The Secretary of State to the French Chargé (Béarn)

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 24th instant [ultimo], referring to a note from the Ambassador, of February 26, 1921,38 in which he informed my predecessor39 [Page 419] of the desire of the National Association of French Bondholders to learn the nature and the importance of the modifications which the Financial Adviser of the Haitian Government proposes to make to the contract of concession of the National Railway Company of Haiti, as well as the means contemplated to meet the payment of the coupons in arrears as [and?] the current interest. Referring further to the earlier communication, you inform me that your Government is receiving frequent inquiries from the bondholders of the railway referred to and that you would appreciate it if I would ask the Financial Adviser of the Haitian Government about the status of the plan of reorganization of the railway and let you know if possible the approximate date when binding offers of settlement may be laid before the bondholders.

With reference to the matter of the payment of the coupons in arrears, permit me to invite your attention to the favorable status in which it is placed by means of the Protocol between the United States and Haiti of October 3, 1919, to which the Ambassador referred, particular attention being called to Article III, paragraph 3, and Article VII. With regard to the current interest, the Financial Adviser states that it is his intention to verify and admit so much of it as may from time to time be an obligation of the Haitian Government, as a part of the public debt of Haiti, as soon as the income of Haiti warrants.

With respect to the modification of the concession of the railway, which, as you doubtless are aware, is in the hands of a Receiver, by appointment of a court on the petition of certain creditors, I am informed by the Financial Adviser of Haiti that no formal discussions with the Haitian Government have yet taken place with regard to suggesting a modification for submission to the bondholders and to the Receiver.

The Ambassador in his note referred also to the tax of the French Government, upon bonds, which became due on July 5, 1920. The Financial Adviser of Haiti is not convinced that the payment of this tax is an obligation of the Haitian Government.

Accept [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Henry P. Fletcher
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Mr. Bainbridge Colby.