The Under Secretary of State (Welles) to the President of Haiti (Lescot)

My Dear Mr. President: I refer to your letters of June 23 and July 1, the first of which I had the pleasure of receiving from the hands of your distinguished Secretary of State for Finance, Mr. Abel Lacroix, through whose kindness I am sending you this reply. It has been a privilege to discuss with Mr. Lacroix the different problems brought up in your letters. The detailed report which he will bring you will, I am confident, demonstrate to you again the complete accord which prevails between our two Governments regarding the measures which they can jointly take to meet the critical situation with which they are confronted.

The revised proposal of the Export-Import Bank for financial cooperation with the Government of Haiti and with the National Bank is the result of a careful study of all the information available regarding Haitian revenues and expenditures both past and future. It is obviously impossible, under present circumstances to forecast the exact future course of the imports upon which Haitian revenues so largely depend. The situation is one calling for close and frequent consultation between the officials directly concerned.

These consultations together with the demonstrated correctness and sense of responsibility of your Government in budgetary matters justify the conviction that such problems as may arise in the future will be satisfactorily and promptly solved.

It is not possible at this time to give you any positive statement regarding the shipping situation. It is most serious; we have all suffered grievous losses. Yet our shipbuilding program is progressing by giant steps and our available means of defense and offense [Page 476] against the submarine menace are being strengthened and multiplied daily. Further hardships and losses await us. Our certain victory depends upon our manner of meeting and enduring them.

The suggestions regarding convoys which you made in your letter of July 1 are being given careful consideration by the appropriate authorities. This Government is doing its utmost, consistent with the overall requirements of general strategy, to relieve the shipping situation in the Caribbean area. Mr. Lacroix has discussed this problem with the appropriate officials.

I am happy to take advantage of this opportunity to tell you how greatly we appreciate the energetic solicitude with which you have personally directed the assistance given to survivors of vessels lost near the Haitian coasts. I can only say that these acts are characteristic of your generosity and of your unfailing interest in the welfare of my compatriots and of all those who are dailing [daily] risking their lives to win the battle of supply.

I was distressed to learn of the loss at sea of your personal effects, as a result of enemy action, following your recent trip to Washington.

The invitation to visit you in Haiti, which you and Madame Lescot have so kindly renewed, is appreciated very much by Mrs. Welles and myself. Although it does not appear possible for us to be absent from Washington for any period of time in the foreseeable future, we are very grateful for the invitation, and Mrs. Welles joins me in sending to you and to Madame Lescot our cordial greetings.

Believe me,

Faithfully yours,

Sumner Welles