838.51 Cooperation Program/9–1545

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

No. 1008

Sir: I have the honor to report that I have just received from President Lescot a letter enclosing a memorandum signed by the Haitian Minister of Finance and Commerce, in which the Haitian Government requests the Government of the United States to enter into discussions with a view to consolidating into a single bond issue of thirty years bearing three and one-half percent, the total Haitian debt to the United States. A few days ago the President told me that I would be handed such a memorandum and intimated to me that in his opinion the plan proposed would constitute a satisfactory solution of the Haitian Government’s financial problems insofar as its foreign debt is concerned.

The suggestions advanced by Minister Lacroix constitute a modification of the project submitted in President Lescot’s memorandum of [Page 1103] June 22, 1945 (see my despatch no. 860 of June 28, 1945). They differ, however, from the former in that the obligations of Shada are included, while the life of the proposed consolidated debt is extended from twenty-five to thirty years, and the interest rate reduced from four and one-half to three and one-half percent, presumably for the purpose of absorbing more easily the additional burden imposed by the Shada notes. Whether the preparation of this memorandum was occasioned by my note no. 475 of September 7, 1945 transmitting the Department’s decision set forth in airgram no. 225 of August 31, 1945, is uncertain. I am persuaded, however, that this information precipitated and hastened the Haitian Government’s action.

The arguments advanced follow the same general line of thought which has been presented to me at other times. It is interesting to note, however, that the alleged errors of the former management of Shada are mentioned with evident displeasure and that reference is made to the possibility of reducing the obligation incurred by Shada. Another aspect of the matter which is worthy of notice is that this memorandum may foreshadow a request on the part of the Haitian Government to be absolved from the fulfillment of the amortization schedule desired by the Department, provided, of course, that such a refunding operation can be promptly effected. I am inclined to believe, however, that the Haitians would not refuse to retire the securities in question if they feel reasonably confident that their desires can eventually be realized.

I have, of course, given neither President Lescot nor Minister Lacroix any reason to believe that such a consolidation can be put into effect.

In this connection I desire to add that I have just received a letter from the President stating that Minister Lacroix will leave soon for the United States and that he will be glad to furnish to the officials of” the Department such additional explanations as may be necessary concerning the memorandum which forms the subject of this despatch. I shall endeavor to obtain further particulars concerning the Minister’s plans.

Respectfully yours,

Orme Wilson