Port-au-Prince Post Files: Telegram

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

139. Shipping shortage and United States restrictions on exports have produced during 1942 a threatening situation as regards Haitian economy and in particular government finances, since for past 2 years 68% of government revenues have been derived from import duties.

During February reduction in government revenues as compared with 5 year average fell off 188,000 odd dollars. For first 7 days of March total collected government revenues amounted to 45,000 odd dollars as compared with 116,000 for same period last year and estimated 130,000. With total revenue estimate of 5,460,000 for year a fifty percent reduction in import duties signifies a loss of 1,800,000 which cannot be met from other taxes such as government has already or contemplates imposing. The unobligated surplus of 371,000 at the beginning of year has now fallen to 303,000. At the risk of impairing its credit National Bank might advance temporarily 150,000 to 200,000.

Salary cuts, undesirable as tending to undermine ability of government to maintain order. As nothing much presumably can be effected in near future as regards shipping and export restrictions, it would seem desirable that Williams11 should proceed to Washington to exchange views as to what should be done.

  1. W. H. Williams, president of the National Bank of the Republic of Haiti.