The Minister in Haiti (Munro) to the Secretary of State

No. 36

Sir: With reference to my telegram No. 263 of December 31st, 12 noon,59 I have the honor to transmit herewith copy and translation of an informal letter from the Haitian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs replying to my personal letter of December 20th. which contained certain observations regarding the question of Haitianizing the Treaty Services.

The outstanding feature of Mr. Sannon’s letter is its apparent acceptance of the plan set forth in my letter of December 20th. as a basis for further negotiations. Mr. Sannon carefully leaves the Haitian Government free, so far as his letter is concerned, to ask a very much more rapid replacement of American officials than my letter had contemplated and it is of course probable that the Haitian Government will demand just as much along this line as it thinks it might be possible to obtain. It will be difficult, however, after carrying on conversations along the lines which I laid down in my letter of December 20th. for the Government to revert to some of the extreme and objectionable features of its own plan, such as the demand for complete American withdrawal from the Treaty Services in one or two years and for the immediate appointment of Haitian co-directors of the Treaty Services, who would practically take control of the Services at once. I believe that there is every indication at the present time that a satisfactory accord on the question of Haitianization can be reached. What the Haitian Government and Haitian public opinion chiefly desire appears to be some assurance that the withdrawal of American officials is actually under way and that there is no intention to impose an extension of the Treaty after 1936.

I am by no means certain that it will not be possible eventually to permit a more rapid withdrawal of Americans from the Treaty Services than our present plans contemplate. The advice given by the heads of the Services on this point is naturally influenced by a desire to maintain a maximum of efficiency in their organizations and a reluctance to handicap their Services in the performance of constructive work. It is very difficult to determine to what extent efficiency should be sacrificed in the interest of a more rapid training of the Haitian personnel. I should not recommend going beyond the plans already formulated by the Treaty Services without mature consideration of the consequences. The process of Haitianization cannot be reversed when it is once under way and any ill-considered step along this line [Page 277] might therefore do irreparable damage for which the Government of the United States could not avoid responsibility so long as the Treaty remains in effect. I intend therefore to discuss the matter with the Haitian Government for the present on the basis of the programs formulated by the Treaty officials. It may be possible to make changes in these programs on the basis of a better knowledge of conditions in Haiti and after more detailed observation of the work performed by each Service in various parts of the Republic.

As I indicated in my telegram of December 30th., No. 259, 2 [5] p.m.,60 the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs discussed with me that portion of his letter regarding the Financial Adviser-General Receiver before actually sending the letter to me. He said that the Government fully recognized that the Protocol of 1919 and the Loan contracts would require some arrangement to safe-guard the interest of the bondholders after 1936, but that he did not think that they would require that the office of the Financial Adviser-General Receiver continue to function exactly in its present form. He thought that a special accord between the two governments on this point would be necessary. I said that I agreed with him on this point and that I had not meant to indicate in my letter of December 20th. that no change would be made in the work of the Financial Services after the expiration of the Treaty. What I had intended to bring out was the fact that since the collection and application of the pledged revenues must remain in the hands of American officials during the life of the loan, the situation of this Service was entirely different from that of the Services which would be turned over completely to Haitian control during the next six years. It was clear that a much more rapid and far-reaching program of Haitianization must be adopted in these latter Services. Neither the Minister nor I touched on the question of the control over the internal revenue, although I could see that it was in his mind. In this connection I have the honor again to request that the Department furnish me as soon as practicable with its views regarding the question whether the internal revenue must remain under American control under the terms of the Protocol and the Loan Contracts.

Respectfully yours,

Dana G. Munro

The Haitian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Sannon) to the American Minister (Munro)

Dear Mr. Minister: On the occasion of your visit on the 20th of this month to the Department for Foreign Affairs, and at the end of [Page 278] our interview, you had the kindness to hand me a personal and confidential letter of the same date, in reply to the memorandum which I had the honor to address to the Legation of the United States on the Haitianization of the Treaty Services.

Although the proposals contained in the said memorandum were the result of a long preparation and are in conformity with the objects envisaged by our two Governments in anticipation of the approaching expiration of the Treaty, I agree with you that there is occasion to undertake a minute study of the entire question. I am, therefore, fully prepared to proceed with you without loss of time to an examination of the Haitianization plan submitted to your Legation.

The importance which the Government attaches to a definitive accord on all the points under discussion is in its eyes the more important in that the results which it is proposed to obtain have for it a national interest.

Our pressing desire to conclude this accord fortunately is in harmony with that which the Government of the United States itself continues to manifest.

Before submitting to you reflections and reservations which your observations on the Haitianization plan have suggested to me, I wish to point out my appreciation of the friendly spirit in which you have undertaken the negotiations.

a. On the Haitianization of the Public Works Service.

