Memorandum by the Minister in the Dominican Republic (Schoenfeld)14
I called on the Vice President of the Republic15 by appointment yesterday afternoon to pay my respects upon his return from his recent absence abroad.
In the course of the conversation the matter came up of most-favored-nation treatment here for American goods similar in character to those specified by manufacturers’ names in the Franco-Dominican trade agreement. Vice President Peynado told me in confidence that he had been asked by the Foreign Office to look into the matter. He volunteered the information that in his view the specification of trade names in the Franco-Dominican trade agreement could not operate to exclude from the benefits of most-favored-nation treatment under the American-Dominican Modus Vivendi of 1924 American products similar in character to the French products specified. He said, however, that his present opinion was communicated to me in confidence since he did not know what the Government’s final decision on the subject would be.
Knowing that I was about to depart on leave of absence, the Vice President asked me when I expected to leave and I informed him that I would sail November 3. I added that I hoped to be advised of the Dominican Government’s decision before my departure since I [Page 420] feared that undue delay in reaching such a decision would create an unfortunate impression in Washington, especially in view of the fact that Secretary Bonetti Burgos had repeatedly mentioned the interest of the Dominican Government in negotiating a trade agreement with the United States. I pointed out that I had intimated to the Minister of Foreign Affairs the disadvantage from every standpoint of endeavoring to connect the question of the application of the Modus Vivendi of 1924, as it had come up in relation to the Franco-Dominican trade agreement, with the possible negotiation of an American-Dominican trade agreement.
I took occasion further to intimate to the Vice President my concern as a result of the apparent failure of our discussions in recent months with the Dominican Government to lead to any conclusion with reference to pending issues involving the Convention of 1924. I mentioned the matter of the public debt and Article III, the floating debt, and the consolidation of customs and so-called internal revenue taxes. The Vice President claimed to be entirely un-informed as to recent developments in these matters but, in view of his thorough knowledge of the Convention and related matters, I spoke to him freely regarding our point of view in the hope that my remarks on this topic would transpire to the President of the Republic. I explained that my concern regarding pending matters was due in some measure to the fear that President Trujillo was perhaps not fully informed regarding recent discussion of the issues with the Foreign Office here and with the Dominican Minister at Washington.