838.51/2524: Telegram

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

116. The Minister for Foreign Affairs this morning handed me a lengthy note30 in reply to a note from the Legation communicating the text of the Department’s telegram No. 62 of September 22, 5 p.m. He stated that the Government desires to publish tomorrow both notes in an endeavor to inform public opinion of the situation resulting from the failure to ratify the treaty of September 3rd.

His note while conciliatory in language implies that the United States in view of the nonratification of the treaty is prepared to stop Haitianization of the Garde arguing that the text of the Department’s telegram “would signify a sort of resolution to do nothing until 1936” which will be a “plausible solution” as there are “possibilities of a practical arrangement of the situation”.

The note states that “to do nothing would not be in conformity with the declaration of President Hoover of February 4th, 1930, or the recommendations of the Forbes Commission” and that “if training does not begin now how can one hope for the discipline and efficiency of the Garde” upon which the stability of the Government will depend in 1936. “It cannot be” the note reads “the intention simply to withdraw the American officers leaving the corps in a state of inefficiency” and asks to avoid “later complications” that progressive and entire Haitianization be continued in accordance with the treaty of 1915 and the Forbes plan. It then states the belief that the United States will not place its moral responsibilities to the bondholders above those assumed “to the Government and people of this country”. The note suggests to satisfy the obligations assumed in connection with the bond issues the conclusion of a new “exclusively technical agreement such as the one we have proposed” and in conclusion requests the reconsideration of the “question of guarantees of interest and amortization of the loans.”

I objected to the Foreign Minister’s attributing to the United States the design of stopping Haitianization of the Garde as a result of the nonratification of the new treaty and he admitted that he understood that this process would be continued in compliance with the treaty of 1915 although not at the accelerated rate provided in protocol A and that there was nothing in the Department’s reply [Page 685] to justify this interpretation. He added that stopping Haitianization “would have been the logical result of the Legislature’s rejection of the treaty.” I informed him of the contemplated early Haitianization of the Department of the South which will be announced tomorrow.

Evidently it is the intention of the Government for political reasons and to persuade public opinion of the necessity of concluding an agreement on the pending issues to attribute obstructive intentions to the United States.

I do not consider it desirable for Minister Blanchet to publish his note including its apparent inaccuracies and possible effect on public opinion toward the United States and shall attempt to dissuade him from doing so tomorrow. I do not feel however that sufficient grounds exist for declining to permit publication of our note. Should the adverse effect on public feeling here be sufficiently strong to justify such a course, it occurs to me that it might be feasible for the Government at a later date to issue a statement which would correct any false impression concerning our intentions in regard to Haitianization of the Garde.

The Minister requests a reply by tomorrow if possible and I suggest that the Department instruct by cable to avoid delay.

  1. Telegram in two sections.
  2. For text of note, dated September 26, see Department of State, Press Releases, October 15, 1932, p. 217.