Military





Foundations On Sand: An Analysis Of The First United States

Foundations On Sand: An Analysis Of The First United States

Occupation Of Haiti 1915-1934

 

CSC 95

 

SUBJECT AREA - Foreign Policy

 

 

 

 

United States Marine Corps

Command and Staff College

Quantico, VA  22134

 

 

 

 

Foundations on Sand

 

 

An Analysis of the First United States Occupation of Haiti

1915 - 1934

 

with

Supporting Documents

 

 

 

 

by Peter L. Bunce

Conference Group 10

 

 

 

 

June 5, 1995

 


 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

Title:  Foundations on Sand, An Analysis of the First United States Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934.

 

 

Author:  Peter L. Bunce, GS-13.

 

 

Thesis:  The first United States Occupation of Haiti, after a slow start, made a great variety of capital improvements for Haiti, made changes in the Haitian political system, and refinanced the Haitian economy, none of which had much lasting impact on the Haiti people once the occupation was terminated.

 

 

Background:  The United States occupied Haiti originally to restore public order in 1915.  It's self-imposed mandate quickly expanded to reestablishing Haitian credit in the international credit system, establishing good government and public order, and promoting investment in Haitian agriculture and industry.  After a slow start, marred by a brutal revolt in 1918-20, the United States Occupation of Haiti was reorganized and began to address many of the perceived shortcomings of Haitian society.  Its international and internal debt was refinanced, substantial public works projects completed, a comprehensive hospital system established, a national constabulary (the Gendarmerie [later Garde] d'Haiti) officered and trained by Marines, and several peaceful transitions of national authority were accomplished under American tutelage.  After new civil unrest in 1929, the United States came to an agreement to end the Occupation before its Treaty-mandated termination in 1936.  Once the Americans departed in 1934, Haiti reverted to its former state of various groups competing for national power to enrich themselves.  Almost all changes the American Occupation attempted to accomplish failed in Haiti because they did not take into consideration the Haitian political and social culture.

           

 

Recommendation:   Before the United States intervenes in foreign countries, particularly in those where nation-building improvements are to be attempted, the political and social cultures of those countries must be taken into consideration.

 


 

 

                                                                        Contents

 

Part I, The Occupation                                                                                             1

            Haiti Before the Occupation                                                                                       1

            Off to a Rough Start                                                                                          17

            Smooth(er) Sailing                                                                                                  22

            Haitianization                                                                                                    26

            Aftermath                                                                                                         27

 

Part II, An Analysis of the Occupation                                                                   32

            Goals of the Occupation                                                                                32

            Imperialism and Racism                                                                               38

            Culture                                                                                                               49

           

Part III, The Never-ending Story                                                                            54

 

Annexes                                                                                                                        57

            Annex A:  The US Marine Corps' Military

                        Campaigns in the First United States

                        Occupation of Haiti                                                                                57

 

                        Appendix 1:  First Provisional Brigade of Marines                                    66

 

                        Appendix 2:  Ships of the 1915 Haitian Campaign                                 73

                       

                        Appendix 3:  The Gendarmerie (Garde) d'Haiti, 1915-1934        74

 

            Annex B:  The Fiscal Case for Occupation                                                       79

 

                        Appendix 1:  Public Debt of Haiti, 1919 vs. 1922.                         91

 

                        Appendix 2:  Import and Export Figures, Fiscal Year

                                    1918-19.                                                                                          96

 

                        Appendix 3:  Haitian Government Expenses since Fiscal

                                    Year 1914-15.                                                                                   97

 

            Annex C:  Documents Relating to the United States Occupation

                                    of Haiti, 1915 - 1934.                                                                99

 

                        Appendix 1:  Admiral Caperton's Original Instructions

                                    for Haiti                                                                               101

 

                        Appendix 2:  The Evolution of Admiral Caperton's

                                    Authorization   to Land Troops in Haiti                               102

 

                        Appendix 3:  Admiral Caperton's Campaign Guidance

                                    to 1st Provisional Brigade of Marines                                    106

 

                        Appendix 4, The United States Take-Over of Haitian

                                    Customs, Financial, and Civil Administration              110

 

                        Appendix 5:  Proclamation of Martial Law in Haiti                             120

 

                        Appendix 6:  The 1915 Haitian-American Treaty, with

                                    Extension                                                                                          124

 

                        Appendix 7:  The 1916 Gendarmerie Agreement and

                                    Supporting Documents                                                       129

 

                        Appendix 8:  President Dartiguenave's Decrees of

                                    5 April 1916                                                                            142

 

                        Appendix 9:  The 1918 Haitian Constitution (Marine Corps

                                    Translation)                                                                              146

 

                        Appendix 10:  The Official Report of the Death of 

                                    Charlemagne                                                                                167

 

                        Appendix 11:  Major General Commandant Barnett's Initial

                                    Correspondence About Alleged Indiscriminate

                                    Killings of Haitians                                                                    169

    

                        Appendix 12:  Results of Major General Commandant

                                    Lejeune's Investigation into Alleged Indiscriminate

                                    Killings of Haitians.                                                                   176

 

                        Appendix 13:  Report of the Mayo Court of Inquiry, the

                                    Final Report on Caco Casualties, and Reports of

                                    Military Justice Proceedings                                                      184

 

                        Appendix 14:  Correspondence Between the Commandant

                                    of the Gendarmerie d'Haiti and the Financial Advisor

                                    to the Republic of Haiti Regarding Changes in the 

                                    1916 Gendarmerie Agreement                                                  299

 

                        Appendix 15: Diplomatic Messages Concerning Legislative

                                    Elections in Haiti, 1921                                                            210

 

 

                        Appendix 16:  State Department Memo to President

                                    Harding Regarding Progress of the US

                                    Occupation of Haiti                                                                   215

 

                        Appendix 17:    The 1922-23 Haitian Loan Plan                             225

 

                        Appendix 18:  The 1925 Gendarmerie Agreement                                231

 

                        Appendix 19:  Haitianization and Withdrawal Agreements                  235

 

Endnotes                                                                                                                                 247

 

Bibliography                                                                                                                 266

 


 

 

Dramatis Personae

(Presented Alphabetically)

 

 

George Barnett                                                 Major General Commandant of the Marine

BrigGen, USMC                                                            Corps, 1914-1920; initiated first

                                                                                    investigation into corvée abuses in Haiti.

 

Benoit Batraville                                                             Caco chief Charlemagne's ministre en chef

a. k. a. "Benoit"                                                             (see below), he maintained Charlemagne's

                                                                                    revolt after his death in 1919; alleged

                                                                                    cannibal and bocor (voodoo wizard); killed

                                                                                    in an ambush in 1920.

 

Arthur Bailly-Blanchard                                             American Minister (Ambassador) to Haiti,

                                                                                    1914-1922.

                                

Dr. Rosalvo Bobo                                                         Chief challenger to President Vilbrun

                                                                                    Guillaume Sam (see below) in July 1915;

                                                                                    one of the few serious challengers to the

                                                                                    Haitian Presidency in the1911-1915 period

                                                                                    not to have succeeded to the Presidency

                                                                                          (courtesy US Marine Corps).

 

                                  

Louis Borno                                                                          Haitian Minister of Foreign Affairs under

                                                                                    Dartiguenave (below) who signed the

                                                                                    American- Haitian Treaty of 1915 that

                                                                                    justified the American occupation of Haiti.

                                                                                          President of Haiti, 1924-1930.

 

Smedley D. Butler                                                            Battalion commander, 1st Regiment of

Maj (later LtCol, BrigGen), USMC                                    Marines, 1915; First commandant of the

                                                                                    Gendarmerie d'Haiti, 1915-1918; returned to

                                                                                    Haiti in 1920 to assist General Lejeune's

                                                                                    corvée investigations.

                                  

William B. Caperton                                                      Commander, Cruiser Squadron, Atlantic

Rear Admiral, USN                                                            Fleet in 1915; senior US officer in the initial

                                                                                   occupation of  Haiti

                                  

Charlemagne Massena Peralte                                       Member of the Haitian elite turned Caco

a. k. a."Charlemagne"                                                            chief, led Caco revolt in northern Haiti in

                                                                                    1918-1919 until his death in late 1919.

 

Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave                                        President of Haitian Senate in July 1915,

                                                                                    was elected first Haitian President of the US

                                                                                          Occupation period in August 1915 (courtesy

                                                                                    US Marine Corps).  Forced to stand down in

                                                                                    favor of Louis Borno in 1924.

 

Josephus Daniels                                                            Secretary of the Navy, 1913-1921; later

                                                                                    Ambassador to Mexico.  Perhaps best

                                                                                         known for the order making all U.S. Navy

                                                                                    ships "dry," anticipating Prohibition.

 

Robert B. Davis, Jr.                                                         United States Chargé d'Affaires in Port au

                                                                                    Prince at the time of the original

                                                                                    intervention. His cablegrams             were

                                                                                    instrumental in bringing Admiral Caperton

                                                                                    from Cap Haitien to Port au Prince in July

                                                                                    1915 and landing troops.  Also the U. S.

                                                                                    Plenipotentary in the 1915 American

                                                                                    -Haitian Treaty that justified the American

                                                                                    occupation of Haiti.

 

Warren G. Harding                                                            President of the United States, 1921-1923.

 

Herbert Hoover                                                            President of the United States, 1929-1933.

 

Charles E. Hughes                                                            US Secretary of State, 1921-1925; later

                                                                                    Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

 

Robert Lansing                                                 US Secretary of State, 1915-1920.

 

John A. Lejeune                                                            Assistant to the Commandant, 1915-1917;

Col (later MajGen), USMC                                     Major General Commandant, 1920-1924.

                                   

John A. McIlhenny                                                             Financial Advisor to the Republic of Haiti

                                                                                          (nominated by the President of the United

                                                                                    States, appointed by the President of Haiti),

                                                                                    1919-1922.

 

Dr. Dana G. Munro                                                            US Minister (Ambassador) to Haiti, 1930-

                                                                                    1933.  Later Professor of Laitn American

                                                                                    History and Affairs at Princeton; author of

                                                                                    several books on United States policy and

                                                                                    the Caribbean.

 

Eugene Roy                                                                  President of Haiti, 1930.  Succeeded Borno,

                                                                                    who was forced into retirement;

                                                                                    outmaneuvered in Haitian legislature by

                                                                                    Stenio Vincent.

 

John H. Russell                                                 Commander, 1st Brigade 1917-1918 and

Col. (later BrigGen), USMC                                                 1919-1922, United States High

                                                                                    Commissioner in Haiti, 1922-1930; later

                                                                                    Major General commandant of the

                                                                                    Marine Corps.

                                  

Vilbrun Guillaume Sam                                                     Last "President" of Haiti prior to the US a. k.

a.k.a. "Guillaume Sam"                                        occupation.  Killed by a mob of the Haitian

                                                                                    elite in Jul 1915, his body was later dragged

                                                                                    through the street; the US intervened the

                                                                                    next day.

 

Stenio Vincent                                                              Haitian President 1930-1941; virtual dictator

                                                                                    1938-1941.  Maneuvered out of power by

                                                                                    Elie Lescot.

 

Littleton W. T. Waller                                                  Brigade Commander, Advance Force

Col. (later MajGen), USMC                                     Brigade, which, upon deployment to Haiti,

                                                                                    became 1st Provisional Brigade of Marines;

                                                                                    senior American officer ashore in original

                                                                                    intervention.

 

Sumner Welles                                                 Chief of the Latin-American Division of the

                                                                                    State Department, 1920-1921; American

                                                                                    Commissioner to Dominican Republic,

                                                                                    1922-1925; later Ambassador to Cuba,

                                                                                    under Secretary of State.           

 

Alexander S. Williams                                               Butler's assistant in forming the

Capt (later Maj, LtCol), USMC                         Gendarmerie d'Haiti  in 1915, succeeded

                                                                                    Butler as Chef of the Gendarmerie

                                                                                    1918-1919; outlawed the corvée in

                                                                                    November 1918; was blamed for much of

                                                                                    the corvée abuses that resulted the Caco

                                                                                    revolt.  

 

Woodrow Wilson                                                            President of the United States, 1913-1921

                                  

Frederick M. Wise                                                          Commandant of the Gendarmerie d'Haiti,

LtCol, USMC                                                             1919-1921.

 

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                        Conciliate Haitians to fullest extent consistent with maintaining order and

                        firm control of situation, and issue following proclamation:  'Am directed

                        to assure the Haitian people United States of America has no object in

                        view except to insure, establish, and help to maintain Haitian

                        independence and the establishing of a stable and firm government by the

                        Haitian people in their attempt to secure these ends.  It is the intention to

                        retain United States forces in Haiti only so long as will be necessary for

                        this purpose.'   Acknowledge.

                                                                                   Benson, Acting1

                         

                        (Radiogram from Department of the Navy to Rear Admiral William B.

                        Caperton, USN, Port au Prince, Haiti, 7 August 1915.)                                                                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Foundations on Sand

 

An Analysis of the First United States Occupation of Haiti

1915 - 1934

 

 

Part I

 

 

The Occupation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haiti Before the Occupation.

 

            Haiti is the second oldest independent country in the New World, second only to

 

the United States.  Haiti first overthrew its the French overlords in the wake of the French

 

Revolution in 1794.  It then suffered Spanish and British interventions, and a Napoleonic

 

French invasion and restoration of slavery in 1802 before finally achieving independence

 

in 1804, all without significant outside assistance.2  According to legend, Jacques

 

Dessalines, the bloody successor to Haiti's national hero Toussaint L'Ouverture (and

 

veteran of the American Revolution), created the Haitian flag by ripping the white center

 

out of the French Tricolor.3  Haitians are proud of their country and proud of their

 

independence.

 

            By the turn of the 20th Century, Haiti was a deeply troubled country.  Its society,

 

since the revolutions, had always been divided.  In the absence of the French

 

colonialists--all of whom fled the country in 1804 or were killed--the mulâtres, the

 

mulatto class, approximately three percent of the population, assumed the social role of

 

the colonials.  The peasantry, almost exclusively African in ancestry, remained peasants.

 

The elite of Haiti, who for all intents and purposes ran (and run) Haiti, are largely, not

 

exclusively, mulâtres.  Noirs, particularly those with a military background or powerbase,

 

could become part of the elite, and often ruled Haiti.  But Haiti was and is most often

 

administered for the benefit of the elite, and the elite are heavily mulâtre.  "As in colonial

 

Saint Domingue [Haiti], where the gens de couleur and black slaves hated each other,

 

racial antagonism persisted between the elite and the black peasantry of Haiti."4

 

            When Haiti was a French colony, "Saint Domingue" was a rich jewel of the

 

French empire--its exports were more than double of all of England's colonial trade in

 

1789.5  By the 20th Century, however, Haiti was in debt, couldn't pay its bills or claims

 

against it, and most of the Great Powers--save Russia and Japan--were threatening some

 

kind of action.

 

            Political power in Haiti means the power to make money, usually through graft.

 

"'Under [President Louis] Hyppolite in 1890, 1891, and 1892, there was a carnival of

 

contracts in the Chambers [Legislature].  Every party regular, senator, minister, deputy,

 

or former volontaire de la révolution had at least one in the bag . . . Handsome favors, to

 

be sure, that [the] Good Fairy handed out to the faithful who had just ravaged the four

 

corners of the country with fire and sword.'"  Haiti's public debt increased from $4.4

 

million in 1891 to over $25 million in 1895 after a flurry of public works instituted by

 

Hyppolite and his finance minister Frédéric Marcelin (who retired to France in 1895).6

 

                Hyppolite's successor, Simon Sam, resigned in 1902 amidst a scandal concerning

 

a debt consolidation loan from German and French interests and the loss of over a million

 

and a quarter dollars in kickbacks and illegal payments.  (Unusually, Sam's successor,

 

Pierre Nord Alexis, prosecuted Sam and his immediate cronies in 1904, and Sam, several

 

Haitians, a German, and two Frenchmen were convicted; not that anyone went to jail.)

