The Department of State to the Haitian Embassy


The Department of State refers to a conversation between Their Excellencies the Foreign Minister2 and the Ambassador of Haiti3 and Assistant Secretary Norman Armour held at the Department on January 94 with regard to the Haitian Government’s desire to obtain financial and technical assistance from the Government of the United States in connection with certain proposed projects in Haiti. It was noted that this matter has been the subject of several discussions and communications between the American Embassy at Port-au-Prince and the Haitian Government and that the former has requested of the Department of State this Government’s views on the several questions raised by the Haitian Government. In the course of the conversation of January 9 it was agreed that the Department would make available to His Excellency the Foreign Minister through the Embassy of Haiti in Washington a memorandum summarizing the reply which the American Embassy in Port-au-Prince would simultaneously be authorized to make to the Haitian Government’s inquiries on this subject.

Accordingly, the following points are presented for the information of His Excellency the Foreign Minister:

This Government is in accord with what is understood to be the previously expressed view of the Haitian Government that possible assistance by this Government in the development of the Artibonite Valley could best be accomplished through the activities of the Institute of Inter-American Affairs’ Food Supply Mission in Haiti. This matter has been discussed with the Institute, which would be glad to cooperate on a mutually agreeable basis with the Haitian Government in its proposed irrigation project, and to this end it is suggested that [Page 592] the Haitian Government forthwith develop in conversations with the Chief of the Food Mission in Haiti a definite proposal for such cooperation. With respect to cooperation by the Institute with the Government of Haiti after June 80, 1948, this must depend upon the realization of the Institute’s plans for continuing its operations in Haiti after that date. These plans are contingent, among other factors, upon favorable Congressional action on the Institute’s proposed appropriation requests.
As regards the Haitian Government’s plan for hydro-electric development, it is regretted that formal cooperation in a project of this nature is not within the scope of the operational activities of the Institute of Inter-American Affairs. However, representatives of the Institute in Haiti, at the request of and through informal arrangements with the Haitian Government, could be of some assistance in providing general advice and in obtaining the services of a private engineering firm for this project.
Should the Haitian Government desire to obtain additional financial assistance from this Government for projects it wishes to undertake, the Export-Import Bank is prepared to consider requests from the Haitian Government for financial assistance provided that the Haitian Government will support its requests by an adequate demonstration of the use to be made of the proposed financial assistance requested. These views of the Export-Import Bank were expressed in its memorandum of March 7, 19475 to the Haitian Financial Mission then visiting Washington. That memorandum refers specifically to a request for a new credit but applies equally to a request for assistance in the form of prolongation of the repayment period of the so-called J. G. White Public Works Loan of 1938. As the Bank stated therein, “If the Haitian Government wishes to select the most urgent and most desirable projects from the Haitian point of view and secure competent engineering and other technical assistance in developing all of the relevant information regarding this selected project, the Bank would be prepared to consider it on its merits and in the light of prevailing conditions in Haiti at that time and the status of Haiti’s external indebtedness”. The Bank reiterates this view and points out that only on the basis of a soundly developed engineering plan and reasonably reliable estimates of cost would it be possible for the Bank and the Haitian Government to determine the amount of United States financial assistance required and the best means of providing such assistance.
The Department therefore suggests that if the Haitian Government wishes to request financial aid in any form from the Export-Import [Page 593] Bank, it prepare such plans and cost estimates, utilizing for that purpose the services of qualified engineering firms or individuals.
In general, with respect to the Haitian Government’s desire to obtain immediate financial and technical help from the American Government in the projects set forth in President Estimé’s letter of November 296 to Ambassador Tittmann, this Government will be more than willing, as indicated in the foregoing paragraphs, to consider any specific and detailed requests for assistance the Haitian Government may wish to present. At the same time the Haitian Government may be assured of this Government’s sympathetic and continuing interest in efforts to develop the Haitian economy and to meet the world emergency need for foodstuffs, and of its willingness and desire to cooperate to these ends in any appropriate and mutually agreeable manner.
  1. Edmé Manigat.
  2. Joseph D. Charles.
  3. Memorandum of conversation not printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.