851B.24/99: Airgram

The Consul General in Martinique ( Malige ) to the Secretary of State

A–72. Referring to my telegram No. 112 of today,92 the following is the translated text in full of the note dated March 15, mentioned therein, from Admiral Robert:

“After an abnormal delay in the transmission of certain telegrams that, on your advice, I entrusted to you, your Government does not issue the port-call licenses requested—one of them for over a month—for the supply ships: these ships are therefore practically immobilized.

“Payments and purchases themselves are also stopped since March 1st because the Treasury has not renewed the license for operating the bank accounts and has not issued the monthly license supplying these accounts.

“The postal correspondence that I exchanged with my agent, Mr. Marquais, is intercepted almost completely since the first of the month.

“Finally, I learned that the American Naval Attaché at Ciudad Trujillo93 has declared having received the order no longer to authorize the departure of my ships.

“These administrative measures prevent these colonies from being supplied, even by neighboring countries that desire to continue to supply them. There results a veritable blockade, the tragic consequences of which weigh directly on the population which lacks products most indispensable to daily life: bread, meat, salt, milk, medicaments, in particular, especially in Guiana where torrential rains have just destroyed 70 percent of the food crops.

“Since, to my knowledge, we are still bound, the Government of the United States and myself, by a mutual agreement, I have the right to state my surprise over these measures.

“This agreement, in effect, assures me in precise fashion that the Government of the United States will not interfere with and, on the contrary, will aid the supply of these colonies. Having paid in advance for this assurance and kept my own engagements, I could expect being shown the same care for a correct attitude as I have constantly shown with respect to the United States.

“To this attitude, as well as to my recent offer of added economic collaboration, does the American Government intend to reply only by starving, by means that are indirect and round-about but effective, the populations under my care?

“I do not think so, but I have the right to protest—if they are deliberate—against these acts and these measures of coercion on the part of a powerful nation against tiny defenseless territories.

“Without insisting on the fact that the publicity that might be given to them would diminish the hopes of the French and the confidence in the promises made to them today, I want to hope that it will suffice for your Government that you transmit my protest to it [Page 234] and inform it of the situation in order that it raise the obstacles placed at present against the supply of the populations of these territories.”

  1. Not printed.
  2. Lt. Col. John A. Butler.