File No. 763.72/10058a
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Haiti ( Bailly-Blanchard )
Legation’s September 19, 4 p.m.,1 and subsequent cables and correspondence on this subject.
You are instructed to approach the President in regard to above matters initiated by Minister Foreign Affairs in September 1917, and referred to again as reported by your cable of January 15, 6 p.m.2
As a basis for this conversation, you will recall to the Haitian Government the former suggestion of the Department that a declaration of war against Germany by Haitian Government should be deferred until the adoption of a constitution which would provide a legislative body competent to make such a declaration; that in view of the imminent adoption of the constitution concerning the substance of which the two Governments have cooperated so successfully, the Department considers it fitting to state that the United States Government is deeply appreciative of the desire of the Haitian Government to enter the war on the side of the United States, Brazil, Cuba, Panama, Guatemala and the Entente Allies. Further that this Government considers that by so doing, Haiti could eliminate the grave future menace which a continued presence of German trade control in Haiti will occasion; that the United States would give every proper assistance available to Haiti if she declared war but that country should realize that the magnitude of the struggle necessitates in many instances, real sacrifices at present from those nations associated therein. Therefore, if Haiti joins their ranks she should not anticipate any economic or financial advantages at this time other than those participated in by the other Associated Nations. As noted above, however, the United States is of the opinion that the advantages to Haiti which would accrue from an elimination of [Page 689] German interests there would be of the greatest value when the war is over.
You will keep before the President the fact that the Haitian Government initiated a discussion of this subject and that the United States is only replying to the request of the Haitian Government for advice and counsel in that relation.
Report by cable the substance of the President’s remarks in this connection.