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

No. 186

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the third paragraph of my telegram No. 55 of May 27. This paragraph expresses the Legation’s opinion that every effort is being made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to solve the French treaty difficulty in the near future.

[Page 607]

Mr. Pixley, the Acting Fiscal Representative, has been watching this matter closely and discussing the situation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs on numerous occasions. While Monsieur Léger has indicated to Mr. Pixley, as indeed he has to me from time to time recently, that progress is being made for a Franco-Haitian treaty, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has always said that there were certain details still to be arranged and that signature was not imminent although the two countries were in general agreement of the principles along the lines of previous drafts of the treaty.

Mr. Pixley has asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Finance for a clean copy of the present draft on which the two governments are working and was promised such a paper within a short time. This draft has not as yet been received. Meanwhile, the Minister of Foreign Affairs told Mr. Pixley quite emphatically that while the appeasement of the 1910 bondholders was a definite factor in arriving at a commercial treaty with France, and while it was true that there was discussion of ways and means of satisfying these bondholders by a surcharge on shipments of Haitian coffee to France, the Haitian Government had no intention of acting as “collecting agent” for the French Government for any such surcharge.

Mr. Pixley and I have assumed that the real stumbling block to a consummation of the treaty conditions remains in the arrangement for the French Foreign Office holders of the 1910 bonds, and that this obstacle might hold up the treaty for some time if not indefinitely for the future as has been the case in the past. Furthermore, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has always said that a signature of the treaty would await the return here of Mr. de Lens,39 who has been in Paris on leave for the past seven months. (M. de Lens left Haiti on October 27, 1937). This morning, however, M. Léger told Mr. Pixley that the treaty might be signed in Paris, implying, Mr. Pixley thought, that the treaty was closer to completion than had hitherto been thought to be the case.

Respectfully yours,

Ferdinand L. Mayer
  1. Leon Adrien de Lens, French Minister in Haiti.