 

Nord Alexis feared foreign debt collectors (who were arriving with warships by this

 

time7) and printed money instead of borrowing it.  Paranoid, sometimes murderous, Nord

 

Alexis, after two more brushes with civil war, fled to a French cruiser in favor of Antoine

 

Simon in 1908.  Simon and his immediate circle returned to the tradition of looting

 

the public purse.8

 

                Surprisingly, given the United States' domination of the Caribbean after the

 

Spanish American War (1898), American financial investment in Haiti was quite small:

 

$4 million invested in Haiti compared with some $800 million in Mexico or $220 million

 

in Cuba; a total of $1.7 billion in all of Latin America.9  About 65 to 70 percent of Haiti's

 

imports came from the United States, the bulk of the balance coming from Germany and

 

France.  Between the Haitian elite's growing desire for foreign products, a severe drop

 

in world agricultural prices in the 1890's (which effected all of Haiti's exports, except cheap

 

labor), and aggressive foreign competition, Haiti by 1900 was severely dependent on

 

foreign imports, and had a lousy balance of payments.10

 

            France and Germany were the dominant financial players in Haiti at the turn

 

of the 20th Century.  France received about two thirds of Haiti exports, and exported luxury

 

goods in return.  The Germans were striving to overcome the French in the Haitian

 

markets:  they exported more to Haiti than the French, more Haitian exports were carried

 

on German ships than French, and the Germans controlled the only railroad in Haiti, to

 

the Plain de Cul de Sac east of Port au Prince.11

 

            The Banque Nationale d'Haiti was Haiti's treasury and fiscal agent.  Instead of

 

being a financial entity controlled by the Haitian government, it was a French stock

 

company, owned principally by French banks, led by the Banque de l'Union Parisienne.

 

It charged a commission on the Haitian issue of paper currency and on the cashing of

 

checks.  Since the French blacklisted Haiti on the world financial markets, so as to keep

 

the Haitian account for themselves, the French funneled all loans to the government

 

through the Banque, often at outrageous discounts*.12  To give an example of French loan

 

practices, Haitian obstacles to establishing a bank in 1874 was multiplied by the various

 

political and financial thieves inside and outside Haiti:

 

                                    [Late 19th Century political leader Antenor]Firmin and historian

Antione Magloire say the loan was 60 million francs, to be repaid in forty

annual installments of 7.5 million francs, a return of 400 percent. [Dantes]

Bellegarde says 50 million francs, but that the Crédit-Général in Paris was

able to raise only 36.5 million, of which 26 million went to intermediaries

and private pockets in Port-au-Prince and Paris, while the remaining 10

million francs were used to liquidate, at par, a mountain of worthless

Haitian bonds bought up as scrap paper by European speculators.  The

Crédit-Général's commission alone exceeded 9.5 million francs.13

 

            Finally chartered in 1880, the Banque Nationale d'Haiti lost its charter in 1905,

 

after refusing to back Nord Alexis' blizzard of paper money.  A five year period of intense

____________________

 

*Discounting was the practice of offering a loan at a certain level, then subtracting fees

and allowing for variable exchange rates up front, leaving the borrower with the balance

to spend, but liable for repaying the entire amount, at whatever interest was agreed upon

initially.

 

competition between French, German, and American (relative newcomers) banking

 

interests ensued over rechartering a new bank.  Finally, in late 1910, the Haitian

 

legislature voted to dissolve the Banque Nationale d'Haiti, and created a new Banque

 

Nationale de la République d'Haiti, which moved into the old Banque's headquarters.

 

French banking interests, which put the package together with several German-American

 

private banks, diplomatically invited in American interests (including the infamous

 

National City Bank14).  The French had a 75% interest in the new bank, the Americans

 

and the German-American banks 20%, and the German Berliner Handelsgesellschaft

 

Bank 5%.  Not surprisingly, the new $13 million loan was discounted to $9.4 million.15

 

 

            Another notorious incident which demonstrates the inability of the Haitian

 

government to control its own economy was the granting of a railroad concession to an

 

American named in James P. McDonald.  Haiti promised to back bonds funding the

 

railroad to the Haitian northern city of Cap Haitien at six percent, pay McDonald regular

 

payments as the railroad was completed, and grant him a fifteen mile wide right of way

 

for banana plantations (Haiti is only thirty miles wide at its most narrow point).  In short,

 

the government was prepared to give up roughly half the arable land in Haiti, and go still

 

further in debt, in return for a railroad that was never completed.16

 

            After a mere 15 months in power, Antoine Simon began to lose control of Haiti,

 

particularly in the north country around Cap Haitien (helped not in some small part by the

 

boorish behavior of McDonald's American engineers).  Simon and his army took ship to

 

Gonaives, landed, and moved north and seized Fort Liberté, pillaging and slaughtering as

 

he went.17

 

            The north had rebelled against Port au Prince before.  Those of peasant stock who

 

had lost their lands, and who rebelled at exploitation by the city dwellers and foreign

 

concessionaires, drifted into the private armies of petty warlords in the wilds of the north

 

country.  Often described by Europeans and Americans as bandits or mercenaries, these

 

men became known as Cacos.  Their loyalty was to their local chiefs, bound through

 

family ties and patronage.18  Now, in 1911, these men and their leaders were to become

 

the king (or president) makers of Haiti.19

 

            The Cacos rampaged through the north country (focusing, at least in part, on

 

McDonald and his railroad camps), and boxed Simon into Fort Liberté.  Simon escaped

 

to Port au Prince, but his time had passed.  General Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, a general

 

with a northern power base, had Cincinnatus Leconte declared "Supreme Chief of the

 

Revolution."  Simon barely made it to a Dutch ship ahead of an angry mob.  Less than

 

two weeks later (14 August 1911) Leconte was voted in as President by the National

 

Assembly.20

 

                Leconte apparently was an honest man and, according to observers, was willing to

 

try to administer Haiti honestly.   Unfortunately, his administration lasted just under a

 

year: until the National Palace blew up with him in it in early August, 1912.  (He and previous

 

presidents apparently stored ammunition and explosives in the basement to keep it out of

 

the hands of rivals.)  The real cause of the explosion remains unknown.21

 

                Leconte's successor was Tancrede Auguste, a sugar plantation owner.  His

 

administration was marked with a continual fight with the new Banque Nationale over

 

retiring the paper currency left over from Alexis Nord's administration.  It was also short:

 

Auguste was dead the following May after a mysterious illness; some said poison.  After

 

a chaotic funeral, to the point of a near rebellion in the capital, Michel Oreste, was voted

 

in as President, literally bribing his way into office with drafts on the national treasury.

 

Oreste, the first Haitian President to have no ties whatsoever with the military (regular or

 

Caco), made almost everyone in any position of power in Haiti angry with his proposals:

 

reform the Army, retire paper money, and reform the educational system (a great source

 

of graft in the government).22

 

            In 1914 the Cacos, whose quiet had been bought by Auguste and Leconte but not

 

Oreste, rebelled in the north country, under the leadership of the Zamor family.  The army

 

soon went over to the Cacos, and Michel Oreste took ship under the cover of British,

 

American, French and German marines on 27 January 1914.  Oreste Zamor, heading a

 

Caco army with his brother Charles, was quickly elected President.  Oreste and Charles

 

Zamor soon fell out with a former collaborator and rival, Davilimar Théodore.

 

            Unfortunately for the Zamor brothers, the Banque proved difficult with funding

 

again, the Orestes ran out of money and, therefore, soldiers. Amid much chaos, Theodore

 

and his ally Dr. Rosalvo Bobo, entered Port au Prince at the head of a Caco army as

 

Oreste Zamor took refuge aboard a German commercial ship and his brother sought

 

safety with a General Polynice and a Committee of Safety.  Théodore was elected

 

President on 7 November 1914.

 

 

 

Intervention and Occupation.

 

            In January, 1915, Rear Admiral William B. Caperton took command of the Cruiser

 

Squadron of the United States Atlantic Fleet, flying his flag in the armored cruiser USS

 

Washington (CA-11).  The Atlantic Fleet's cruiser squadron had the additional

 

responsibility of monitoring political events in the Caribbean, and Admiral Caperton's

 

first mission upon assuming command was to tour his new area of responsibility (Annex

 

C, Appendix 1).  Admiral Caperton's first visit to Haiti was short and apparently

 

uneventful.  But he no sooner departed for other ports when he was recalled to Haiti.  Still

 

another revolt was forming in the north country of Haiti to challenge the Haiti

 

presidency.  This time the proclaimed "Chief of the Executive Power" was General

 

Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, former President-maker, Caco leader, and now candidate for

 

President.  Admiral Caperton intercepted Guillaume Sam outside of Cap Haitien and

 

persuaded him that the United States would not interfere with the transfer of power in

 

Haiti, so long as Guillaume Sam curbed the behavior of his Cacos.  Admiral Caperton

 

and his gunboats and cruisers in effect shadowed Guillaume Sam down to coast to Port

 

au Prince, where he was duly elected President on 4 March 1915.23

 

            In July 1915, the Washington, Rear Admiral Caperton embarked, sat in Port au

 

Prince harbor as still another Haitian presidency wound its way to a messy conclusion.

 

This time it was Guillaume Sam, who was besieged in his palace by a new challenger, Dr.

 

Rosalvo Bobo.   At daybreak on 27 July 1915, Sam made a break for the French legation

 

next door.  Sam made it, although most of the people accompanying him did not.  He sent

 

a message to his chief of police, Charles-Oscar Etienne, at the police Arrondissement in

 

the lower city, to the effect that his presidency was over and that Etienne should follow

 

the dictates of his own conscience ["La partie est perdue, j'abandonne le pouvoir.  Faites

 

ce que votre conscience vous dictera."].  Accounts vary, but somewhere between 160 and

 

'nearly 200' political prisoners, from Haiti's mulâtre elite--including ex-president Oreste

 

Zamor, died.  The next day, a mob of the elite attacked Guillaume Sam in the French

 

legation and murdered him.  Sam's mutilated body was dragged through the streets.

 

Having received a green light from the State Department via the Acting Secretary of the

 

Navy, Caperton met with the American and British chiefs of mission and the French

 

minister aboard the Washington and, with their concurrence, decided to land troops and

 

restore order.24

 

            While his small landing force secured the legations in Port au Prince, Admiral

 

Caperton had a problem.  With Guillaume Sam dead, there was no one really in charge in

 

the city.  There was a revolutionary committee formed by General Polynice,25 Charles

 

Zamor (brother of the recently deceased ex-president), and others*, but no one, at least to

 

American eyes appeared to be in charge.  The landing force was disarming what remained

 

of the Haitian Army in Port au Prince (and confiscated five wagon-loads of weapons the

 

first day), and the Haitian legislature was going through the opening stages of voting for

 

still another new President, but with the immediate crisis under  control, Caperton

 

 

__________________________

 

*Haitian politics in the late 19th, early 20th Century was a series of cycles of recurring

personalities, the details of which is beyond the scope of this paper; however, it can be

said that most of the personalities in the revolutionary committee were prominent figures

in Haitian politics, although not all of them were necessarily supporters of the late

President Guillaume Sam, or of Dr. Bobo for that matter.

 

didn't know what the United States Government wanted. The Secretary of State, Robert

 

Lansing was relatively new (his predecessor, William Jennings Bryan, resigned in June

 

1915, in a disagreement over President Wilson's handling of the Lusitania crisis), so he

 

asked the President:  "The situation in Haiti is distressing and very perplexing.  I am not

 

at all sure what we ought to do or what we legally can do . . . I hope you can give me

 

some suggestion as to what course we can pursue."  Wilson apparently answered the next

 

day:

                                    I suppose there is nothing to do but to take the bull by the horns

                        and restore order . . .

                                    1.  We must send to Port au Prince a force sufficient to absolutely

                        control the city not only by also the country immediately about it from

                        which it draws its foods . . .

 

                                    2.  We must let the present Haitian Congress know that we will

                        protect it but that we will not recognize any action on its part that does not

                        put men in charge of affairs whom we can trust to handle and put an end to

                        revolution.

                                    3.  We must give all who now have authority there or who desire to

                        have it or who think they have it or are about to have it understand that we

                        shall take steps to prevent the payment of debts contracted to finance

                        revolutions.

                                    . . . In other words, that we consider it our duty to insist on

                        constitutional government and will, if necessary (that is, if they force us

                        to it as the only way), take charge of elections and see that a real

                        government is erected which we can support.26

 

                         

            Caperton radioed Washington DC on 5 August that the president of the Haitian

 

Senate, Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave, appeared most electable, and that he "realizes Haiti

 

must agree to any terms laid down by the United States, professes to believe any terms

 

demanded will be for Haiti's benefit, [and] says he will use all his influence with [the]

 

Haitian Congress to have such terms agreed upon by Haiti."27  To insure Dartiguenave's

 

election, all Caperton had to do was neutralize the Cacos, take Dr. Bobo out of the

 

running, and make sure the election in the Haitian legislature went for Dartiguenave.

 

The Marine 2nd Regiment landed in Port au Prince on 4 August, and began

 

securing the city.  With the arrival of the remainder of First Provisional Brigade of

 

Marines through August 1915, the Caco problem, at least in theory, would be settled in a

 

matter of time (Annex A).

 

            With a flare of the dramatic, Caperton invited Dartiguenave and Dr. Bobo to the

 

American legation on 8 August and, speaking through his chief of staff, Capt. Edward L.

 

Beach, who spoke excellent French by all reports, challenged the two to do what was

 

right for Haiti.  Not surprisingly, both men declared their devotion to the service of their

 

country.  Caperton, according to his Senate testimony in 1921, then asked:

 

                                    "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; there is no patriotism in Haiti to be

                        compared with mine; the Haitians love no one as they love me."28

           

            And so Dr. Bobo failed his interview.  He left a week later, aboard a French ship,

 

for Santo Domingo, where he was refused residence, and ended up in Cuba.  He later

 

moved to Jamaica, where he had a successful medical practice.29

 

            On August 10, Admiral Caperton received a cable from the Secretary of the Navy

 

ordering that the election of the president of Haiti be allowed to take place and that "the

 

United States prefers election of Dartiguenave.  Has no other motive than that

 

establishment of firm and lasting government by Haitian people and to assist them now

 

and at all times in future to maintain their political independence and territorial

 

integrity."30  The next day, at Admiral Caperton's orders, Captain Beach ordered the

 

revolutionary committee in Port au Prince to resign.  Admiral Caperton himself, and

 

Captain Beach, both ended up arguing the term "free election" with the Bobo crowd.  Dr.

 

Bobo's supporters believed that a "free election" would be one that would recognize his

 

military position and elect him president.  Admiral Caperton's definition allowed none of

 

that.  Finally, 2nd Regiment of Marines secured the building and the Haitian

 

legislature--39 senators and 102 deputies--met in the Chamber of Deputies.  Captain

 

Beach was present as Admiral Caperton's representative, and probably acting as an

 

impromptu floor manager for Dartiguenave.  "All senators and deputies were armed at

 

their own request." Dartiguenave was elected on the first ballot:  "...the vote was announced as 94 for

 

Dartiguenave, 16 for Bobo, and a scattering [31] for Cauvin, Thegun, and others."  The

 

United States formally recognized the Dartiguenave  government on 18 August 1915.31 

 

While only a complete optimist would claim that the United States had no influence over

 

this vote, a favorable vote of only 67% for the desired leader compares favorably with the

 

more familiar rigged election results in excess of 99% common in the mid- and late-20th

 

Century.  And, lest it be forgotten, Dartiguenave had his own agenda:

 

                                    Besides being a civilian with no army behind him (except, of

                        course, the U.S. Marine Corps), he was the first elite mulâtre from the

                        South the take office since 1876--an office that, since the days of

                        Boisrond, had been all but monopolized by noirs, generals, and men of the

                        North and Artibonite.  Not that Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave had no

                        constituency:  his constituency, like that of Haiti's presidents for the next

                        thirty years, was the elite.  Numerically insignificant, usually without

                        lucrative occupation save politics, this was the group that, now more than

                        ever before, events were propelling into a monopoly of office and, to the

                        extent the Americans would permit, of entrenched power.32

 

 

            Less than a month later, a Treaty between the United States and Haiti gave the

 

legal underpinnings for the United States occupation of Haiti (Annex C, Appendix 6).

 

Eighty years after the fact, it is hard to imagine a sovereign nation agreeing to such a

 

treaty:  it is as if an adolescent was surrendering his paycheck and check book to a

 

over-bearing parent, to be put on a strict budget and with a solemn promise to behave.

 

For the United States, it was contracting a huge responsibility against which we will later

 

examine the results of the occupation.

           

            Another byproduct of the American Haitian Treaty was the Haitian Union

 

Patriotique, which was to become the principle organization of Haitian resistance to the

 

First Occupation.  Interestingly, it was an organization of and for the Haitian elite, the

 

opinion of the noir peasantry towards the Occupation was apparently neither desired nor

 

solicited.33  (A comment by the French minister in May 1916 (after the pacification of the

 

Artibonite and the North by the Marines):  "'The peasants, the pure noirs,' he wrote, 'are,

 

like the tradesmen in the towns, delighted with the American occupation.'"34)

 

            Even before the signing of the Haitian-American Treaty, Admiral Caperton,

 

acting on instructions from the Navy Department, started taking over the financial and

 

civil administration of Haiti35 (Annex C, Appendix 4).  Like many aspects of the First

 

Occupation, while this particular action was of dubious legality under international law, it

 

was established and conducted with the intention of maintaining a scrupulous honesty.

