838.51/793: Telegram

The Minister in Haiti (Bailly-Blanchard) to the Acting Secretary of State

At yesterday’s conference treaty officials, Receiver General brought up the question of the present acute gourde situation.

The failure of the bank to make provision for gourde issue as requested by the Financial Adviser last November in order to meet the foreseen demand necessary to market the coffee and cotton crops and to maintain the parity of gold at the usual rate of 5 to 1 has resulted in great distress generally.

In order to maintain the parity the Receiver General has endeavored by exchange against his gourde account to assist the public services in so far as their pay rolls were concerned. This has caused disbursements to more than double his receipts. The shortage of gourdes has now reached the point where the bank is honoring the Receiver General’s checks with gourdes in such a delapidated condition as to be unfit for use, the merchants refusing them for circulation except at a 25% discount to the holder.

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This situation causes a very great hardship to the laboring class and they are now in the position of preferring not to work if paid with currency in stated condition.

The ultimate result of this situation will cause a suspension of public works and services resulting in great damage and injury to the people and business.

The agreement reached by the Haitean Government, the Financial Adviser and Scarpa as to the settlement of accounts with the bank and monetary reform awaits the authorization from Paris for Scarpa to sign.

This delay for which the bunk is solely responsible is causing disaster and depression in the market to the advantage of speculators and holders of the gourdes and to the great damage and injury of the people.

After discussion it was the consensus of opinion in which I concurred, that the Department should be informed by cable of this critical situation and the advisability suggested of bringing pressure on the Paris office to the end that the authorization asked by Scarpa be forthcoming without delay.