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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Foreign Relations of the United States > Johnson Administration > Volume XXXII
Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, Volume XXXII, Dominican Republic; Cuba; Haiti; Guyana
Released by the Office of the Historian




325. Telegram From the Embassy in Haiti to the Department of State/1/


Port-au-Prince, December 18, 1963, 6 p.m.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. I. Secret; Priority; Limdis.


494. Following is our analysis background current GOH moves against U.S. personnel, supplementing comments contained Embtels 458, 460/2/ and subsequent related messages:


/2/ Telegrams 458 and 460 from Port-au-Prince, December 12, 1963, reported Haitian Government interest in and inquiries about a newly assigned FSR officer, John Hasey, who previously served in Southeast Asia and the Congo. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1961–63, PER HASEY, JOHN and POL HAI–US, respectively)


(1) In light Duvalier present position of relative strength inside Haiti, marked by survival challenges and difficulties past nine months, and with new U.S. President, new U.S. Ambassador forthcoming U.S. election year and possible major OAS test upcoming on Castro, Duvalier may feel he in good bargaining position to extract resumption sizeable U.S. aid perhaps even on his terms. Murchison/Davidson interest in Haiti has been source of encouragement to Duvalier. While current GOH conduct represents change in tactics toward U.S. it does not in our view reflect basic switch in objectives such as turning away from U.S. toward Castro or Commie bloc.


(2) Duvalier may be encouraged on present course by similarity present situation and that 1960. Thus in first six months 1960 USAID projects, which had begun make real progress, brought to complete halt by GOH insistence on unilateral control over hiring and firing and other key aspects USAID program. During resulting long impasse GOH requested USG to withdraw top Embassy, USAID and USIS personnel, at same time forcing many key Haitian personnel out of joint projects. May be recalled that Castro also was growing problem at that time and major test OAS opinion on Cuba shaping up. U.S. moreover was in election year and racist Duvalier regime evidently thought, and still believes, U.S. attitude toward negro nations significant factor in U.S. domestic politics.


(3) In late 1960 with arrival new U.S. Ambassador and offer substantial U.S. aid Duvalier professed great satisfaction and relations improved. Haiti later attempted blackmail U.S. at Punta del Este and when annual review USAID program arose in early 1962 Duvalier again balked at accepting needed controls, leading eventually to phase-out program. Duvalier, however, undoubtedly recalls that tensions 1960 were followed in 1961 by his best year in terms U.S. assistance, when $14.1 million received in grants, including $6.0 million budget support.


(4) No doubt current GOH calculations contain some elements desperation arising from continuing deterioration economic situation. Earlier “intellectual” supporters now largely disillusioned, leaving mainly most venal TTM-types as basis Duvalier power. These still under control but evidently restive as payoffs delayed. Duvalier accordingly under some pressure produce resumption U.S. aid or, if this not immediately possible, some sign from U.S. which can be interpreted as foreshadowing resumption aid.


(5) Should however be noted that for Duvalier himself, intensely preoccupied with retention political power, problems of economic situation beneath him and even perhaps beyond his comprehension. He knows full well value of money in buying favors and protection but broader problems of economy he leaves to technicians. So long as they continue furnish him needed cash, and basic crops coffee, sugar and sisal continue assure some minimum economic activity, serious economic problems unlikely shake Duvalier resolve.


(6) Duvalier has made it clear over past year he intends remain in control of Haiti until he dies, that he will use any means to this objective, and will not tolerate any threat to his political control. Latter, of course, based primarily on fear, terrorism and threats even toward his close followers.


