638.5131/61: Telegram

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

47. In an interview with the President who this morning sent for me he said that he desired to explain the present difficult situation of Haiti caused by the lapse of the French commercial agreement and requested that I cable brief summary to the Department.

He is very much worried that the short interval remaining before beginning of August coffee harvest is not sufficient to insure markets other than France for this year’s banner crop. He pointed out serious consequences if crop not sold including possibility that political enemies may make capital of failure.

He affirmed that he had information that French attitude was not unfavorable to Haiti and that there was a possibility of renewing negotiations leaving aside question of 1910 loan on basis of list of French specialties which might be accorded special treatment. He said that as French Minister had pointed out the stumbling block was article VII of our agreement. He inquired whether the United States would raise difficulties about list of French specialties. I replied that quoting from memory I thought it had already been made clear that the United States for its part had had no objection to an agreement with France on basis of a list of purely French specialties but that the last list I had seen contained not only articles which were not specialties but many of which France was not principal source of supply. In this connection it may be remarked that many of these items are those furnished by nations other than the United States who enjoy most-favored-nation treatment from Haiti, see despatch 64142 page 3 paragraph 2 regarding British protest.

I said that if a mutually satisfactory agreement could be obtained upon the old basis of avenant while I could not presume to speak with authority I felt that the United States would have little objection but added that naturally Department could give no reply until it had seen composition of list of French specialties.

  1. Dated June 1, 1935, not printed.