File No. 838.51/385.
The French Ambassador to the Secretary of State.
Washington, February 20, 1915.
Mr. Secretary of State: I repeatedly have had occasion to remind your excellency, as well as your predecessors, of the importance of French interests in Haiti and of the Government of the Republic’s desire, assuredly a legitimate desire, that they be not imperilled.
The contingency of a financial reorganization of that Republic on the initiative of the United States was notably the object of several letters and conversations in the course of which I pointed out that France should naturally be taken into partnership in those measures not only because of the predominant importance of her financial interests in Haiti, notably in the Bank of that country, but also because of the ties of various kinds subsisting between my country and that land that was formerly French. In the opinion of the Government of the Republic there could arise no legitimate international rivalry on that point since no other nation holds the peculiar situation that France occupies toward Haiti.[Page 515]
By reason of the disturbed condition prevailing in the Haitian Republic and of the indications it has again had from Port au Prince as to the aforesaid plans, my Government desires me to recall to your excellency’s mind the position it takes on that matter.
I am directed to remind you also that, in the course of the several conversations I have had the honor to have with you on the subject, you were pleased to assure me that in any event the finances, customs and various concessions would be maintained on a footing of strict economic equality and that no régime would be established discriminating against us in favor of the United States in a French-speaking country to whose development it is even so important that its relations with France be not impaired.
I am certain, from the intentions which your excellency kindly discloses to me, that the sanctioning of any such inequality does not enter your mind, and I shall be very thankful to you if you would kindly enable me so to assure my Government.
Be pleased [etc.]