Government of Cuba course of action prescribed by the recent war legislation of the United States.
As Department understands no legislation has been passed by Cuba providing for trading with the enemy, custodian of alien property, etc., it would seem advisable to recommend that this be done in near future, following United States law, a copy of which is being forwarded to you by mail.
This legislation, if put into effect in Cuba, might cover case of Upmann's bank.
File No. 837.2222/5
[Received 4.39 p. m.] The bill giving President powers somewhat similar to those delegated in our Trading with Enemy Act has passed both Houses, being forced through by Executive against consistent Liberal opposition. Obligatory military service act also passed both Houses, but amendments are to be considered. The Liberals contested every step.
File No. 837.2222/5
WASHINGTON, July 23, 1918, 6 p. m. Your July 13, 1 p. m. It is deemed highly advisable that the legislation similar to American Trading with Enemy Act should contain in it provisions: (1) that the transfer of physical assets of German properties to non-enemies be free from all enemy interests of any character and from all obligations or contracts to enemies; (2) that the proceeds of the sale of these physical assets of the German properties be held until the termination of the war, at which time their ultimate disposition shall then be determined upon.
File No. 837.2222/9
The Minister in Cuba (Gonzales) to the Secretary of State
HABANA, August 6, 1918.
[Received August 13.] Sir: Referring to the Department's telegraphic instruction of July 23, 6 p. m., suggesting that two provisions regarding the transfer and disposal of physical assets of German properties be included in the proposed Cuban espionage law, I have the honor to report that the bill was passed on the 23d ultimo, without these clauses having been embodied in it. A copy and translation of the law is enclosed, herewith. Among other things it provides for the arrest, search and internment or imprisonment of subjects of the enemy, or of an ally of the enemy. The Administration is given authority to compel enemy subjects to register, under penalty of imprisonment for the duration of the war.
The President, however, is empowered by the provisions of article 8 to proceed, with the advice of the Cabinet, “ to issue adequate rules for the regulation, classification, determination and prosecution of commerce with the enemy." This, the President told me in conversation, will be done, and special care taken to incorporate in the regulations so drawn up the points mentioned in the Department's telegram.
I have [etc.]
WILLIAM E. GONZALES
File No. 763.72113/692
The Minister in Cuba (Gonzales) to the Secretary of State
HABANA, September 20, 1918, 11 a. m.
[Received 2.45 p. m.] Doctor Sánchez de Bustamante, the eminent lawyer, has taken charge of office as custodian of enemy property.
Dominican Republic and Haiti File No. 763.72112/5900 The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy (Daniels)
WASHINGTON, April 5, 1918. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of December 13, 1917, enclosing a copy of a despatch from the Head of the Military Government of Santo Domingo in which he states that it is his purpose to issue, if approved by the Navy Department and the State Department, an Executive order in the following terms: Citizens, firms or corporations of the United States of America residing or doing business in Santo Domingo, West Indies, having contracts with persons, firms or corporations of enemy character as defined in the Trading with the Enemy Act, shall be absolved from any action for damage in the courts of Santo Domingo, West Indies, resulting from a suspension or breaking of such contracts by such citizens, firms or corporations of the United States in pursuance of their duty in observing the terms of the aforesaid Trading with the Enemy Act.
* Not printed. ’Art. 6 of Decree No. 1510 of the Cuban President dated Sept. 13, 1918, provided : “ Whenever the arrest of an enemy alien or his agent is ordered, according to the provisions of the aforementioned laws, the Executive Power shall decree the care and custody of the property of such person, in the form, and by the officials that will shortly be named for that purpose.” (File No. 837.2222/11.)
The Head of the Military Government suggests that authority be given him to issue temporary licenses that will permit Americans in business in Santo Domingo to readjust the engagements they now have with the enemy or to enable them to continue contracts with the proviso that no funds pass into enemy hands during the war, and inquires whether the Alien Property Custodian will have an agent in Santo Domingo.
I am also in receipt of a paraphrase of a despatch of December 19, 1917, from the Head of the Military Government, in which he requests that the International Banking Corp. be made an agent of the Alien Property Custodian in Santo Domingo.
The inquiries from the Head of the Military Government, with reference to the appointment of an agent in Santo Domingo for the Alien Property Custodian, appear to involve the question as to whether or not, in view of the occupation of the Republic by the forces of the United States, it is to be considered a part of the “ United States” as those words are used in the Trading with the Enemy Act so as to extend to that country the application of the act.
