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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 791

The Government considered that the act of a citizen, who was an
official or former official, in applying for a settlement of his pension
should be considered as placing him ipso facto on the retired list
and consequently as the resignation on his part of any further
public employment.
The Government further considered that a citizen when fifty years
old is still possessed of enough strength and energy to work and
that it was therefore necessary to advance the age at which he would
be qualified to become a pensioner. The new law calls for 60 years
instead of 50 years as provided by article 18 of the law of 1894.
This is a real saving to the Public Treasury. In Haiti as elsewhere
there must be fewer men of 60 than of 50 years of age. But it was
fair at the same time to return to the officials and employees at least
the twelfth part of their salaries upon their assuming office, pre-
viously deducted from them under the law of September 24, 1884,
especially when no deduction is made on the salaries of the high
officials, Cabinet members, senators or deputies. who are entitled to
the largest pensions.
Article 5 of the new law affords another saving: the pension is
due under that article only when the case is disposed of. Under
the law of 1894 it began to run from the date of the application
filed by the person entitled to the pension.
Be that as it may, the law of June 9, 1919, amending certain
provisions of previous laws relative to civil pensions is not one of
those contemplated in the notes exchanged between the Department
of Foreign Affairs and the American Legation on the subject of the
application of the convention of September 16, 1915.
4. Law  concerning customs duties on automotbies, tppewriting
machines, etc.
The Government can only confirm its previous statements in its
memorandum of July last in answer to that from the Financial
Adviser delivered to the President of the Republic by the American
Minister at Port au Prince on the 19th of the same month:
On May 14, 1919, the Council of State, on the motion of Coun-
cillor Pierre Hudicourt enacted a law placing import duties on
automobiles, trucks, typewriting machines, automobile tires, and
air chambers.
That law was criticized by the Receiver General, who imparted his
criticism to the Department of Finance and Commerce, pointing
out that those duties were too light. The Receiver General con-
cluded by proposing that the Government exercise its right to veto
the Hudicourt Law and introduce in the Council of State a bill
laying a 10 percent duty on imported automobiles, typewriting ma-
chines, etc. This was done.
But the Council of State, in the exercise of the initiative con-
ferred upon it by article 55 of the Constitution, modified the rate
as proposed and brought it down to 7 percent. This change made
in a Haitian bill by the body now exercising legislative power in
Haiti caused the law to be ignored by the American Legation, the
Financial Adviser, and the Receiver General. And in spite of that
law a 20 percent ad valorem duty is levied on automobiles, type-
writing machines, etc.

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