 

This had an immediate impact on the Haitian elite:

 

                                    American assumption of customs control . . . for the first time

                        brought home to the elite (which in this context is to say all politicians)

                        some hard practicalities of foreign intervention.  For that entire class,

                        whose livelihood after all had been the public treasury, the blow, square in

                        the pocketbook, was disastrous.  (Footnote:  Adding injury, Paymaster

                        Conard promptly stabilized the gourde at a fixed (5 to 1) exchange rate for

                        the dollar, thus at one stoke putting out of business the currency

                        speculation, both Haitian and foreign, that had so often gutted the treasury.

                        Elime Elie, Dartiguenave's Finance Minister, pled in vain to Conard that

                        all his friends had been accustomed to make their living from a floating

                        gourde and 'it would be an economic crime to ruin their business.'36

 

           

            Dartiguenave was unable to control Port au Prince's streets, and Admiral Caperton

 

declared martial Law on 3 September 1915.  Apparently Dartiguenave told Caperton that

 

this action would also facilitate the Haitian legislature's acceptance of the Haitian-

 

American Treaty.37 

 

            For the United States, the easiest part of the Treaty to implement would be the

 

requirement for an American-officered constabulary to establish law and order in Haiti.

 

This would become known as the Gendarmerie d'Haiti (in 1928 renamed the Garde

 

d'Haiti). 

 

            The forcing of the Haitian-American Treaty  through the Haitian legislature was

 

brutal--Admiral Caperton eventually had to threaten to withhold the Haitian government's

 

paychecks before the Treaty would be ratified.38  The Americans were pushing for

 

constitutional and legal changes in Haiti and Dartiguenave was unsure if he could deliver,

 

especially with the "American insistence on eliminating graft, reducing palace patronage,

 

stopping double or triple pensions to single individuals, and ending fraud and kickbacks

 

on government contracts."39 

 

Using an ancient Haitian constitutional device, Dartiguenave

 

dissolved the Haitian Senate 6 April, 1916, and instituted a Council of State in its place.  He

 

then designated the lower house a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the Constitution40 (Annex

 

C, Appendix 8).  Interestingly, a document from the Butler Papers (Butler was Chef of

 

the Gendarmerie by this time), entitled "Coup d'Etat" details the reports the American had

 

and made on the closing of the Senate41.  From the title, and its inclusion in Butler's

 

papers, it would appear that Butler, his Marine Gendarmerie officers, or both,

 

disapproved of Dartiguenave's action, even though it served American interests as well as

 

Dartiguenave's.  This is especially interesting, considering Butler's part in the closing of

 

the Haitian legislature the following year.  According to his testimony before the Senate

 

investigating committee in 1921, Colonel Waller, who had been told by Dartiguenave

 

that he feared impeachment, was also opposed to the action.42

 

            Nevertheless, Butler and Waller enforced the closure of the Senate and, when

 

Dartiguenave decided that even the Chamber of Deputies were too difficult to work with

 

and ordered legislative elections, Waller and Butler held elections and enforced an

 

unusual honesty.  According to Waller's proclamation, the role of the occupying forces

 

was limited to maintaining order, restricting gatherings from closer than 30 feet from

 

polling places, placing a representative in each of the polling places, allowing Gendarmes

 

who were Haitian citizens to vote (but without their weapons), and some rules on party

 

nominations and the prevention of fraud.43  Some observers view this election as more

 

free of coercion than any of memory before it.44

 

            However, as the primary purpose of the new legislature was to draft a new

 

constitution (Haiti's 17th since independence), it was not going to be very cooperative.  A

 

draft constitution was written for the legislature by a Dr. Edmond Heraux--formerly

 

Antoine Simon's Foreign Minister in 1908--which was duly passed to Washington for

 

suggestions.  Dartiguenave received said suggestions, and dumped them on the legislature

 

as an American dictat.  The legislature rebelled and starting writing its own constitution

 

with a decidedly anti-American tone.  Dartiguenave apparently wished the Marines to

 

close down the legislature for him, which would allow him to rule unimpeded by any

 

other Haitian legal body.  But as he deferred to Colonel Cole (Waller's successor), Cole

 

deferred to Washington, who deferred to Dartiguenave.  Dartiguenave finally called in

 

Major Butler and ordered him to close down the legislature.  It did not reopen until 1930.

 

            The American-amended constitution was then passed to an all Haitian referendum

 

in early 1918, and duly passed.  The Gendarmerie enforced the honesty of the election,

 

although it was admittedly and openly pro-constitution, and the elite apparently boycotted

 

the referendum.  And, despite his frequent claims to the contrary, Franklin Roosevelt did

 

not write the Haitian constitution:  the American "suggestions", incorporated in the

 

Heraux draft, had their origin in the State Department.45

 

 

Off to a Rough Start.

 

            The Marine suppression of the Cacos brought peace to Haiti which, as noted

 

above, was appreciated by the noirs and the tradesmen, if not the elite or the Cacos.

 

Public order was maintained by the new Gendarmerie d'Haiti, a national police force,

 

manned by Haitians and officered by Marines.

 

            Public order, however, did not immediately bring financial stability, as World

 

War I was consuming most of the liquidity in World money markets at the time, and

 

nothing was available for a Haitian consolidation loan.  With Haiti's heavy debt, most of

 

the revenues collected by the Navy paymasters--although the former skimming off of

 

funds was halted--went to debt service, and not for improving the Haitian infrastructure

 

as desired.46  Main functions of  government were therefore taken over by the

 

Gendarmerie as it was the only organized "Haitian" entity capable of taking any kind of

 

positive action in Haiti at the time.  These functions included public health, prisons, and

 

public works.47  Lacking sufficient funds to improve roads, bridges, and culverts, Butler

 

found a provision in the Haitian rural code that provided for Haitians to provide labor in

 

lieu of money for the payment of taxes.  Butler used this labor, called the corvée, in the

 

construction of rural roads.  According to his testimony in 1921, he was able to bring the

 

cost of buildings roads down to $205 a mile, from a pre-occupation cost of $51,000 a

 

mile (a figure inflated, no doubt, by large amounts of graft).  Butler "repaired" (rebuilt is

 

probably a closer term) 470 miles of roads during his tenure as Chef of Gendarmerie.  He

 

took pains to provide food, shelter, entertainment, and motivation to the laborers, and

 

went to the trouble to get President Dartiguenave out of Port au Prince to periodically

 

praise the laborers' efforts.  (Butler's papers include a collection of photographs of the

 

first automobile trip taken in Haiti, outside of Port au Prince, apparently to Cap

 

Haitien.48)

 

            Colonel Waller, in his testimony before the same Senate committee, told of an

 

irrigation project in the Cul de Sac valley in which he received more volunteer labor than

 

he could employ and brought the project in at a cost of $800, down from a (Haitian)

 

estimate of $60,000.49

 

            The system, as might have been expected, also lent itself to abuse.  The Marines

 

made the mistake of having Haitian civil officials in the process of recruiting labor.

 

These officials were not above using impressment instead of encouraging volunteers to

 

get their numbers, nor were they above exempting certain persons who could bribe their

 

way out of their labor obligation, and putting the work back on those who had already

 

performed their obligation.  Butler's successor, Major A. S. Williams, saw that the corvée

 

system was being increasingly abused, and causing increasing Haitian discontent with the

 

Americans, and abolished it on 1 October 1918.50

 

            Brigadier General Albertus W. Catlin, who succeeded Col. John H. Russell in

 

command of the Marine brigade (Russell had succeeded Cole) in late 1918 after returning

 

from combat duty in France, made a number of inspection trips, starting in March 1919,

 

to investigate reports he had received of abuses of the corvée in the Hinche and Maissade

 

districts (Annex C, Appendix 11).  General Catlin found that the corvée was still in force

 

in these districts and was using impressed labor.  In addition, much of the labor was being

 

used for private projects as opposed to public works.51  The abuses of the corvée were

 

probably more extensive than General Catlin was able to discover on his inspections, as

 

the ensuing revolt, which Marine officers believed to have originated over discontent

 

over the corvée (which in itself resurrected the old paranoia over blancs reinstating

 

slavery), became widespread.  The popular leader of the revolt, Charlemagne Peralte, a

 

former Caco General and a brother-in-law to the Zamor brothers, had been serving a

 

sentence of hard labor in Cap Haitien when he bolted for the mountains, taking his

 

gendarme guard with him.  Charlemagne, and his successor after his death, Benoit, were

 

found to have political and financial connections with Dr. Rosalvo Bobo.52

 

            The revolt would last until 1920.  But if that had been the Marine's only problem

 

in Haiti, no one in Washington DC would probably have noticed.  However, late in 1919,

 

Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps George Barnett was reviewing a court

 

martial case of two Marine privates accused of unlawfully executing Caco prisoners.  His

 

eye caught an argument by the Marines' counsel to the effect that such executions were

 

rather common in Haiti.  Barnett was shocked, and immediately fired off a letter to Col.

 

Russell (who had reassumed command of the Marine Brigade after General Catlin

 

returned to the United States), ordering him to investigate and correct the situation

 

immediately.  Col. Russell investigated, found abuses, and started the slow process of

 

military justice rolling (Annex C, Appendix 11).

 

            Unfortunately, General Barnett's letter to Colonel Russell got into the papers.53 

 

Despite Col. Russell's investigation, a later investigation by General Barnett's successor,

 

Major General John A. Lejeune (Annex C, Appendix 12) and now-Brigadier General

 

Butler, and a formal Naval Board of Inquiry chaired by Rear Admiral Henry T. Mayo, all

 

of which found that military justice had been imposed on all those who were guilty,

 

within naval jurisdiction, and within the statute of limitations54, the press continued.  In

 

particular, The Nation accused the Marines of "racial snobbery, political chicane" and

 

"torture...theft, arson, and murder" . . . "actual slavery" . . .  and a "five years' massacre of

 

Haitians." The upshot was a Senate investigation which lasted from 1921 to 1922, sat in

 

Port au Prince and as well as Santo Domingo, and allowed a representative of the

 

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Union Patriotique

 

advisory rights and a right to cross examination;55 and yet found that most of the charges

 

had been greatly exaggerated:

 

                                    On the evidence before it the committee can now state--

                                    (1)  That the accusations of military abuses are limited in point of

                        time to a few months and in location to restricted area.

                                    (2)  Very few of the many Americans who have served in Haiti are

                        thus accused.  The others have restored order and tranquillity under

                        arduous conditions of service, and generally won the confidence of the

                        inhabitants of the country with who they came in touch.

                                    (3)  That certain Caco prisoners were executed without trial.  Two

                        such cases have been judicially determined  The evidence to which

                        reference has been made shows eight more cases with sufficient clearness

                        to allow them to be regarded without much doubt as having occurred.56

 

            The committee also noted that the thrust of most of the accusations had been an

 

effort to discredit the entire occupation of Haiti.57  More importantly, the Committee

 

noted that the occupation was not serving its goals and recommended changes:

 

¨      "... [place] within reach of the Haitian masses, justice, schools, and agricultural

 

                  instruction . . . [and] . . . send to Haiti a commission comprising a commercial

 

                  advisor, an expert in tropical agriculture, and an educator . . ."

 

¨      "..advise the Haitian government against permitting foreign interests to acquire

 

                  great land holdings in Haiti."

 

¨      "...as communications are opened up and as the peasants are secure in their life and

 

                 property,  . . . reduce the force of marines in the territory of the Republic and

 

                 ultimately to intrust the maintenance of order and peace exclusively to the

 

                 gendarmes."

 

 

¨      Eliminate provost courts for civil crimes and "offenses by the press against public

 

                 order."

 

¨      Raise the caliber and qualifications of the Americans who represent the United

 

                 States in Haiti.58

 

                  Interestingly, almost a year earlier, President Harding had apparently solicited an

 

evaluation of the Occupation from the State Department shortly after his inauguration in

 

1921.  Written by Sumner Wells, who at the time was Chief of the Latin American

 

Division of the State Department and who would become the American High

 

Commissioner in the Dominican Republic in 192259, it recommended similar changes in

 

the Occupation and its administration:

 

¨      Increase the size of Gendarmerie d'Haiti in order to increase public order.

 

¨      Appoint a single representative of the United States to represent the President in

 

                  Haiti and subordinate all United States "Treaty officials" to this representative.

 

¨      Change the basic supervision of the Occupation of Haiti from the Navy Department

 

                  to the State Department, which would presumed to be more diplomatic in budget

 

                  items, for instance.

 

¨      Develop the Haitian economy, principally by reforming the Haitian education

 

                  system60  (Annex C, Appendix 16).

 

            Thus, getting recommendations from all sides, the Occupation of Haiti entered a

 

period of great change and, ultimately, some progress.

 

 

Smooth(er) Sailing.

 

            On 10 March 1922, John H. Russell, twice former commander of the First

 

Provisional Brigade of Marines in Haiti and recently promoted to Brigadier General,

 

became the United States High Commissioner in Haiti.61        

 

            According to the American-sponsored Haitian constitution of 1918, a Haitian

 

President served for a term of four years, and could be immediately reelected for a second

 

term.  However, under the Title VII, Transitory Provisions of the constitution, the sitting

 

President--Dartiguenave--was the one who decided the next legislative elections, it being

 

the Haitian Senate which would elect the President (Annex C, Appendix 9).  The Senate

 

itself had not sat since 1916, when Dartiguenave with, if not the approval, at least the

 

assistance of the Americans, locked it out of the legislative building (above).  In 1921,

 

Dartiguenave's representatives began feeling out the Americans about reelection without

 

the inconvenience of legislative elections. The State Department proved coy on this

 

particular request, apparently preferring legislative elections if Dartiguenave wanted

 

reelection as President (Annex C, Appendix 15).

           

            To make a long story short, Dartiguenave preferred not to suffer legislative

 

elections, and the Americans preferred a new President.  Dartiguenave had proved

 

unpopular among the Haitians and, in particular, the Haitian elite for years.  So it was

 

with little sorrow that Dartiguenave was out-maneuvered in his own Council of State.

 

Louis Borno, one-time Foreign Minister for Dartiguenave, was elected President in May

 

1922.  On the 15th, "for the first time since Nissage-Saget [President 1870-74] and only

 

the second time in the history of Haiti, a constitutional transfer of power took place."62 

 

Louis Borno, like Dartiguenave, would be still another client-President of Americans,63 or

 

a strong-willed Haitian with his own agenda,64 depending on which interpretation of the

 

First United States Occupation you prefer, but he and John Russell could at least work

 

together in an atmosphere approaching mutual respect, and things were accomplished.

 

            With the end of World War I, and a world recovery taking place, the Haitian

 

Government finally solicited a $16 million loan on which there were serious bids.  The

 

National City Bank took high bid of 92.137[%] in 1922 (which means a discount of just

 

under 8%, which compares rather favorably with loans taken by the Haitians prior to the

 

Occupation) at 6% interest.  Of the $16 million face value of the loan, the  Haitians were

 

therefore able to actually see over $15 million of it, which went to retire the claims of the

 

National Bank and the National Railroad, and refunded three outstanding French loans. 

 

A second loan, also funded through National City Bank, for some $5 million paid off

 

73,269 claims against the Haitian government settled by a joint American-Haitian claims

 

commission.  A third loan for $2.66 million, this time through the Metropolitan Trust

 

company of New York in 1923, finally relieved Haiti of the financial albatross of Mr.

