The Haitian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Châtelain) to the American Minister in Haiti (Gordon)70


Mr. Minister: Following the conversation which we had yesterday at Kenscoff with Your Excellency, the President of the Republic instructed me to confirm in writing his declarations as follows:

That the Debachy contract is not an act between governments, but is a convention of an exclusively private nature between a private individual and the Haitian Government;
That the loan of five hundred million francs would be an impossible act, in fact as in law, if, prior to the operations which it envisages, it should not serve for the complete redemption of the 1922 debt. This is, moreover, foreseen and pledged in a formal manner by Article II of the Law of Sanction, whose teñor follows:

Article II: “The Government of the Republic of Haiti is authorized as a matter of urgency to take all steps which it may believe useful in order to assure, within the briefest delay possible, the putting into effect of the above mentioned contract setting free by such operations as may be appropriate, the state revenues which must guarantee the regular service of interest and amortization of the funds advanced by the entrepreneur and actually paid into the sequestrated account provided for in Article 14 of the said contract.”

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Now, the Law of Sanction forms a part of the contract and thus becomes, like the contract itself, the law between the two parties. The French Government not being a party to the contract and not being in any way interested in the object thereof, any notice which might be given to it by the Haitian Government with respect to the use which we expect to make of the loan would be, to say the least, out of place, and would have no other consequence but to provoke indirectly in our domestic affairs an interference which we have never envisaged.

Under these conditions, the President of the Republic greatly regrets that he is not able to undertake the step which the American Legation has been good enough to suggest to him. He remains, moreover, convinced that given the good faith and the loyalty, which his Government has always brought to its relations with the United States of America, and of which he himself has never ceased to give unequivocal proof, the American Government will be good enough to discover in the declarations hereabove restated, as well as in the reiterated assurances of the Department of Foreign Affairs, notably those contained in the letter of August 28, and the note of September 9, addressed to the American Legation, the exact expression of the truth with respect to everything concerning the project for the redemption of the 1922 loan.

I take pleasure [etc.]

Yrech Chatelain
  1. Transmitted to the Department by the Minister in Haiti in his despatch No. 17, September 23; received September 26.