File No. 383.516/63.
Minister Blanchard to the Secretary of State.
Port au Prince, February 1, 1915.
Your January 26, 6 p.m. In an interview with the Minister for Foreign Affairs Friday morning I complied with your above instructions. Considering this grave he insisted that it be in writing and accordingly I addressed to him a note confirming verbal communication to which he will reply.
In the conversation he insisted that the Haitian Government had never intended using other than legal means to remove the funds now under seal at the Bank and stated that it was the Bank which had first asked that seals be lifted, claiming the funds to be Bank property and not funds of the retrait as claimed by the Haitian Government. In view of this the judicial authorities called at the Bank to lift seals and remove the fund in controversy to another banking house where it would be placed under seal pending decision. However, his reply will be given in writing.
The facts, as far as I can ascertain, are as follows: The bank having addressed a letter to juge d’instruction stating that contrary to what Mr. Desrue, director of the Bank, had supposed and declared, the funds of the retrait according to a telegram from New York were fully and well conserved by the council of administration, and consequently the funds under seal and all other funds at the Bank and agencies being the property of the Bank or of depositors, asked that seals be lifted. The Government sent judicial authorities to lift seals, also to remove money to another banking house claiming it to be retrait money. This Williams refused after which it was most persistently reported that an attempt would be made to forcibly remove funds.
In view of the possibility of such attempt being made, the Legation, in constant touch with the Bank, was prepared to take the necessary steps to prevent same.