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

No. 5

Sir: You are informed that an understanding between the Department and the French Embassy regarding the treatment of French claims by the proposed Claims Commissions in Haiti was arrived at by a memorandum of the Department dated October 29, 1920, and notes from the French Embassy dated December 14 and 26, 1920.84 In the Memorandum of October 29, the Department made the following suggestions:—

“That the Claims Commission established by virtue of the Protocol between the United States and Haiti of October 3, 1919,85 be composed as provided in that Protocol, of one member to be nominated by the Minister of Finance of Haiti, one member to be nominated by the Secretary of State of the United States, and the third member, during the period in which the claims of French citizens are being considered, to be designated by the French Government and nominated by the Financial Adviser to the Haitian Government, and all three members so nominated to be appointed by the Government of Haiti;

“That the French Government signify its willingness to have all French claims, whether already passed upon by other commissions or not, reviewed by the Claims Commission constituted as above indicated and that this Commission may make such final awards as may seem to that Commission just and equitable;

“That if after examination the French Government considers that any claim has not received satisfactory settlement, the French Government will retain the right to present such claims through the diplomatic channel, or to have such claims finally passed upon by an arbitral tribunal composed as provided in the Protocol signed September 10, 1913, between the French Government and the Government of Haiti.”

To this Memorandum, the French Embassy replied on December 14, that the French Government was disposed to accept the procedure suggested by the Department of State, except as regarded claims which had already been adjudicated, and upon the condition that the procedure should be defined through an exchange of notes regarding

The absolute right of the French Government to refer to an arbitral tribunal instituted in accordance with the Franco-Haitian Protocol of 1913, all claims the settlement of which by the Claims Commission should not be deemed satisfactory;
The extreme limit of time within which the Haitian Government should appoint its arbitrator for the organization of the said tribunal;
The mode and term of payment of claims settled by the arbitral tribunal.

As regards claims already adjudicated, the French Government indicated that it was unwilling to submit these claims to the Claims Commission. Such claims fall into three classes:

Claims settled by the arbitral tribunal organized under the Franco-Haitian Protocol of 1913, as follows:
Lassalle claim, allowed in the amount of $3,000;
Barthe claim, allowed in the sum of $1100;
Clovis claim, rejected;
Rouzier claim, allowed against the Commune of Cape Haitian in the sum of $8800;
Glück claim, being a judgment of the Haitian Courts against the State in the sum of $524, 55,553 francs, and 189 gourdes, the last claim to be referred to the Claims Commission, however, upon the understanding that the Commission should pass only upon the question of the execution of the judgment.

The Department of State, in a note dated January 17, 1921,86 indicated that this Government perceived no objection to the principles involved in the French Embassy’s note, nor to their definition through an exchange of notes. It suggested, however, that this exchange of notes should take place between the Government of Haiti and the Government of France.

You are instructed, therefore, to inform the Haitian Government of this Government’s belief that the procedure outlined above might advantageously be agreed upon in an exchange of notes between the Government of Haiti and the French Government. This exchange of notes should be effected in the near future in order that the consideration of French claims by the Claims Commission may not be delayed.

I am [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes