The High Commissioner in Haiti (Russell) to the Secretary of State

No. 41

Sir: I have the honor to confirm my radiogram No. 71, of June 26, 1922,45 referring to the passage by the Council of State of the loan law. This law, as passed, copy of which is attached, included the modifications contained in my radiograms Nos. 68, of June 19, 1922,45 and 70, of June 23, 1922.45

The law was passed without any untoward incident, the Protocol of October 3, 1919, being first read and then the law voted on, paragraph by paragraph. The vote was unanimous, and was followed by a most ardent address delivered by Mr. James Thomas, a member of the Council of State, in which he spoke of the necessity for the passage of the law and all working in complete accord with the United States Government.

For the past three weeks I have had almost daily conferences with the President of Haiti and often two or three a day with the [Page 500] Minister of Foreign Affairs concerning this law, and I believe that as a result the law fully meets the views of both the United States and the Haitian Government. It is my unqualified opinion that the enactment of the loan law marks the beginning of a new era of development and progress for Haiti. It is the first big step, and if promptly followed by others in the direction of development and a settlement of the interior debts, will have a most beneficial effect upon the entire country.

In this connection, a few weeks ago I personally drew up a program of development, and having carefully gone over it in conference with the Treaty Officials, I took it to the President of Haiti and suggested to him the advisability of issuing this program officially when the loan was floated. He was quite enthusiastic about it, and has written me a very nice letter on the subject, and I am in hopes that he will issue it shortly, not only in the official organ, Le Moniteur, but by posters or notices to be posted in all the large towns throughout the interior.

I have [etc.]

John H. Russell

Haitian Law of June 26, 1922, Providing for a $40,000,000 Loan

Louis Borno, President of the Republic,

Under article 55 of the Constitution;47

Under the treaty of September 16, 1915, concluded between Haiti and the United States of America, and the additional act of March 28, 1917;

Considering, that in order to fulfill the purposes of the treaty concluded between Haiti and the United States on September 16, 1915, a protocol was concluded between the two Governments on October 3, 1919;

Considering, that in an exchange of notes between the two Governments, certain modifications of the protocol were accepted and confirmed in the notes of the 1st and 3rd of June, 1922;

Considering, that it is urgent that proper measures be taken to establish the finances upon a solid basis; that it is important to profit by the present rate of exchange, in order to redeem the external debt; that it is just and equitable to ameliorate promptly the situation of the bondholders of the interior debt, to determine the amount of the floating debt and of the various claims, and to provide for their settlement, either by redeeming the debt, or by guaranteeing the service of redemption and interest;

[Page 501]

Considering, that in order to arrive at a revision of the customs tariff and to diminish the taxes actually borne by the mass of the people, it is necessary to release the public revenues from the pledges now existing;

Considering, furthermore, that it is absolutely necessary to assure by intelligent measures the augmentation of national production, and consequently to execute all projects for work on public roads and for irrigation of the plains necessary to attain that end; also, that it is necessary to organize a proper surveillance of rural districts and the education and instruction of the rural population, and to provide for the construction of schoolhouses;

On the reports of the Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs, Finance and Commerce, Public Works, Public Instruction, and Agriculture,

And on the advice of the Council of the Secretaries of State,

Has Proposed,

And the Council of State has voted, the following law:

Article I. The Government of the Republic is authorized to contract, to the best interests of the country, a loan of $40,000,000 American gold.

The said loan shall be issued in series; the first shall be for about sixteen millions ($16,000,000), and the others shall be issued as may be necessary for the needs of the public service.

The terms, amounts, rates of interest, sinking funds, and redemption of the bonds shall be fixed by the Haitian Government in accord with the Financial Adviser.

Conforming to article 29 of the Constitution and in the interest of the contracting parties, the loan contract, once concluded and signed, shall be submitted to the Council of State for legislative sanction.

Article II. The stipulations of the protocol of October 3, 1919, signed between the Haitian Government and the Government of the United States of America, are and remain sanctioned, with the following modifications:

The delay of 2 years provided for in article 6 is and remains prorogued, provided, however, that the loan be contracted within a reasonable period.
Paragraph 4 of article 3 of the protocol is suppressed, the sum due having already been paid.
The already liquidated and consolidated interior debt represented by the bonds issued in 1912, 1913, and 1914—A, B, and C—shall not be submitted to the Claims Commission; the Haitian Government [Page 502] reserves to itself the right of continuing the service or of redeeming the bonds.
The proceeds of the bonds as well as the bonds themselves may be used for the payment of the obligations mentioned in articles 3 and 7 of the protocol of October 3, 1919; the reservation of bonds for the 2-year period, for the conversion referred to in the said article 7, is applicable only to such of the bonds as are allocated for the purpose of conversion and does not preclude the immediate use of the bonds or of the proceeds of the bonds not destined to the other uses indicated in the above-mentioned protocol.

The dispositions of the said protocol do not amplify, either in fact or implicitly, the provisions of the treaty of September 16, 1915, hereinabove mentioned.

Article III. The present law shall be executed by the diligence of the Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs, Finance and Commerce, Public Works and the Interior, Public Instruction, and Agriculture, each in that which concerns him.

The President,
J. M. Grandoit

The Secretaries,
Delabarre Pierre-Louis
Charles Fombrun

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. File translation revised after comparison with the French text printed in Le Moniteur, June 28, 1922.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1918, p. 487.