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

No. 407

Sir: With reference to my despatch No. 406, of February 5, 1937,50 transmitting and summarizing President Vincent’s recent message to [Page 561]the Legislature, I have the honor to call the Department’s attention to the paragraphs in the message dealing with the question of markets for Haitian coffee.

After stating that during the past year the denunciation of the French treaty51 had aroused serious apprehension and that Haitian exporters were pessimistic as to the possibility of disposing of the next coffee crop in the United States or on European markets other than the French, the President declares that the opinion of the Government, based on thorough inquiries, was that the opening of new markets for Haitian coffee could be realized—on condition of better cooperation from planters and exporters—and in conclusion he says: “This matter seems definitely to be working out to our advantage. In fact, we have a new market and the buying offers which our exporters are receiving greatly exceed our stocks.”

The facts that up to date no notable progress has been made in the negotiations looking to a resumption of Franco-Haitian commercial relations and that French pressure for a settlement of the 1910 loan question52 has, temporarily at least, abated, have of course constituted probative indications that President Vincent has felt sufficiently secure with respect to the disposal of this year’s coffee crop to enable him to adopt a firm attitude towards France. Recalling, however, the many weeks during the Spring and early Summer of 1936 when the President was a prey to constant indecision concerning the possibilities for marketing his next coffee crop outside of France, and consequently concerning his policy towards that country—and the unremitting efforts necessary to keep him from giving way to pessimism and relapsing supinely into a policy of unreasonable dependence upon France, coupled with a yielding to unjustified demands on her part (see my despatches 241 of June 4,53 243 of June 8,54 254 of June 20, 193653)—I must admit that it is a source of much satisfaction to have, in this widely publicized message to the Legislature, a concrete and formal acknowledgment by the President (even if it is only such to those who know the whole background) that the course urged upon him has proven to be the wise one and wholly to the best interests of his country.

Respectfully yours,

George A. Gordon
  1. Not printed.
  2. Franco-Haitian commercial convention of April 12, 1930, denounced by France March 18, 1936; for text, see British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxxxiii, p. 419.
  3. For text of French gold loan of 1910, see Le Moniteur, Journal Offlciel de la République d’Haiti, October 26, 1910, p. 606; for related correspondence, see ante, pp. 526 ff.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. v, p. 677.
  6. Not printed.