638.3931/16

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

No. 353

Sir: Reference is made to the memorandum2 enclosed with the Department’s instruction no. 302 of December 11, 1941,3 with regard to the applicability of the most-favored-nation provisions of the trade agreement with Haiti to tariff reductions to be accorded by the latter to the Dominican Republic by a Treaty of Commerce signed August 26, 1941.4

Examination of the treaty and of the probable effects on Haitian-American trade of the tariff preferences which it would grant to the Dominican Republic in the light of the action of the Inter-American Financial and Economic Advisory Committee in recommending a contractual [Page 461] formula for tariff preferences to contiguous countries, leads the Department to believe that the economic considerations involved are not such as to warrant refusal by this Government to waive its rights under the most-favored-nation provisions of the first paragraph of Article VII of the trade agreement in so far as the tariff preferences specifically provided for in the treaty are concerned.

You are authorized to transmit the enclosed memorandum and the draft of an exchange of notes5 for the consideration of the appropriate Haitian authorities as an indication of the procedure that would be acceptable to this Government.

You may proceed with the formal exchange of notes at any time following approval of the proposed texts by the Haitian Government. However, in order that appropriate publicity may be arranged for here, you should inform the Department as far in advance as possible of the date on which the exchange will take place and of the name and title of the Haitian official who will sign the Haitian note.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Dean Acheson
[Enclosure]

Memorandum

On November 7, 1941, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Haiti directed to the Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the United States at Port-au-Prince a note6 transmitting the text of the Treaty of Commerce between Haiti and the Dominican Republic signed on August 26, 1941 and requesting the comments thereon of the Government of the United States.

In a memorandum dated December 5, 1941, which was communicated to the Minister of Haiti in Washington and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Haiti, it was pointed out that the most-favored-nation provisions of the first paragraph of Article VII of the trade agreement of March 28, 1935 between the United States and Haiti require that the tariff reductions which would be accorded to the Dominican Republic under the new treaty be extended to the United States. It was also stated in the memorandum that the Government of the United States, in the light of the action taken on September 18, 1941 by the Inter-American Financial and Economic Advisory Committee, recommending a contractual formula for tariff preferences to contiguous countries, would give further study to the matter with a view to determining to what extent it would be warranted in waiving its rights under the most-favored-nation provisions of the trade agreement.

[Page 462]

As a result of further study, this Government is glad to be able to propose a solution of the matter by an exchange of notes with the Government of Haiti, along the lines of the enclosed draft notes, in which the Government of the United States would agree not to invoke the pertinent provisions of the trade agreement for the purpose of claiming the benefits of the tariff preferences to the Dominican Republic provided for specifically in the Treaty of Commerce signed on August 26, 1941. It would of course be understood that if such preferences should be extended by Haiti to any country other than the Dominican Republic they would be extended immediately and unconditionally to the United States.

This Government will continue, of course, to reserve its rights under the most-favored-nation provisions of the trade agreement with regard to tariff preferences to the Dominican Republic not specifically provided for in the Treaty of Commerce.

  1. Memorandum of December 5, 1941, Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. vii, p. 362.
  2. Ibid., p. 365.
  3. For text of the treaty, see British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxliv, p. 754.
  4. Draft notes were the same as notes signed February 16 and 19, 1942; see bracketed note, p. 465.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. vii, p. 361.