 

McDonald's National Railroad plan.65

 

            Although, besides a peaceful transition of political power, arguably the greatest

 

contribution to Haiti made by the occupation, to quote the British minister in Haiti in

 

1929, was that it "maintained peace and allowed the peasant to work in safety," other,

 

more tangible results were to the Occupation's credit during the Louis Borno-John

 

Russell period:

 

¨      over 1000 miles of roads, with 210 bridges, serving 3000 motor vehicles;

 

¨      nine major airfields and numerous auxiliary fields;

 

¨      15 modern lighthouses (as opposed to three antiques in 1915), 54 buoys, ten harbor

 

                  lights and other aids to navigation;

 

¨      a functioning telephone and telegraph system;

 

¨      ten towns with running, potable water, and 64 villages with clean wells, in addition

 

                  to irrigation projects; and

 

¨      a  Service de Santé Publique which included 11 hospitals--98% staffed by Haitians,

 

                  and 147 public clinics, not counting three military hospitals and the Catholic

 

                  hospital in Port au Prince.66

 

            One area in which the Americans encountered an immense amount of resistance

 

was in the area of public education.  In his memo for President Harding, Sumner Welles

 

accused the Haitian elite publicly funding education at adequate levels, while actually

 

pocketing the bulk of the money for themselves.67  In 1923, General Russell instituted a

 

Service Technique de l'Agriculture et de l'Ensignement Professionel, or Service

 

Technique as it became known, to provide a agricultural educational system for the noir

 

peasantry under a Dr. George F. Freeman.  This was "a matter of extreme social

 

sensitivity for the elite," who feared both the social consequences of an educated noir

 

peasantry and the loss of the noirs' loyalty to the blancs, who were improving their

 

lives.68

 

            The "show window" of the Service Technique was the Central School of

 

Agriculture at Damien where

 

                        [in] the way of things in Haiti, and more particularly because such studies

                        required literacy and prior preparation, the students came from elite

                        families, though, alas, with no more appetite for the dunghill side of

                        agriculture (let alone for going out into the country to instruct peasant

                        noirs) than their predecessors at Turgeau [a reference to the Haitian forces

                        under Dessalines who took Port au Prince in October 1803].  To overcome

                        such reservations, there was adopted a system of scholarships, or bourses,

                        whereby each student received the not-inconsiderable sum of $25 a month

                        and, as Dr. Freeman was later quoted in the New York World,

                        was 'virtually hired to go, by means of scholarships.'  This incentive

                        notwithstanding, student bousiers concentrated on academic work while

                        hired peasants dug ditches, cleaned stables, slopped hogs, and shovel

                        manure.69

 

            The American attempts at educational reform was also strongly resisted by the

 

Catholic church in Haiti, which saw its system of confessional schools threatened by the

 

proposed American system.  The Church had been in opposition to the United States

 

Occupation since 1915, when they declined to perform the traditional Te Deum to mark

 

Dartiguenave's election.  This appears to be primarily a jurisdictional and religious (the

 

Catholic church appeared to view the advent of the Americans in 1915 as the advent of

 

rampant Protestantism) issue, as opposed to a nationalist issue, because the Haitian laity

 

was 30 times more French and French Canadian than Haitian.70

 

            Needless to say, elite students, and not just those in the Service Technique, were

 

highly politicized, nationalist, and, almost by definition, anti-American.  Louis Borno, by

 

1929, had also overstayed his political welcome, so students were anti-government as

 

well.

 

            What touched everything off was a seemingly innocent decision by Dr. Freeman

 

of the Service Technique.  Dr. Freeman needed funds to set up some experimental

 

stations at Hinche--to serve the noir peasantry rather than just the elite students--and

 

proposed on cutting back on bourses and paid labor at the main facility at Damien.  The

 

students went on strike, and were quickly joined by sympathy strikes in other elite

 

schools in Port au Prince and Cap Haitien.  President Borno's reaction was initially

 

restrained by General Russell, although Russell did cable Washington to request

 

reinforcements for the Marine Brigade in case the Garde d'Haiti (the Gendarmerie d'Haiti

 

had been redesignated on 1 November 1928) proved unreliable.

           

            The unrest continued on through November 1929 until the first week in December,

 

when the situation at Les Cayes suddenly got out of hand.  The peasantry of the region,

 

for reasons other than why the students revolted, rebelled after agitators from Port au

 

Prince and Cap Haitien had their say, and headed for the town of Les Cayes.  A patrol of

 

20 Marines stood in their way.  The confrontation eventually got out of hand, and 12

 

Haitians died.  President Hoover, who had been inaugurated that year, called for an

 

investigation.71  Given President Hoover's predisposition to get out of Haiti, it is hardly

 

surprising that the resulting Forbes Commission recommended that the Occupation be

 

terminated as soon as possible.72

 

 

Haitianization.

 

            The United States Government signed an agreement in 1931 with  the Haitian

 

Government (Annex C, Appendix 19), for a rather quick "Haitianization" of the Treaty

 

services in Haiti and the eventual withdrawal of all United States forces from Haiti. 

 

Louis Borno stood down as President in early 1930, and the Council of State elected

 

Eugene Roy as the new President.  He took office on 15 May 1930; the first Catholic Te

 

Deum since 1914 was said for the new President.  Ironically, in a flurry of legislative

 

machinations that represented a bitter struggle between the mulâtres and nationalistic

 

noirs, Stenio Vincent, a light skinned noir, was elected President in November 1930.73)  It

 

appears that the United States Mission in Haiti originally believed that the United States

 

Occupation should last until at least 1936, in order to reassure holders of Haitian

 

government bonds.  However, the State Department, and presumably President Hoover,

 

wished to complete the process before the lapse of the Haitian-American Treaty of 1915. 

 

The agreement on Haitianization, which included no actual date for the termination of the

 

Occupation, although most other Treaty services were given transition dates, was signed

 

5 August 1931.74

 

            A final agreement for the withdrawal of United States military forces was finally

 

agreed upon and signed with Haiti on 7 August 1933, with a termination date of 1

 

October 1934.  After conversations between President Vincent and President Roosevelt,

 

in Cap Haitien in July of 1934, the date was moved up to 1 August 1934.75

 

 

 

Aftermath.

 

            The actual withdrawal of American troops in Haiti was somewhat of an

 

anticlimax:  most equipment and troops were withdrawn from Haiti prior to the actual

 

withdrawal date, on 1 August 1934, at Marine Brigade headquarters, the American flag

 

was lowered, with honors, and the Haitian flag was raised, with honors.  The last aircraft

 

from Marine Observation Squadron Nine left Bowen Field outside Port au Prince and 

 

flew back to the United States.76  For the Haitians, the "Second Independence" was one

 

big, long party.77 

 

            The Constitution, modified in 1928, was again changed in 1935 to invest more

 

power in the President.  According to the first Haitian Chef of the Garde d'Haiti--

 

Démosthènes Calixte, the same officer who was the Haitian deputy of the then-new Ecole

 

Militaire in 1922 under General Russell--the Garde was rapidly politicized, beginning in

 

1934.78  This same officer offers some observations (1939) to what happened to the

 

institutions left the Haitians by the United States Marines Corps and Navy:

 

¨      The Sanitation and Hygiene Service, which was originally an organization

      trained by the officers of the Medical corps of the United States Navy, has lost

its real purpose as an institution.  The persons responsible for its administration

are rank politicians and the most ill-bred officials Haiti ever had.

¨      The Public Works Administration was also organized by officers of the Civil

      Engineer Corps of the United States Navy.  But since its "Haitianization", it has

                        become merely a payroll institution for all the friends of the President who are

                        jobless, as well as those who do not care to work.  The engineers and architects

                        in charge of various departments cannot do anything to remedy the situation. 

                        This is why this service has spent so much money and Haiti still has no roads, no

                        bridges, and no sewers in areas where such construction is badly needed.

¨      The Agricultural and Rural Education Service . . . was, after its "Haitianization."

      placed under another foreigner, a Belgian, who resigned in 1938.  This

                        department could have rendered great service if the five-year plan submitted by

                        the scientific agriculturist-in-charge had been approved by the government. . . 

                        Political opportunism was rampant.  No attempt was made even to try the plan.

¨      The Contribution or Internal Tax Service was also organized by Americans. The

            Haitians who have replaced the Americans are competent and honest; but again

                        political interference was followed by embezzlement of Government funds,

                        which of course went unpunished.

¨      Education is purposely neglected for the benefit of politics and social prejudice.

            The method of education in Haiti has always been a matter for "discussion."

                        The removal from office of competent administrators and personnel of the

                        Education Department for political reason renders the problem practically

                        insoluble.

¨      There cannot be an independent press in Haiti, because of the enactment of a law

            against a free press.  A 'state of siege' is maintained by the present government,

                        but even in time of peace no one can express an honest opinion as to the general

                        condition or administration of the country without being mistreated.79

           

            Other observers, even those hostile to the United States Occupation, have noted

 

the deterioration of the infrastructure:  "American civil service reform, for instance, had

 

little impact.  After the occupation, Haitian politics reverted to the 'spoils system'

 

whereby successive administrations installed their own partisans in public office."

 

            "...The network of roads, potentially the most significant legacy of the occupation,

 

didn't last long because almost all roads were unpaved and required elaborate

 

maintenance."80

 

            President Vincent became a dictator in all but name in late 1938.  He was

 

eventually maneuvered out of power by Elie Lescot in 1941.  Lescot was exposed in 1945

 

as a virtual agent for Trujillo in the Dominican Republic (by the Dominicans).  Students

 

and rioters took to the streets.  In January 1946, the Garde, headed by an Executive

 

Military Committee [Comité Exécutif Militaire] led by a Colonel Lavaud (a mulâtre) took

 

charge.  The result was chaos--rioting, looting, arson--with an ugly racial--noir versus

 

mulâtres--tone, although there apparently was even some Communist influence in the

 

violence as well. 

           

            The Comité eventually restored order, resurrected the 1932 constitution, and

 

returned Haiti to a state approaching normalcy.  In August 1946, presidential elections

 

were held.  Dumarsais Estimé, an Artibonite noir, was declared the winner, a Te Duem

 

was said in his honor, and the Garde went back to the barracks.

           

            Estimé enacted a new constitution in November.  The Garde was redesignated

 

"L'Armée d'Haiti" and its police functions were theoretically separated from the military

 

functions.  Estimé was a populist as well as a noir, and he nationalized the Standard Fruit

 

holdings as well as  instituted an income tax for the elite.  He also was seen as a threat by

 

Trujillo, who worked steadily to destabilize him.

 

            Estimé declared a state of siege in 1949 because of the threat from the Dominican

 

Republic.  Faced with a loss of income from the Standard Fruit nationalization and other

 

causes, he suddenly required every worker to buy government bonds redeemable in 1959,

 

which proved immensely unpopular.  So did Estimé's efforts to be reelected President

 

despite a constitutional prohibition against presidents succeeding themselves.  His

 

attempt at modifying the constitution was blocked in Haitian Senate, even though the

 

attempt was popular with the masses.  Finally, the army, with rioting groups supporting

 

both sides of the position in the streets, faced Estimé and told him he had resigned on 10

 

May 1950. 

 

            Initially, Colonel Franck Lavaud was the new President, but Colonel Paul

 

Magloire, initially declared the Minister of the Interior in the new junta, was the real

 

power in the group.  New national elections were declared on 3 August, and Magloire

 

resigned from the junta to run for President.  He was opposed by the Communist Party

 

and an architect who wanted to execute Estimé  Elections on 10 October finalized

 

Magloire's presidency, although the commentary at the time felt it reflected the popular

 

opinion of most Haitians.81

 

            In the end, however, Magloire fell prey to the fatal disease of all Haitian elected

 

Presidents:  the desire to hold on after his term of office would expire.  Magloire

 

attempted a coup against himself--he resigned as President and, as commander in chief of

 

the army, declared himself chief Executive Power (shades of 1915).  The constitution was

 

suspended and dissidents jailed.  The people took to the streets in a general strike, the

 

army refused to support him, and Magloire fled to Jamaica in exile on 12 December

 

1956.82  Time didn't give his fall much play, the big news that Christmas was the crushing

 

of the Hungarian revolt by Soviet tanks.

           

            Magloire's immediate successor, Joseph Pierre-Louis, took office the same day he

 

left.  He resigned 55 days later.

 

            Haiti entered another riotous election cycle.  Rioters stormed schools and attacked

 

mulâtres.  The army--whose back pay had been mysteriously paid by Dr. Francois

 

Duvalier, an old follower of Estimé--attempted to gain control under Colonel Armand.

 

Opposed by loyalist elements, the coup failed.  Rioting and looting prevailed in Port au

 

Prince.

 

            On 26 May 1957, a Pierre Fignolé was inaugurated as President. He didn't last

 

long.  The man he appointed head of the Army turned on him and demanded his

 

signature on a letter of resignation on 14 June.  Fignolé was dead two days later.

 

Duvalier was steadily gaining support in the army and in the country as well.  On 22

 

September, Francois Duvalier, was elected President in a ratio of three votes to two.83

 

           

Part II

 

An Analysis of the Occupation

 

            Looking at the bleak history of the Occupation and its aftermath, There are a

 

number of questions that come to mind.  Did it accomplish anything?  Did anything it

 

accomplished amount to anything?  If the answers to the first two questions are yes, what

 

happened to Haiti?  The Occupation was scarcely over before Haiti seemed to revert to its

 

bad old ways.

 

 

Goals of the Occupation.

 

 

            There is little written what the United States' goals for the Occupation, and

 

it is not difficult to find those commentators who denounce the entire occupation as a

 

racist exercise in imperialism by the United States.84  One of the few hints about actual

 

goals is Sumner Well's memorandum for  President Harding, talking about the lack of

 

progress in the occupation based on what was stated in the 1915 Haitian-American Treaty

 

(Annex C, Appendix 16).

 

            The 1915 Haitian-American Treaty is often denounced as an ex post facto Treaty

 

that served only to justify the American occupation.85  It was certainly after the fact, and

 

it was often cited as if it were a moral contract that must be accomplished before the

 

Occupation could end.  However, as a statement of goals, it does offer some insight into

 

what the United States hoped to accomplish through the Occupation (Annex C, Appendix

 

6).

 

            I.  Finances.  "...(T)he United States will . . . aid the Haitian Government in the

 

proper and efficient development of its agriculture, mineral and commercial resources

 

and in the establishment of the finances of Haiti on a first and solid basis."  (Article I) 

 

This was to be accomplished through the mechanism of the appointment of a General

 

Receiver to collect and spend Haiti's customs duties for it. The General Receiver would

 

be assisted by a Financial Advisor.  (Article II)  Haiti would agree that the General

 

Receiver would receive all customs duties from Haiti.  (Article III).  The Financial

 

Advisor would "collate, classify, arrange and make full statement of" all of Haiti's debts,

 

to include all of their financial obligations.  (Article IV)  These customs duties collected

 

will first pay the salaries of the appointed Americans, then pay off the public debt, third,

 

pay for a constabulary as specified later in the Treaty, and finally, meet the expenses of

 

the Haitian Government.  (Article V)  Haiti could not increase its pubic debt without the

 

agreement of the United States.  (Article VIII) 

           

            II.  Security.  Haiti agreed to an American officered and organized constabulary,

 

which Haiti would pay for.  (Article X)

           

            III.  Resources.  In response to American "aid [to] the Haitian Government in the

 

 proper and efficient development of its agriculture, mineral and commercial resources,

 

the Haitians agreed to not give or sell any of Haiti's territory (Article XI), settle all claims

 

with the United States (Article XII), and develop its resources with the assistance of the

 

United States.  (Article XIII)

 

            In return, the United States agreed to help preserve Haitian independence and

 

maintain a Government "adequate for the protection of life, property and individual

 

liberty."  (Article XIV).  The treaty was to run for ten years, and for a further ten if "for

 

specific reasons presented by either of the . . . parties, the purpose of this treaty has not

 

been fully accomplished." (Article XVI)  Article XVI (and the Treaty extension of 1917)

 

is the origin of the obligation of the United States to stay until 1936, which was

 

mentioned repeatedly in debates about the Haitian Occupation in the 1930's, came from.

           

            The financial situation that the Americans found in 1915 was awful.  Haiti had

 

borrowed so much money that its debt service was threatening to overload its budget. 

 

However, even when they were paying off their debt service, the Haitian would rather

 

take out further loans rather than cut back on current expenses.  By the time the

 

Occupation began, according to testimony given at the 1921-22 Senate investigations,

 

Haiti was unable to borrow any more money, or pay off the debts it had already taken on. 

 

As was noted in Part I, World War I's effect on the World financial markets precluded a

 

major consolidation loan for Haiti until 1922.  However, as was presented to the Senate in

 

1922, some progress had been made in reducing the debt burden in the years up to 1922 

 

(Annex B).    Near the end of the Occupation, General Russell's annual report stated

           

                                    At the end of the fiscal year, 1928-29, the Government of Haiti had

                        an unobligated cash balance of more than $4,000,000.  Bonded

                        indebtedness had decreased from $30,772,000 to $17,735,479, in spite of

                        the contraction of new loans, 1922, 1923, and 1924, totaling $22,695,000

                        [the debt consolidation loans] utilized chiefly to refunded previous bonded

                        indebtedness, and satisfy claims against the Government, but also to effect

                        material improvements.

                                    Government revenues have more than doubled, chiefly through

                        better collections and yields of existing taxes enabling the various

                        department of the Government to undertake the greatest program for

                        public welfare the country has ever seen.  Internal revenue has been

                        increased, yielding over $1,200,000 during the year just finished, or more

                        than one-fourth the total receipts of thirteen years ago (1915-16) and

                        further important increases are forecast.  A sound currency has been

                        achieved.86 

 

            While the Great Depression caused serious government deficits in the early

 

thirties, and therefore caused the curtailment of many developmental programs, Haiti was

 

still in good enough shape in 1935 to be the only one of fifteen Central and South

 

American countries not to have defaulted on public dollar bonds.87

           

            Article X of the 1915 Haitian-American Treaty provided for an American

 

organized and officered constabulary funded through Haitian customs revenue.  As noted

 

in Annex A, Appendix 3, it was first renamed the Garde d'Haiti in 1928 and again, after

 

the Occupation, renamed the L'Armée d'Haiti.  Despite its relatively small size--some

 

2100 enlisted gendarmes in a country of 3.5 million--it had served Haiti, and the

 

Occupation well. 

