File No. 838.77/163

The Secretary of State to Minister Blanchard

No. 115

Sir: With reference to the Department’s cable of March 1, 4 p.m., you are informed that on February 15, 1917, an agreement was reached by Minister Ménos, representing the Government of Haiti, and Mr. R. L. Farnham, the National Railroad Company of Haiti, on the principal points in dispute regarding the railroad matter. A copy of the agreements, a list of the points7 to be submitted to the Financial Adviser for the Government of Haiti and a copy of a communication from Mr. Farnham, dated February 16, 1917,4 are enclosed herewith, for your information.

In order to expedite the settlement of this entire question the Department offered to use its good offices in bringing before the Haitian Government two points which were considered as being outside of the general discussion, but in which the railroad company is greatly interested and which it desires to have settled at the earliest possible moment by the Haitian Government. These two points are set forth in detail in the letter of Mr. Farnham above referred to, and you are instructed to present them without delay to the Government of Haiti. You will state in this connection that the Government of the United States is confident that the Government of Haiti will give these matters prompt attention, and that it will issue proper instructions at the [Page 831] earliest possible moment for the signature of the bonds. You will also ask that the Government of Haiti take up as soon as possible the question of the payment of the interest on the railroad bonds.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Frank L. Polk


Between the undersigned, 1. The Government of the Republic of Haiti, represented by M. Solon Ménos, its Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at Washington on the one part;

2. The Compagnie Nationale des Chemins de fer d’Haiti, represented by Mr. R. L. Farnham, its president, on the other part;

Both parties desiring to bring to an end all the differences and litigations now existing between them, it is agreed:

Art. 1. The Compagnie Nationale des Chemins de fer d’Haiti agrees to change the location of the main line of the railroad between St. Marc and Bahon,—the present terminals—from that set forth in the concessionary contract of the railroad to a more direct and shorter route.

Art. 2. The definite location of the new route between St. Marc and Bahon shall be determined by a commission of engineers, one appointed by the Government of Haiti and one by the railroad company, and such questions as this commission shall be unable to agree upon shall be submitted to an engineer named by the Government of the United States whose findings shall be accepted by both parties hereto as final. This commission shall Consider and determine all questions concerning the location and establishment of the new line and the time of completion of the same, subject to circumstances constituting force majeure which term, considering the extraordinary conditions prevailing in all manufacturing and transportation industries shall comprise delays in the construction of the new line caused by inability, duly established, to obtain deliveries of necessary material or delays in the shipment of the same. Should the United States become involved in war with another power such a contingency shall be considered a condition of force majeure and the railroad company shall suffer no penalty whatsoever for such delays in the prosecution of construction as may result therefrom.

The work of construction of the new located line connecting St. Marc and Bahon shall be commenced within four months from the date of the final determination of the commission of engineers or the third engineer in respect to the definite location and other details concerning the change of route as set forth herein.

Art. 3. The company withdraws its demand for compensation on account of increased cost of construction of the line over the modified or changed route.

The company, while reserving all existing rights of route and construction provided by said contract covering the present location of the line between St. Marc and Bahon, with the view of constructing all of such portions of the original line at such future time as may be agreed upon between the parties hereto, also withdraws its demand for compensation on account of the loss of construction profits that would result from the immediate execution of the said contract.

Art. 4. The Government of Haiti declares that it abandons, and hereby does abandon the foreclosure proceedings instituted against the company.

  • Solon Ménos
  • R. L. Farnham
  1. Printed ante. See Department’s telegram of March 1, 1917, 4 p.m.
  2. Not printed.