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

No. 3505

Sir: Referring further to the Department’s instruction No. 449 of August 18, 1936, (File No. 839.51/4433), and to my despatch No. 3486 of August 2660 reporting the delivery of a second note on the subject of the Dominican Government’s floating debt, as directed in the instruction referred to, I have the honor to report that, in conversation today with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I brought up the recent exchange of notes between our Government on this subject. I alluded to the Minister’s note of July 30, with particular reference to its penultimate paragraph, as having been susceptible of the interpretation that the Dominican Government considered our note of June 18 on the same subject as defining an attitude of opposition to the Dominican Government in respect of the floating debt. I added that, as I had had occasion to explain to the Minister, our representations with reference to the floating debt were not to be so interpreted and that [Page 475] our note of August 24 confirmed the oral statements I had repeatedly made to him in this sense. I asked the Minister, therefore, to advise me what the Dominican Government had in mind when it made reference in its note of July 30 to the “sovereignty of the Dominican State” and spoke of expressions in our note of June 18 which “might be considered in conflict with” that sovereignty.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs said that at the time of its receipt our note of June 18 had given the Government great concern, both with respect to its account of the “historical” background of the floating debt question and with respect to its comment on a law of the Dominican Republic duly enacted and approved. This concern had been relieved in the course of the subsequent oral exchanges of views between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and myself. These conversations had shown that our representations were designed to apprise the Dominican Government in the friendliest spirit of our views on this question. The Dominican Government fully accepted this assurance. Inasmuch, however, as the conversations which had confirmed this understanding were not a matter of record, it was deemed desirable to include in the Dominican note of July 30, in a subjunctive and hypothetical form, the “saving” expressions contained in its penultimate paragraph. Our subsequent note of August 24 confirming, in turn, the assurances on the part of the American Government previously expressed orally by me, had given the Dominican Government great satisfaction. It was felt that the views of the two Governments on this topic were now clearly recorded as involving no fundamental issue between them.

I asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs whether there were any new developments of which he could apprise me with regard to the floating debt matter. He answered in the negative but stated that he expected next week to be able to inform me of further developments. These, I hope, will take the form of advice that the Dominican Government has decided to institute satisfactory measures for systematic and equitable settlement of the floating debt.

Respectfully yours,

H. F. Arthur Schoenfeld
  1. Latter not printed.