Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Willard F. Barber of the Division of the American Republics

Participants: Ambassador Liautaud of Haiti,
RA11—Mr. Bonsai and Mr. Barber

Ambassador Liautaud called at the Department at his request under instructions from President Lescot and related a number of little incidents which had recently marked Haitian-Dominican relations and which President Lescot wished to be brought to the attention of the Department The most recent incident was a note sent to the Haitian Foreign Office by the Dominican Minister at Port-au-Prince which referred back to earlier exchanges of correspondence in 1937 and 1938 regarding the issuance by the Haitian Government of postage stamps. The stamps in question displayed a map of Hispañiola which was called Haiti. The Dominican Minister’s note had concluded by saying that the failure of the Haitian Government to stop the use of the stamps indicated its hostility.

Ambassador Liautaud then went on to refer to other equally stiff notes from the Dominican Government which had protested against the use of a certain luggage sticker by a Port-au-Prince hotel, et cetera. Ambassador Liautaud also showed a copy of the Dominican newspaper La Opinion which contained some vulgar and horrible illustrations which are obviously anti-Haitian.

The Ambassador deplored these unfortunate incidents which he said really were quite ridiculous for the subject of official governmental communications. However, a study of the exchanges of correspondence he said would show that throughout these various exchanges the attitude and tone of the Dominican Government had been consistently stiff and demanding whereas the Haitian Government had been equally consistent in making replies that were reasonable and conciliatory.

Mr. Bonsai said that he was very sorry to learn of this matter, particularly at this time when the international situation required friendly cooperation amongst all the members of the United Nations. He hoped that the Haitian Government would continue to follow a policy of patience and forbearance. In reply to Mr. Bonsai’s question, Ambassador Liautaud said that he was unable to explain why the Dominican Government should have taken such an attitude. (Later Ambassador Liautaud told Mr. Barber that he thought the cause of the Dominican hostility might be based on racial considerations.)

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Ambassador Liautaud concluded by giving it as his own opinion that President Lescot might wish to mention this subject during his contemplated visit to Washington in a conversation with President Roosevelt.

Willard F. Barber
  1. Division of the American Republics.