Haitian Campaign of 1915

Annual Reports of the Secretary of the Navy [Excerpts on activities in Haiti]:
1915
1916
1917
1918

1915

In addition, the crisis in Haitian affairs, which came with the assassination of the Haitian president, Guillaume, on July 27, demanded immediate and energetic action on the part of the Navy to protect American and foreign lives and property and to restore order throughout the distressed country. Our cruisers were dispatched to Haitien ports and armed guards landed. Later, an expeditionary force of about 2,000 marines was sent to complete the occupation of all open ports. This force is still in Haiti in effective control of the situation. Conditions in the island have constantly improved and the newly formed government has received all needed support toward establishing itself upon a firm and enduring basis ...


Expeditions.

31. On July 28, owing to disturbances in Haiti, the commander of the Cruiser Squadron landed a force of marines and sailors at Port au Prince and Cape Haitien. The force of marines consisted of the Twelfth Company and the marine detachment of the Washington. This was reinforced the next day by the Twenty-fourth Company from Guantanamo, Cuba, a total of about 240 marines.

32. On July 30 the department directed that about 500 additional marines be sent to Port au Prince via the Connecticut. In less than 24 hours five companies of the Second Regiment (528 enlisted men) embarked with a full outfit of stores on board the Connecticut, and that vessel sailed for Port au Prince. Immediately upon its arrival at its destination the marines were landed.

33. The commander of the Cruiser Squadron having again requested an additional force of marines, Headquarters of the First Brigade, the Signal Company, and seven companies of the First Regiment embarked on August 10 on board the Tennessee and proceeded to Haiti, arriving there on the 15th. The expeditionary force, together with its stores, was immediately landed, and since that time the brigade, under the command of Col. Littleton W.T. Waller, has been engaged in the restoration and maintenance of good order and the preservation of peace in Haiti. Its service has been conspicuously efficient.

34. Additional marines having been further requested, the Artillery Battalion, consisting of 3 companies of an enlisted strength of 318 men, armed with twelve 3-inch landing guns and two 4.7-inch heavy field guns, sailed on board the Tennessee on August 26, 1915, for Port au Prince. The battalion landed and joined the First Brigade on August 31, 1915.

35. 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. As stated in paragraph 5 of this report, the Marine Corps should be enlarged sufficiently to provide mobile forces for service of this nature, without diverting the technical companies from their advance base training.

Source: Annual Reports of the Navy Department for the Fiscal Year 1915 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1916): 12-13, 762-763.


1916

Service of Marines in Haiti and Santo Domingo

In the restoration of order and the preservation of peace in the revolution-torn Republics of Haiti and Santo Domingo the Marine Corps has rendered most valuable service. This service drafted most of the personnel of the entire corps, except that portion serving aboard ships and guarding navy yards, and almost during the entire year the corps was engaged in this expeditionary work. About this time last year Col. Littleton W.T. Waller, with the First Brigade, was in occupation of Haiti. Peace was restored and the tides of island traffic again flowed through their natural channels. The effective work accomplished led to the organization, at the instance of the United States State Department, of a Haitian Constabulary, for which provision was made in the treaty between the United States and Haiti. Organized under Capt. Smedley D. Butler as commandant, this constabulary consists of 112 officers and 2,500 native Haitian gendarmes, and as Haitian citizens become qualified to serve as officers they will gradually replace the Americans. The State Department has been generous in its commendation of the work done by the Marine Corps, which was so effective that it was possible in May to withdraw a large part of the force and transfer it to Santo Domingo, where a revolution had broken out. Since that time Santo Domingo has been occupied by the Marine Corps, the Fourth Regiment having been drawn from San Diego, Cal., to assist in the work of pacification. Owing to the conditions existing in the interior of Santo Domingo, it became necessary in June to send a column to Santiago and other towns in that vicinity. This column, although opposed by forces of considerable strength, carried out its mission in a most expeditious and effective manner.


Expeditions.
Haiti.

10. At the date of my last report the First Brigade, consisting of the First and Second Regiments, the Artillery Battalion, and the Signal Company, under the command of Col. Littleton W.T. Waller, was in occupation of the Republic of Haiti and was engaged in the restoration of order and the preservation of peace in that country. This brigade has carried out its mission in a signally effective manner. Peace has been restored, the inhabitants have returned to their various vocations, and business has rapidly progressed. The work of the Navy and Marine Corps in Haiti was of such a successful nature as to cause the State Department to recommend the enactment of a law authorizing officers and enlisted men to accept appointments as officers in the Haitian Constabulary, the organization of which was provided for in the treaty between the United States and Haiti. This recommendation of the State Department was enacted into law on June 12, 1916, and the constabulary has been fully organized under the command of Maj. Smedley D. Butler, United States Marine Corps, as commandant. It consists of approximately 100 officers and enlisted men of the Marine Corps, 12 officers and enlisted men of the Navy, and 2,500 native Haitian gendarmes. It is expected that as Haitian citizens become qualified to serve as officers they will gradually replace the American officers and enlisted men who are now serving as officers of the constabulary.

