The High Commissioner in Haiti ( Russell ) to the Secretary of State
[Received November 17—2:30 p.m.]
140. Department’s 108 November 14, 3 p.m. I presented Department’s views to President Borno and urged him to accomplish an exchange of notes. President Borno immediately objected to Department’s views stating, first, that when British and other governments except French agreed to submit claims to Claims Commission and to nominate their own delegate for said Commission they did so without reservation and thereby accepted the protocol of 1919; second, that to permit foreign governments to have the right of appeal even through diplomatic channels and not allow Haitians an appeal would be most unfair to the Haitians (the Claims Commission law prohibits an appeal to the courts); third, that to permit Haitians to appeal to the courts would prolong the final settlement of claims indefinitely. The President then stated that if the British, Italian and German Governments would agree not to appeal from the decisions of the Claims Commission he would then be willing to accept the French position but that already a member of the British Legation had informed him that if the French were allowed to appeal from the decisions of the Claims Commission the British would of course request the same right. He then stated that rather than submit to such conditions he would prefer to have all French claims referred [Page 550] to the Arbitral Tribunal. The decisions of such tribunal could, he said, be rendered in less than a year.
I pointed out to President Borno the necessity for all claims being considered by the Claims Commission and the advantage to be derived by such action. He was very insistent and stated that it was impossible to give to foreigners what he could not give to Haitians. He declared he could not believe that French Government was aware of the real situation. He believed that the French Minister here was the cause of the insistence of the French Government and that the French Government had not been fully informed. He asked me to request the Department of State to inform the French Government of the true situation and to point out to it the impossibility of the Haitian Government[’s] giving to foreigners a right of appeal that it could not give to its own people.6
- No formal official action appears to have been taken on the last sentence of this telegram.↩