838.011/8–3046

The Chargé in Haiti ( Mooers ) to the Secretary of State

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No. 1669

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Embassy’s confidential telegram no. 361 of August 29, 1946,38 the second paragraph of which dealt with Article 13 (of the proposed new Constitution for Haiti) which was voted by the Assembly on August 29. It will be recalled that the Department was advised that from a close translation of the more important parts of this Article, as voted, it appears that only native-born Haitians may engage in retail business, manage the activities of small industries and be engaged in such other commercial, industrial and professional activities as the law shall determine.

I have now ascertained that the reference to small industries was removed completely from the Article immediately before being voted and that, in consequence, the translation under reference finally appears to read as follows:

“Only native-born Haitians (i.e. ‘Haitiens d’origine’) may be engaged in retail business, manage such businesses and be engaged in such other commercial, industrial and professional activities as the law shall determine.”

[Here follow the French text of article 13, and summary of discussions with two Americans who owned and operated retail establishments in Port-au-Prince; it was their opinion that by the time the new Constitution was formally accepted the apparent obstacles to their interests would have been either eliminated or suitably amended.]

It may be added for the Department’s assistance that the following definition of the words “Haitiens d’origine” apparently was accepted by the Assembly and voted in conjunction with the article:

“A Haitian by origin is defined as any person of the black race, born of a father who himself is born a Haitian. Any person is also [Page 921] a Haitian by origin when of the black race, when not recognized by his father, but born of a mother who was Haitian by birth.”

[Here follows summary of discussion with the British Minister, Augustus Crosbie Routh, who agreed that in consequence of this conversation it would be best for him to make at least strong informal representations to the Haitian Foreign Office without delay; also, reference to articles 14 to 20 which were voted on August 28.]

Respectfully yours,

Horatio Mooers
  1. Not printed.