838.51/3709: Telegram

The Chargé in Haiti (Finley) to the Secretary of State

111. The French Minister to Haiti called on Leger this morning under instructions from his Government. He stated that formal assurances had been given the Haitian and American Governments that the 1910 redemption fund, when transferred to Paris, would not be attacked [attached]. The transfer of this fund was provided for in the protocol to the Franco-Haitian Commercial Convention. In [Page 633] order to carry out this provision the French Government would expect the Haitian Government to transfer the fund to Paris by September 10th, failing which, consideration would be given to a suspension of the operation of the convention. Leger understood this as an ultimatum.

Leger stated that in reply he told De Lens that he felt the Haitian Government might not be willing to accept a suspension of the operation of the convention, for once such a practice were established, the French Government might hold the threat of suspension over the Haitian Government at any time when difficulties in the operation of the convention arose. He stated that he could not, of course, speak for the Haitian Government in this matter since he would have to obtain the authority of the President and the Cabinet. For him personally, however, he felt that suspension of the convention by the French would mean its denunciation by Haiti.

Off the record, Leger told me that De Lens had suggested to him informally that he might wish to demand that the National City Bank make the transfer. If the bank declined the fall of the convention might then be attributed directly to American Government. Leger said he told De Lens that he would not consider such a plan unless it were acceptable to the American Government.

Leger inquired very carefully what had been the results of the representations made by the Department to the French. I told him that except for a report of the nature of the representations made by the Under Secretary to Henry62 I had received nothing. He asked particularly to have a report on whatever new results had occurred. I promised to so inform the Department.

Leger informed me yesterday that whereas ten or fifteen 1910 bonds had been presented for redemption monthly for a number of years not a single bond had been so presented since the date of the signature of the Franco-Haitian Commercial Treaty.

  1. Apparently Jacques Truelle, French Chargé, is meant. Truelle had replaced Jules Henry as Counselor of the French Embassy.