840.48 Refugees/1217: Telegram

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

2. My telegram No. 155, November 23, noon.2 Mr. Goldsmith-Rothschild, a German citizen, is here with letters of introduction from his family whom I have known in Europe for some time. He claims to be representing French Rothschild-Swiss Seligman interests who desire to assist in the settlement here of some fifty thousand Germans of Jewish faith.

Mr. Goldsmith has in mind a self-contained settlement area where these refugees could develop their own agriculture and industry under a form of corporate establishment with shares partly to be distributed to the Government here in return for land, the whole project to be financed by the Goldsmith-Seligman interests mentioned above to a maximum of five million dollars.

We agree with Mr. Rothschild’s plans that any large scale settlement of refugees here should not be on a piecemeal or independent basis but would have to be under some such form of corporate control and self-contained establishment.

After discussion with Mr. Rothschild and De la Rue,3 we feel that there are only two localities in Haiti where such a large scale project could have any chance of success taking into account all the difficult factors of race, color, standard of [living], climate, economic aspects, government necessity for land, isolation, et cetera, namely the Mole Saint Nicholas region and the Island of La Gonave.

The problem thus posed naturally raises several important questions. Will 50,000 or any substantial number of Germans of Jewish faith continue to feel so antagonistic to the Hitler union that they will cut themselves off definitively from natural trade connections in the “Fatherland”? Will the Hitler regime last definitively [Page 57] and if not, is it not [apparent omission] suppose that there will be the normal reaction on its termination which will turn Germans of Jewish faith in foreign countries back toward their beloved Fatherland? Is it strategically desirable to have large numbers of Europeans settle in small countries in the Caribbean and especially in such highly important strategic regions as Mole Saint Nicholas and the Island of La Gonave?

I have no idea how the Haitian Government would react to a proposal of the character outlined but Mr. Rothschild wants to discuss it with them and wishes me to introduce him to President Vincent for this purpose. I am only too happy to do anything I can to further our Government’s humanitarian efforts to assist these brutally persecuted refugees. I feel it my duty, however, to bring the foregoing considerations to the Department’s attention before proceeding any further with the matter here. I should much appreciate the Department’s instruction by telegraph.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Sidney de la Rue, Fiscal Representative.