839.51/4857: Telegram

The Minister in the Dominican Republic (Scotten) to the Secretary of State

155. From Wilson.

“I highly appreciate your 129, September 3, 8 p.m. I shall begin at once discussions regarding the floating debt. In the meantime it would be helpful to know more exactly your views on the subject.

Is it your desire that provision be made in respect to all floating debt irrespective of the nationality of the claimant or is this matter to be treated purely on the basis of the American claims? In considering whether claims should be pushed for nationals of other countries we might I think give consideration to the fact that we ourselves have frozen the accounts of numerous countries. Under the circumstances some embarrassment might result from pushing for such nationals.

I have no doubt that you have already considered the possibility of requiring some arrangement on the floating debt before the extension of credit to the Dominican Government through the Export-Import Bank.

There are in the Legation lists of about 30 claims but the archives do not reveal whether these are all the claims outstanding of American [Page 823] citizens, whether they have been met wholly or in part, or whether the claimants themselves desire them to be pushed at this time.

It is estimated by the Legation that the amount owed to American claimants is in the neighborhood of $700,000 excluding unrevealed amounts claimed by the contractor for port works. The total floating debt is roughly estimated at $2,000,000. The Dominican Foreign Minister told Norweb23 some time ago that the number of American claims amounted to 1,400 most of which were for small amounts.

It would be helpful to me to have your views and such supplemental information as may be available.”

  1. R. Henry Norweb, former Minister in the Dominican Republic.