Minister Blanchard to the Secretary of State.
Port au Prince, September 30, 1914.
Sir: I have the honor to forward herewith copy and translation of a note received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs in reply to the memorandum which, at his request, I handed to him at the close of my interview with him on September 25.
As you will observe, the Haitian Government contends that the terms of the railroad contract forbid diplomatic intervention and provide, as the proper mode of procedure in case of disagreement as to the construction to be placed upon any of its terms and conditions, the appointment of a board of arbitration to render a decision as to the proper construction of the contract.[Page 540]
As to the method of foreclosure employed, the Haitian Government claims that it has acted strictly in accordance with Article 10 of the Cahier des Charges.
The Haitian Government further claims that the railroad company has failed to live up to its contract with respect to the delivery of completed sections of the road, setting forth the fact that there is a stipulation in the contract that five completed sections must be delivered every twelve months, while as a matter of fact, up to the present date, only six sections have been delivered, although more than four years have elapsed since the date on which this stipulation became effective.
On the 28th instant, no reply having been received to my cable to the Department of the 25th instant, and having ascertained from the representative of the railroad company here that he had been served with notice of foreclosure for non-compliance with Article 11 of the railroad contract, I availed myself of an opportunity, when calling upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs on another matter, without prejudging what might be the Department’s views or those of the concessionnaire regarding the suggestion as to a stay in the proceedings, to point out that owing to the Saturday half-holiday followed by Sunday there was a material impossibility for the Department to communicate with the concessionnaire in season to have a reply reach me on the 27th.
The Minister then remarked that the proceedings had to be carried out regularly; but, as the suggestion had been made in a spirit of conciliation, the request for a stay in the proceedings, if made within a reasonable time, would of course be granted; and he assured me, in that case, of the best dispositions of the Haitian Government to endeavor to come to an understanding with the company. He felt confident that a satisfactory solution could be found by mutual concession through arbitration and suggested that negotiations for such propositions of agreement as the railroad company might make be carried on by me in the interest of the railroad company, under instructions from the Department, with him representing the Haitian Government.
The above views, which I believe to be in earnest and prompted by a sincere desire on the part of the Haitian Government to come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement with the National Railroad Company of Haiti, are respectfully submitted to the favorable consideration of the Department.
I have [etc.].