File No. 838.516/78.
Minister Blanchard to the Secretary of State.
Port au Prince, February 15, 1915.
Sir: Referring to my cables of February 11 and February 13 with reference to the protest of this Legation in support of the protest of the Bank against the execution of the decrees of January 22 and 27, the one with reference to the emission of Treasury notes to the amount of two million gourdes, the other taking from the Bank the service of the Treasury of the State, I have the honor to enclose herewith copy and translation of a note8 from the director ad interim of the Bank, dated February 2, 1915, forwarding to this Legation copies of the protest of the Bank in this matter; and also copy and translation of another note8 under date of February 3, 1915, requesting the Legation to sustain the protest above mentioned.[Page 513]
In pursuance of this request, this Legation on February 9 addressed a note to the Foreign Office, copy of which is herewith enclosed, protesting against the aforesaid measures as constituting a formal violation of the contract of the Bank and thus compromising American interests in that institution, as reported in my cable of February 11.
Under date of February 13, the Foreign Office addressed to this Legation a note in reply, in which, as you will observe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs lays particular stress, once again, upon the fact that the Bank is a French company, and on this ground repulses the protest of the Legation of the United States as not qualified, the French Minister being the only proper authority here to protest in favor of a French moral person.
After stating the above, the Minister adds as a matter of information for the Legation that the National Bank having violated Articles 12, 15 and 16 of its contract, having refused to the Haitian Government the financial cooperation which it had contracted to furnish, having removed from the Public Treasury a considerable amount, and obstinately retaining in its possession other sums belonging to the State, has added to the case of force majeure created by the European war a new case of force majeure which has placed the Government in the imperative obligation of providing for public administration and national existence.
He concludes, as you will further observe, by stating that if the Bank is not in accord with the Government, Article 24 of the contract provides a means of settling the differences by arbitration, and that the Haitian Government is ready to submit thereto the questions at issue.
The French Minister has received from the Department of Foreign Relations, in reply to his protest, a communication embodying the information furnished this Legation on the subject.
The Director of the Bank has been apprised of the contents of the note of the Department of Foreign Relations addressed to this Legation.
I have [etc.]