The Minister in Haiti (Gordon) to the Secretary of State

No. 220

Sir: With reference to my telegram No. 20 of this date,17 I have the honor to report in amplification thereof as follows.

After a short prelude concerning the coffee situation, the President said that he wanted to discuss with me the situation created by the termination, day before yesterday, of our Treaty of September 16, 1915, which was to be followed by the cessation of American financial control; as he had already told me, he felt it politically desirable, in connection with his approaching reinauguration on May 15, to be able to announce the termination of our financial control.

In reply I said to the President that, as I had already indicated to him, my Government had agreed to sign the new treaty and was prepared to do so; the decision was his, and if he wished to make concrete proposals or suggestions to me with respect to its signature, I would be glad to transmit them to my Government.

After observing that the 1915 Treaty was only terminated in so far as the subject matter of its provisions was not covered by the Accord of August 7, 1933, 1 again presented to his consideration the views set forth in the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 10 of May 4, as well as in its air mail instructions Nos. 360 of February 4 and 388 of April 16. The President then proceeded to discuss these views at considerable length, on the basis of querying why the signature of the new treaty and the termination at this time of the existing financial control might prove disadvantageous.

My replies were to the effect that, as indicated in the Department’s instructions above cited, if the Haitian Government, through the remainder of the fiscal year, by living within its budget and by foregoing the use of extraordinary credits which would unduly deplete its treasury reserves, furnished a practical demonstration of its determination to maintain stability in its national economy, this would tend to react favorably in American financial circles, and would create for the Haitian Government a better chance of realizing President Vincent’s broader program of securing larger credits in the American market than the five million dollar loan now under negotiation.

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I added that the reaction of the American financial market to such action as he might decide to take in the premises was one which I thought could be counted upon with a considerable degree of certainty. If however he wished to take the risk of requesting that the treaty be signed and the existing financial control be terminated at the present time, I could only repeat that the determination rested with him. The President thereupon said that as the matter was so important he would like to consider it further, and would ask me to call upon him again when he had reached a decision.

In connection with his evident desire—if he decides that he can do so without fear of unfavorable? consequences—to announce on the occasion of his re-inauguration on May 15 that the new treaty terminating our financial control has been signed, it occurs to me, with respect to the Department’s mention of minor modifications in the letters to accompany the treaty in view of the possibility that the Foreign Bondholders Protective Council may wish to withdraw from participation therein, that it might not be practicable to agree on the final text of the said letters and to effect signature within the short time remaining prior to that date. I should appreciate receiving the Department’s views on this point as soon as possible as the President will probably approach me again on the subject in the very near future.18

Respectfully yours,

George A. Gordon
  1. Not printed.
  2. No instruction in reply to this request has been found in the Department files. Apparently the Haitian Government did not again approach the American Legation on this matter until it became evident that negotiations by the Fiscal Representative, Sidney de la Rue, for a bank loan in the United States would not be successful.