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

No. 191

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram No. 58, dated June 9, 2 p.m., 1938,40 concerning the present status of negotiations for a Franco-Haitian commercial convention, and to report that the text of the draft convention transmitted to the Department with the Legation’s [Page 608] despatch No. 548, dated September 4, 1937,41 is identical with that which it is now proposed by the Haitian Government to conclude. However, in a letter to the Acting Fiscal Representative under date of June 8, 1938, Minister of Finance Léger mentioned certain modifications which he has requested the Haitian Minister to Paris to propose to and urge upon the French Government. The Haitian representative is not, however, to refuse to sign should the French Government insist on the present text without modification.

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The Department will observe that there is no reference in the draft convention to the 1910 question. I am informed by Minister Léger that the convention may be accompanied by an exchange of letters between the two governments in which France will request Haiti to agree, and Haiti will express a willingness to permit the levying of a surtax on Haitian coffee imported into France. This surtax would be collected in France and, it is understood, would go to the French bondholders, although this will not be so stated in any exchange of letters, M. Léger informs me. The letters will not, according to M. Léger, refer in any way to the 1910 affair.

From the rapid study which the Legation has thus far been able to make, the changes in the text of the convention proposed by M. Léger, as well as those in the lists, do not appear substantially to modify the document. It is therefore supposed that the attitude of the Department—barring the question of the 1910 settlement—will be substantially that indicated in its telegram No. 45, dated September 13, 6 [7] p.m., 1937.42 I am convinced that M. Léger is well aware of this attitude, as well as with that contained in the Department’s telegram No. 21, dated June 20, 2 p.m., 1935.43

I shall be pleased to be instructed what action, if any, the Department desires me to take in the premises. Should no objection be perceived to the convention, I shall be glad if I may be informed whether the Legation may state that it has no objection to the Acting Fiscal Representative’s giving his formal approval to the measure.

Respectfully yours,

Ferdinand L. Mayer