838.51/2519: Telegram

The Chargé in Haiti (Heath) to the Secretary of State

110. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has requested me, in view of the failure of the legislative body to ratify the treaty signed September 3rd, to obtain:

A statement from the Department as regards its present program for the withdrawal of the Marine Brigade and the Scientific Mission, and for the Haitianization of the Garde, and to ascertain:
Whether the Department would consider negotiating a new treaty preferably leaving the question of financial control after 1926 [1936] for settlement at a later date.
Whether the Department would consider concluding separate executive arrangements respecting the Garde and the Brigade but postponing settlement of the question of financial administration.

As regards his second question the Minister states that there has been a distinct improvement in the attitude of the legislative body as a result of the President’s proclamation transmitted in my despatch No. 497, dated September 16,27 but that there is scant probability of the Government being able to obtain favorable reconsideration of the treaty during the remaining few days of the session. He thinks, however, that the Legislature, although it rejected the treaty in principle, could now be influenced to pass a resolution asking for the negotiation of a new treaty.

He admitted that his request for delaying executive agreements and the postponement of an agreement for future financial control was probably unacceptable but asked nevertheless that it be transmitted.

I perceive no advantage at this time in considering the negotiation of a new treaty even of equivalent provisions. There is still possibility that the legislative body may ratify the treaty during a later session.

The President in his proclamation has taken a strong if belated [Page 682] stand as to the advantage and necessity of the new treaty, and this is having some effect on the Legislature. I believe that this trend and the Government’s present attitude would be supported by a statement from the Department.

I recommend, therefore, that I be instructed to reply to the Minister of Foreign Affairs that the new treaty not having been sanctioned the presence of the Brigades and the Scientific Mission and the administration of the finances and of the Garde continue to be governed only by the treaty of 1915 and subsequent accords; that, with respect to the negotiation of a new treaty the Department is of the opinion that the convention signed September 3 contains all possible concessions to the wishes of the Haitian Government since the freedom of action of both Governments is limited by the fact that third parties have purchased bonds upon the faith and credit of the provisions of the treaty of 1915 and the protocol of 1919; that a reasonable interpretation of article 8 of the protocol would justify the maintenance after 1936 [of] the existing system of financial control substantially in its present form if this appeared necessary to protect the bondholders; that in any case the Government of the United States would not desire to conclude separate agreement concerning the Brigade and the Garde, unless a new agreement concerning the financial administration was made previously or at the same time.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs desires a reply to his inquiries if possible by Friday at the latest as the legislative session closes Saturday at midnight.

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