In reply to this section of the Memorandum, you inform me that all of the eight departments or districts which make up this service are now under the direction of Haitian engineers, with the exception of the districts of Cayes and Jérémie.

You add that the office at Aux Cayes will probably be turned over to a Haitian engineer within three or four months, if I understand your idea correctly.

With regard to Jérémie, you say that there is no Haitian engineer immediately available, but one is being trained for this district. I understand that the Haitian engineer, Salès, now at Jérémie, is well prepared by his long practice to take charge of that office immediately. M. Sales during two or three years was the assistant to the departmental engineer of the Artibonite and of the Northwest. He was even provisionally in charge of the administration of that department and, subsequently, was in charge of the sub-district of St. Marc, before going to Jérémie. He has, therefore, the desired training and competence to take charge without delay of the district of Jérémie.

The Haitianization indicated for the departments of the North and the Artibonite is far from being complete. There are still two American inspectors over the Haitian engineers Champana and Sixto who are stationed there, and orders and instructions from the headquarters of the Public Works service are transmitted to them through the [Page 279] American inspectors. The Government proposes that these two inspectors be at least recalled to the central office at Port-au-Prince.

By Haitianization, my Government understands in effect the promotion of Haitians to directive and administrative positions and it is certainly in this sense that it is understood by the Government of the United States.

Under these conditions, in every service or branch of service where there is a Haitian assistant who is discharging his duties with competence, he is qualified to replace the American superior. It is, besides, you will agree with me, the only practical means of preparing the way in time for the liquidation of the Treaty and of carrying out the intentions of the two interested Governments.

b. On the services of the Central Office of Port-au-Prince.

I note with pleasure the assurance which you give me that Haitian engineers are now being trained to become chiefs of the eight divisions of this office, and that the services of Irrigation and Public Buildings will soon be confided to them.

The Government is convinced that the Haitian engineers, L. C. Ethéart, Maignan, Léon Ménos, Péreira, F. Azor, Louis Roy and Jeannot, respectively assistants in the services of Irrigation, Public Buildings, Telegraphs, Roads or Municipal Engineering, Cadastral Survey and General Administration, can without disadvantage to these services replace the American employees who are now in charge thereof.

You repeat the assurance that five out of the eleven American civilian employees in the central office at Port-au-Prince will be dismissed within a short time.

c. On the Haitianization of the Service d’Hygiene.

You inform me that of the ten sanitary districts four, namely those of Port-au-Prince, St. Marc, Jérémie and Petit Goave, have all been placed under the direction of Haitians. I shall await an opportunity to discuss this question with you at greater length. I note that the American doctors will soon leave the hospitals at Hinche and Jacmel, to make place, if I understand you correctly, for Haitian doctors.

You add that the sanitary districts at Gonaives and Aux Cayes may be Haitianized in 1932 or 1933, leaving only the districts of Port-au-Prince and Cape Haitien under American health officers.

I shall wish to discuss the period indicated for the Haitianization here envisaged because it seems to me too long.

Concerning the Service d’Hygiene, you inform me that the personnel of the headquarters at Port-au-Prince and the General Hospital is now largely Haitian and that it will be more so as the expiration of the Treaty draws near.

The Government does not deny that the personnel at the headquarters of the Service and at the General Hospital includes many [Page 280] Haitians, but it wishes to call your attention to this fact: That true Haitianization should aim toward the promotion of the Haitian doctors and employees to positions of administration and authority before the expiration of the Treaty.

d. On the Service Technique.

I note with satisfaction that our views on the broad lines of the reorganization proposed in the memorandum of the Government are in accord.

It appears easy to me to accomplish rather rapidly the Haitianization of this important service.

A Haitian assistant is attached to each of the departments of this service. There are, besides, a number of young Haitians who have already specialized, or are now specializing, for all branches of this service in universities in the United States.

It would be appropriate to increase the number of these Haitian students. This is a question which I would like to make the subject of one of our early interviews.

Since you are willing to recommend to your Government the acceptance of the proposal, providing for the division of the Service Technique into two branches, and you wish to discuss further with me the question in its entirety before recommending to your Government the acceptance of a definitive plan, I can only place myself at your entire disposition for the discussion in question.

e. On the Haitianization of the Office of the Financial Adviser-General Receiver.

Here, the views of the Haitian Government are not at all in accord with those which you express in your letter. There is certainly some misunderstanding in your mind which I wish above all to dissipate. The Government absolutely does not believe that the Protocol of 1919 and the loan contract constitute obstacles to the Haitianization of the Treaty Services directed by the Financial Adviser-General Receiver. I reserve this question, nevertheless, preferring to make it the subject of one of our future interviews.

In thanking you for your communication, I take [etc.]

H. Pauléus Sannon
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