 

            To begin with, it had replaced a pre-Occupation army "of thirty-eight (38) line

 

and four (4) artillery regiments of a total paper strength of over 9,000, a Gendarmerie of

 

over 1,800, plus four regiments of the President's guard, the whole officered by 308

 

generals and 50 colonels, not to mention the honorary generals created by the President

 

pro tem among his friends."88 In addition to being a drain on the treasury, a source of

 

corruption, and a burden on the civil society (business people pressed to supply money,

 

draft animals; a system of conscription more resembling impressment, etc.), the army was

 

a constant threat of insurrection or coups d'etat against the sitting government. Michel

 

Oreste was the first truly civilian president of Haiti.89

           

            As was shown in Part I, the Gendarmerie/Guarde quickly proved a useful tool of

 

the Haitian Government, even if some Occupation leaders had reservations over their use

 

(viz., locking the Haitian Senate out of their chambers in 1916, closing the Haitian

 

legislature in 1917), although, admittedly, these early actions served the Occupation as

 

well as the Dartiguenave presidency.  The Marine Corps, as might be expected, would

 

argue that the establishment and maintenance of order was generally good for Haiti.90 

 

Many other observers (but not all)  would agree, including a British minister who had

 

little other good to say about the Americans and their Occupation:  "What has America

 

done for Haiti in the fourteen years since the intervention?  Primarily, maintained peace

 

and allowed the peasant to work in safety."91 

           

            The main shortcoming in the American institution of the Gendarmerie/Garde was

 

the failure to effectively separate the military function of the guard from the police

 

function;92 this would have severe implications not only during the Duvalier years, but up

 

through to the ouster of Aristide and the Second United States Occupation of Haiti.  To

 

its credit, the United States did not use the Garde as a vehicle to set up a pro-American

 

military dictator such as Somoza in Nicaragua or Trujillo in the Dominican Republic;

 

however, the centralized organization of the Garde and, to an extent, its professionalism,

 

allowed it to be used more effectively by Duvalier and his successors.93

           

             In addition to its police and military functions (which included Coast Guard and

 

prisons), the Gendarmerie/Garde also served as the principle builder of  Haitian

 

infrastructure and at one time or another built Haitian internal communications (telephone

 

and telegraphs, roads and airfields), fire services in Port au Prince and Cap Haitien, traffic

 

control as well as vehicle registration, communal administration, and public works

 

construction.94

           

            As noted in part 1, claims against the Haitian government--in excess of 70,000

 

separate claims--were paid off in 1923.  As far as natural resources went, Russell reported

 

in 1930 that Haiti still was dependent on the coffee crop, and the coffee crop of 1928-29

 

suffered from poor weather.  As a means of diversification, sisal plantations were started

 

on land abandoned to cultivation, a pineapple plantation and cannery started, and corn

 

and other new crops started.10  However, the Depression reduced the coffee price by 40

 

per cent between 1930 and 1935; logwood exports went nowhere by 1935; the pineapple

 

company, rolling by 1932, was also killed by the Depression.  On top of that 1935 was a

 

year of severe weather.  To compensate, the Haitians granted a banana monopoly to

 

Standard Fruit in 1935, but nationalized it--killing the golden goose--in 1947.96

 

            The most serious failure of resources, as shown in Part I, was the failure to extend

 

significant education to the noir peasantry.  Despite the recognition of this factor in

 

Sumner Well's memorandum in 1921, almost all of the significant contributions of the

 

Service Technique went to the benefit of the elite, and those students rebelled when their

 

allowances were cut.  A more telling statistic comes from General Russell's 1930 report:

 

"there are almost 400,000 children of school age and the existing schools of all types

 

(including national, religious and private schools) can only accommodate slightly more

 

than 100,000 students."12  The 100,000 number included all of the elite's children, the

 

shortfall fell entirely upon the noir peasantry.

           

            American success in providing Haiti with a government "adequate for the

 

protection of life, property and individual liberty," is problematical.  On one hand, three

 

of the four peaceful transitions of power up to the end of the Occupation occurred during

 

the Occupation.  On the other, the Occupation acquiesced in the Presidents Dartiguenave and

 

Borno operating from the Constitution's Transitory Articles, and the closing of the

 

Haitian Senate in 1916 and the Chamber of Deputies in 1917,  until Roy took office and 

 

legislative elections were held in October, 1930.

           

            The constitution itself, written in Haiti, modified by the US State Department and

 

thrown to a national referendum when it appeared the Chamber of Deputies would not

 

approve it, has been criticized on a number of issues, most notably the provision, new in

 

1918, allowing foreigners to own property (particularly land) in Haiti.98  However, a

 

major area of disagreement between the United States and the Haitian governments in

 

1922, was a Haitian law "interpreting" this constitutional provision in such a way that the

 

article was all but nullified.99  It is also interesting to note that neither the amendments to

 

that constitution passed during President Borno's administration in 1927, nor the 1932

 

constitution written during the Haitianization period removed this provision.100

 

 

 

Imperialism and Racism.

 

            As noted above, the United States Occupation of Haiti in 1915 to 1934 has been

 

accused of both imperialism (or colonialism) and racism.  Both charges have a bearing on

 

an analysis of the Occupation and need to be addressed.  Of the two, imperialism

 

probably rates the shorter answer.

           

            If Imperialism (or colonialism) is the long term taking over of a country or region

 

for the purpose of  economic exploitation,  then the Occupation, however dubious its

 

status in international law of the time or by political standards of the end of the 20th

 

Century, was not Imperialism.  The period of the Occupation was fixed by Treaty,

 

however ex post facto it may have been, and American officials appear to have had every

 

intention of abiding by its limits.  In any case, as discussed in Part I, other factors

 

prevented the US Occupation from reaching its stated treaty limit of 1936.

           

            Another line of investigation that could be followed is the opportunities the

 

Occupation gave the United States business community in Haiti.  It is true that the

 

German business community was for all intents and purposes shut down in Haiti in

 

1917-18, but that was more due to war paranoia that to present an opening to the United

 

States business community.101  Franklin Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy,

 

and John McIlhenny, then financial Advisor to Haiti, apparently sought out some sort of

 

financial investments in Haiti in the 1917-19 time frame, assisted by Roosevelt's cousin

 

Harry, who was serving with the Gendarmerie at the time.  Although apparently nothing

 

came to fruition, it was a surprising breach of government ethics, even for 1917.102  Other

 

investment opportunities simply did not materialize.  Both Standard Oil and the United

 

Fruit Company declined to invest in Haiti at the time because of State Department

 

investment regulations. 

           

            However, with the United States controlling Haitian customs, it was apparently

 

easy to abrogate an 1907 Franco-Haitian commercial convention, to favor American

 

imports.  The National City Bank did float the Series A, B, and C loans for Haiti in

 

1922-23, and the Banque Nationale was by then a subsidiary of the National City Bank,

 

from which the bank profited.103  However, the National City Bank was induced to sell

 

out its interest to Haiti for a bare $1 million in 1936, when President Vincent

 

nationalized the Banque.104

 

            Perhaps the most critical evaluation that might honestly be made of the

 

Occupation is that

 

                        [it]  was a matter of US self-interest.  It was not principally and

                        exclusively a philanthropic act because after US troops landed in Haiti, it

                        took much pressure from local dissidents and American sympathizers to

                        force the occupation troops to withdraw (Weatherly [U. G., Haiti: An

                        Experiment in Pragmatism.  The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 32,

                        No. 3 (1926), pp. 353-66], 1926: 354).  The public statements made by the

                        White House and the State Department that the United States came to

                        rescue a friendly neighbor in trouble were purely whitewashing

                        propaganda created for international and national consumption (Buell [R.

                        L.  The American Occupation of Haiti (New York:  Foreign Policy

                        Association, 1929), 1929: 341).  The occupation was instead a strict

                        application of the Monroe Doctrine that viewed the Caribbean as mare

                        nostrum.105

 

            Racism is a much more difficult issue to address, particularly because of what one

 

author called "the American racial mores of the day"106 have changed so dramatically

 

since 1915.  Nevertheless, the case that the Americans conducted their Occupation with

 

severe racial prejudices is based on three basic arguments or sets of evidence:  language

 

used by the Americans, testimony of racial prejudice by Haitian citizens, and an

 

allegation that Marine Corps policy deliberately selected Southerners for duty in Haiti,

 

"because they can handle Negroes."

           

            The chief villain in the racist language argument is Colonel (later Major General)

 

Littleton W. T. Waller, USMC (1856-1926).  As the first commander of the Marine

 

Brigade pacifying and garrisoning Haiti, he might be expected to have set a tone for the

 

conduct of the Occupation.  Waller was of the old Marine Corps, when it was referred to

 

as America's "colonial infantry."  He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War, served

 

in the Boxer Rebellion, commanded the Marine Battalion on Samar, and commanded

 

brigades in interventions in Cuba and Mexico before the landing in Haiti.

           

            Colonel Waller was born into a slave-holding family in Virginia before the Civil

 

War.  A family who lost eleven members, ten of them children, in the Nat Turner Slave

 

Rebellion in 1831.107  Waller was also infamous as the "Butcher of Samar."  In January

 

1902, while commanding the Marine Battalion (as was customary in those days, the

 

battalion was provisional and otherwise undesignated), Waller allegedly ordered the

 

murder of eleven natives on Samar, one of a number of atrocity cases that arose out of the

 

Philippine Insurrection.  Waller was court-martialed for murder in March 1902 and was

 

eventually acquitted.108 

           

            Writing Colonel (later Major General Commandant) John A. Lejeune, then

 

Assistant to the Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps, in October 1915,

 

Waller remarked, "you can never trust a nigger with a gun."  Hans Schmidt quotes this

 

remark twice in his The United States Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934 and once in

 

Maverick Marine, a biography of Smedley Butler, in building his case on the role of

 

American racism in the Occupation of Haiti.109  Elizabeth Abbott, in Haiti:  The

 

Duvaliers and Their Legacy, uses the phrase to characterize the entire US Occupation.110

 

Waller probably was a racist--given his background and history this is probably an

 

unremarkable conclusion--and, as Schmidt makes his case in both US

 

Occupation--quoting Waller liberally--and Maverick Marine, this was certainly the

 

manner in which Waller spoke on a regular basis.111 

           

            However, on occasion, Waller rose above his racist prejudices:  recall from Part I

 

his disagreement with shutting down the Haitian Senate even when it would serve

 

immediate Occupation objectives as well as Haitian President Dartiguenave's.  Waller

 

was also ready to counsel his protégé Smedley Butler on curbing his behavior towards the

 

elite:  "There is more harm done by such an act than can be remedied by months of work

 

and labor."112  Another point to remember is that Colonel Waller commanded 1st

 

Provisional  Brigade of Marines for only 15 months (Annex A, Appendix 1), and was

 

senior American officer present (after Caperton's departure for Santo Domingo)  only

 

from May to November 1916. 

 

            A much more appropriate person for scrutiny would be John H. Russell, twice

 

brigade commander of 1st Brigade and United States High Commissioner from 1922 to

 

1930.  If any officer's personal prejudices had a significant influence on United States

 

policy in Haiti, it would be his.  Yet, to many observers, General Russell, who spoke

 

rather good French, was decidedly not a racist.  A Haitian who had no shortage of critical

 

remarks about the Occupation, B. Danache, who once called Waller and Butler "torturers

 

without scruple," had kind words for both General and Mrs. Russell.113  Even critics of

 

the Occupation note that General Russell "pursued a policy designed to eliminate racial

 

friction."114

 

            Finally, as we discuss language, we must acknowledge that what constitutes

 

permissible language in racial, sexual, or any other context, changes as society evolves.

 

Insensitive, even brutal, racial characterizations colored the language of many white

 

Americans, and not just southerners or racists, in the early part of this century, which is

 

why use of language is so inaccurate a gauge of racism.  Even Smedley Butler, whose use

 

of crude racial characterizations is well documented, and his wife  are seen by a critic of

 

the Occupation as "perhaps relatively liberal, and at least made an effort to be polite and

 

gracious."115

 

            However we characterize the official racial tone of the Occupation, it was

 

certainly seen by at least part of the Haitian population as racist.  This segment was the

 

elite, particularly the mulâtres.  As they were the literate class in Haiti, their opinion is

 

the one on the written record.  As they spoke French, and many spoke English before the

 

Occupation was through, they were the Haitians that outsiders--supporters of the

 

Occupation as well as critics--sought out to talk to.  And the elite did not mince words:

 

                                    "The Americans have taught us many things," Le Nouvelliste [Port

                        au Prince] newspaper owner Ernest Chauvet told author Seabrook [author

                        of The Magic Island, 1929].  "Among other things they have taught us that

                        we are niggers.  You see, we really didn't know that before.  We thought

                        we were negroes."116

                       

            The problem with this position is that, despite elite perceptions otherwise, most

 

Americans appear to have had separate opinions of the elite and the noir peasantry, the

 

former rather negative, the latter rather positive.  One of the more noted of these separate

 

characterizations is from Smedley Butler's testimony before the Senate investigating

 

committee in 1921:

 

                                    The Haitian people are divided into two classes; one class wears shoes and

                        the other does not. . .  Those that wear shoes I took as a joke. . .   They

                        wore cut-away coats, brass-head canes, stove-pipe hats 3 inches in

                        diameter, and anything else they could put on to make themselves

                        conspicuous.  But the people who were barefooted, the women wearing

                        themselves hubbards and the men dungarees half way up to their knees,

                        with scarred feet, indicating the hardest kind of toil, and with great blisters

                        on their hands, and with the palms of their hands as hard as a piece of sole

                        leather--those people you could absolutely trust.117

 

            Other famous Marines besides Smedley Butler served in Haiti, particularly in the

 

early years, and some of their memoirs echo Butler's characterization of  the two classes

 

in Haiti:  A. A. Vandergrift, who served twice in Haiti, once as Butler's adjutant, and was

 

later Commandant of the Marine Corps118, or Frederick M. "Dopey" Wise, another double

 

veteran of Haiti and Chef of the Gendarmerie d'Haiti from July 1919 to January 1921.119 

 

Memoirs of enlisted Marines with Haitian service are more rare, but best known of these,

 

The White King of La Gonave, by Marine Sergeant and Gendarmerie Lieutenant Faustin

 

Wirkus, may not offer the colorful parallels of Butler, but the general comparisons in his

 

book are much the same.120  Former Brigade commanders Eli Cole and Russell also have

 

been quoted in similar statements showing favor towards the peasantry and distrust

 

towards the elite.121

             

             To some writers, the Marine and American attitude towards the elite constitutes

 

racism; I read mostly contempt for a parasitic level of society.  Even Hans Schmidt, the

 

most quoted writer of the racist analysis of the Occupation, in building his case, comes

 

close to recognizing this contempt:

 

                                    The cultural clash between Americans and the Haitian elite was all

                        the more exacerbated because the Americans, who subscribed to political

                        ideologies of democracy and egalitarianism, were repulsed by the very

                        concept of elitism and that was fundamental to the social and economic

                        position of the elite in Haiti.  This revulsion, of course, ignored the

                        paradox of American racial and cultural elitism.  During the early years of

                        the occupation American military commanders were especially trenchant

                        in this respect, scorning the aristocratic pomposity of the elite while

                        expressing affection for the common people.  This attitude was firmly

                        rooted in ideals of democratic egalitarianism. . .122

 

            How the actual peasant noir felt about this American attitude comes to us only

 

second hand, the old peasant quoted in Abbott's Haiti (fn 91), for instance.  Other

 

interpretations come to us filtered through one political view or another, such as the

 

anti-Occupation Occupied Haiti (1927) by Emily Balch:

 

                                    It may be true that the peasants in general like the Occupation.  It is

                        possible that they are sufficiently conscious of the benefits that have come

                        with it, and ascribe them sufficiently clearly to the Americans.  One is told

                        that they now build their houses on the roadside as they did not date to do

                        in the old days, for fear of being seized by some revolutionary enterprise

                        or to serve as soldiers.  Again this story is laughed at, and one is told the

                        houses always stood as they do now.

                                    It is hard to believe that given the deep-seated traditional belief that

                        the return of the white men spelled a return of slavery, and given the land

                        situation, the peasants do not feel uneasy under their new white masters.123

 

            However, there is no mistaking how the elite felt:  Americans had not

understood:

 

                        the social experiment [that was Haiti, nothing] that calls for shame or

                        concealment. . .   [T]hey throw the history of Haiti in our face--its long

                        tissue of revolutions and massacres. . . .  Efforts to help the masses have

            been made again and again and in many ways, . . .   The American

                        invasion might have been a good thing if, although unjust and even

                        infringing for a time upon our independence, it had been temporary and

                        had led ultimately to the reign of justice and liberty.  But such is not the

                        case. . . .

