838.51/3149: Telegram

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

25. My telegram No. 22, May 13, 1 p.m. and despatch 227 of same date.54 Foreign Minister told me this morning that Mayard had been communicating further with the President indicating that France intended to hale Haiti before Permanent Court of International Justice on the question of 1910 loan, probably under article 3655 of the statute. Mayard has also stated that if Haiti will only promise to go before the court, France will agree to renew the commercial treaty for a 3-year period.

The Foreign Minister said in strictest confidence that he feared that the President was inclined to be influenced by these communications and to feel that perhaps he should do something to placate France and bring about a renewal of the commercial treaty. Foreign [Page 676] Minister observed that he had frequently told us that he would not submit the question to arbitration and that as far as he was concerned he never would. With regard to going before the Permanent Court, he feels that he could successfully challenge its jurisdiction in this instance, but in view of the facts that Haiti has a very strong case juridically and that it would be most helpful to have this matter favorably settled once and for all, there might be merit in waiving the question of jurisdiction and going before the court. The Foreign Minister says that in any event he does not wish to take any hasty action or to make the tactical mistake of being the first to propose submission of the case to the Permanent Court; accordingly he requested me to inform you that he would greatly appreciate it if the Department would let me have for transmission to him its reaction to the matters contained in this telegram and in my telegram first under reference.

  1. Despatch not printed.
  2. Hague, Permanent Court of International Justice, Collection of Texts Governing the Jurisdiction of the Court (Leyden, 1932), p. 21.