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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1920

Haiti,   pp. 760-853 PDF (33.4 MB)

Page 761

This last was communicated to the Legation, discussed at a meeting
of the Treaty Officials and referred to the Government Engineer
under the Treaty for his consideration and report; but the Law
was passed and promulgated before the Legation could receive the
Engineer's report, and advise the Foreign Office as to its attitude.
I enclose herewith copies of the correspondence on the subject with
the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Treaty Officials concerned.5
My contention has always been that the agreement above mentioned
covers all proposed Legislation, and having had considerable diffi-
culty with Mr. Borno, regarding its interpretation, I took advantage
of the first visit of Mr. Benoit, Mr. Borno's successor as Minister of
Foreign Affairs, to impress upon him the necessity in order to
attain the aims of the Treaty of a close cooperation between us, and
to that end it was paramount that he see that all proposed legislation
be communicated to the Legation before its being submitted to the
Legislative Body; that if any project of law so communicated did
not bear upon any of the objects of the Treaty it would immediately
be returned to him with a statement that the Legation saw no objec-
tion to it. If the project was not contrary to the terms of the Treaty
but had some objectionable features we would endeavor to come to
an understanding for their removal.
Mr. Benoit assured me of his readiness to cooperate in this manner,
but his subsequent acts in this and other matters were so contrary
to this understanding that I was compelled on several occasions
to call upon the President and bring to his attention the obstructive
methods of Mr. Benoit which finally resulted in his removal on
October 17, 1919. I am happy to state that the present Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Mr. Barau, has shown every disposition to fully
cooperate with the Legation.
Until their publication in Le Moniteur I had no prior knowledge
of the proposed passage and promulgation of these laws for the
reason that the proceedings of the Legislative Body (Conseil d'Etat)
are published months subsequent to the sittings of that body.
It is understood with the Haitian Government that the above
mentioned laws will be taken up at the next session of the Council of
State together with two other laws on Public Works and Carrying
of Fire Arms and Traffic in Arms and Ammunition, concerning
which the Foreign Office and this Legation were in accord, but which
were modified by the Council of State and so passed, with the assent of
the interested Minister. On my learning of this by chance, I at once
called upon the President and after relating the facts demanded that
these laws be not promulgated but be returned to the Conseil d'fRtat to
be passed as originally agreed upon. The President after a con-
'Not printed.

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