The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Haiti (Dunn)
28. For General Russell.
Your December 9, 1 p.m.18 and December 29, noon.19 Department feels that the Haitian Government is justified under Article 439 of the Treaty of Versailles in assuming the position that Germany may not present diplomatic claims arising from events prior to the treaty and may not make any diplomatic appeal from the awards of the Claims Commission. It feels, however, that Haiti owes a strong moral obligation towards German claimants, not as German nationals but as private individuals, if these claimants bring forward just debts arising out of transactions not connected with Haiti’s participation in the war. It believes that these debts should be presented, like other claims, by the private owners for the consideration of the Claims Commission, and on terms as favorable as accorded other aliens.
In view of the above, and since there may presumably be German claims arising out of events subsequent to the war and therefore on exactly the same footing as other foreign claims, the Department has arranged with the Financial Adviser to nominate Mr. Edmund [Page 401] Helmcke for appointment by the Haitian Government as member of the Claims Commission while German claims, except those in which Mr. Helmcke is interested, are under consideration. Helmcke was suggested by German Government at Department’s request.20
Department feels the procedure above outlined, which would demonstrate the Haitian Government’s desire to do justice to all of its creditors, would be that which is most in accord with fairness and sound financial policy, and it hopes that the Haitian Government will share its views.