                                    "Even the good that they do turns to our hurt, for instead of

                        teaching us, they do it to prove that we are incapable.  They are exploiters.

                         . ."124

           

            Bit if the Americans had contempt for the elite, the elite returned it in kind:

           

                                    "But it is a grand joke, isn't it?" Chauvet continued.  'The sergeant's

                        wife or the captain's, who maybe did her own washing at home, is our

            social superior and would feel herself disgraced to shake hands with any

            nigger.  Why, many of those white Marine Corps people couldn't have

            entered my mulatto father's house except by the servants' entrance."125

 

            Haitian civil courts never were controlled by the Occupation and were also

 

perceived as anti-white and anti-American:  "though a black foreigner might win his case

 

against a Haitian, a white man stood little chance and a white American none at all."126

 

Most curious--to me at least--is the Haitian elite's scorn towards American Blacks, whom

 

they considered servile.  In 1924, the Haitian ambassador in Washington informed the

 

State Department that even the noirs looked down on American Blacks [something I

 

doubt, as relatively few noirs then lived in the cities and larger towns where they would

 

have come in contact with them].  This had serious impact on American representation in

 

Haiti which, since the end of the 19th Century, had been largely black, a small legion

 

which had included Ambassadors (ministers) Frederick Douglass (1889-91) and Dr. H.

 

W. Furniss (1905-1913), and CPT Charles Young, 9th Cavalry, USA, the first black

 

American military attaché and the first military attaché assigned to Haiti.  As a result, the

 

President was forced to appoint White diplomats to Haiti rather than Black

 

Republicans he had wanted to reward.127

           

            Balch repeats the elite's accusation--repeated in turn by Schmidt (less the

 

prostitution) and Abbott, that the Occupation brought about the hereto unknown

 

phenomenon of public intoxication and prostitution.128  Other sources confirm the public

 

intoxication--as it was Prohibition back in the United States,  Americans

 

tended to take advantage of being out of the United States in that regard (much to the

 

disapproval of the  British, incidentally).129  As of yet, other sources do not confirm the

 

prostitution charge.

 

            While I do not doubt that many an individual American was a racist, or at the least

 

used language with nasty racial characterizations, it must be remembered that this

 

behavior is being reported by a class of people who have been displaced from positions of

 

power or influence and, in many cases, income by the Occupation.  The elite also feared

 

rising American influence--to their disadvantage--among the noirs.  This was the same

 

class, through various patriotic organizations, which fed atrocity stories back to the

 

Nation and other periodicals in 1919-1922, many of which were found to be exaggerated

 

or without basis in fact.  (Part I)  Therefore, the magnitude of the reports--not the

 

existence of prejudicial behavior--must be taken with several grains of salt. 

 

 

            For more than 30 years, various writers and periodicals such as Harry Franck in

 

Roaming Through the West Indies (1920),130The New York Times (1920),131 Balch

 

(1927),132 James Leyburn in The Haitian People (1941),133 Selden Rodman in Haiti:  The

 

Black Republic, The Complete Story and Guide (1954),134 and even Time magazine

 

(1954)135 repeated as fact or alluded to a Marine Corps policy that had recruited Southern

 

officers for service in Haiti "because they can handle blacks."  (Colonel Waller, true to

 

form, had made a similar statement about his qualifications in a letter to Lejeune in

 

1916.136)

 

            The truth of the matter is that no such policy existed.  In 1964, an analysis by a

 

history student in Wellesley College, followed up by both critics and supporters of the

 

Occupation--both academic and Marine--shows, statistically that the charge is inaccurate.

 

In fact, as shown in Table 1, the proportion of Southern officers to the total number of

 

Marine officers serving in Haiti varies randomly from year to year; the lack of a pattern

 

or of a fixed proportion of officers being Southern strongly suggests the lack of policy

 

in such a matter.  In addition, no one has found any documentary evidence, or personal

 

Table 1, Southerners in the Population

 

                                                                                                                                                Southern

                                                      Marine Marine               Southern            Southern            Marines

Year     U. S. Population1            Population2      in Haiti3            Populaiton4            Marines5         in Haiti6

 

1910      92,228,531                                                                  24.28  

 

 

1916                                                     328     77                                            22.56               19.48

1917                                                    372     72                                            24.73               31.94

1918                           

1919                                                    1767    59                                            20.43               28.81

1920            106,021,431                           1098    80                    23.78               22.67               22.5

1921                                                    976     75                                            22.54               22.66

1922                                                    1028    88                                            20.82               21.59

1923                                                    1043            118                                          21.57               20.34

1924                                                    1067            109                                          21.56               18.35

1925                                                    1101            119                                          22.16               18.49

1926                                                    1094    94                                            22.21               29.79

1927                                                    1121    97                                            21.23               24.74

1928                                                    1185    90                                            20.84               26.67

1929                                                    1173    80                                            20.72                    30

1930            122,906,848                           1180    88                    23.44               20.51               23.86

1931                                                    1183    87                                            19.7                 17.24

1932                                                    1173    77                                            20.03               15.58

1933

1934

 

1940            132,165,131                                                               24.06

 

                                          __________________________________

 

1 Includes total United States population for the 50 states only.

2 Includes total population of commissioned and warrant officers of the U.S. Marine Corps, only if born in one of what are now the 50 states.

3 Includes all United States born commissioned and warrant officers in the U.S. Marine Corps stationed in Haiti.

4 The percentage of U.S population born in one of the following states:  Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia.

5 The percentage of Marine Corps Officers born in one of the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia.

6 The percentage of Marine Corps officers in Haiti born in one of the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia.

Source:  Ann Hurst Harrington. 137

 

recollection, that any such policy existed, either for First Brigade or the Gendarmerie.

 

Ironically, while the majority of Marine officers serving in Haiti were not Southern, many

 

of President Wilson's  appointees were.  Except for the possible exception of John

 

McIlhenny, who had awful personal relations with President Dartiguenave, most of these

 

men acquitted themselves well.138

 

 

 

            Analysis of the racial situation, based on all of the above, is of an Occupation that

 

had no officially racist policy, perhaps even one discouraging racist behavior and word

 

during the Russell years, yet due to the racist attitudes of individuals--both American and

 

the Haitian elite--the general social climate in Haiti's cities was, at times, very racially

 

charged.  However, amongst the noirs in the countryside, those Americans who had

 

regular contact with them through the Gendarmerie and other means, with exceptions,

 

generally shared feelings of affection and mutual respect with the people they were in

 

contact with.

 

 

 

 

Culture.

 

            In 1930, President Hoover's Forbes Commission, amongst its findings, included

 

"The failure of the Occupation to understand the social problems of Haiti, its brusque

 

attempt to plant democracy there by drill and harrow, its determination to set up a middle

 

class--however wise and necessary it may seem to Americans--all these explain why, in

 

part, the high hopes of our good works in this land have not been realized."139  This is

 

probably the major failing of the Occupation, and when one wonders why the effects of

 

the Occupation were so short lived, this is why.  The Occupation addressed problems and

 

applied solutions that simply did not apply to Haiti.  

 

            One must remember that for the bulk of its first century of freedom, Haiti was an

 

isolated country, partially because the United States wanted little contact with a free

 

Black country, and partially because the Haitians wanted the blancs to have no excuse to

 

reestablish slavery.  This led to a peculiarly insular Haitian society and a peculiarly

 

Haitian method of transferring power and governing the country.  It had also been a poor

 

country for all of its history since independence and this led to intense competition for the

 

riches of the country.  This fed a competition for power in Haiti, for it was those in power

 

who disbursed the riches.

 

            Initially, the elite--made up of the mulâtres descended from the French

 

colonialists--had the easiest access to power through education, social position and

 

birthright.  For the noir, the route to power led through the military, and by the beginning

 

of the 20th Century this had become so routine that American officers observed that

 

"there is a regular procedure in this warfare" that one Senator likened to American

 

elections.140  A ritual battle would be fought near the town of Saint-Marcs, and the

 

challenger to the Presidency, if he won, marched on Port au Prince, and was voted into

 

the Presidency.  In most cases, the new President then disbursed the spoils of his victory

 

until challenged by a new power.  The military noirs thus became part of the elite.

 

            Through all this squabbling for power, the peasantry, exclusively noir, stood by,

 

struggling to provide a living for themselves and their families, and, if they participated

 

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in the process at all, it was in being exploited or killed.   It was this situation the

 

Americans sought to change through the imposition of a new constitution and the orderly

 

installation of several Presidents.  The class of Haitians who temporarily lost power and

 

income through this process--the elite--resisted.  Many of the American reforms were in

 

the long run essentially pointless.  Putting Haitian finances  to rights and restoring their

 

credit, to which a great deal of effort was eventually expended (Annex B; Annex C,

 

Appendix 17), was of little interest to the elite.  Their accounts had never been that

 

important to them, except as a source of graft.  Increased credit meant nothing more than

 

increased opportunity for future graft.

 

            An improved Gendarmerie, intended as a source of public order during the

 

Occupation, was, after the Occupation, quickly politicized and became an efficient tool

 

for forcing the transfer of power.  It was much more efficient than the corruption-plagued

 

pre-Occupation Haitian Army that had so lost any efficiency that private armies--the

 

Cacos--had become more effective in forcing the transfer of power.

 

            Improved agriculture techniques and education for the noir peasantry were

 

resisted by the elite because anything that enfranchised the peasantry increased the

 

competition for the power and the riches.  However, many peasants resisted agricultural

 

reforms simply because they were new and untried in Haiti, and in many cases they were

 

right in resisting inappropriate agricultural methods.  Improved medical facilities for the

 

peasantry were only a source of plunder for the elite,142 the elite had their own hospitals

 

and doctors.

 

            One glaring example of the American inability to grasp the Haitian culture was

 

the Occupation's allowing the Borno presidency to use the Gendarmerie to persecute

 

practitioners of Voodoo.  The Americans were persuaded that Voodoo was witchcraft,143

 

even though individual Americans, serving with the Gendarmerie for example, were

 

perfectly capable of understanding Voodoo's role as a religion.144

           

            In some ways those who accuse the Americans of racism have a point:  many of

 

the American administrators--Marine and civilian--were incapable of understanding that

 

Haitians were a culture completely different from the Black culture that they had been

 

accustomed to in the United States and thought they knew; witness Colonel Wise

 

complaining about "one of those American Treaty Officials arrived with a book entitled

 

'The Development of the Negro Mind,' from which he quoted on all occasions!"145

           

            Despite all the good intentions, despite the years of hard work, despite the lives

 

lost or ruined, the Occupation failed to have a lasting impact on Haiti (except perhaps in

 

legend), because the areas the Occupation sought to improve were not those areas that

 

would fundamentally alter Haitian society.

 

 

                                                                                    Part III

                                                                        The Never-ending Story

 

 

            Without going into the Duvaliers and what led to the Second United States

 

Occupation of Haiti, some observations about the fall of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the

 

Second Occupation, and the recent turn-over of the pacification effort to the United

 

Nations, based on my research on the First Occupation are offered.

           

            The military coup that overthrew Aristide was nothing special in Haitian politics.

 

United States political actors and events made it so.  While the election that brought

 

Aristide to power was nominally democratic, it does not mean that Haiti was a

 

democratic country subsequently overthrown by a military coup.  The elections were

 

simply a new means of seizing power, and therefore the riches, in Haiti and was probably

 

viewed by the elite--and Aristide--and no more valid, or less valid, a method than

 

marching on Port au Prince at the head of a Caco army.

           

            Haiti is a more violent country than it was prior to the First Occupation.  Part of

 

this is because the Duvaliers politicized the noir peasantry more than his predecessors,

 

and those seizing power must either organize them or suppress them.  Aristide organized

 

the peasantry, Cedras suppressed them.  It is still all part of the struggle for power in

 

Haiti. 

           

            Aristide was able to bring a new player into the struggle for power in Haiti--the

 

United States, acting this time as an agent for Aristide instead of itself.  The departure of

 

the United States, particularly if the United Nations is unable to maintain order, will

 

simply renew the struggle for power.

 

            Change to a different political system will not occur in Haiti unless either the

 

culture of seizing political power and therefore riches changes, or one of the parties

 

departs the scene.  Neither seems likely.  Absent Aristide, the elite--still mulâtre although

 

with a strong noir, primarily military, component--will resume the struggle for power and

 

riches amongst itself.

 

            The noir peasantry, who a hundred years ago fled to the hills to escape oppression

 

or exploitation, however, now has nowhere to go.  The lush forests that Smedley Butler

 

fought through are largely gone for lumber, fuel, or charcoal.  Charcoal is often the only

 

cash crop the noir peasantry has access to.  Forests, which covered about 60 per cent of

 

Haiti in 1923, now cover only 3 per cent.  The coffee trees, that provided the crop that

 

John Russell and his advisors were so worried about Haitian dependence on, have gone

 

for charcoal with the most recent U.S. embargo.  The farmland, of which originally only

 

11 percent of the country was even considered suitable, has mostly washed away, no

 

longer held to the ground by the trees.146

 

            The chances for Haitian migration are largely gone.  These is probably little more

 

room in the Dominican Republic for any more illegal workers; Cuba has not been a

 

source of employment since Castro came to power; the United States has cut off illegal

 

migrations during the Aristide crisis.

 

            The question is becoming, given the lack of real political reform in Haiti (Aristide

 

in power will soon be indistinguishable from the elite); given the destruction of the

 

Haitian economy--which the American embargo hastened, but didn't cause; given the

 

prospects for no end to the oppression of the noir peasantry; given the lack of a safety

 

valve so these people can escape;  when will these people explode?         

 

 

                                                                                    Annexes

 

 

 

 

Annex A:  The US Marine Corps' Military Campaigns in the First United States

Occupation of Haiti.

           

 

            The day after the mob attacked Guillaume Sam and dragged his body through the

 

streets,  Admiral Caperton landed troops to restore order.147

           

            Under command of Capt. George Van Orden, USMC, the Cruiser Squadron

 

Marine Officer, a two-battalion landing force composed of three companies of seamen,

 

12th Company of Marines (earlier detached from 2nd Regiment), and the Marine

 

detachment from the Washington, was landed at 5:45pm.  The landing force cleared the

 

streets from the harbor to the foreign legations and established guards there.  The 12th

 

Company furnished most of the guards, while the remainder of the landing force

 

bivouacked nearby.148  The 24th Company, transported from Guantanamo, Cuba,

 

reinforced the landing force the following day.149

 

                Caperton radioed for a regiment of Marines on the 28th.150  Col. John A. Lejeune,

 

Assistant to the Commandant and, in the temporary absence of the Major General

 

Commandant, Acting Commandant, detached the 2nd Regiment from the Advanced Base

 

Brigade in Philadelphia and dispatched it to Haiti aboard the battleship USS Connecticut

 

(BB-18) within 24 hours of notification.  In his memoirs, Lejeune stated that the

 

necessary arrangements took an hour to accomplish over the phone.  A week later,

 

Caperton requested further reinforcements and Lejeune dispatched 1st Regiment on the

 

armored cruiser USS Tennessee (CA-10) (often reported as a battleship, even in

 

contemporary sources) as the requested reinforcements, and the Advanced Base Brigade

 

headquarters under Col. Littleton W. T. Waller to take charge.  Admiral Caperton would

 

be the senior American officer present in Haiti, Col. Waller became the senior American

 

officer ashore.151

 

     Second Regiment, commanded by Colonel Eli Cole, landed at Port au Prince on 4

 

August 1915.  The next day, Col. Cole, 2nd Regiment, and the Washington landing party

 

persuaded the Haitian commander of Fort Nationale, Port au Prince, to surrender his

 

command to the Marines.  Fourteen cannon, 450 rifles, and a million rounds of

 

ammunition were captured with the fort.  The garrison and other Haitian troops in Port au

 

Prince were detained for a time at the old Dessaline Barracks.152  On 8 August, the

 

Haitian gunboat Nord Alexis arrived at Port au Prince from Cap Haitien, with 766 Haitian

 

soldiers to be demobilized by Marines.  After putting 30 of the most destitute into the

 

hospital, the Marines paid off the remainder at 10 gourdes (about $2.00) a head.  The

 

soldiers were apparently quite delighted at the deal (Caperton described them later as

 

destitute and with nothing to eat) and apparently happy to go, although some thought they

 

had to bribe their way out of the Navy Yard, and offered some of their bounty to the

 

Marine sentries.153

 

            First Regiment (Col. Theodore P. Kane), Colonel Waller, a signal company and

 

Headquarters, 1st Brigade arrived in Port au Prince on 15 August 1915.  Colonel Cole

 

took command of First Regiment (Col. Kane took over Second Regiment) and took it to

 

Cap Haitien, landing about 18 August.  The Artillery Battalion (at the time the only

 

artillery battalion organized as such in the Marine Corps), equipped with 12 3-inch

 

landing guns and two 4.7-inch heavy field guns were landed on 31 August after a return

 

trip to the United States by the USS Tennessee.154  Col. Waller's campaign guidance was

 

written by Admiral Caperton (Annex C, Appendix 3).  Martial law was proclaimed by

 

Admiral Caperton in Port au Prince and vicinity on 3 September 1915.155

           

            In accordance with Admiral Caperton's instructions to Colonel Waller, 2nd

 

Regiment secured Port au Prince and its environs, while Colonel Cole and 1st Regiment

 

occupied Cap Haitien on the northern coast.  After initial expectations of an attack on Cap

 

Haitien from the local Caco bands did not materialize, local patrolling began.  The

 

landing of the USS Connecticut battalion (composed of seamen equipped as infantry),

 

allowed Colonel Cole to send 19th Company by sea to Port de Paix on 24 August as the

 

first step in spreading control along the northern coast.  A military government was

 

proclaimed in Cap Haitien under Colonel Cole on 1 September 1915.156

 

            At this time, Major Smedley D. Butler, battalion commander of 1st Battalion, 1st

 

Regiment, reported on various operations to both, or either, Colonel Cole, his regimental

 

commander, and Colonel Waller, the brigade commander.  On one such operation

 

reporting to Colonel Waller,  Butler and his adjutant, First Lieutenant A. A. Vandergrift,

 

took ship to Gonaives, where Butler took commander of a tiny ad hoc battalion consisting

 

of 7th Company and the Marine detachment of the USS Castine (PG-6), a total of five

 

officers and 104 Marines, counting Butler and Vandergrift.  Butler's mission was to open

 

the rail line (which no longer appears on modern maps) to the interior town of Ennery,

 

approximately 30 kilometers inland. 

