838.51 Cooperation Program/12–2346

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


[First Meeting]

Participants: Mr. Braden—A–Br
Mr. Wright—A–Br
Mr. Smith—A–Br
Mr. Briggs—ARA
Mr. Trueblood—ARA
Mr. Barber—CAB
Mr. Hauch—CAB
Mr. Stenger—ED
Mr. Cady—ED
Mr. Corliss—FN
Ambassador Joseph D. Charles—Haiti
Finance Minister Gaston Margron—(Members of special mission of Haitian Government)
Dr. Georges Rigaud

After introductions, Minister Margron handed Mr. Braden a note dated December 1878 to the Secretary from the Haitian Foreign Minister concerning the membership of the special Haitian mission delegated to hold discussions with this Government. He then presented Mr. Braden with a note dated December 2379 setting forth specific requests of the Government of Haiti. These were concerned principally with United States-Haitian financial relations.

Ambassador Charles then outlined orally the requests of the Haitian Government on financial questions, as set forth in the note of December 23. He prefaced his remarks with the statement that the Government of Haiti wishes to strengthen the bonds of friendship which unite Haiti and the United States. He said that Haiti wishes to continue its development along democratic lines, but that its financial and economic situation does not favor the spreading of democratic principles. He also said that charges had been made in some quarters that the new Government of Haiti was communistically inclined, but asserted that on the contrary it was the Haitian Government’s purpose to combat communism and promote democracy. In order to achieve this objective, the cooperation of the United States in the readjustment of financial arrangements was deemed necessary. [Page 941] At the close of his presentation of the Haitian point of view on its financial arrangements with the United States, as set forth in the note of December 23, he stated that Haiti wishes to be an active and full member of the Inter-American family, and feels it can best achieve this goal through a realization of full internal economic development.

Mr. Braden assured the Ambassador and his colleagues of this Government’s willingness to cooperate with Haiti in all ways possible and of our sympathy for the objectives outlined by the Ambassador. He assured the Haitian representatives of the willingness of representatives of the Department and the other agencies concerned to discuss the several points presented in the Haitian note. Mr. Braden said that while fully desirous of cooperating with Haiti wherever possible, he was doubtful whether certain requests of the Haitian Government could be met. He referred specifically, in this connection, to the wish of the Haitian Government to have its privately held dollar bonds refunded by the Export-Import Bank and said it was his impression the Bank did not make loans for this purpose.

Mr. Braden mentioned that this Government’s policy towards cooperation with friendly nations has been set forth in various public statements by Government officials. He referred particularly to the radio address in which he and Mr. Briggs had participated during the previous week-end, in which this Government’s policy of closer friendship with regimes resting on the freely expressed consent of the governed had again been set forth. He reiterated that in conformity with this policy we were ready to examine United States–Haitian problems in the most friendly fashion. At the close of the meeting copies of this radio broadcast were given to the Haitian representatives.

Minister Margron concluded the discussion by stating that Haiti’s financial obligations were too heavy a burden, and that without the help of this Government along the lines of the proposal set forth in the note, Haiti could achieve very little economically. After some discussion as to proper procedure for negotiations in connection with the note, it was decided that the Haitian representatives would return to the Department on Friday, December 27, at 2:30 pm for discussions on the several subjects of interest. The Finance Minister indicated that the mission has no special schedule in mind and that its plans depend on developments. He said that he might return to Haiti before the conclusion of negotiations, and then come back to Washington, perhaps accompanied by the Foreign Minister. It might be inferred from this lack of a definite schedule that the mission’s program may depend on the turn of negotiations and the possible necessity of returning to Haiti for additional conversations with, and new instructions from, the President.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed; it indicated that the Haitian Government requested (1) purchase of the 1922 debt by the Export-Import Bank, with more favorable conditions as to interest, due dates, and guarantees, (2) modifications in the White debt, (3) renunciation by the Export-Import Bank of any claim on the SHADA, and (4) a loan from the Export-Import Bank for well-defined projects for production and for the development of instruction (838.51/12–2346).