811.20 Defense (M)/7–2444

The Ambassador in Haiti (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

No. 109

Sir: With reference to the Department’s telegraphic instruction no. 140 of April 19, 6:00 [2:00] p.m., 1944,19 to this Embassy’s despatch no. 2745 of April 21, 1944,20 and to previous correspondence relative to the termination of the Rubber Development Corporation Cryptostegia program and its effects upon the economy of Haiti, I have the honor to enclose a memorandum21 giving a view of economic developments in the interval since the project was discontinued and an estimate of existing conditions.

It will be recalled, in this connection, that the Embassy, in its despatch no. 2745, page 2, stated in part as follows: [Page 1175]

“There is little doubt but that, if the Cryptostegia program were abandoned without providing for anything to take its place, the economy of the country would suffer materially. The impact of such a proportionately large program on this country has been severe, has built up an unusual purchasing power, has served to raise prices,—not to any alarming extent perhaps, but measurably,—and some part of the scarcity of household requirements may be ascribed to the incidence of the program in Haiti. However, the impetus given the potential purchasing power of the country will continue to be felt for some little time and, if proper direction is immediately given towards a substitute program—i.e. food crops production, the psychological and political factors should be resolved as quickly as adjustment is made in achieving the new program.”

The delays in turning Cryptostegia land back to the owners and in the organization of the food production program have served to accentuate the lull in business usually experienced at this time of year, commonly referred to as the “dead season”. However, as is suggested in the attached memorandum, while early solutions should be pressed, the situation does not necessarily give cause for any undue alarm and may be expected to resolve itself in a more or less normal way when the new coffee crop begins to move late in the summer.

Respectfully yours,

Orme Wilson
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed, with exception of quotation below.
  3. Not printed; it emphasized the importance of the Cryptostegia program to the Haitian economy by indicating that the approximate sum of $6,500,000 spent in Haiti since October 1942, largely concentrated in the year 1943 and a few months in 1944, compared meaningfully with Haiti’s annual budget of $8,000,000 and its total annual payment in salaries and wages of $10,000,000. The memorandum also pointed out that some 50,000 persons had found employment in the SHADA program at better than average wages in 1943, a figure greater than Haiti’s total agricultural employment at any previous time. (811.20 Defense (M)/7–2444)