           

            Butler's problem was a Caco chief named Rameau, a "General, in command of a

 

rabble of thieves and vagabonds, squatting in the surrounding bushes," whom he notified,

 

when he arrived in Gonaives on 20 September 1915, that he would not tolerate any

 

interference with the rail line or with the food supply for Gonaives.  He also told Rameau,

 

through the American consul, that he wanted to meet with him to give him the warning in

 

person.  Before the meeting could come off, however, Butler and several squads from 7th

 

Company were off chasing Cacos who had been burning the rail line.  By the time he

 

returned to Gonaives, 24 hours later, Butler had chased the Cacos out of their

 

headquarters in a small town named Poteaux, and had a chance to warn Rameau in

 

person.  Rameau led about 450 Cacos, who, according to Butler's report to Waller, "not

 

half of whom had serviceable rifles."  Rameau came into Gonaives the following

 

morning, the 22nd, and met with Butler who again repeated his warning, and offered Rameau

 

money for his guns and men.

           

            The morning of the 23rd, Butler and sixty Marines boarded a small train for

 

Ennery.  The major problems encountered on the trip were those repairing the damage

 

caused by the Cacos, and it was 9:30 at night before the train reached Ennery.  After hasty

 

repairs to the locomotive, the Marines headed back to Gonaives, stopping briefly at

 

Potceaux to discover that Rameau and his men "had left for their homes the morning [sic]

 

and that all was quiet."157

 

            Major Butler returned to the north on 9 October, landing from the USS Nashville

 

(PG-7) at Fort Liberté with 15th Company, 2nd Regiment and several attached officers

 

from the 11th.  At the same time, reinforced elements of 13th Company

 

occupied Grande Riviere from Cap Haitien.  Butler expanded his operating area south to

 

Ouanaminthe, routing Cacos out of several old French forts used as bases in the area.158

 

At the same time, Colonel Waller was diplomatically disarming the old Haitian

 

army--about 750 from Fort Liberté and Ouanaminthe.  He also tried to bring in several

 

Caco chiefs in the same manner.159  The problem was that not all the Caco chiefs were

 

willing to sign agreements with Waller nor be bought off.

           

            First Regiment was now in position to finish the war with the Cacos.  Using

 

Major Butler's battalion and elements of the USS Connecticut battalion, under Butler's

 

command, the Marines were in position by the end of October 1915 to remove Caco

 

bases and forts from the north country and the border area with the Dominican Republic. 

 

In a campaign that stretched from 9  October to 27 November 1915, Butler, at times

 

working with 5th, 11th, 13th, and 23rd Companies as well as the 15th, plus the 2nd, 3rd,

 

and 4th Connecticut companies, destroyed four Caco camps and seven old French forts

 

used as bases by the Cacos, destroyed 122 rifles, and reported  21 Cacos killed and at

 

least 10 wounded.160  An assault by Lt. Edward A. Ostermann and six Marines of 15th

 

Company seized old Fort Dipitié from about two dozen Cacos on the night of 24 October

 

1915.161  The campaign culminated in an assault on old Fort Riviere under the cover of

 

automatic rifles and machine guns and its capture after hand to hand fighting.  A ton of

 

dynamite was carried by mules to the fort to destroy it after its capture.  While Butler did

 

not report Caco casualties in the Fort Riviere assault, others present reported at least 30

 

Cacos dead.162  Other sources quote 50 dead Cacos.  In any case, Secretary of the Navy

 

Josephus Daniels telegraphed Caperton halting further operations.  The campaign was

 

over anyway.163     Second Regiment, besides garrisoning and controlling Port au Prince,

 

apparently secured the southern peninsula of Haiti through vigorous patrolling and

 

avoided the sharp actions 1st Regiment experienced with the Cacos.164

           

            Three enlisted men were reported killed in the initial occupation of Haiti and one

 

officer and 13 enlisted wounded.165  Two officers and three enlisted men were awarded

 

Medals of Honor for valor in the campaign.166

 

            Nineteen Sixteen saw a shift in the Marine forces in Haiti and in Santo Domingo

 

(now the Dominican Republic), its neighbor on the island of Hispaniola.  Various

 

companies from 1st and 2nd Regiments were dispatched to the Dominican Republic

 

during 1916.  In April, in a move to rationalize the chain of command, all units in the

 

Dominican Republic were subordinated to 1st Regiment, 2nd Provisional Brigade of

 

Marines; and all units in Haiti were subordinated to 2nd Regiment, 1st Provisional

 

Brigade of Marines.  Second Regiment from this point on represented all or most of the

 

"muscle" for 1st Provisional Brigade of Marines.167  First Marine Brigade settled into a

 

normal garrison routine.168

 

            Building on resentments over the corvée, an impressed labor system, a Caco

 

general named Charlemagne started a Caco revolt in October 1918.  Initially, the new

 

Gendarmerie held off the rebels, but eventually they asked for help.  First Marine

 

Brigade was in a low strength period--barely battalion strength by World War II

 

standards--but pitched in the defense of Port au Prince and participated in the aggressive

 

patrolling of the north country and the Artibonite region that followed. Charlemagne 

 

himself was finally killed in 1919 by two Marine sergeants attached to the Gendarmerie

 

leading a patrol of 12 Gendarmes in what amounted to a Special Operation (Annex C,

 

Appendix 10).  The rebellion lingered on in the Artibonite region, led by Benoit

 

Batraville, and included a second assault on Port au Prince, before Benoit and his

 

followers were hunted down in the border country and killed in May 1920.  After the

 

death of Benoit, most organized resistance from the Cacos ceased, although scattered

 

outlaws, as they were often characterized, were skirmished with and captured up to the

 

end of 1921.  The campaign required the enlargement of the 1st Provisional Brigade of

 

Marines by 50%, and saw its first deployment of aircraft.169

 

            The routine of 1st Provisional Brigade of Marines after the Caco revolt soon

 

enough returned to the norms of Caribbean garrison life.170  The strength of the 1st

 

Brigade gradually waned to half that of a modern infantry battalion as commitments in

 

more important areas drew away troops and resources from Haiti, reflecting service

 

realities in a "tween wars" Marine Corps hard pressed for resources (see Appendix 1).

 

            Throughout its service in Haiti, 1st Brigade endured incredible personnel and

 

command turmoil.  As can be seen in Appendix 1, there were 18 brigade commanders in

 

19 years.  Second Regiment had 22 commanders in the same period.  Eighth Regiment

 

had nine commanders in six years.   Even allowing for the detachment of 1st Regiment to

 

Dominica in early 1916, only two of six original companies of Marines were present in

 

mid-1917, joined by five new companies.  Two years later, as the Caco revolt heated up,

 

six new companies were added, and 8th Regiment was formed by the end of the year.

 

However, by the mid-1920s, both regiments were ghosts of their former selves and 8th

 

Regiment was deactivated 31 June 1925.  That the Brigade was able to quickly respond to

 

the corvée crisis in 1919, to replace Gendarmes in the Hinche-Massaide region, and then

 

to lend effective support to the Gendarmerie during the early months of the Caco revolt

 

appears, at this distance, to be little short of miraculous.  That the Brigade was able to

 

maintain its professionalism, training, and discipline--most of the atrocity allegations in

 

1919-21 were of Marines serving as Gendarmerie officers--is a tribute to the inherent

 

strengths of the Marine Corps in those leans years between the World Wars.

 

            The 1st Brigade played a very limited role in the civil disturbances in

 

October-December 1929.  The sole "combat", if it can be called that, was the so-called

 

"Les Cayes Massacre" when a section of Marines, defending themselves against a mob of

 

some 1500, killed 12 and wounded another 23 rioters.171

 

 

 

                                                                        Department of State

                                                                          August 15, 1934

                                                            Statement by the Secretary of State

 

                                    Haiti:

                                    Today the withdrawal of our Marine and naval forces from Haiti is being

                                    completed.  Under an agreement between the two Governments of August

                                    7, 1933, the Haitian Garde, which has been trained and partly officered by

                                    our Marines, would be turned over to the complete command of Haitian

                                    officers on October 1, 1934, and our Marine and naval forces would be

                                    withdrawn during the month of October.  However, when President

                                    Roosevelt visited Cap Haitien July 5 last, President Vincent [of Haiti]

                                    requested that, if at all possible, the date for carrying out these movements

                                    should be advanced; and President Roosevelt stated that we would

                                    advance the date for turnover the command of the Garde to August 1,

                                    instead of October, and would withdraw our forces from Haiti in the

                                    following  fortnight. . . 172

        

            Companies C and D, 2nd Marines were transferred to the United States in July

 

1934.  Headquarters, 2nd Marines and Company B were deactivated.173

 

    

Appendix 1:  First Provisional Brigade of Marines

 

     There have been a number of "1st Provisional Brigade of Marines" in the history

of the US Marine Corps, dating back to at least 1899, usually organized for expeditionary

purposes.  The early history of "1st Marine Regiment" follows a similar pattern.

     The first permanent Marine regiments were organized in 1913 as part of the

Advance Base Force.  1st and 2nd Marines were originally designated 1st and 2nd

Regiments, Advance Base Force Brigade.  However, except for one exercise, on the

island of Culebra with the Atlantic Fleet in early 1914, both regiments would see more

service as expeditionary regiments. 

     After returning to the United States in late 1914, after duty in Vera Cruz, Mexico,

First and Second Regiments were reequipped as fixed and mobile (base) defense

regiments, respectively.  According to the 1915 report of the Commandant of the Marine

Corps, 1st Regiment was to reorganize and reequip with four 5-inch gun companies, a

searchlight company, an engineer company, a mine company, and an air defense

company.  Second Regiment was split between the Advanced Base Force base at the

Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pensacola Naval Air Station, the New Orleans naval station, and

the USS Washington (probably the 12th Company).  The Artillery Battalion (one wonders

why they decided to maintain an artillery battalion of three 3-inch gun batteries when 1st

Regiment was to have four 5-inch (fixed) gun batteries) was stationed at the Naval

Academy.  Nevertheless, the entire brigade would deploy, in stages over July and August

1915, as infantry regiments and an artillery battalion. "The force in Haiti includes the

technical companies which have been engaged in advance base training in Philadelphia. 

Owing to this interruption in the training of the fixed defense force, its efficiency as an

advance base organization will be materially interfered with."

     First Provisional Brigade of Marines were apparently the first significant

deployed Marine force to use motor transport for troops and artillery.  A Marine aviation

squadron deployed to Haiti in 1919 and was  attached to 1st Brigade.  The 1919

Commandant's report states the squadron, and a detachment in Santo Domingo were

performing a wide variety of missions:  "Offensive operations with machine guns and

bombs; reconnoitering, photographing, and photographic map making; contact patrols

and cooperating with ground troops; quick transmission of messages, papers, and

officers; regular mail service between different units."  The Marine squadron, under

various designations, would remain attached to 1st Brigade until it was withdrawn in

1934.174

 

August 1915:

1st Provisional Brigade

 

3rd Company (Signal)

 

                        1st Regiment                                                          2nd Regiment

                        1st Battalion                                                     1st Battalion

                                         5th Company                                                   15th Company

                                         11th Company                                                              16th Company

                                         19th Company                                                           17th Company

                                         23rd Company                                       2nd Battalion

                        2nd Battalion                                                                7th Company

                                    4th Company                                                   12th Company

                                    6th Company                                                      20th Company

                                    22nd Company                                       24th Company

                        USS Connecticut Battalion                       Marine Detachment, USS                                                        1st Conn. Company                                             Washington

                                    2nd Conn. Company

                                    3rd Conn. Company

                                    4th Conn. Company

                        Marine Detachment, USS Connecticut              

  

Artillery Battalion

                                                                              1st Company

                                                                        9th Company

                                                                        13th Company

 

Reported Marine Corps Strength in Haiti (August 1915):  88 officers, 1,941 Marines.

 

 

 

September 1916:

 

                                                1st Provisional Brigade of Marines

                             

                                                            2nd Regiment

                                                                        Naval Detachment

                                                                        1 & 2 Secs, 7th Company

                                                                        1 & 2 Secs, 17th Company

                                                                        16th Company

                                                                        18th Company

                                                                        19th Company

                                                                        20th Company

                                                                        22nd Company

                                                                        23rd Company

 

            (11th & 15th Companies detached; 10th Company to return to 2nd Regiment in

November.)

 

Reported Marine Corps Strength in Haiti (December 1916):  61 officers, 1,020 Marines.

 

June 1917:

 

1st Provisional Brigade of Marines

 

                                                            2nd Regiment

                                                                        15th Company

                                                                        19th Company

                                                                        53rd Company

                                                                        54th Company

                                                                        57th Company

                                                                        64th Company

                                                                        65th Company

 

Reported Marine Corps Strength in Haiti (December 31, 1918):  64 officers, 884 Marines

(including Gendarmerie detachment).

 

 

 

June 1919:

 

1st Provisional Brigade of Marines

                             

                                                            2nd Regiment

                                                                        36th Company

                                                                        53rd Company

                                                                        54th Company

                                                                        57th Company

                                                                        64th Company

                                                                        65th Company

                                                                        100th Company

                                                                        148th Company

                                                                        153rd Company

                                                                        196th Company

                                                                        197th Company

 

1st Division, Squadron E, Marine Aviation Force (attached)

 

Reported Marine Corps Strength in Haiti (July 1, 1919):  98 officers, 1,526 Marines

(including Gendarmerie detachment).

 

 

December 1919:

 

1st Provisional Brigade of Marines

 

                        2nd Regiment                                                          8th Regiment

                                    53rd Company                                                      36th Company

                                    54th Company                                                      57th Company

                                    62nd Company                                                      63rd Company

                                    64th Company                                                      100th Company

                                    153rd Company                                                     148th Company

                                    197th Company                                                     196th Company

 

Squadron E, Marine Aviation (attached)  (Redesignated 4th Air Squadron, 1 January

                                                                                    1921)

 

Reported Marine Corps Strength in Haiti (December 31, 1919):  83 officers, 1,261

Marines (including Gendarmerie detachment).

