838.51/3377b: Telegram

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

28. Following a brief conversation with Welles concerning the insistance by France upon a settlement of the 1910 loan claim as a condition of the negotiation of a commercial convention, Henry80 telegraphed the Foreign Office for information. Yesterday he told Duggan that the Foreign Office had replied that it has offered to settle the 1910 loan claim on the basis of 1000 paper francs, apparently of present value, for each outstanding bond. Henry endeavored to argue that since the franc had undergone further depreciation recently the amount which Haiti would have to pay under the proposed settlement has actually decreased.

Duggan again spoke to Henry along the usual lines, namely, an expression of the interest of this Government in Haiti’s obtaining a satisfactory quota in the French coffee market, and of concern with France’s linking settlement of the 1910 loan claim with the negotiation of a commercial convention. Henry said that he would communicate once again our views to his Government.

You are authorized in your discretion to communicate the above to the Minister for Foreign Relations. At the same time you may say [Page 579]that the Government is at a loss to understand how Mr. Leger could have received the impression last fall that this Government was unprepared to continue extending its good offices in behalf of Haiti with respect to its attitude on the 1910 loan vis-à-vis France. You may refer to the contents of the Department’s telegram No. 24 of October 28, 1936, 7 p.m.,81 which was communicated by you to Mr. Leger. You may say that since no further information was forthcoming from the Haitian Government as to the nature of the demands which France had made in connection with a new commercial agreement with Haiti, and since there was no indication that these demands were “unduly exigent or unreasonable” the Department consequently at that time was unaware of any reasons which would induce it to take further action on Haiti’s behalf with respect to France.

Duggan saw Lescot today and informed him of the nature of his conversation with Henry.

The Embassy at Paris is being instructed to reinforce the views expressed to Henry directly to the Foreign Office.

  1. Jules Henry, French Minister in the United States.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. v, p. 681.