The Haitian Minister for Foreign Affairs ( Fombrun ) to the American Chargé in Haiti ( Sparks )50


Mr. Chargé d’Affaires: Considering, on the one hand, the recommendation of the Inter-American Financial and Economic Advisory Committee on the date of September 18, 1941, relative to tariff preference between contiguous countries and, on the other hand, the bilateral agreements existing between the United States of America and Haiti, specificially the Trade Agreement of March 28, 1935, and the Executive Agreement to Replace the Accord of August 7, 1933, and signed on September 13, 1941, I have the honor to forward to your Legation a copy of the Treaty of Commerce signed August 26, 1941, between the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Haiti, requesting you to inform me whether your Government is in accord with the Haitian Government with regard to the terms (conformité) of this Treaty.

In this connection, it is pertinent to set forth that reservations had been made verbally in the name of the Haitian Government upon the signing of the Treaty in question and confirmed in writing September 8, 1941, to the Minister of the Dominican Republic in Port-au-Prince, because of the financial agreements existing between the United States and Haiti, rather than in consideration of the effects of the most-favored-nation clause with respect to the tariff preference which the two contracting countries reciprocally granted each other.

In effect, according to the terms of the Haitian-American Trade Agreement of March 18 [28], 1935, Article VII, paragraphs 6 and 7, the tariff preferences between contiguous countries do not fall within the scope of the said agreement insofar as concerns the application of the most-favored-nation clause, in accordance with the spirit of the recommendation of the Inter-American Committee relative thereto, provided that the granting of these preferences do not eventually stand in the way of the execution of a general program of economic reconstruction.

Moreover, you will wish to consider well that the reservations were made and confirmed on the part of Haiti when Haitian-American financial relations were still practically governed by the Accord of August 7, 1933, which required the agreement of the American Government for modification of Haitian customs tariffs which might affect the guarantee of the foreign debt contracted [Page 362] in the United States. But the new system instituted by the Agreement of September 13, 1941, substituting the National Bank of the Republic of Haiti for the Fiscal Representative, has otherwise provided the guarantee of the interest of the holders of the Haitian foreign debt and does not contain a clause of this nature.

In these circumstances, it appears to the Haitian Government that the provision of tariff preference to the Dominican Government is not contrary to the recommendation of the Inter-American Advisory Committee, at least for the time being, nor the Haitian-American Agreements of March 28, 1935, and September 13, 1941, already mentioned.

Nevertheless, desiring to act with the American Government always in perfect agreement as to views, the Haitian Government would like to know the opinion or the observations of your Legation in this connection in order to be able to comply with the formalities with a view to the ratification of the diplomatic instrument under consideration.

Please accept [etc.]

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Chargé in his despatch No. 553, November 11; received November 14.