611.3831/115a: Telegram

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

3. A serious difficulty has now arisen in connection with the instructions sent Blanchet by Hibbert regarding Article VII of the proposed [Page 644] agreement, which relates to most-favored-nation treatment. Hibbert has raised the question of whether this article would prevent Haiti from giving “special treatment” to specified articles of certain countries, and has instructed Blanchet to point out that Haiti must be able to grant “certain particular advantages” to France and Italy.

The foregoing instructions are of course directly contrary to the principles of commercial policy adopted at Montevideo, which specifically stated that such policy should be based upon the most-favored-nation clause in its unconditional and unrestricted form. In this connection Blanchet has assured us under instructions from Hibbert that the Haitian Government desires to carry out the Montevideo principles, and in your telegram No. 1 of January 3, 1 p.m., you reported that Hibbert had assured you to the same effect.

Before we can proceed further with consideration of the Haitian trade agreement it will be necessary to have a definite understanding that Haiti accepts the most-favored-nation clause without reservation, and that if Haiti should in the future grant tariff reductions on the principles of the existing avenant to the French treaty she will extend similar treatment on like articles of American origin when imported into Haiti.

We have stated the foregoing forcibly to Blanchet, de la Rue being present, requesting that he cable his Government in the matter. In view of Hibbert’s declaration to you as reported in your 1, January 3, 1 p.m., regarding Haiti’s desire to maintain the Montevideo principles, the Department desires you to call on Hibbert and to discuss frankly with him the situation as described in this telegram. Cable report of your conversation.