611.3831/100: Telegram

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

133. For Welles. Hibbert43 has just informed me that he does not see how Haiti can sign the trade agreement; that as drafted, Haiti makes concessions that will entail a loss estimated at 2 percent of their total revenues in return for possible future benefits, the amount of which cannot now be determined, and a reduction of 50 percent duty on rum of which all other rum producing countries will benefit.

The whole basis of the treaty, he feels, is entirely contrary to the ideas underlying the Washington conversations when it was decided that an attempt must be made to even the present unfavorable trade balance between the two countries. The agreement proposed would give the impression to any impartial observer, he thinks, that it is the United States that has been buying 60 percent of Haitian exports and furnishing only 6 percent of Haitian imports instead of the contrary being the case. The Government could not, in the circumstances, go before the legislature with such an agreement without subjecting itself to severe criticism.

I told Hibbert that I thought the Haitian Government might have reached this conclusion earlier, for example when Blanchet was here. He pointed out that he took office only last Monday and admits that he has had little time as yet to study the question but hopes to have certain counterproposals to make at an early date. My own impression is that lard is the real point at issue. De la Rue will explain its peculiar significance here economically as well as politically. I shall cable you further tomorrow. Please inform De la Rue.

  1. Lucien Hibbert was appointed Haitian Secretary of State for Foreign Relations on December 24, 1934.