Memorandum by Mr. Charles C. Hauch of the Division of Caribbean Affairs

In the final version of the new Haitian Constitution56 the status of the several articles to which the Department took exception is as follows:

Article claiming Navassa as Haitian territory. This claim remains in the Constitution, but this is a customary provision in previous Haitian Constitutions, and we were simply reserving our rights.
Article restricting amount of land foreigners will be permitted to own. In the final version all restrictions of this type were stricken out. There remain certain limitations on the number of residence and commercial buildings foreigners will be permitted to own. In general, this article is now satisfactory to us.
Article defining a Haitian corporation as one 50 per cent of whose stock is owned by Haitian citizens or the Haitian state. This article was stricken out in the final version.
Article requiring that only Haitians born of native Haitian parents may engage in retail trade, become managers of small industries, and devote themselves to all other commercial, industrial, and professional activities such as the law shall determine. This article remains practically unchanged in the final version, despite our representations. However, it is generally believed that it is not intended to apply its provisions against any but Syrians, and Americans in Haiti who might be affected do not appear to be perturbed by it.
Article calling for the progressive nationalization of the clergy. This provision, against which we made representations on the grounds that it might bar American clergymen and missionaries from Haiti, was omitted from the final version.
Article providing that communal budgets shall be voted by communal councils. This article, against which we protested as a violation of the Executive Agreement of 1941 regarding Haitian finances, was altered in a manner deemed satisfactory to this Government.

Attachment: Port-au-Prince’s telegram 504 of November 22, 1946.57

  1. Copies of the Haitian Official Journal, Le Moniteur (No. 123), of December 23, 1946, containing the full text (French version) of the new 1946 Constitution as promulgated, were transmitted to the Department in despatch 202 of December 27, 1946 (838.011/12–2746); an English translation of this text was transmitted to the Department in despatch 323, February 28, 1947 (838.011/2–2847).
  2. Supra.