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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 785

Government had drawn up at the cost of long study and great care
is buried without further ceremony. The list is long of bills that
are so languishing in the files of the American Legation! To cite but
one example: A law on rural organization, of greatest importance
to Haitian agriculture, has been, since August 1918, in the hands of
the American Minister; the Government has never heard anything
more about it.
When the American Minister and the Financial Adviser intro-
duce amendments in a Government bill, they require those amend-
ments to be accepted without discussion. When they are acceptable
and even if they do not entirely agree with the nation's wishes, the
Government, in its ever conciliatory spirit, accepts them so as not
to endanger a reform which it deems necessary. But when they
are such as to destroy the intent of the bill or are obviously contrary
to the interests of the people or infringe upon the dignity of the
Government or, as is often the case, bestow upon the treaty officials
unwarranted powers, inconsistent with the convention, the Govern-
ment rejects them, and then it is charged with " noncooperation ".
If this condition of continual submission which seems always to
be imposed upon the Haitian Government is in fact what the Amer-
ican Legation calls "cooperation ", the word has a meaning that
the Haitians are unable to grasp.
The Financial Adviser's understanding of " cooperation " is shown
by the following typical instance: Having seen fit to pay the
deferred interest on the foreign debt, Mr. McIlhenny proceeded
to do so against the written instructions of the Government and
without notifying it. It was only through the French press that
the Government heard of this transaction of 28,000,000 francs.
The Government cannot admit the universal competency assumed
by the American Minister and the Financial Adviser, who believe
they have the right of sovereign decision on all questions-legisla-
tion, finance, commerce, public works, and public instruction-for a
people with whose manners, needs, and aspirations they are unac-
The Government feels that under all circumstances it has shown
its good will and sincere desire-which occasionally has gone so far
as a sacrifice-to cooperate with American officials. It has achieved
much, since all the important bills that could be enacted-often at
the cost of great difficulties-come from its own initiative. And
that is one of the grounds of complaint: While the bills looking to
the economic and moral reorganization of the country are so often
rejected without consideration, nothing is ever offered instead that
could meet the objects of the convention by making effective the
efficacious assistance solemnly pledged to Haiti by the Government

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