(7) On surface it may seem paradox that Duvalier would deliberately request removal of EmbOffs at same time he trying get aid./3/ Explanation may lie party in distortions and miscalculations in Duvalier’s thinking, as follows: new U.S. Amb shows U.S. recognizes Duvalier has successfully beaten down all challenges, is here to stay. U.S. must therefore make best of situation and try get Duvalier on side U.S. particularly since U.S. needs Haiti just now in OAS (Haiti’s deliberate absence at COAS vote Dec 3 perhaps significant this respect). At same time, along with hopes for new era inspired by such possible misconceptions re U.S. motives, Duvalier may recently have begun to fear that arrival new Amb might signal new efforts unseat him. Seen in this light, USIS progress in arousing pro-U.S. interest among Haitian students and intellectuals was potentially dangerous (so GOH cracked down on Haitian writers identified with USIS and put in Blanchet as Min Info). At about same time Duvalier focussed on Hasey’s presence in Haiti. This interest and Hasey’s immediate departure after FonOff request may have suddenly made plot theory plausible to Duvalier, and led to stories now circulating that Amb is “another Lodge” (Embtel 492)./4/ This Duvalier attitude ambivalent: hopes for new era vs. fears of plot. By moving against selected Emb officers he hoped remove three key officers who would be highly useful to Emb in case plot theory correct, and could at same time test new era hypothesis at relatively little risk to himself. If U.S. acceded to request for withdrawal this would comfort Duvalier that new era theory right and enable him claim to supporters he in driver’s seat vis-à-vis USG, while maintaining GOH public position that no problems now exist in U.S.-Haitian relations.


/3/ Telegram 720 to Port-au-Prince, December 19, 1963, reported a conversation between Irving Davidson, a registered agent for Duvalier, and Department officers, during which Davidson produced a letter allegedly from Duvalier asking for the quiet transfer of four Embassy officers for conspiring against the Government of Haiti, and stating that the new U.S. Ambassador, Benson E.L. Timmons III, had made a bad impression and had displayed a “certain stiffness.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. I)


/4/ Telegram 492 from Port-au-Prince, December 18, 1963, reported Haitian Government skepticism and suspicions about Timmons. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1961–63, POL HAI–US)


(8) Appears significant that in current gambit Duvalier really risking relatively little compared to what we would gain if successful. He has probably heard reports U.S. policy not changed, hence believes he has little to lose. He can, moreover, back off from this issue, if he decided to avoid showdown at this time, by saying he willing let affair pass “this time” as gesture good will toward USG and new Ambassador. With his own followers he can avoid loss prestige by saying privately “wait and see, it is only question of time,” meanwhile directing low-key or covert harassment and continuing work behind scenes for removal U.S. officials. (9) On balance we conclude that Duvalier will not initiate PNG action immediate future or retaliate against me by delaying presentation credentials indefinitely. However, risk of either or both certainly exists, since Duvalier now perhaps more than ever capable of faulty judgment and irrational acts.





326. Telegram From the Embassy in Haiti to the Department of State/1/


Port-au-Prince, February 13, 1964, 6 p.m.


/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–67, POL HAITI–US. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution.


643. Embtels 632; 636; and Deptel 297./2/


/2/ Telegrams 632 and 636 from Port-au-Prince, February 10 and 12, transmitted reports of conversations preliminary to the Duvalier–Timmons meeting. (Ibid.) Telegram 297 to Port-au-Prince, February 12, contained guidance for the meeting. (Ibid., AID (IDB) 9 HAITI)


1. I talked with Pres Duvalier for an hour and fifteen minutes this morning, after being kept waiting an hour. FonMin Chalmers and Raymond were with him, and Curtis accompanied me. Highlights of conversation summarized below; full memcon will follow./3/


/3/ Not found.


2. While waiting in anteroom, Chalmers said he understood Duvalier wished have “private” exchange of views with me and to talk of general “spirit” of relations between Haiti and US; while there would probably be mention of some subjects he (Chalmers) and I had already discussed, Duvalier wished specifics to be pursued between FonMin and myself.


3. Conversation between President and myself took place in a neutral atmosphere, which relaxed somewhat toward end of talk. Chalmers and Raymond said practically nothing, even when invited do so by Duvalier. Duvalier apparently made effort refrain from exhibiting any hostility and, for first time in Curtis’s experience, even smiled broadly at several points. Duvalier looked alert and fit, although when he stood up at beginning and end of conversation he moved slowly and I thought with a bit of difficulty. One corner of presidential office filled with machine guns and miscellaneous weaponry, and usual security precautions were visible at all points inside and outside palace.


4. Most noteworthy feature of conversation was fact that Duvalier made no mention of reference, direct or indirect, to “four problems” or to any officer of the Embassy. He also omitted usual strictures against former US Ambassadors.


5. Conversation was opened, after few words of greeting and amenities, by Duvalier’s remark that he wants “close collaboration” between myself and Chalmers, Raymond and other ministers. He then embarked upon lengthy historical review, beginning with reference to “two oldest republics of hemisphere” and ending with my presentation of credentials (memcon will report all details). Inter alia he recalled his 14 years collaboration with Americans, his studies at University Michigan, his policy of marching “side by side” with USG in foreign policy and practice of voting with US in UN and other international bodies (citing Punta del Este and second Cuban crisis), his close relations with President Eisenhower, latter’s $6 million grant (“not loan”) to Haiti, various unfilled Haitian requests to USG (road to Jacmel, jet airport), various recent invasion attempts (Dade County deputy sheriffs in 1958, Cubans in 1959, Cantave last year). Re credentials presentation, he stressed his desire do me utmost honor (ceremony held in audience chamber not used before, presidential guard in tenue de gala, turn-out of all GOH personnages, etc.). As clincher he said never before had he addressed formal remarks to a new Ambassador. (I suppressed strong temptation to say that in view nature his unpleasant remarks to me on that occasion, he would be wise revert to former practice.) Duvalier said these were all things he had wanted to tell me, adding that while they were perhaps not couched in language of diplomacy they were words of “a friend of US.” (Duvalier evidently at some pains to keep his recital fairly dispassionate.)


6. I then responded, saying I had come to Haiti with instructions to seek to improve relations between two governments if there was full and genuine desire on Haitian side to do so. It was in this spirit that Chalmers, Raymond and I had had two exploratory discussions, and I had thought it useful review main lines of what had been said so far with President Duvalier. I then referred to tourism and private investments as subjects that were of mutual interest and could I thought be usefully discussed. Duvalier countered with long statement of his personal solicitude for American tourists, orders he had given to police to protect and care for tourists, and traditional Haitian hospitality. He also made passing reference to fact that US vessels had been “suppressed” from visiting Haiti. Re private investments, he said he hereby gave “green light” to Chalmers and Raymond to proceed with discussion these and other subjects with me.


7. Duvalier then went off into discussion of importance of “man” in diplomacy. I broke in to say that subject had be seen in its true perspective. I like other Ambassadors of US spoke and acted under close instructions. There would undoubtedly be from time to time differences of view on this or that policy issue between GOH and USG, as there were between all governments. It was however great mistake to attribute these differences of view to “some Ambassador or some Embassy officer.” I then made clear statement of need for mutual respect, saying that USG treats Haiti with respect and naturally expects and intends be so treated. Duvalier echoed this and added that cardinal principle for Haiti was “auto-determination.” Haiti had no intention trying tell US what to do but converse must equally be true. He then said a few halting words in English, largely to effect how much English he forgotten since he left Michigan. (I suspect he has really forgotten very little.)


8. Chalmers added that conversations to date had been quite useful and he looked forward to pursuing them. It was left that we would have further talk in next day or so.




(A) As indicated above, conversation chiefly important for what Duvalier did not raise. There was no reference to famous “four problems” by Duvalier, and he took my rather pointed remark on “Ambassadors and Embassy officers” without any reaction. I naturally did not expect him to refer in any way to Davidson, Dec. 19 letter/4/ or similar events of recent history, and he did not.


/4/ See footnote 3, Document 325.


(B) I will wish reflect on meaning Duvalier obviously intended USG to attach to conversation. It is tempting to conclude that, having met unyielding US position on “four problems” and being aware my oft-voiced discontent over delay in credentials presentation, his offensive remarks about my predecessors, and open threat over “four problems,” Duvalier has decided some minimum level mutual accommodation is in his own interest and will thus go along with US step-by-step approach. However, having no desire figure in “famous last words” Department, I refrain from drawing such attractive conclusion. It does appear, however, that at least he is prepared have dialogue continue. Thus opening we have been seeking, to explore possibility reaching position where we can conduct with Duvalier at least the minimum business we need to in US own self-interest, is probably at hand. In this connection, USG should restrain its natural altruistic impulses toward Haiti. We can lose before we begin if we show ourselves too eager and come forward with too many goodies. Country Team and I are giving thought to some feasible way of testing and measuring Haitian performance, and I shall be forwarding my thoughts on this.


(C) GOH will remain GOH, that is to say, basically devious and untrustworthy. I by no means exclude possibility that today was show-day, designed lull us while Duvalier pursues his objectives by other means. One defense is to continue handle intermediaries and agents provocateurs as Davidson has been dealt with. Another example of constant dangers in situation here is rumor (emanating we are told last night from Raymond himself) that USG engineered expulsion of Canadian Jesuits (Embtels 637 and 641)./5/I am raising this matter with Dept in separate message.


/5/ Telegrams 637 and 641 from Port-au-Prince, February 12 and 13. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–67, SOC 12–1 HAI)


(D) I expect see Chalmers Feb 14 or 17 to continue with tourism and investment guaranties.


(E) Country Team concurs this message.





327. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson/1/


Washington, March 24, 1964.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. II. Secret.


Haitian Request for U.S. Grant Assistance


Recommended Action


I recommend you authorize Ambassador Timmons to inform President Duvalier that you have personally approved the decision not to accede to his request for grant budget-supporting assistance./2/


/2/ Sayre indicated that President Johnson disapproved the action on March 26.




Ambassador Timmons has made excellent progress in establishing the productive relations with Haiti that our own self-interests require. President Duvalier has seized upon this favorable evolution to request budget-supporting assistance as “evidence of the genuineness of U.S. goodwill toward his Government.” Although some such aid may have to be given later, we do not believe we should do so now.


Duvalier is an extreme egocentric and believes that if he could only “get through” to you personally, you would grant all his requests. It is thus important for Ambassador Timmons to be able to say that the U.S. response has your personal approval.


Since January we have taken a number of actions favorable to Haiti’s interests. We are now encouraging tourism to Haiti, processing investment guarantee applications and supporting IDB loans to Haiti that meet the Bank’s criteria.


Continuation of the productive dialogue already begun may require us to be additionally forthcoming. At the same time, we need persuasive arguments in pressing the Haitian government to pay off its debts. To serve both purposes, we plan to explore, without commitment, the reinstatement of the 1962 Port-au-Prince airport loan ($2.8 million) which was cancelled in 1963 as a consequence of Haitian defaults on previous U.S. loans./3/


/3/ A handwritten note at the end of the memorandum reads: “This is Tom Mann’s recommendation.”





328. Memorandum From Gordon Chase of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/


Washington, March 31, 1964.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. II. Secret.




I am still looking into the Haiti problem; as a starter, the following may be useful:


1. About a month and a half ago the GOH asked for grant emergency support. They gave no particular figure.


2. State and the Embassy have been wrestling since then with the problem of replying to the GOH. The essence of our position is that we want to say “no” on this particular request, but at the same time, we do not want to close the door completely on future requests. First, we may need Haiti’s OAS vote on one thing or another. Second, we may have to kick in at some time in order to stay in Haiti. State (Tom Mann and Kennedy Crockett) feels that we should not lose contact with Duvalier again. Haiti is only fifty miles from Cuba. Also, Duvalier is a sick man, and could drop dead at any moment; and we want to be around if and when it happens.


One element in the equation is that Duvalier feels that if he could cut through the “bureaucratic nonsense” to President Johnson, he would get his money.


3. Recently, State sent a memorandum to the White House requesting that the President concur in a negative response to Duvalier’s request for aid. The President apparently wanted to remain flexible, and declined to tie himself on./2/


/2/ See Document 327.


4. The last action document is Deptel 373 (attached),/3/ which tells Timmons to go ahead and talk to Duvalier. (Timmons may not be happy since he thinks Duvalier will balk at a “no” answer from anyone less than the President.)


/3/ Telegram 373 to Port-au-Prince, March 30, attached but not printed. Another copy of this telegram is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–67, AID (US) 9 HAITI.


Kennedy Crockett hopes that Timmons will be able to say “no” to Duvalier in such a way that we will not close off the possibility for future aid.


5. I asked Kennedy Crockett to clear future Haiti traffic at the White House.





329. Policy Paper Prepared in the Embassy in Haiti and the Office of Caribbean Affairs, Department of State/1/


Washington, April 23, 1964.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. III. Secret. Drafted in the Office of Caribbean Affairs with contributions from the Embassy in Port-au-Prince. The memorandum is attached to a May 5 covering memorandum from Executive Secretary James M. Frey to the Latin American Policy Committee. The Latin American Policy Committee approved the Plan of Action on May 21, according to various records, including Document 338. No copy of the approved plan has been found, and there is no record of the draft paper having been revised. Annex I, “Summary of Developments from December 15, 1963 to March 15, 1964” was attached but not printed.




Proposed Plan of Action for Period Beginning May 1, 1964


[Omitted here are sections 1–10 assessing Haiti’s political, military, economic, and foreign relations situations.]


11. Role of the United States in Haiti—Interests and Objectives


(a) The United States is now faced with the prospect that the Duvalier regime will continue to rule Haiti for the foreseeable future. In these circumstances it is in the United States interest to seek to bring about at least a minimum level of mutual accommodation, realizing that room for such accommodation may be very limited and of dubious duration. United States interests range from the need to protect American citizens and property interests to ensuring that Haiti votes on the merit of questions of importance to the United States and the free world in international organizations and forums. The United States also has an abiding interest in the social and economic welfare of the Haitian people, although past experience shows that effective cooperation with the Duvalier regime in these fields is beset by very great difficulties. It may be possible to avoid many of the pitfalls of bilateral cooperation by bringing Haiti into a meaningful relationship with the Alliance for Progress including the CIAP and such international financial organizations as the IDB, thus shifting primary responsibility to a multilateral “impersonal” organization. In any event, the well-being of the Haitian people or lack thereof has an important long-term bearing on the key United States interest of denying Haiti to the Communists.


[Omitted here is an account of U.S.-Haitian relations from 1915 to 1963.]


Objectives, Conclusions and Recommendations


[Omitted here are sections on objectives and conclusions.]


C. Recommendations


Economic and financial—The United States Government should:


1. Refrain from granting emergency or budget-supporting assistance to Haiti in the absence of some overriding consideration of political expediency.


2. Make clear to the Haitian Government that its economic development program and other self-help plans, by means of which Haiti would participate in the Alliance for Progress, should be evaluated by the CIAP, and, if Haiti is found eligible for AFP assistance, the Government of Haiti should look primarily to the IDB and other international lending organizations. This would not exclude some United States bilateral assistance should our fundamental interests require this.


3. Support the IMF in its efforts to balance the Haitian budget, maintain the convertibility of the gourde and amortize the Haitian internal and external debt (including payments to private American citizens, Ex-Im, AID, etc.).


4. Encourage selected European countries (such as the German Federal Republic) to grant modest amounts of technical and capital assistance to Haiti, while opposing aid in such amounts that Duvalier would gain any real liberty of action.


5. Continue the United States financing (approximately $1.5 per year) of the Malaria Eradication Program (which is administered as a four-way operation—Government of Haiti, United States Government, PAHO and UNICEF).


6. Encourage United States private religious and charitable organizations to continue their programs in Haiti. Continue to make foodstuffs available to such organizations under Title III of PL 480.


7. Continue to encourage tourism in Haiti by responding favorably to requests for advice from American shipping companies, tourist organizations, and individual citizens.


8. Encourage United States private investment in Haiti by approving applications for investment guaranties where such applications meet AID’s criteria.


Political—The United States Government should:


1. Seek to continue the substantive dialogue already begun, and cultivate meaningful contacts with officials of the Haitian Government, as part of the process of arriving at a minimum level of mutual accommodation.


2. If, as a result of the fact that the United States is not prepared to resume immediately bilateral aid to Haiti, Duvalier reverts to his usual tactics of reprisals against United States representatives in Haiti, or attempts to blackmail the United States in the OAS, it should be made clear that the United States will not be intimidated. (If a firm stand is taken, Duvalier would probably not risk a reversal in the present trend of United States-Haitian relations, which is basically favorable to his own selfish interests.)


3. Attempt to thwart any further efforts of Duvalier to go around the Embassy, or to use unofficial intermediaries.


4. For the time being, discourage visits to Haiti by high-ranking officials of the United States Government, other governments or international organizations which could be exploited by Duvalier.


5. Continue the present USIS information and cultural program.


6. Resume visits to Haiti by United States naval vessels, subject to advance clearance by the Embassy in each case.


7. Maintain continuing close observation of activity in the two small Communist groups in Haiti, and seek, when and as propitious occasions may arise, the elimination of pro-Communist members of the Government (e.g. Paul Blanchet, Minister of Information).


8. Disassociate itself from any exile attempt to invade Haiti, or any plot against Duvalier, except in the circumstances (1) that the prospects for success appear favorable, (2) that public knowledge of United States Government involvement could be successfully avoided, and (3) that the installation of an acceptable successor group is virtually assured.


9. Continue discreet contacts with Haitians outside the Government (and with those in exile) in order to attempt to build up assets for the future.


10. Defer for the time being any attempt to reconstitute a MAAG in Haiti, and deny any further United States military assistance if such should be requested by the Government of Haiti.


11. Continue to oppose and frustrate Duvalier’s attempts to purchase arms in other countries.


12. Discourage Haiti from extending its political or economic relationship with the Soviet Bloc (Poland is the only Bloc country with which Haiti maintains diplomatic relations). Watch carefully for any signs that Haiti has any type of contact with Cuba and move immediately to urge the Haitian Government to cut off any such contacts.



330. Memorandum From Robert M. Sayre of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/


Washington, June 26, 1964.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. III. Confidential. The memorandum was mistakenly dated 1961.


Developing Crisis with Haiti


In Duvalier’s “inauguration” address he made pleasant noises about cooperation with the United States. Having set the stage, Ambassador Timmons believes Duvalier is now ready to present his bill.


Duvalier plans, according to usually reliable palace sources, to call in Timmons and request loans, ask Timmons to go to Washington to see if he can get them, and imply very strongly that he need not come back if he is not successful.


The Haitian Ambassador has presented an export license request for thirty T–28A aircraft which the Department has told the trade sources believed to be involved that it will not approve. It did this in warning aircraft dealers that they should not ship without a license—something the Department had reason to believe they planned to do.


Timmons has asked for permission to take leave beginning June 30, during the course of which he would consult in Washington. All of the reasons why Ambassador Timmons wants urgent consultation are not clear, but the primary one seems to be the need to reassess our position in the light of changed and expected [unexpected?] events. State has approved his request for leave and consultation.





331. Memorandum From Robert M. Sayre of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/


Washington, July 9, 1964.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. IV. Confidential.


Exile Incursion into Haiti


Duvalier finally announced publicly July 8 that Haitian exiles had invaded Haiti. The announcement insisted that the Haitian armed forces were mopping up the invaders.


CIA informs me that 28 Haitian exiles did enter Haiti on the south coast, each armed with an M–1 rifle and about 1000 rounds of ammunition. They went into the mountains. The area in which they are operating is some of the best guerrilla territory in the world—mountainous, lots of caves, foliage, and fruit. Duvalier did send forces into the area but these forces got a bloody nose in their first encounter. They are now patrolling about 10 miles away from the area in which the exiles are located. Government forces are scared to go after the exiles.


Duvalier has considered such schemes as sending 75mm guns (mortar ammunition did not detonate); burning the villages in the area; sending the peasants in the area ahead of the soldiers in hopes the guerrillas would fire at the peasants and identify their positions, etc.


Duvalier has begun a general round-up of all relatives of any exiles from grandmothers to babes in arms. This is a terror tactic. He has told his household staff, if he goes, he will go like Hitler and level Port-au-Prince.


It is too early to tell whether these few exiles will be successful. They apparently have little back-up material outside. Reports that the exiles may have been trained in Puerto Rico, Miami, or Cuba all appear unfounded. Nevertheless, Mr. Mann asked that they all be run down.





332. Memorandum From Robert M. Sayre of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/


Washington, July 10, 1964.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. IV. Confidential.


Haitian Arms Request


State is under intense pressure from the Haitians to approve an export license for thirty T–28 aircraft owned by a Dallas, Texas firm. Irving Davidson, a registered public relations man for Duvalier, has told State that Fred Orleans (a Texas lawyer and one of the Americans promoting the sale) insists that there is no need to worry about approval because the White House will overrule the State Department.


The Haitians have also presented a long shopping list for military equipment.


The pressure from the Haitians for the T–28’s may be an indication of Duvalier’s concern about the small band of guerrillas operating in Haiti. The Haitian Army wants to machine-gun their positions since Haitian soldiers are afraid to tangle with them on the ground.


Another reason for the pressure might be that the Haitians involved have already received their payoff and they are worried about their skins if Duvalier does not get his aircraft.





333. Telegram From the Embassy in Haiti to the Department of State/1/


Port-au-Prince, July 27, 1964, 5 p.m. 188.


/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL US–HAITI. Secret; Priority; Limdis.


Deptel 61./2/ Personal for Asst Secy Mann from Timmons.


/2/ In telegram 61 to Port-au-Prince, July 26, the Department instructed the Embassy to inform Haiti that its requests for export licenses for the T–28 aircraft, arms, and parts were under consideration. (Ibid., FT 18–1 HAI–US)


1. Thought it might be helpful to you have following thoughts on GOH–USG relations while FonMin Chalmers still in US and before definitive replies are made to GOH on requests for T–28 aircraft, spare parts for weapons and emergency electric power generators.


2. Since last January, when decision taken that USG self-interest required an attempt to reach minimum level mutual accommodation with Duvalier regime, I believe considerable progress made toward this objective, as shown most recently by GOH vote at MFM. Our hand was never exactly full of cards, but ones we did have (resumption tourism, including naval visits and cruise ships; IDB water supply loan; resumption processing investment guaranties) proved useful. Backdrop against which this dialogue proceeded was of utmost importance. Duvalier, pathologically suspicious that USG playing with Haitian exiles against him, has repeatedly threatened in private get rid of me or entire Emb. On other hand, he restrained by what must be reluctance precipitate another serious incident in his relations with USG, with unknown consequences. Meanwhile Duvalier has directed that three major official requests be made through me to USG for various items of assistance (budget-support aid last Feb; electric generators last March; export licenses for T–28 aircraft last week, reinforcing earlier request to Dept), to which he has recd refusal of first and no reply to last two. In addition there have been number of unofficial approaches through Davidson, Orleans, Sherman, etc.


3. Basic question has been and continues to be whether USG policy objective (maintain position here in attempt influence Haiti on matters important to USG, such as OAS, and deny Haiti to Communists) can be successfully pursued much longer under present conditions, i.e., unless Duvalier gets something more from dialogue than it has yet yielded to him.


