The Minister in the Dominican Republic (Schoenfeld) to the Secretary of State

No. 3452

Sir: Referring further to the Department’s airmail instruction No. 433 of June 13, 1936, (without file number), and to my despatch No. 3375 of June 18, 1936,59 reporting the delivery to the Dominican Government on the latter date of a note in the terms directed by the Department in its instruction mentioned, regarding the floating debt of the Dominican Government and Dominican law No. 1096 of April 29, 1936, affecting the floating debt, I have the honor to enclose for the Department’s information a copy and translation of note No. 598, dated July 30, 1936, received today from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in answer to my note above mentioned.

Respectfully yours,

H. F. Arthur Schoenfeld

The Dominican Minister for Foreign Affairs (Bonetti Burgos) to the American Minister (Schoenfeld)

No. 598

Mr. Minister: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt to Your Excellency of your note No. 249 of June 18 last past, in which Your [Page 470] Excellency states that you have received instructions from your Government to solicit the friendly consideration of the Dominican Government regarding the opinion held by it of the law of the Republic No. 1096 of April 29, 1936. In the said note inquiry is made regarding the period of time within which the Dominican Government hopes to be able to liquidate the debt to which the said law refers; it is stated that the Government of Your Excellency can not consider changed the international responsibility of the Dominican Government with respect to creditors who may not take advantage of the term of 180 days which the law provides for audit of the credits; and that Your Excellency’s Government expects that the transfer of funds provided in the law under reference will not prevent or delay the payment of certain credits to which the said Government had previously referred.

In reply, I am pleased to state to Your Excellency that the Dominican Government, in its effort to liquidate within the shortest possible time the said debt, promulgated the law of April 29, 1936. This law will not only determine the perfect auditing of all claims against the Public Treasury but will make it possible to put in the hands of creditors certificates of credit which will constitute negotiable values. The same law, in its Article 3, states that after all the analyses and all the accounts and claims have been centralized and all recognitions of credits issued that may be recommended by the Examining Commission and approved by the Executive Power, the National Congress will be asked to regulate and vote the sums necessary for its amortization: so that the period of time within which the floating debt will be liquidated depends upon the total amount of claims which may be accepted and the amounts which can be applied to said amortization within the possibilities of the Treasury. I must point out that, notwithstanding that this floating debt did not originate in the administration of the present Dominican Government, this Government has made the greatest efforts in the sense of cancelling it, as is shown by the fact that it has paid more than fifty percent of it notwithstanding the tight economic condition in which it has developed. There is, thus, evident the interest of the Government in cancelling this debt, but without this being felt by the public services of the administration or lessening the impulse which the Government gives to the national economy in order to conjure the prejudices [conjurar los perjuicios] the latter suffers from the protectionism enjoyed by the production of neighboring countries (which is) similar to ours, since if it should do this essential prejudices for the life of the nation would be induced and the interest of the creditors of the State would consequently be prejudiced.

I have also to state to Your Excellency that the Dominican Government can accept none of the considerations which are made in [Page 471] Your Excellency’s note regarding the cited period of 180 days since they are in contradiction with a law of the Republic, (which is) inspired in honest principles of equity and which leaves open an ample opportunity to all creditors of the State to justify their credits.

Finally, I am pleased to say to Your Excellency that the transfer of funds referred to will not only not prevent payment of approved claims but will rather favor it, since the works which will be carried out by virtue of that transfer of funds are productive works that determine an increase in the national production and consequently in the resources of the State.

In conclusion, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has to bring to the notice of His Excellency the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America that, notwithstanding the fact that in the note which is being answered it is stated that the statements it contains are presented by the Government of the United States of America to the friendly consideration of the Dominican Government, the Dominican Government desires to record that this answer it gives to the said note for reasons of loyal friendship, of international courtesy and of legitimate interest of the citizens of the United States of America having credits against the Dominican Government, does not in any wise carry with it either express or tacit acceptance of any expression in the said note of Your Excellency which might be considered in conflict with the sovereignty of the Dominican State.

I take this opportunity [etc.]

E. Bonetti Burgos
  1. Not printed.