Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Willard F. Barber of the Division of the American Republics

Participants: President-elect Lescot of Haiti
Foreign Minister Dennis
Mr. Duggan
Mr. Bonsal
Mr. Finley
Mr. Collado
Mr. Barber
Dr. Bressman, Department of Agriculture25

The discussion was opened by some observations by Messieurs Lescot and Dennis regarding the ten-point memorandum for discussion which was handed them.26 The first point to be questioned was the treatment which would be accorded communal revenues by the National Bank of the Republic of Haiti. It was suggested that the Bank might exercise a certain measure of control over the communal revenues and would also make or supervise the ordinary expenditures of the communes, retaining in the National Treasury, through the Bank, any residue.

M. Lescot in commenting on point 6) stated that it was his belief that any funds that were left over after the interest and amortization were paid on the 1922 loan should be placed at the disposal of the Government (there is no provision in point 6) which would forbid [Page 335] such a practice). Mr. Duggan suggested that after there had been some time to look over the ten points, a further discussion should be helpful and might be held on Monday, April 28. President-elect Lescot said that at first view the plan looked quite attractive.

In answer to a question by Mr. Finley, M. Dennis said that he thought the plan outlined in point 5) to centralize in the Bank the various fiscal and budgetary functions was a good one. It was agreed that there would be further discussion on Monday regarding the make-up of the official personnel of the Bank.

Dr. Bressman then outlined the results of the study of the rubber mission which had recently returned from Haiti. He said that Haiti was one of two places in the Western Hemisphere in which the Department of Agriculture wished to go forward with its experiments and development of rubber production. This would be a long-term program and Dr. Bressman added that it would be six or seven years before returns would come in; he hoped that 90% of the rubber lands would be developed by the peasants and that other products, such as bananas, cacao and subsistence crops should be developed along with the rubber project.

M. Lescot added that plants capable of producing essential oils or perfumes might be developed. Dr. Bressman replied that these possibilities were being explored. M. Lescot repeated his plans for the National Bank to finance a movement of unemployed from the city to the country and to establish them on self-sufficient small farms. Dr. Bressman replied that while he felt that it was perhaps asking too much of the new agricultural development to be handicapped by attempting to work out its plan with non-agriculturists, he did hope that the rubber development would help both the rural people and the town dwellers. Dr. Bressman added that the return per acre in a good rubber project should range betwen $60 to $100 per year. President-elect Lescot asked Dr. Bressman for a memorandum describing the program that he had in mind and the methods of putting it into effect.

It was agreed to meet again on Monday.


Memorandum of Points for Discussion Handed to the President-elect of Haiti (Lescot)

For Discussion

[Here follow points 1–4, which are the same as corresponding numbers in the draft agreed upon April 30, printed on page 341.]

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The Board of Directors of the National Bank of the Republic of Haiti to control and be responsible for
The formulation and operation of the budget;
The operation of the Government’s accounting system;
The collection of customs, internal revenues and communal revenues.
During the first ten days of each month, the Board of Directors to transmit to the Representative of the holders of the bonds of 1922 the amount necessary to service the oustanding bonds. The Bank to receive irrevocable orders that no payment for the account of the Haitian Government may be made until the amount necessary to service the debt has been transmitted to the Representative of the Bondholders, and until the salary of the Board of Directors has been paid.

[Here follow points 7–10, which are the same as points 10–13 in the draft agreed upon April 30.]

  1. Earl N. Bressman, Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations, Department of Agriculture.
  2. Annex printed herewith.