851B.01/787/10

Memorandum by the French High Commissioner in the French West Indies (Robert) to the Commander in Chief of the United States-Navy in the Western Atlantic (Hoover)14

[Translation]

Diplomatic relations have been broken between the Government of the United States and Admiral Robert, High Commissioner of the [Page 242]Antilles and of French Guiana, following the refusal of Admiral Robert to cut off relations with the French Government.

The blockade which followed the rupture of relations has brought to Martinique the great lack of indispensable food products.

Because the population can no longer endure this situation, Admiral Robert recognizes that he ought to stop the struggle, and in order to do this an American plenipotentiary should come.

Admiral Robert requests that the following stipulations be adhered to:

1.
That the American Government guarantees French sovereignty in the Colonies, recognizing the fact that the French High Commissioner is alone charged with defense and communications.
2.
That the new status include the non-intervention of foreign armed forces.
3.
That the American Government guarantees the integrity of the gold belonging to the bank of France deposited at Fort Desaix, which should be maintained intact and be remitted to the bank when it is free of foreign control.
4.
That food supplies be immediately commenced by the renewal of licenses at the expense of the Antilles by the immediate approval of a program of food supplies, of products of prime necessity, and the payment of export licenses according to the former method as soon as possible.
5.
For merchant tonnage: a guarantee to maintain the merchant ships as French property and safeguard the owner’s interests.

The population and part of the Army having made known their desire to see these colonies re-attached to the French Empire, Admiral Robert has decided not to oppose the entry of a High Commissioner designated by the actual heads of that Empire.

Admiral Robert asks that the American Government use its influence to obtain from the designated new authority a guarantee of protection of personal and private goods as follows:

(a)
No judicial proceedings, no administrative sanctions nor private reprisals will be exercised against the people, public employees, military or civil, for the functions which they have exercised or the opinions which they have expressed. This guarantee is to include families and personal property.
(b)
The right of an option will be open to everyone—public or civil employees. Those who wish to be repatriated to France via Portugal or Spain under the supervision of the U.S. Government with their baggage and their goods.
(c)
The people taking the options of remaining in the Antilles will be free to exercise their activities and they will not be mobilized against their wishes nor be obliged to fulfill such charges or duties.

Admiral Robert will withdraw after having obtained the agreement of the American plenipotentiary and before the arrival of a new High Commissioner.

[Page 243]

Until his departure, he will remain in full charge of negotiations and of maintaining order to the exclusion of all the committees.

Between his departure and the arrival of his successor, he will place Admiral Le Loup in charge of maintaining order and in command of the armed forces.

Robert
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Navy Department on July 26.