File No. 763.72/4084

Memoranda of the Chief of the Division of Latin-American Affairs of the Department of State ( Stabler)

On Saturday, April 21, Mr. Ménos, the Haitian Minister, called at the Latin-American Division by appointment and informed Mr. Stabler that he had received a cable from his Government stating that the President of Haiti had held numerous conferences with General Cole, of the forces in occupation, in connection with Haiti’s entrance into the war with Germany on the side of the United States; that General Cole had conveyed to the President a statement that it would be advisable for Haiti to take this step, but that the President, in view of possible opposition, desired to be assured of proper aid and assistance in case the Government of Haiti decided to break relations with Germany and declare war. Mr. Stabler said that he would immediately take up this matter with the Secretary [Page 267] who would then instruct him to answer Mr. Ménos’ inquiry in the premises. Mr. Ménos said he would be glad to have this information as soon as possible.

Mr. Stabler spoke with the Secretary this morning with reference to Mr. Ménos and requested to be informed as to whether the Government of the United States would give proper aid to the Government of Haiti, should she break off relations and declare war with Germany. Mr. Lansing instructed Mr. Stabler to state to Mr. Ménos that the United States would give all aid to Haiti in such eventuality.

As General Cole had cabled the Navy Department requesting the same information, Mr. Stabler asked Mr. Lansing if he was authorized to give the Navy Department the same information as Mr. Ménos in order that they might answer the cable. Mr. Lansing told Mr. Stabler he might do this.

Mr. Ménos called at the Department this afternoon at the request of Mr. Stabler and was informed by the latter that the United States would give all proper assistance to him in case of a declaration of war with Germany. Mr. Ménos asked what specific aid the United States might give. This Mr. Stabler said it was impossible at the moment to say as the question of furnishing aid was one which depended entirely upon the circumstances which might arise.

In speaking with Mr. Ménos Mr. Stabler, as is the custom, used the French language and informed him that the United States would give Haiti tout appui which he considered a correct translation of what the Secretary had instructed him to say. Mr. Ménos said would this mean in English “all proper assistance.” Mr. Stabler said it would.

At the Pan American Union on the occasion of the reception by the Secretary of State to Mr. Balfour, Mr. Ménos spoke to Mr. Stabler and informed him that he had sent a telegram to his Government, based on a conversation he had had with Mr. Stabler, and had said that the United States would give appui convenable to Haiti, in case of her breaking off relations and declaring war. Mr. Stabler said that of course was one translation, but that as he had informed him, the translation should be tout appui.