In connection with this subject, Navy Department General Order No. 197, March 25, 1916, publishing to the service the letter of the State Department concerning the services of the Navy and Marine Corps in Haiti, is quoted:

General Order No. 197
Navy Department,
Washington, D.C., March 25, 1916.

Service in Haiti.

The department has received with gratification a letter from the Department of State dated March 4, 1916, transmitting a copy of a letter addressed by that department on the same date to the chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives, a paragraph of which reads:

"I can not too strongly recommend that officers and enlisted men of the Navy and Marine Corps of the United States may be made available for service in Haiti, not only because I am convinced that the purpose of the treaty would be most advantageously carried to a successful completion by them, but particularly on account of the fact that by their excellent behavior and considerate bearing they have gained the confidence and esteem of the Government and people of Haiti, toward whom this Government has now assumed great responsibilities and obligations."

The department takes much pleasure in expressing, through the medium of this general order, its warm appreciation of the excellent services rendered in Haiti by the officers and enlisted men of the United States Navy and Marine Corps.

Josephus Daniels
Secretary of the Navy

Source: Annual Reports of the Navy Department for the Fiscal Year 1916 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1917): 72-73, 763.


1917

Expeditions.

17. The First Provisional Brigade of Marines, in conjunction with the Haitian Constabulary, has continued its efficient service in Haiti. A state of peace has been effectively maintained, and the inhabitants of the country have been given an opportunity to develop its resources.

Source: Annual Reports of the Secretary of the Navy for the Fiscal Year 1917 [See attached Annual Report of the Major General Commandant of the United States Marine Corps to the Secretary of the Navy for the Fiscal Year 1917, p. 6.].


1918

Progress and Good Order in San Domingo and Haiti

Haiti, also under the direction and guidance of naval administration, has, in peace and quiet and just laws well administered, enjoyed development, prosperity, and tranquility. The marines have not only preserved order but have aided in systems of internal improvement.

In both San Domingo and Haiti the people have learned that the United States has no policy except one of unselfish friendship and neighborliness, and is using its good offices to secure stable conditions that will redound to the welfare of the people of these two countries, long disturbed by revolution and intrigues.


Expeditions.

22. During the year expeditionary forces have been maintained, as in previous years, in Cuba, Haiti and Santo Domingo. The work done in Cuba during the year has been largely that of training the troops, who were stationed at Guantanamo Bay and Santiago, with outposts near those places.

In both Haiti and Santo Domingo the work done by the Marines has been very satisfactory. Generally speaking, a state of peace has been maintained in both countries. There have been a few outbreaks of bandits in Santo Domingo, but the Marine forces have been amply able to suppress any sudden uprisings, so that it may be stated that conditions have been very materially improved in both countries under military control, and the officers and men stationed there have performed their duties most satisfactorily and efficiently.

23. Senate Bill No. 3006, approved February 11, 1918, authorized the employment of officers of the Navy and Marine Corps with the Government of Santo Domingo, similar, in general terms, to the conditions outlined in the act authorizing such officers and men to accept employment under the Government of Haiti. A constabulary has been organized and put into operation in Santo Domingo along the general outlines of the Haitien Gendarmerie, but thus far no regulations have been issued designating what emolument these officers and men shall receive. In my opinion, it would be wise to authorize the same arrangements for Santo Domingo as apply in Haiti, as these Republics are on the same island, and it would be unjust to make any difference in the compensation paid to officers and men who are performing similar duties. Personally, I do not think the compensation received by the officers and men in Haiti is too great. I have visited both these countries and know the conditions under which the officers and men are serving. I know that, in many cases, they are serving under conditions which constitute real hardship, and as the present procedure has worked so well and efficiently in Haiti, I do not think it advisable to change it, particularly in view of the fact that the cost of the upkeep of the Gendarmerie in Haiti is less than was formerly spent for the Haitien Army and police. In addition, in the present case the money is used to pay for duties efficiently performed, while formerly the funds so spent were practically wasted.

Source: Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy for the Fiscal Year 1918 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1918): 137, 1603-1604.