Mr. Durham to Mr. Gresham.
Port au Prince, Haiti, August 28, 1893.
(Received September 4.)
Sir: I beg leave to inclose the accompanying project, which has been presented in the chamber of deputies here for legal enaction. It is a discriminating tax against foreigners in Haiti engaged in any active employment, and so far as it would affect American citizens would seem to violate the treaty between Haiti and the United States.
The feeling of antipathy for foreigners which seems to animate this project has caused some alarm among the foreign merchants. To the inquiries of American citizens, I have replied that so long as the proposed law remains a mere communication from the Executive to the legislative branch of the Government, this legation can not officially take cognizance of its existence without previous instructions from the Department.[Page 348]
Similar discriminations against foreigners have been attempted by nearly all the administrations during the past forty years; and even now foreigners suffer petty discriminations which are generally accepted as scarcely warranting protest. The last serious attempt to discriminate against foreigners was by the executive decree of President Dominque, which was reported at length by Mr. Bassett, then U. S. minister to Haiti, in dispatches to Mr. Fish, No. 426, January 28, 1876; No. 428, February 7, 1876; No. 443, April 10, 1876.
Mr. Fish’s instruction No. 261, of March 13, 1876, states clearly the Department’s views as to the purpose and extent of Article V of the treaty between Haiti and the United States.
I am inclined to think that the project will not pass both branches of Congress; but should it become a law and its application attempted, I shall be guided by the correspondence above quoted until I shall have received instructions from you.
I have, etc.,