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#5288: Dauphin Plantation: THE CLARK BROTHERS YEARS, 1955-1970 , (Part I) (fwd)




From: Perdue and Persinos <vtandwi@erols.com>

Key Words:    Fort Liberte  Dauphin Plantation

 THE CLARK BROTHERS YEARS, 1955-1970 (PART I)

(NOTE: the following is based in part on National Archives documents;
for explanation of citations of these documents see "Sources".)

In April 1955, the American Embassy in Port-au-Prince received a note
from the Government of Haiti requesting the Embassy's assistance in
stabilizing the price of sisal in the United States, Haiti's major
customer for sisal exports.  Accompanying the note was a report on the
then current status of sisal production and export.  In a Despatch to
the State Department in Washington, the Embassy realized that little
could be done and had informed the Foreign Office accordingly and
added:  "Nevertheless, the instability of the price and export volume is
a serious factor in the Haitian economy.  Furthermore, the loss of
approximately 40% of Haiti's coffee crop makes it mandatory for the
country to seek export earnings from other sources".  (/5-1155)

The Haitian note pointed out that the value of sisal had declined from
30 cents (US) per pound in 1951 to 12.5 cents in 1953 and 9.5 cents in
late 1954.  In 1951 sisal made up 24.4% of the value of Haiti's exports
while it had declined to 8.9% in 1953-54.  Value of sisal exports
decreased from over 102M Gourdes in 1950-51 to less than 25M Gourdes in
1953-54. (/5-1155)


On August 1, 1953 Andre DeCoppet died in Switzerland and in that same
month, two years, later William Van Brundt Finley passed away. DeCoppet,
who had controlling interest in the Plantation had a very complex estate
and in order to resolve the many family problems associated with the
Plantation there was no choice but  to sell it.

In mid-1955, an audit of the Plantation was conducted by Price
Waterhouse and one of the auditors commented that he was from the
Dominican Republic.  This was the beginning of a rumor that Dominican
interests were considering purchasing the Plantation much to the chagrin
of President Magliore. (/9-2055, September 20, 1955)

Subsequently, Magliore requested a conference with Roy Tasco Davis,
American Ambassador to Haiti.  He advised Davis he had heard the
American stockholders were planning to sell out to Dominican interests.
He told Davis the Haitian Government had been highly satisfied with the
American ownership.  He stated they were progressive and energetic and
do not become involved in politics and that his Government and the
people of Haiti would be disappointed if the Plantation was sold to
others than citizens of the United States.  He also stated that the
Government and people would be alarmed and resentful if Dominican
interests gained control of the Plantation. Magliore asked that the
Ambassador advise the Department of State about his concerns.  The
President indicated he would have Ambassador Leger in Washington consult
with Robert Pettigrew (former Plantation manager and still a Director,
"whom the President holds in high esteem") and then see the Department
of State. (/9-1255, September 12, 1955).

The Haitian Ambassador in Washington discussed the matter with Pettigrew
who assured him he had no intention of selling the Plantation to
Dominican interests.  Pettigrew noted that two stockholders, DeCoppet
and Findley, had recently died and that in an effort to settle their
estates Pettigrew was negotiating with another American group to take
over their interest in the property (/9-2355, September 22, 1955).

On September 20, 1955 the American Embassy in Port-au-Prince reported to
the State Department that Don Lungwitz, Plantation Manager, had showed
up at the Embassy on that date accompanied by E.R. Black of Lazard
Freres and Joseph T. Dineen of Eberstadt and Co. of New York, "to
discuss the situation of the Plantation."  "It is the understanding of
the Embassy that Mr. Black and MR. Dineen represent financial
organizations that may be interested in acquiring stock in the Dauphin
Plantation".  (/9-2055, September 20, 1955).

Lazard Freres was indeed instrumental in the sale of the Plantation.
The thought expressed in the last sentence of the above paragraph was
probably responsible for the rumor that Lazard bought the property and
held it for a short time before selling it to the Haitian American Sugar
Co. (HASCO).  According to Edward DeCoppet, son of Andre, Lazard never
owned the Plantation but served as broker and negotiated the sale
between the parties.

HASCO was controlled by the Clark brothers, John and Bradley, who were
well-to-do New York stockbrokers.  According to Albert Hill, the Clarks
had been "looking for something to invest in".  HASCO was owned by the
West Indies Sugar Co.  They purchased the shares of a Hungarian who was
declared an enemy alien and then purchased shares from other
shareholders until they formed a block that owned the largest block of
stock and bought out West Indies.  Hill had been in the sugar business
in Florida and Dominican Republic with West Indies Sugar Co. and came to
Haiti in 1945 as an engineer.  He ultimately became President of HASCO
and continued in that role after HASCO was sold to the Mevs family.  He
"stayed there 14 years after the Mevs purchased HASCO." He left Haiti in
1987.

The Clarks were twin brothers.   Hill described them as "nice-looking
fellows, well built and well met, society club types in New York."
According to Jean Claude Leger, long-time Plantation attorney,  "They
were twins, real twins; they sounded like twins."  When he called their
office where they had side-by-side desks he never knew who he was
talking to because they sounded the same.  "The only way I could tell
them apart was that one parted his hair on the left side and the other
parted his hair on the right. Bradley was a real extrovert; John was
very quiet."  Leger went on to say, "The Clark brothers had minds like
this." (as he snapped his fingers)  "They were very sharp people.  They
could glance at a calculator tape and immediately pick out an error."
Bradley Clark told him, "It is the duty of U. S. Citizens to avoid
paying taxes legally."

Otto Schutt, Cap Haitien business man, knew the Clarks well and
considered them good friends.  Of the two, Bradley had more finesse.
"He was the leading man but they worked together nicely.  He was a
charming man, "friendly, good hearted, good humor, nice to old ladies,
nice to young ladies. Everyone liked him."  Bradley had a great sense of
humor,"would come up with things like, ‘Otto, where is the scheiss
house?'" At times he would joke about his knowledge of Germany.  He had
served in Germany post war with an intelligence agency, had learned some
German and liked to boast about it.

Jack Webster, former Plantation employee, told me the Clarks did not mix
socially during their visits to the Plantation. But, he "shot craps with
DeCoppet."

According to Emil Girard, former Plantation Comptroller, the Clarks were
not frequent visitors to the Plantation.  He and Lungwitz would go to
New York to discuss Plantation business with the Clarks rather than the
latter coming to Haiti.  When there was a visit it was usually made by
Bradley Clark at year's end.  Girard said Bradley was much more sociable
than John and he had a very good impression of him.

Even while negotiations were underway for the sale of the Plantation,
there was growing concern about the decline in the price of sisal on the
world market.  On April 30, 1955, the Haitian Foreign office addressed a
Note to the American Embassy enclosing a report on the status of sisal
in Haiti in 1954-1955.  The price had declined from 30 cents per pound
in 1951 to 9.5 cents per pound in late 1954.  This was a severe blow to
the economy of Haiti for sisal was second only to coffee in export
value.  The Haitian government requested the Embassy's assistance in
stabilizing the market for Haitian sisal in the U.S. (/5-1155, May 11,
1955)

In June 1955, Ambassador Davis sent a despatch to the State Department
in which he noted that he had been visited by Don Lungwitz, Plantation
Dauphin Manager, and other sisal producers who expressed concern over a
report that the Office of Defense Mobilization would sell its sisal
stockpile at auction and further depress the already low price of this
commodity which was so important to the economy of Haiti.  They asked
that Davis request that no action be taken that would further lower the
price of sisal.  Davis pointed out that "As a result of the hurricane
and falling coffee prices, Haiti has entered into a depression which is
working hardships on all sectors of the economy and which has
necessitated relief from the United States both in the form of food and
financial aid..."  Davis reminded the State Department that if the price
of sisal declined further,
there would be an additional relief burden on the U.S. In formulating a
decision they should keep in mind the desirability of maintaining a
valuable source of sisal in the Western Hemisphere.  (/6-1655, June 16,
1955)

On December 22, 1955, the Clarks took over the Plantation. While the
original ownership and management had an emotional attachment to the
Plantation it would now become strictly business -  profit or loss would
control events.

According to Pettigrew (1958, p. 264), the Clark brothers were "young
enough to have a youthful enthusiasm for the Plantation that was lacking
in the aging officers who previously directed it".

A few months after the Clarks took over, Charles Swisher, Industry
Advisor, USOM/Ecuador, visited Haiti to obtain information on the sisal
industry.  He reported to the American Embassy in Port-au-Prince that
there were about 32,000 acres under cultivation including leased land.
Leases on such land cost about 10% of farm expenses.  The Plantation
normally had about 4,000 employees supplemented with additional help
during weeding operations.  There were about 35 kilometers of narrow
gauge rail and about 900 rail cars.  The Plantation exported sisal to
New York from its own pier in Fort Liberte Bay, about 30M pounds of line
fiber and 5M pounds of tow per year.  Production costs were 7-8 cents
(U.S.) per pound plus shipping costs and current sales were averaging
about 10 1/8 cents per pound for line fiber which included a premium for
quality of 1/8-1/4 cents over Dutch and African fiber.  The Plantation
was using decortication residue for fertilizer and was experimenting
with cattle to determine the best hybrid for that climate. (/4-1656,
April 16, 1956)

On December 28, 1956, Don Lungwitz, now Vice President and General
Manager of La Plantation Dauphin, S.A., personally delivered a letter to
Ambassador Davis in which he stated that the Plantation "may be
completely closed by the end of January 1957" and that in compliance
with Haitian Labor Laws employees had been notified that the Plantation
will close within thirty days. He went on to caution that "upward to
4000 men will be out for employment and a payroll of $35,000 per week
cut to about $1,000.  About $10,000 in fuel and other expenses will drop
off considerably.  Four schools with over 600 students, two hospitals, a
clinic, a laboratory and a dental clinic will be closed".  (/1-757,
January 7, 1957)

Lungwitz pointed out in this letter that the Plantation had over $1M in
sisal stock and had been unable to move the fiber.  The current stock
would meet anticipated sales for many months and once closed the
Plantation would have to wait for better prices before restarting
operation.  For more than six months the Plantation had been holding
more sisal than it had warehouse space to properly protect.

In a Despatch to the State Department, on behalf of the Ambassador,  an
Embassy Counselor recommended "very strongly that everything possible be
done within the framework of overall policy to permit the Plantation to
remain on operation."  During his visit Lungwitz met with the Ambassador
and other officers and indicated he hoped for three things: an
accelerated program of stockpile rotation with 2000 tons purchased from
Plantation Dauphin, a quota on imports of Mexican twine and reduction in
competition from Brazil.  Lungwitz claimed that Brazilian sisal was sold
at or below cost for dollars which were used to purchase wolfram which
in turn was bartered for PL-480 wheat.  The Embassy pointed out to
Lungwitz that the U.S. opposes the use of quantitative import
restrictions, rotating sisal out of the stockpile and its replacement by
new purchases would not increase demand, and that the U.S. "has a vital
interest in disposing of its surplus wheat and may well be more
interested in acquiring wolfram, in which the stockpile is deficient,
than sisal, in which it is not.  (/1-757, January 7, 1957)

Lungwitz expressed the view that there would be no reduction in demand
for sisal because of technological change in agriculture and the
introduction of new fibers.  His problems resulted from the abnormal
reduction in sisal prices due to the Brazilian barter deals and from
over-production which he attributed to the influx of newcomers attracted
by the high prices a few years previously.  In the despatch to the State
Department the writer noted that  "the fall-off in volume and in unit
values is world-wide.  It is possible that Haiti has fared no worse than
other suppliers."  He enclosed a document on imports of sisal into the
U.S. which showed that the "unit values of imports from Brazil are far
below those of imports from other sources."   (/1-757, January 7, 1957)

And the pressure was being put on the State Department from HASCO's New
York headquarters.  A Memorandum of Conversation , dated January 10,
1957, records a telephone call received from Frederick Hasler, President
of HASCO, inquiring as to whether the Department had received any
information from Ambassador Davis about the sisal situation in Haiti.
Hasler noted that many importers are turning to Brazilian sisal at lower
prices because the Brazilian Government is subsidizing production.
According to him, the number of workers to be laid off was 6000.
(/1-1057, January 10, 1957)

The American Embassy in Port-au-Prince reported to the State Department
in Foreign Service Dispatch 371 that for lack of storage space or a
market, the Dauphin Plantation was having to stack bales of sisal on the
factory floor. (/1-3057, January 30, 1957)

 (Jean Claude Leger told me that at times the Plantation had as much as
3000 metric tons in storage - four bales per ton.  Even the airplane
hangar was used for storage.)

 The Clark brothers had been in Haiti for ten days to decide what to do
with their holdings (referring apparently to HASCO as well as the
Plantation).  "They apparently have a firm intention to remain in
business and keep operating if possible."  They do not plan to close
down on January 30 as earlier reported and indicated it was a mistake
for the Plantation manager to issue dismissal notices to employees.
They are looking for ways to reduce expenses and for additional
warehouse space.  During the Clark's visit several embassy staff toured
the Plantation and discussed it plight with the resident manager
(Lungwitz) and owners.  (/1-3057, January 30, 1957)

This Despatch pointed out that "the problems of the company are linked
so inextricably with the problems of Haiti, both economic and political,
that the Embassy is anxious to have the company's research supplemented
with Government research to whatever extent is possible."  The company's
search for a by-product has concentrated on extraction of cortisone from
the waste liquor.  This had been accomplished on laboratory scale but
they had not found a way to do this on a commercial scale.  The Embassy
posed several questions as to research that had been done that might be
applied to the company's problems. (/1-3057, January 30, 1957)

The State Department referred Despatch 371 to the U.S. Department of
Agriculture which in response arranged for Dr. Monroe Wall to visit
Haiti in April 1957 to advise on developing sisal waste as a cortisone
source.  He was then a chemist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
Eastern Regional Research Laboratory near Philadelphia.  (/3-2657, March
26, 1957)

(NOTE: Wall had been in charge of a USDA program aimed at identifying
plant sources of cortisone precursors.  Among these were sisal and its
relatives and the objective of his visit was to determine if one of
these steroidal sapogenins could be recovered  from sisal processing
waste.)

Several people I interviewed mentioned a Plantation Dauphin interest in
"hecogenin".  This is a steroidal sapogenin and was probably the
cortisone precursor of interest.  When the USDA discontinued interest in
this type of effort, Wall moved to Research Triangle Institute, Research
Triangle Park, NC, where he became involved in a program to screen
plants for anti-cancer agents.  Even before he left USDA, Wall provided
the National Cancer Institute with about 2000 old plant extracts he had
prepared for the cortisone program.  One of these was an extract of
Camptotheca acuminata, a tree introduced from China and rare in the
U.S.  From this plant Wall subsequently isolated camptothecin which led
to derivatives now of great interest in cancer chemotherapy.  I was the
USDA botanist responsible for supplying Wall and others with the plant
material they needed and the effort we made to keep Wall supplied with
Camptotheca is another story.  Wall also isolated taxol, from plant
material I supplied, which is currently of great interest in cancer
treatment.)

In 1958 Cavalier Press, Richmond, VA printed the first edition  of "The
Story of Fort Liberty and the Dauphin Plantation"  by Robert L.
Pettigrew, "Honorary citizen of the town of Fort Liberty".  The book was
dedicated  "To Mary King Pettigrew whose loyalty, confidence and excited
enthusiasm for a gamble in the bleak environs of Fort Liberty
contributed so largely to the successful culmination of the Dauphin
Enterprise."  A copy of this edition is in the  Special Collections,
Georgetown University Library, Washington, DC, part of a collection
contributed by Nancy Gordon Heinl, co-author with Robert Debs Heinl,
Jr., of "Written in Blood - The Story of the Haitian People ,
1492-1971".

In early 1959, the Embassy reported to the State Department that Edwin
G. Ross, President of the Plymouth Cordage Co., Plymouth, MA,
incorporated a new company in Haiti, the Citadel Manufacturing Co.,
S.A., with its main office at Phaeton.  The company will manufacture
twine, string, rope, etc. and will use facilities owned by Plantation
Dauphin.  (Foreign Service Despatch No. 288, 838.357, January 20, 1959.
This document was found in the Special Fiber Collection, National
Agricultural Library and was not seen at National Archives.)

Later that year Sandy Peden came to Haiti to operate the baler-twine
plant on East Bay Plantation at Derac.  He "set it up, ran it and closed
it down".  He ran the factory until January 1966 when he left Haiti.

On September 4, 1959, Herbert Waite of the U.S. Geological Survey
visited the Plantation.  He contacted Eric Moum, Chief Engineer, Curtis
Hough, Accountant, and Emery Tellford, Factory Superintendent.  Waite
recorded that all water used at the factory was surface water from the
company "lagoon", 3 miles from the factory.  "A sump at the edge of the
lagoon is equipped with turbine pumps, and water is pumped from this
sump into a pipeline that connects with the factory."  There were two
successful wells at Maurice, 3 miles southwest of the factory and one at
Macady.  "Company officials...have a considerable amount of well
information in their files.  Approximately 120 test wells have been
drilled and little or no water was encountered, perhaps as much as 40
g.p.m. in one or two instances.  A few wells encountered brackish
water."  The factory processes 1.5 to 2 million pounds of sisal leaves
daily.

"The factory had been  completely shut down from March 27 to April 13
because water in the company lagoon was completely exhausted.  On April
12, 12 inches of rain fell and the lagoon was immediately replenished.
Each decorticator machine used a continuous 2-inch stream of fresh water
under 20 pounds pressure. Large amounts of salt water were used to flush
waste from the decorticators.  Fresh water was used only for sluicing
and washing the fiber.  The Plantation had closed down the factory at
Derac and all sisal was then being processed at Phaeton."

On September 20, 1960, Donald Marek, Assistant General Manager of the
Haitian Agricultural Corporation which produced sisal on a property
between Terrier Rouge and Cap Haitien, visited the American Embassy and
advised that his company had applied for a loan from the Development
Loan Fund to enlarge the HAC Plantation from 8,000 to 9,500 acres.
According to him, "political and economic difficulties in British East
Africa, the major source of sisal fiber were likely to curtail
production there."  He planned to expand production because he believed
the outlook for Haitien producers was very bright.  (/9-3060, September
30, 1960)

(The Korean war had temporarily boosted the price of sisal.  In early
1951 it was over 30 cents per pound but by the end of 1952 was down to
15 cents and continued to decline until in about 1958 it stood at just
one-third of the price in 1951.  About 1958, the price began again to
rise and reached a temporary high in 1962-64.  The 1950s was the time of
the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya.  It had begun in 1952 at which time a
state of emergency had been declared by the British.  While for all
practical purposes the rebellion ended in October 1956 with the capture
and execution of "General" Kimathi, the state of emergency continued
until 1960 with Kenya becoming independent in late 1963.  About 75% of
the world's sisal production was in British East Africa and this period
of unrest boosted sisal price on the world market.  Kenya independence
in 1963 marked the beginning of a new decline in the price of sisal
which would continue until it reached a new low in 1970 - less than 20%
of its 1951 value.)

In August 1961, K. Lerche, a sisal expert from East Africa visited the
Plantation and published an account of his tour in the Kenya Sisal Board
Bulletin (Lerche, 1962):

"The Plantation has 33,000 acres under Sisal and produces 10,000 tons
per year and is working up to 15,000 tons.  The Factory has six Krupp
Coronas with hydraulic tensioners, and two Stork decorticators without
hydraulic tensioners.  There is a drier for each decorticator.

"The field work and transport is similar to that in use in Kenya, i.e.
double-row planting and rail transport.  Their cutters cut into bundles
with a circumference at the place of tying of 33 ˝ in., measured with a
piece of wire by the headmen.  The trucks are loaded with five bundles
across in three lines and stacked seven bundles high, which is
equivalent to one task.

"The Decorticators are about five to six feet off ground level and the
bundles are carried nine to ten feet up to the feed table by an
elevator, taking one bundle at a time, which helps to ensure an even
flow of leaves.  The feed tables did not have butt-end adjusters.

"When the fibre came out of the decorticator it was carried through a
squeezer and thereafter continuing hanging on a rope for 100 ft. where
the fibre was graded when still wet, i.e., various lower grades were
lifted off the rope on to tables while the good grade was carried on the
rope to the drier and the lower grades were carried to the driers by
hand. The dried fibre was beaten over a board and baled.  The tow
percentage was two or less, and baling was only done to 85 cubic feet
per ton.

"The flume waste was flumed into a long perforated trough on each side
of which were boards doing "down-forward-up" motions, thus extracting a
lot of pulp.  There were two sets of these boards or blades each being
about 10 ft. long.  Salt water was sprayed into the trough to help the
flow.

"The flume was carried to a pin drum which took up even sized lumps to
feed into the rollers.  This pin drum was of ingenious design with the
pins retracting and self-cleaning.  There were three pairs of squeeze
rollers running at different, but high, speed and two pairs of
compression rollers.  The whole system was over-elaborate and I think
our Kenya systems are simpler and more effective.

"The flume solids then went to one oversize rotary pulp extractor, fell
down on to a brattice, and was lifted into two other oversize Rotary
extractors and a good flume tow was extracted with a stable length of 7
in.- 8in.

"Goats were walking round under the Rotary pulp extractors which gave a
nice rural feeling in an efficient set-up.  I was told that the cattle
refused to eat the pulp, possibly due to the salt from the salt water
used in the flume.  The smell of the flume was not nice - to say the
least - due to the use of sea water.

"Their fields were planted 10ft. x 28in. x 3ft. but a large part of the
new plantings were planted 9ft. x 6ft.x 2ft. which gives them 2,904
plants per acre.  They do a 5ft. discing for the first 12-18 months,
which leaves all the weeds as a nice dry mulch.

"The rumor that Dauphin Plantation was completely clean-weeded had no
foundation.

"They were more bothered by diseases than we are in Kenya, tip wither,
black spots, chlorosis, etc. and a fungus which produced a blue ink-like
spot with up to 100 or more stains per leaf in some areas, which when
dry will stain the fibres.

"Several nutrient deficiency diseases were also noticed in the fields,
and several observation plots were in progress with combination
fertilizers.  They seemed happiest with the N.P.K combination at
10x20x20.  Sisal waste had been tried in trenches under the plants at
planting with very small results, which I put down to the low rates of
only 12 tons per acre.

"The cutting was light but they appeared to cut too early in some
areas.  The boles were smaller than we usually see in Kenya and, on the
two I counted, I found only 200 to 210 leaf butts and the boles were
only 3ft.-3ft. 6in. high at poling.  Whether this is a feature of sisal
in the whole area would need a lot of study for which there was no time.

"On this estate, production costs are lowered by cheap oil from
Venezuela direct from ship to their own tank installations, no railage
charges, no housing or rations for their laborers, low ocean freight
rates, low pressure bales to 85 cubic ft. per ton only, which therefore
allow the use of cheap presses.

"I left the country with a feeling that there was much scope for
progress.  The loveliness of the island, the wonderful climate, the
kindness of the people should be the picture one has in mind and not the
first impression of squalor obtained in the harbour district of the
Capital, Port-au-Prince."

[Lerche was considered the world authority on sisal.  He had toured the
world to study all aspects of sisal production.  After his visit to
Haiti he went to Mexico, then to the USDA Fiber Research Station in
Florida and then to the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, MD,
where he also reviewed the Special Collection on Fiber Plants, assembled
by E. G. Nelson and his predecessors going back to about 1900.  En route
back to Kenya, he visited Rome and D. W. Fishler, fiber expert formerly
with USDA at the Belle Glade, FL Station.  He commented to Fishler that
he learned the most during his visit to the Special Fiber Collection.
Said Lerche, "It is the best in the world." (Personal communication,
Fishler to Kate Hayes, National Agricultural Library, June 12, 1986).
This special collection, I can attest, is superb and it has been a
valuable resource in compiling this history of the Dauphin Plantation.]

[To add a further note.  I knew Nelson quite well and made good use of
the collection many years ago when I wrote the section on fibers for
Encyclopedia Americana.  After his retirement, Nelson occupied an office
next to mine where he continued to add to the collection.  As he grew
older he became concerned about its preservation and asked the National
Agricultural Library to house it.  NAL was not interested.  When I
learned of this response I sent a letter to Richard Schultes, Director
of Harvard University's Economic Botany Museum, in which I described the
collection and advised him of Nelson's desire to find a home for it.
Schultes responded that he would be delighted to have the collection.
Nelson took Schultes' letter to NAL and there was an immediate change of
mind.  If Harvard wants it; we want it.  The collection is now housed at
NAL.]

Rollo Millar, a Scotsman and textile engineer with operations
background, came to Derac in 1961 on a three-year contract to operate
the Plymouth Cordage Co. plant.  Sandy Peden had advertised the position
in the British press; there were more than 100 applicants and Millar was
selected for the job.  According to Millar, Peden had a tight budget and
it was less costly to hire a person from the U.K.  Peden was Irish and
more comfortable with a U.K. person but economics was the main factor -
a U. K. person would be less costly.

Millar told me Plymouth Cordage had an initial agreement with the Clark
brothers to use Dauphin sisal but Lungwitz "charged an arm and a leg" so
Peden set up his own sources of fiber and most came from Miragoane.  A
Haitian with an old mine sweeper, "La Franchie", brought fiber from
Miragoane by sea when the weather permitted.  It was trucked in when the
sea was too rough.  About 80% of the fiber they used came from that
source but Peden also rented land near Hinche and produced fiber there
which was trucked into Derac.  The Hinche and Miragoane fiber was not of
the quality produced on Plantation Dauphin which was longer and whiter
and some of this was mixed with the lower quality product.

Millar remained at Derac until late 1964 when he moved to Rockford, IL
and then to California.  He departed "because of the bad political
situation."  Under the agreement with the Haitian Government, there was
to be no export tax on twine or import tax on supplies.  "Duvalier
reneged on the tax matter and Plymouth Cordage decided to reduce
operations."
During his tour there were no Americans at Derac.  In addition to Millar
and Peden, there was Bill McCay, a Scotsman and factory controller and
Hans Ralff, an agronomist, who worked for Lou Wankum and "looked after
the fields on the Derac side".  Wankum was an agronomist and oversaw the
Plantations field production.

The decortication plant at Derac did not operate at any time during
Millar's tour.

There are many colorful tales about Plantation Dauphin and the people
who worked and lived there.  Millar related that Peden came under close
scrutiny by the Haitians because his house was closer to the Dominican
border.  At one point, "Sandy was doing quite a bit of construction on
his house.  He was building a basement to store food and put in a sewing
room for his wife.  When Sandy was out of Haiti I was visited by the
lieutenant from Fort Liberte.  He was instructed by authorities in
Port-au-Prince or Cap Haitien to come and inspect because the Haitians
thought he was building a tunnel to the Dominican Republic."

In 1963, H.A. Wood, published a map in his study of Northern Haiti
indicating these population figures for communities in the Plantation
Dauphin area:   Fort Liberte  800, Phaeton  1730, Derac  2490, Paulette
2470, Lognon  100, Jacquesy  540, Terrier Rouge  2400 and Ouanaminthe
2200.

Bob Perdue