 

 

July 1924:

 

1st Provisional Brigade of Marines

 

                                    2nd Regiment                                             8th Regiment

                                                53rd Company                                                      36th Company

                                                54th Company                                                      57th Company

                                                64th Company                                                      63rd Company

                                                153rd Company                                                     100th Company

                                                197th Company                                                     148th Company

                                                                                                                                   196th Company

 

Observation Squadron No. 2 (VO-2M) (attached)  (redesignated 1 March 1923)

 

 

 

July 1925:

1st Provisional Brigade of Marines

 

                                    2nd Regiment                                       2nd Battalion, 2nd Regiment

                                                36th Company                                                 54th Company

                                                53rd Company (Machine Gun)

                                                63rd Company

                                                64th Company

 

                                                            VO-2M (attached)

January 1933:

 

                                                            1st Marine Brigade

 

                                                                        2nd Marines

                                                                                    Company B

                                                                                     Company C

                                                                                     Company D

 

VO-9M (attached)  (redesignated 1 July 1927)

 

                        

 

Commanders

 

1st Provisional Brigade of Marines

 

     Col Littleton W. T. Waller                            15 Aug 1915 - 21 Nov 1916

     BrigGen Eli K. Cole                       22 Nov 1916 - 27 Nov 1917

     Col John H. Russell                          28 Nov 1917 - 6 Dec 1918

     BrigGen Albertus W. Catlin                           7 Dec 1918 - 14 Jul 1919

     LtCol Louis McCarty Little                            15 Jul 1919 - 1 Oct 1919

     Col John H. Russell                          2 Oct 1919 - 14 Jan 1922

     Col George Van Orden                                  15 Jan 1922 - 28 Mar 1922

     Col Theodore P. Kane                            29 Mar 1922 - 15 Nov 1923

     Col William N. McKelvy                                16 Nov 1923 - 21 Jan 1924

     BrigGen Ben H. Fuller                                 21 Jan 1924 - 11 Jun 1925

     Col William N. McKelvy                                12 Jun 1925 - 25 Jun 1925

     Col Harold C. Snyder                                  26 Jun 1925 - 29 Jul 1925

     BrigGen Ben H. Fuller                                 30 Jul 1925 - 7 Dec 1925

     Col John T. Myers                         8 Dec 1925 - 24 Jan 1928

     Col Presley M. Rixey, Jr.                             25 Jan 1928 - 22 Feb 1928

     Col Louis M. Gulick                                   23 Feb 1928 - 24 Jun 1929

     Col Richard M. Cutts                      25 Jun 1929 - 11 May 1931

     BrigGen Louis McCarty Little                 3 Jun 1931 - 15 Aug 1934

 

 

1st Regiment

 

     Col Theodore P. Kane                            8 Aug 1915 - 15 Aug 1915

     Col Eli K. Cole                                         16 Aug  - 8 May 1916

 

 

 

 

2nd Regiment (later, 2nd Marines)

 

     Col Eli K. Cole                                         31 Jul 1915 - 15 Aug 1915

     Col Theodore P. Kane                            16 Aug 1915 - 30 Jun 1916

     Col Eli K. Cole                                         1 Jul 1916 - 30 Nov 1916

     LtCol Philip M. Bannon                                1 Dec 1916 - 10 Jan 1918

     Maj Richard S. Hooker                                 11 Jan 1918 - 31 Mar 1918

     Maj John W. Wadleigh                                  1 Apr 1918 - 28 Apr 1918

     LtCol Richard S. Hooker                        29 Apr 1918 - 20 Jul 1919

     LtCol Thomas H. Brown                          21 Jul 1919 - 2 Oct 1919

     Col Randolph C. Barkeley                       3 Oct 1919 - 20 Oct 1921

     Col George Van Orden                                  21 Oct 1921 - 9 Jul 1923

     Col William N. McKelvy                                10 Jul 1923 - 10 Jun 1925

     Maj Maurice E. Shearer                        11 Jun 1925 - 30 Jun 1925

     Col Harold C. Snyder                                  1 Jul 1925 - 8 Apr 1926

     Col Macker Babb                           9 Apr 1926 - 30 Jun 1927

     Maj Archibald Young                          1 Jul 1927 - 19 Aug 1927

     Col Presley M. Rixey                                  20 Aug 1927 - 21 May 1929

     Col Richard P. Williams                               22 May 1929 - 30 May 1930

     Col Edward B. Manwaring                               31 May 1930 - 15 May 1932

     Col Harry G. Bartlett                                             16 May 1932 - 16 Jun 1932

     Col James T. Buttrick                                 17 Jun 1932 - 27 Dec 1933

     Col Eli T. Fryer                                        28 Dec 1933 - 31 May 1934

     Maj Samuel P. Budd                                    1 Jun 1934 - 15 Aug 1934

 

8th Regiment

 

     LtCol Thomas M. Clinton                         17 Dec 1919 - 4 Jan 1920

     LtCol Louis McCarty Little                            5 Jan 1920 - 28 Jul 1920

     LtCol Thomas M. Clinton                         28 Jul 1920 - 19 Sep 1920

     LtCol Louis McCarty Little                            20 Sep 1920 - 30 Apr 1921

     Col Dickinson P. Hall                              1 May 1921 - 9 Apr 1923

     Col James T. Bootes                                   9 Apr 1923 - 29 Apr 1923

     LtCol Harry R. Lay                          30 Apr 1923 - 30 May 1923

     Col James T. Bootes                                   31 May 1923 - 20 Jul 1924

     Col Harold C. Snyder                                  24 Jul 1924 - 31 Jun 1925

 

 

Artillery Battalion

 

     Maj Robert H. Dunlap                                  15 Aug 1915 - 17 May 1916

 

 

1st Division, Squadron E, Marine Aviation Force (later 4th Air Squadron, VO-2M, and

VO-9M)

 

     Capt. Harvey B. Sims                                   22 Feb 1919 - 30 Nov 1919

     Capt Roy S. Geiger                          1 Dec 1919 - 20 Jan 1921

     Capt Arthur H. Page, Jr.                              21 Jan 1921 - 28 Mar 1921

     Maj Francis T. Evans                      29 Mar 1921 - 4 Mar 1923

     Capt. Louis M. Bourne                                  5 Mar 1923 - 12 Nov 1925

     Maj Roy S. Geiger                         13 Nov 1925 - 8 Jul 1927

     Capt. Russell A. Presley                         9 Jul 1927 - 28 Aug 1928

     Maj Francis T. Evans                      29 Aug 1928 - 2 Jul 1930

     Maj James E. Davis                                    3 Jul 1930 - 15 May 1932

     Maj James T. Moore                                    16 May 1932 - 15 Aug 1934175

 

 

Appendix 2:  Ships of the 1915 Haitian Campaign..

 

Ship Name                               Pennant                        Type                            Comments

 

United States Ships176

 

USS Connecticut*               BB-18                          Pre-Dreadnaught

                                                                                    Battleship

 

USS Washington**             CA-11                         Armored Cruiser            renamed USS Seattle,

                                                                                                                        November 1916

 

USS Tennessee                    CA-10                         Armored Cruiser            renamed USS Memphis,

                                                                                                                        May 1916

 

USS Castine                            PG-6                            Gunboat

 

USS Nashville                         PG-7                            Gunboat

 

USS Marietta                          PG-15                          Gunboat

 

USS Sacrament                   PG-19                          Gunboat

 

USS Eagle                               none                             Converted Yacht

 

USS Jason                               AC-12                         Collier (Coal carrier)

 

USS Osceola                           AT-48                          Tug

 

USS Solace                             AH-2                           Hospital Ship

 

Haitian Ships177

 

Nord Alexis                             unknown                      Gunboat                       fate unknown

                                                if any

 

Pacifique                                 unknown                      Gunboat                       Blown ashore, August

                                                if any                                                                1915

                                       _________________________________

*Not believed assigned to Cruiser Squadron, US Atlantic Fleet, 1915.

**Flagship, Rear Admiral William B. Caperton, Cruiser Squadron, US Atlantic Fleet.

 

Appendix 3:  The Gendarmerie (Garde) d'Haiti, 1916-1934.

 

            For the United States, the easiest part of the Haitian-American Treaty to

 

implement would be the requirement for an American-officered constabulary to establish

 

law and order in Haiti.  This would become known as the Gendarmerie d'Haiti

 

            From the documentary evidence, the actual Gendarmerie Agreement appeared to

 

be in some period of negotiation between the United States and Haiti.  An original

 

English-language draft, for example, set forth a requirement for 1,296 Gendarmes178,

 

while the final document required 2100 (Annex C, Appendix 7).  Additionally, the

 

American officers in the original document would report to the Haitian Secretary of State

 

for the Interior, in the final document they report to the President of Haiti. 

 

            While the Gendarmerie agreement was not officially signed until August 1916,

 

the documentary evidence shows that the United States was actively recruiting and

 

organizing a Gendarmerie in December 1915 and January 1916, using Article X of the

 

American-Haitian Treaty as their authority (Annex C, Appendix 7).  (The Gendarmerie

 

Agreement would be renegotiated at least twice before the end of the Occupation (Annex

 

C, Appendices 14 and 18)).  By 1 February, 1916, the first Chef of the Gendarmerie,

 

Smedley Butler and Colonel Waller felt they were in a position to take over the law

 

enforcement mission.

 

            The organization of the Gendarmerie was completed by October 1916, and a total

 

of 117 Gendarmerie posts were established throughout the country.  Four Gendarmerie

 

districts were established in the country, consisting of Port au Prince, the Cape, the

 

Artibonite, and the South.  Eighteen Gendarmerie companies were raised and were

 

roughly divided amongst the four districts.  What amounted to a battalion (1st, 4th, and

 

17th companies) garrisoned Port au Prince.179

 

            A small coast guard of six officers, eight petty officers, and 30 seamen was

 

authorized by the original agreement.  By 1921, a force of four former-US Navy

 

submarine chasers (relatively small, wooden patrol boats with a nominal anti-submarine

 

capability [probably removed for the Haitians]) was in operation.180

 

            Haitians were recruited as volunteers, clothed in uniforms supplied by the Marine

 

Corps, and provided with surplus American weapons (Krag rifles by most reports). 

 

While Butler would brag to the Senate investigating committee in 1921 that he was able

 

to recruit the best men in Haiti for the Gendarmerie, he was also forced to admit that

 

initially he had problems with disease in the ranks ("95 percent of them had blood

 

diseases and 85 percent had intestinal worms") that had to be eradicated before the troops

 

could be effective.181

 

            The Caco revolt of 1918-20 was the Gendarmerie's first major crisis, and one

 

might argue its finest hour. The initial Caco attacks initially fell on Gendarmerie posts,

 

and there are many reports of outnumbered gendarmes loyally defending their posts,

 

often successfully, and in some cases bravely protecting their wounded Marine officers. 182

 

Limited offensive operation, particularly in the Artibonite, were conducted by small

 

Gendarmerie units and their Marine offices. 183 Eventually, however, the Marine Brigade

 

had to be called in to assist in a problem that had grown out of control.

 

            Major A.S. Williams, Butler's successor, was the man who had outlawed the

 

corvee' (it was certain officers ignoring this order that led, in part to the investigations of

 

1920-22 and, in some Marines' opinions, one of the primary causes of the Caco revolt.)184

 

Colonel Frederick M. ("Dopey") Wise, Williams, successor, found that the Gendamerie

 

at the height of the Caco revolt had been pretty much worn down and out:

 

                                                I found the Gendarmes in Port au Prince well drilled, well

                                    uniformed, well armed. They had been the show troops of my

                                    predecessors. But outside of Port au Prince they were in bad shape. Their

                                    uniforms were in rags. Most of then were barefooted.  Their rifles were a

                                    joke. They were discarded Krags, most of them with the sights knocked

                                    off. If they hit a house at point-blank range with those weapons they were

                                    doing well. Their barracks were tumble-down. Their morale was pretty

                                    low..185

                                                                                                                  

            Colonel Wise got money from the financial advisor for uniforms, barracks, an

 

increased rations allowance, and new Springfield '03 rifles from the Marines.  He spread

 

the Marine standard of drill throughout the Gendarmerie and emphasized marksmanship.

 

His troops responded well, and became a significant fighting force.186  The special

 

operation that killed Charlemagne, the principle Caco leader, was led by two Marine

 

enlisted men serving as Gendarmerie officers, but also included 12 gendarmes; all their

 

intelligence came from gendarme sources as well, including at least one man operating

 

under cover with the Cacos (Annex C, Appendix 10). 

 

            The Gendarmerie Agreement of 1916 had been renegotiated in 1920 to allow for

 

easier financial administration by the Chef of the Gendarmerie, although Colonel Wise

 

did not receive everything he had wanted, and the ability of the Gendarmerie to surge by

 

467 men in times of emergency, finances permitting.  Established strength would still be

 

81 American officers, 383 Haitian non-commissioned officers, and 2100 gendarmes, but

 

would also now include 39 Haitian officers.187  (Annex C, Appendix 14)  Soon after

 

General Russell arrived in Port au Prince as High commissioner, an Ecole Militare for the

 

commissioning of Haitian officers (capacity 12) was established  in Port au Prince,  with

 

a Haitian officer as deputy to its American commander.188 

 

 

            One complaint about the Marine officers up to the time of the Caco revolt

 

                        . . . was that the ex-enlisted Garde officers were ill-educated, raw rankers,

                        an accusation that during World War I, wen the best Marines of all ranks

                        were going to France, was probably true.  But Russell's earliest effort was

                        to upgrade this class of officer not only by diligent selection but by a

                        three-month indoctrination course before the officers were passed for duty

                        with the Garde.  In 1930, 49 Garde officers were college graduates; 51 had

                        high school diplomas or some college courses.  That same year 85 spoke

                        French and 92 also spoke Créole.  The entire group, 116 Americans in all,

                        averaged over four years in Haiti and thirteen years in the Corps.189

           

            Although the Gendarmerie (Garde after 1928) was the local police force as well as

 

the Haitian military, it had never received significant riot control training, which is one of

 

the reasons the Marines had to be called into handle the Les Cayes incident that

 

eventually resulted in 12 deaths.  Nevertheless, General Russell could say in his final

 

report:

 

                                    . . . the Garde d'Haiti is less than a fourth of the numerical strength of the

                                    old forces.  An officers' school as been created and a military career is

                                    one which a self-respecting Haitian can adopt.  The men are modernly

                                    housed, equipped, uniformed, educated if illiterate, and paid $10.00 a

                                    month, a suitable pay for Haitian conditions.  Prisons are immaculately

                                    clean and airy; buildings have workshop facilities.  Graft has been

                                    eliminated.  A modern accounting and purchasing system has been

                                    introduced which has effected important economies.  Due to supervision

                                    by district commanders Haitian communal revenues, previously dissipated

                                    in graft and unwise expenditures, have greatly increased and communal

                                    administration strengthened.  A reorganized medical department has more

                                    than halved the death and disease rate among personnel and prisoners.  In

                                    the first four years of the Occupation, the Garde also carried over an

                                    important road-building program.190

 

            In 1930, General Russell reported a force of 2,622 enlisted gendarmes, in a total

 

strength of 3,460 (one gendarme for every 3.4 square miles and 690 inhabitants of Haiti);

 

36% of its officers were Haitian, and the Ecole Militaire had graduated 17 aspirants the

 

previous year.  In addition to its police and military duties, Russell reported the

 

following:

 

¨      Communications; 309.5 miles of telephone lines, 9 airfields built through Garde

 

                  labor.

 

¨      Police services, fire and traffic control.

 

¨      communal administration; Garde commanders were communal advisors and had to

 

                  supervise the collection and distribution of communal revenues.

 

¨      Marksmanship; a hitherto unknown Haitian military skill.

 

¨      Construction, a four year program that resulted in 24 modified and eight new

 

                  outpost buildings.

 

¨      Coast Guard, which also has the responsibility for 15 lighthouses and a buoy

 

                  system.191

           

 

            A  lot of the Haitianization negotiations went into the Haitianization of the Garde

 

 (Annex C, appendix 19).  On August 1, 1934, the completely Haitianized Garde, with its

 

new Haitian Commander, Colonel Démosthènes P. Calixte--the same Haitian who was

 

the first Haitian deputy commander of the Ecole Militaire, saluted the Marine Brigade as

 

it left Port au Prince, and hoisted the Haitian flag over the former Marine headquarters.

 

 

 

Gendarmerie (Garde) d'Haiti Commanders, 1915-1934 (appointment as Haitian general of

 

division):

 

            LtCol. Smedley D. Butler                           3 Dec 1915-1 May 1918

            Col. Alexander S. Williams                                   2 May 1918 - 18 Jul 1919

            LtCol. Frederick M. Wise                            19 Jul 1919 - 16 Jan 1921

            LtCol. Richard S. Hooker                                    17 Jan 1921 - 14 Apr 1921

            LtCol. Douglas C. McDougal                                15 Apr 1921 - 11 Apr 1925

            Col. Julius S. Turrill                                      12 Apr 1925 - 12 May 1927

            Col. Frank E. Evans                                     18 May 1927 - 31 Mar 1930

            Col. Richard P. Williams                                   1 Apr 1930 - 21 Jun 1933

            LtCol. Clayton B. Vogel                           22 Jun 1933 - 31 Jul 1934191

 

Annex B:  The Fiscal Case for Occupation.

     

            One of the basic justifications for the American intervention and occupation of

 

Haiti was that Haiti was incapable of handling its own finances.  The Senate committee

 

investigating the United States Occupations of Haiti and Santo Domingo heard evidence

 

on the finances of both countries.     

 

            John A. McIlhenny, financial advisor to the government of Haiti (1919-1922),

 

presented the US Government's case on the financial state of Haiti at the time of the

 

Occupation.

 

Fiscal Year 1912-13 (Haitian fiscal years ran 1 October to 30 September):           

                        Total Revenues:                                       $5,073,691.40