File No. 838.51/407.
The National Bank of the Republic of Haiti to the Secretary of State .
Mr. Secretary of State: According to reports published in the press of the United States, the American authorities have taken over the several public services of the Republic of Haiti at Port au Prince and Gape Haitien, in particular the collection of customs duties.
Now the terms of Article 14 of the concession contract of the National Bank of the Republic of Haiti explicitly state the rights and duties of that institution in respect to the collection and distribution of the said duties; it reads as follows:
The Bank will have exclusive charge of the service of the State Treasury both at home and abroad. Under that head it shall receive all moneys due the State when collected and in particular the customs duties on imports and exports. Likewise it shall effect, within the limits set forth in Article 15 hereinbelow, all payments for the account of the State including the service of interest and amortization of the public debt.
The greater part of customs duties have been pledged to holders of foreign and domestic bonds and also to the beneficiaries of certain debts incurred by the Republic in connection with railway, electric lighting, public works and other contracts.
In addition, most of the agreements between the Haitian State and its creditors provide that it will be the Bank’s duty to pay over to those entitled thereto the part of the duties that is their due; for instance, in the case of the 1910 loan, by far the most important, Article 19 says:
During the whole life of the loan the duties hereinabove pledged shall tee directly collected for the account of whom it may concern by the attorney of the National Bank of the Republic of Haiti designated by the Bankers as their representative to that effect.
Article 4 of the 1912 loan and Article 5 of the 1913 loan, which are identical, provide that:
The National Bank of the Republic of Haiti shall ex-officio credit the bond account with the amount pledged and, also ex-officio, upon a mere notice to the Department of Finance, distribute the proceeds thereof which will be used first for the payment of interest and next for the amortization of the capital.
Under the conditions and for the protection of the interests involved I have the honor to bespeak your high intercession, Mr. Secretary of State, with a view to having the requisite orders issued to turn over to our treasury all moneys collected on customs receipts, in accordance with the contracts and conventions.
Again, permit me to draw your attention to the particularly grave turn for the creditors of the State taken by the situation since the late events that have taken place in Haiti.
There is no longer any government at ports that are not occupied by the forces of the United States; customs duties are collected by the local authorities; since those moneys have ceased being turned over to us in violation of the pledges which I have had the honor to recite to your excellency the said authorities use them as they see fit and avail themselves of them to subsidize revolutionists whose access to power they are interested in favoring.
Such a condition of affairs not only injures the interests of the National Bank of the Republic of Haiti, it also, as I have just had the honor to explain to your excellency, is very harmful to the other creditors of the Haitian State.
I beg [etc.]