Mr. Smythe to Mr. Gresham.

No. 10.]

Sir: I desire to submit to your Department the suggestions and recommendations in this dispatch in the hope that they may induce the Executive to recall the proclamation of his predecessor suspending the operation of the McKinley bill as it relates to Haiti. I presume, of course, inasmuch as the Republics of Venezuela and the States of Colombia were affected in the same way, and as all the reasons that can be urged in one case are equally applicable to the others (so far as I can determine), that the President may not see fit to make what might be considered an invidious distinction in favor of one of the powers.

Aside from the patent fact that the proclamation referred to was in contravention with treaty agreements, I have become convinced after a patient and laborious investigation that such action would materially increase the volume of trade between the United States and Haiti, and be productive of a state of feeling that would tend to promote any interest that your Department may desire to advance. The Executive of the United States is already regarded as a friend to Haiti because of certain decisions of your Department during his former administration (relating to the claims of Pelletier and others), and any action on his part now in advance of legislation on the tariff would be construed as an act of grace and good will, and would not only promote every American interest in Haiti but would place this legation in a position to effectually combat the influence of the powers heretofore predominant in the foreign office.

In support of my recommendation I submit the following in relation to the coffee trade. The crop amounts to about 100,000,000 pounds, and is thought by many to be the finest in the world. Three years ago much of it was finding a profitable market in the United States, but now the duty of 3 cents is simply prohibitive, and all the crop is sent to Europe and all the goods imported from European countries are brought back in return. This year the crop is late and it will not all be gathered before June, hence immediate action in the line indicated would divert all not already shipped to the United States. Here at Port au Prince, which is not the center of the industry, the trade is a most important one, requiring many millions of dollars to move it, employing many people for whom there is at this season no other means of support, and affording immense tonnage to vessels.

Other articles upon which our duties are prohibitive are hides, wax, and honey, and I have just learned from Mr. Richard Allen, the largest dealer in these articles on the island, that he has had to break off his large trade with our ports, and that in sending his goods elsewhere he gets in return goods from Europe which ordinarily would come from [Page 336] our country. He has a list of twenty other articles which he believes under favorable conditions could be profitably shipped to our ports.

It is pertinent to say that the Haitian Government depends entirely for the means of its budget on duties on imports and exports, and I learn that, notwithstanding the duties collected nearly all the food products, especially flour, lard, bacon, and salt fish are imported from the United States. Many of the light cotton fabrics of the country are also of American manufacture.

Under former conditions many mills for the preparation of coffee and other products were started up. One by Mr. Wakeman, an American, began three years ago under favorable auspices, because he had an American market for fine grades, but having lost this he contemplates giving up his business, in which he has invested many thousands of dollars.

In the sincere hope that the Secretary will submit this to the President as an earnest argument for immediate action,

I have, etc.,

Henry M. Smythe.