638.5131/55

Memorandum by the Secretary of State of a Conversation With the French Ambassador (Laboulaye)

During my conversation with the French Ambassador, I made it a point to lead up to the pending Haitian question between France and that country and to thank the Ambassador for the telegram he sent to his Government on yesterday. I stated that the trivial amount of trade involved was almost the least important part about the recent trade agreement between this Government and that of Haiti; that we were being severely criticised in this country for not making more progress with our reciprocal trade program; that the moral influence of an agreement with a small country like Haiti was very considerable, and that this was our principal interest in negotiating this agreement. I added that, while the trade involved was almost nominal, the announcement of the trade agreement with Haiti was of much aid to this Government in its very hard task of carrying forward the reciprocal trade agreement program and that we did hope the French Government, which was likewise interested in the success of this program, would consider that fact in connection with its recent demands on Haiti, and, if at all possible, would find a way to clear up this controversy with that country. The Ambassador expressed real sympathy with my viewpoint as thus stated and added that he would send another message to his Government today in the hope of securing action. He said that the change of Government over there and the confusion attending it might delay the matter.

C[ordell] H[ull]