Mr. Terres to Mr. Hay.

No. 1382.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a protest handed in to this legation by Mr. George Schwedersky, an American citizen largely interested in business in Haiti, with the request that same be forwarded to the Department of State at Washington.

I called on the minister for foreign affairs with Mr. A. Battiste for the purpose of finding out the reason why the patent was refused. [Page 385]He seemed not to know the cause for the refusal but promised to furnish me with the information, which has not been done up to this date. This shows a very alarming situation for Americans doing business in Haiti, and unless some means are taken to stop same will result in their utter ruin.

I am, etc.,

John B. Terres.
[Inclosure 1.]

Mr. Schwedersky to Mr. Powell.

Sir: I wish to bring to your notice the inclosed letter received this day from the Haitian minister of finances, and desire that you forward the same to the Department of State at Washington for their serious and immediate consideration.

I am one of the principal partners of the old and honorable standing firm J. Dejardin Th. Luders & Co., of this city. The firm of Dejardin has been existing here since the year 1830. I have been connected with the firm as partner since the past eleven years.

Yearly the foreign houses doing business in Haiti apply for a patent to conduct their business, which patent is granted by the President of the Republic. As customary, when called upon by the mayor of the city last October, we paid over to him the amount of taxes for the patent for the ensuing year, as well as in November to the Government the amount of the new license tax, established by the law of 13th August, 1903, and made the customary demand by letter for the patent. Not receiving it during the month of January, I wrote again requesting that the patent be granted. As none of the foreign houses had received theirs I concluded, as others, that it was mere neglect on their part, as has been often the case in former years. To my great astonishment I received the letter mentioned.

The firm has large investments in Haiti, we do a large banking business, are also heavily interested In a city tramway and a railroad extended to the plains, which has only recently been completed. We are also heavy investors in a tobacco plantation and a cigar manufactory, besides being large owners of Haitian securities, upon which they have lately placed a repudiating tax, which is entirely contrary to their binding contract to pay in full for same.

This letter, as you will see, states that a reasonable delay will be given to liquidate our business. There is no possible plausible reason to be given for the highhanded, arbitrary demand on our firm, and it would be utterly impossible to comply with this unwarrantable demand without being very heavy losers in all the enterprises in which we are engaged, and besides we would surely lose our entire outstanding debts, which are very heavy, if we are forcibly thrown into liquidation by this highhanded proceeding of the Haitian Government, especially as a firm which is not in possession of its patent can not carry on any lawsuit.

As an American citizen I most earnestly protest against the arbitrary right of the Haitian Government to impose any such ruinous demands upon the firm in which I am engaged, and I most earnestly request of the United States Government to take such action in the premises that will secure to me my rights and to avoid my being a heavy loser if this decree is allowed to be put in force.

Yours, respectfully,

G. Schwedersky.
[Subinclosure.]

Mr. Biyou to Messrs. J. Dejardin Th. Luders & Co.

Gentlemen: I acknowledge receipt of your two letters of 26th November, 1903, and 3d of this month, the latter confirming the former, by which you [Page 386]request me to obtain from His Excellency the President of the Republic a license for you as consignee merchants. Your demand was accompanied by the voucher of the bank, establishing the payment of the license tax, amounting to the sum of $150.

I hasten to announce to you that His Excellency the President of the Republic by his dispatch, of the 27th of this month, has informed me that he has decided not to grant your demand of license, has left to me the care, in notifying you of this decision, to reimburse the tax paid to the treasury, and to accord you a convenient delay to liquidate your commercial affairs.

In consequence I hold at your disposal the 150 gourdes, which will be paid over to you by the paymaster of the department against receipt in duplicate.

As for the delay which is granted to you, my colleague of the department of the interior will notify you of same, this question being for his determination.

Receive, etc.,

Cajuste Biyou.
[Inclosure 2.]

Mr. Schwedersky to Mr. Powell.

Sir: Referring to my letter of protest of the 2d instant, I beg to add to same that I have omitted to state that, besides the interests mentioned and owned by my firm, I am personally largely interested in important mining concessions obtained from the Platien Government, for the exploration of the mining concessions considerable money has been expended.

Yours, respectfully,

G. Schwedersky.