President Roosevelt to the President of Haiti (Lescot)

My Dear President Lescot: I am deeply grateful to you for Your Excellency’s thoughtful letter of February 1745 which dealt in part [Page 186] with the proposed meeting with President Trujillo on the Haitian-Dominican frontier for the purpose of dedicating a Peace Monument.

I must with all frankness tell you that I hoped such a meeting would take place. It was consequently with the keenest regret that I learned the unfortunate degree of discord which has arisen in Haitian-Dominican relations to the extent that you were unwilling to meet President Trujillo at this time.

The common interests of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and the wholehearted collaboration of both of them in the common war effort impose upon their leaders the need for composing their differences in that spirit of mutual conciliation, which is the essence of the happy relations existing between the American republics. We have all subscribed to a system of public law which requires the peaceful settlement of disputes in this hemisphere. A ruthless enemy, who scorns that principle, is seeking to destroy us. We have an inescapable duty in this regard to our respective countries and to our fellow American republics.

The military threat to this hemisphere has happily diminished, and the combined might of the United Nations is pressing ever more heavily upon the Axis aggressors. The climax of our armed operations is approaching. In possible disunity among the United Nations the guilty Axis leaders see the only possible escape from the consequences of their crime, and they have done everything possible to foment such disunity. They must not succeed.

I feel confident that I can count on you, my dear Mr. President, to do everything in your power to advance the cause of friendly relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Please be assured of my friendly and continued interest in the matter, and feel free to call upon me as I feel free to call upon you, for whatever assistance can be rendered in strengthening the peaceful ties between our three countries. I am making the same observation to President Trujillo who, I feel certain, will share the viewpoint which both you and I maintain in this matter.

In concluding, may I thank you for your suggestion regarding the manner in which it might be possible to supply Haitian labor to aid Dominican agricultural production for the war effort.46 I have referred this suggestion to the pertinent United States officials for the careful study which it merits.

With cordial good wishes for your personal well-being and for that of the Haitian people, I am, my dear Mr. President,

Very sincerely yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt
  1. Not printed.
  2. President Lescot suggested, in his letter of February 17, that negotiations for the hiring of Haitian labor be conducted directly between the Haitian Government and United States representatives of the American industries involved (839.415/176).