In reply I have the honor to state that, bearing in mind the nature and purposes of the act and the circumstances surrounding the occupation of the Republic of Santo Domingo, it would appear that the words “United States as used in the act, were not intended to include the Republic of Santo Domingo and that it was not contemplated that the provisions of the act should apply to that country. The Department has consulted the officers vested with the administration of the Trading with the Enemy Act, including the Alien Property Custodian, and they agree that the act need not be interpreted as applicable to the Republic of Santo Domingo.
In this relation, however, it would appear that the Head of the Military Government could issue such orders as may be necessary or appropriate to obtain the objects of the Trading with the Enemy Act in a manner suitable to the peculiar conditions prevailing in that country.
With reference to the suggestion of the Head of the Military Government that authority be given him to issue temporary licenses to Americans in business in Santo Domingo to readjust the arrange
1 Not printed.
ments they now have with enemies, attention is called to the fact that the Enemy Trading Act forbids persons in the United States to “trade " not only with enemies as defined in section 2 of that act but also under section 3(a) with any other person, with knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that such person is conducting or taking part in such trade, directly or indirectly, for, on account of, or on behalf of, or for the benefit of enemies.
This prohibition would appear to apply to American houses or corporations trading through their branches in foreign countries. Although the act does not make it unlawful for individual Americans (not agencies or branches) abroad to trade with the enemy, it is possible that the nature of such trade might place such Americans in the position of trading for, with, or on behalf of the enemy and therefore in the class of persons under section 3(a) with whom it is prohibited to trade. It would seem, therefore, that if the Head of the Military Government should grant licenses to any person to trade with the enemy or another who is trading with an enemy, such license would not prevent that person if the circumstances warranted from falling within the class of persons under section 3(a) with vhom persons in the United States are prohibited to trade.
In view of this, it would seem that the Head of the Military Government should not issue any such licenses to persons in Santo Domingo until some arrangement has been made with the War Trade Board as to the effect of the licenses of the Military Government.
In so far as branches in Santo Domingo of American houses or corporations may desire license to trade with the enemy, applications may be made to the War Trade Board through their offices in the United States. Consequently, the arrangement with the War Trade Board would need to deal only with other persons in Santo Domingo who desire to trade with the enemy and who do not wish thereby to incur the difficulties of the prohibition of section 3 (a) of the Trading with the Enemy Act.
I am enclosing, for the information of the Head of the Military Government, copies of two orders recently issued by the War Trade Board concerning branches of American houses and corporations in foreign countries. 1 I have [etc.]
File No. 600.119/1034
WASHINGTON, August 3, 1918. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 19th instant, enclosing a letter from Rear Admiral Knapp 2
2 Military Governor of Santo Domingo.
regarding the policy of the War Trade Board as to the status of Haiti and the Dominican Republic regarding imports and exports. You state that your Department is strongly of the opinion that these Republics should be placed on the same trade status as insular possessions of the United States.
In reply, I have the honor to say that this question is one which has been carefully considered by this Department, and while it is of the opinion that these Republics should not be considered as having a status similar to that of the insular possessions of the United States in so far as the Trading with the Enemy Act is concerned, it entirely concurs in the opinion of your Department as to the importance of giving special treatment to Haiti and the Dominican Republic in regard to their exports and imports whenever such treatment is possible. I have [etc.]
FRANK L. POLK
File No. 763.72112/9761a
WASHINGTON, August 3, 1918, 19 p. m. Department is informed that an intercepted letter from a merchant in Port au Prince, dated May 29, states that German firms are paying prohibitive prices for cotton, coffee, cocoa, and other products, storing these commodities while awaiting an opportunity to ship same. The letter adds that the Germans have plenty of funds and are not afraid of being compelled to wait until the end of the war.
You are instructed to bring this matter to the attention of Brigade Commander, Chief of Gendarmerie, and General Receiver of Customs. Confer with them regarding best method of procedure to eliminate action being taken by Germans as outlined above, if the conference believes the report, and cable result of conference.
In above connection would you consider it advisable that the British and French diplomatic representatives should be asked to cooperate, or should simply be informed of the action to be taken and requested to assist with whatever information they might have or acquire ?
File No. 763.72112/9762
[Received August 11, 3.03 p. m.] Department's confidential August 3, 7 p. m. Result of conference held this morning is that all German firms in Haiti are now being, or