611.3831/103a: Telegram

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

99. Your 133, December 28, 2 p.m. Following for your information and guidance. We had conference with Blanchet this morning (De la Rue present) in which Blanchet read instructions from Hibbert expressing the viewpoint set out in your telegram.

We said to Blanchet frankly that we were astonished that after these months of negotiations and after the 3 weeks he had recently spent in Haiti for the purpose of discussing the proposed trade agreement [Page 332] personally with President Vincent we should now receive such a message from the Haitian Government. We stated, as we had explained to him carefully throughout the negotiations, that the benefits which Haiti will receive under the most-favored-nation clause are not as Hibbert seems to feel “indefinite” and “uncertain”, but on the contrary definite and certain and will accrue to Haiti within a relatively short time as the result of negotiation of trade agreements between the United States and other countries. We said that the point of view expressed in Hibbert’s telegram appeared to be the familiar narrow one of seeking immediate small advantages, whereas, from the outset of our negotiations with Haiti we had stressed, with the entire approval of the Haitian Government, the necessity of putting into effect the broad liberal program approved by both Haiti and the United States at the Montevideo Conference of reducing tariff barriers and thus bringing about a general increase in international trade, which would be mutually beneficial to the two countries. We said that the only possible explanation we could find for the instructions from Hibbert were that the latter, having just assumed office, had obviously not had an opportunity to familiarize himself with the many reports made by Blanchet during this long period of negotiation. We said that if the Haitian Government desires to submit counter proposals we hope that they will do so at the earliest possible moment, and that we shall, of course, be glad to give them favorable consideration. On the other hand, if the Haitian Government feels that it cannot conclude a trade agreement on the bases which we have for so long discussed then we trust that the Haitian Government will so advise us immediately in order that we can abandon these negotiations and proceed with negotiations with other countries which have been pressing us to enter into trade agreements. We asked Blanchet to cable the foregoing to his Government.