Franklin D. Roosevelt

The President Position on Haitian Bonds.

November 29, 1933

Dear Mr. President:

I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated November 16, 1933, relating to the financial arrangement embodied in the Agreement of August 7, 1933, between our two countries. Permit me at the outset to express my warm admiration for the manner in which the Haitian Government has loyally honored its financial obligations. It was, as Secretary Hull stated on August 8, 1933, in large measure due to the efficient administration of Your Excellency's Government that it was found possible to arrive at an agreement so favorable to Haiti in its terms.

I am glad to read in your letter what has been so clearly implied in the actions of your Government, namely, that Haiti intends to continue to fulfill loyally its obligations in this field. So far as the United States Government is concerned, I may say that in my judgment this Government is under an unescapable obligation to carry out the Treaty of 1915 and the Protocol of 1919, and in the Agreement of August 7, 1933, it has made appropriate provision to that end. Except for this obligation, upon which the bondholders are entitled to insist, my Government would be only too glad to discontinue at once its connection with financial administration in Haiti. You of course appreciate, Mr. President, that this is an obligation not to any bank or particular creditor, but to the holders of the bonds who have relied upon the good faith of your Government and my Government to carry out the provisions of existing agreements.

As you know, at the present rate of amortization the bonds will be retired about 1944, and the financial administration under the Agreement of August 7, 1933, will of course cease at that time. It would, however, be most welcome from the point of view of the United States Government if a refunding arrangement could be worked out by Haiti at an earlier date, with agreement of the 'bondholders, which would result in the withdrawal by this Government from its part in the administration of Haitian finances. Under Article XXVI of the Agreement of August 7 last, Haiti, with the approval of the United States, reserved the right to retire the bonds before their due date provided she could make an arrangement for this purpose satisfactory to the holders of the bonds. The United States Government would be glad to lend its good offices in the matter in any way which would not involve it in any further responsibilities in Haiti.

You may be interested to know that recently I have received letters from organizations in this country on the subject of the Agreement of August 7, 1933. I am enclosing, as I believe you will desire to read it, a copy of a letter written in reply to one such communication by the Acting Secretary of State. I concur in the views therein set forth.

With the expression of my cordial personal regard and best wishes,

Your sincere friend,

His Excellency

Stenio Vincent,

President of the Republic of Haiti Port au Prince

Franklin D. Roosevelt, The President Position on Haitian Bonds. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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