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

No. 113

Sir: With reference to previous despatches and telegrams on the subject of the Haitianization of the Treaty Services, I have the honor [Page 462] to report that I called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs immediately after my return from Washington and explained to him very frankly the point of view of the Department of State as it had been conveyed to me during my visit to Washington. I told him that the Government of the United States desired to terminate its intervention in Haiti’s internal affairs at the earliest practicable time, but that it was compelled in considering the Haitianization of the Treaty Services to take into account the promises which had been made by both Governments to the holders of Haiti’s bonds and particularly the fact that the holders had purchased these securities in reliance upon the faithful execution of the provisions of the Treaty and the Protocol. For this reason I said it would be impossible for me to consent to a more rapid Haitianization of the Garde than was contemplated in the plan which I had already proposed since the process of Haitianization must not be permitted to affect Haiti’s obligation to maintain an adequate police force. I explained also the necessity for maintaining throughout the life of the bonds an adequate financial control and said that I could make no concessions with regard to the financial services except those to which I had already agreed and that any further changes in these services would have to await the negotiation of the new agreement which would cover the financial control after 1936. I explained, however, that we were prepared to proceed with the rapid Haitianization of the other Treaty Services and that I had obtained the approval of the Department of State for the plan of Haitianization which the Minister and I had already substantially worked out so far as the Public Works and Public Health Services were concerned.

Mr. Sannon appeared on the whole to be well satisfied with this outline of the situation and was especially pleased when I told him that I had come back with adequate instructions to proceed at once with the negotiation of the new financial agreement. He said that it would be very helpful if he could have an idea of what this agreement would have to contain in order that there might be no unsettled questions to cause suspicion among the Nationalist politicians when the Haitianization accord was signed. I therefore handed him informally and unofficially a brief outline of the main features of the projected convention, explaining to him why the Government of the United States considered that a convention rather than an informal accord was necessary and the principles upon which the new plan was based.

Somewhat to my surprise, Mr. Sannon appeared very much pleased with the plan as presented to him and I took advantage of his apparent satisfaction to suggest that I would have been prepared, if he had desired, to proceed with the negotiation of the new convention simultaneously [Page 463] with the conclusion of the Haitianization accord, if it had not been for my desire to inaugurate some concrete measures of Haitianization at once and my fear that we should meet with delay if we took up the convention now. Mr. Sannon said that he felt sure that we should have no difficulty in concluding the convention very promptly and that he would prefer to conclude the convention and the Haitianization agreement at approximately the same time if it were practicable to do so. He also assured me that the ratification of the Haitian Congress could without doubt be obtained during its present session. I said, therefore, that I thought that my Government would be willing to have me proceed at once with the discussion of the new convention at the same time that we were working out the final details of the Haitianization accord. I am reporting in my despatch No. 114, dated May 5, 1931,30a some observations which Mr. Sannon made regarding the details of the plan for the new convention.

During the same conferences at which the conversations above recorded took place, we also discussed several of the unsettled points in the Haitianization accord itself. Mr. Sannon has apparently finally accepted our position that no modification can be made in the project for the Haitianization of the Garde. With this out of the way we were able to proceed with the question of the Service Technique which we discussed in a preliminary way last Saturday. I told Mr. Sannon that there could be no compromise with respect to the acceptance of Dr. Colvin’s appointment and the payment of his back salary as Director General of the Service Technique, but that the future organization of this service would depend upon what the Haitian Government wished to do for the promotion of agriculture and industrial education, and that our own attitude toward it would be influenced only by our desire to help the Haitian Government in taking urgently needed steps to develop its agricultural resources. I said, however, that we would insist that if the Haitian Government no longer desired the service under contract of the American experts now employed in the Service Technique, we would be compelled to insist that it at least give them a fair opportunity to obtain new employment and that we would not consent to their immediate dismissal without adequate notice. I urged, however, the desirability from Haiti’s own point of view of retaining several of these American experts under contract until the Haitians now being trained in the United States were available to replace them.

Although the Minister did not definitely commit himself, it seemed clear that the Haitian Government was prepared to accept Dr. Colvin’s appointment and to pay him his back salary although the Minister appeared doubtful whether the Government would wish for political reasons to continue him in his present or any other [Page 464] capacity. The Minister did, however, readily admit the desirability of retaining several of the other American experts under contract and admitted the justice of our position regarding the necessity for giving those who are to leave a fair notice of dismissal. He pointed out that the question of the reorganization of the Service Technique was not properly speaking a diplomatic matter but rather a technical one, and he proposed, therefore, that we should entrust to the Minister of Agriculture and Dr. Colvin the task of preparing a plan for our consideration. I agreed to this upon the condition that it did not involve too long a delay and Dr. Colvin is now preparing a plan for the Minister’s consideration.

I have also discussed the question of the Service d’Hygiène with Mr. Sannon and with Dr. Stuart. I informed Mr. Sannon that Dr. Stuart and I considered it very desirable to retain American Public Health officers at Gonaïves and Cayes for at least a year or a year and a half longer, but that this was a matter which directly concerned only the people of those cities and the Haitian Government and that I would, therefore, accept any decision which the Haitian Government might make in this matter. I have not yet been informed of the Government’s decision. I explained further to Mr. Sannon that we should have to maintain sanitary control in Port-au-Prince and Cape Haitien probably throughout the life of the Treaty.

While Mr. Sannon and I have conferred almost every day since my return, it has been difficult to make entirely satisfactory progress in the negotiations because of the Cabinet crisis provoked by Mr. Thoby’s conflict with the Senate and the resultant difficulty encountered by Mr. Sannon in obtaining the approval of the Council of Ministers on points which he considered it necessary to submit to them. I believe, however, that the conclusion of a definite accord regarding the Haitianization of the Treaty Services is dependent now only upon the formulation of the plan for the reorganization of the Service Technique. Since the problem here involved has been the subject of close study by Dr. Colvin and his Haitian associates ever since the inauguration of the new Government, the only possibility of delay lies in the difficulty of obtaining the consent of the Minister of Agriculture, who is well disposed but not especially intelligent or practical. When Mr. Sannon proposed that the elaboration of a plan be left to Dr. Colvin and the Minister, I pointed out that Dr. Colvin had been endeavoring for several months to interest the Minister in problems of the Service Technique but without any very noticeable result and that I feared that we should simply complicate matters by waiting on his decision. Mr. Sannon assured me, however, that the Minister had simply been unwilling to make any decisions regarding the Service Technique until the matter came up [Page 465] for definite settlement and that he thought that the Minister would now reach a prompt agreement with Dr. Colvin on all of the questions involved.

Respectfully yours,

Dana G. Munro
  1. Infra.