File No. 711.38/27.
Port au Prince, August 30, 1915. 10 p.m.
Pursuant to my request for an expression of opinion as to draft of treaty originally submitted, I succeeded yesterday in having President and Cabinet go into detailed discussion with me as to original proposition. After a conference of seven hours they would, on behalf of Government, agree to sign the treaty modified as below set out.
Insist that plan for the control of customs as proposed infringes upon the existing bank concessions, and insist this difficulty should be removed before the question finally discussed. State that they are willing to give the control of customs if this difficulty is removed, adding however that even after removal of difficulty they would insist on changes which would give the United States control but not administration.
Declare that financial adviser altogether impossible of acceptance as infringing on the constitutional powers of Minister of Finance.
Declare that Article 13 acceptable in substance but not in form but refused to submit a form which would be acceptable to them.
Decline to accept the clause allowing renewal, substituting one making it optional with either party to conclude agreement at the end of ten years.
Desire to substitute word “American” for the word “foreign” in Article 11.
In Article 10 wish to omit “except to United States” and the word “other”.
Desire appointments he made by the President of Haiti from a list submitted by the President of the United States instead of directly by President.
Other minor details in wording are also desired.
They declare a treaty as above indicated is the utmost they can agree to, giving unconstitutionality, fear of popular opinion and impossibility of receiving support of Chambers as reasons why more can not be conceded. Evident disinclination of several Cabinet members to really attempt to arrive at an agreement is very apparent. They state that Government will resign rather than agree to original stipulations; seem to be working for a delay. President himself seems sincerely desirous of reaching agreement, but does not appear to be a man of sufficient force to control Cabinet and Chambers.[Page 440]
In view of possibility of their sincerity and a fall of the Government, have not delivered contents of your August 28, 8 p.m.,8 as it may very possibly result in United States being obliged to take steps referred to in your August 24 and consequently think it advisable to advise you and allow, opportunity for decision as to which course to pursue in such an eventuality.
In my opinion think it advisable to resume taking of customhouses.
- Not printed.↩