4. Problem has two aspects: (a) present items in dialogue, always “low-yield”, have dwindled further. Although no official instruction has yet reached us, there are seemingly well-founded indications that USG has again suspended processing investment guaranties (Embtel 94),/3/ and intends block any further IDB, IDA or IBRD loans to Haiti. If so, and with naval visits in suspense for several reasons, including recent exile incursion and subsequent suspension GTMO’s support flight to PAP, virtually nothing would be left of original items except Grace Line cruise ships. (b) Meanwhile Duvalier injected into dialogue three items of his choice, as indicated para 2 above. In this context he undoubtedly attached very great importance to question of Haiti’s participation in July 21 MFM. He must have gone through roughly same analytical process we did, as to what various courses of action would yield him. It presumably became clear to him that Haiti would not have swing vote, and that even if it had such vote, USG was in no mood bargain for Haitian support. In these circumstances seems evident he decided play it sweet and low for time being; hence elaborate little act of calling me in to receive copy of Chalmers’ instructions, with request that these instructions be brought Pres Johnson’s personal attention, and low-key approach which Chalmers took with you on July 20, all preparatory to casting of Haitian vote with US in MFM. (If however Chalmers sees you again before leaving US, his tone may become more exigent, as has Raymond’s with me.) Another factor has of course been exile incursion, and calculation by Duvalier that as long as he was under the gun he could best discourage oppositionists by attempting give concrete evidence that GOH–USG relations improving and he on side USG. MFM on Cuba was handiest subject for this purpose.


/3/ Dated July 15. (Ibid., FN 9–3 HAI)


5. In short, what Duvalier has gotten in last eight months has been USG “neutrality” toward him (i.e., no official opposition to presidency for life), presence of an American Ambassador in PAP, widespread conclusion here and to some extent abroad that considerable détente achieved in GOH–USG relations (of which he has made useful propaganda capital), and some benefits in tourism, etc. No matter how much he would like strike out at US, he not likely abandon these advantages without close calculation, if past actions any guide. However, denial his outstanding requests (of which T–28s most important) could be enough tip balance toward some move by Duvalier against USG. Again on past form, target would probably be me. I find it difficult estimate odds here; I think that they run in favor of such a move, but could easily be wrong.


6. Present arguments against any extension of existing US assistance to Haiti, either economic or military, seem to me to be generally valid. Hemisphere considerations are important, and I am aware of depth of US public and Congressional distaste for Duvalier. At same time, reasons for maintaining strongest possible US presence are cogent, and I believe are becoming more so. If we continue deny all Duvalier’s requests, we are essentially gambling that he will continue place such high value on lack of open USG opposition to him that he will not risk return to dangerous conditions of 1963. We should be able reinforce this by such items as interest you expressed to Chalmers in assisting movement Haitian exile leaders out of DomRep. An early acknowledgment of Duvalier’s “message” to President would also work in same direction. To go further would mean approving one of Duvalier’s aid requests, such as aircraft or budget-support assistance. This would almost certainly buy considerable time but also give rise to expectations of more to come.


7. Given all factors, including tight limitations on US policy toward Haiti at this time, I assume only feasible course is to continue present stance. There is one aspect that probably introduces a “cushioning” effect. If Duvalier does decide apply pressure on USG by attempt oust me, there likely be quite a bit of advance warning, since Duvalier allergic to PNG action except as last resort. This would enable new look to be taken at situation. Goes without saying that use of term “present stance” implies continuation of US policies embodied in original dialogue, including processing investment guaranties and willingness go along with loans to GOH by IDB and other international lending agencies in cases where Haiti meets criteria. Under Dept’s instructions I made quite categoric statements to GOH on these items, and I fear that any change, which could not be concealed for long from GOH, would seriously complicate matters here. 8. We have also given thought to possibility that Duvalier might attempt kick up some public incident in pre-electoral period. Curtis and Warner believe this unlikely; I generally share their view but would place odds somewhat shorter than they do.





334. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Dominican Republic/1/


Washington, August 7, 1964, 6:18 p.m.


/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–67, POL 23–9 HAITI. Secret; Immediate. Drafted and approved by Mann. Repeated to Port-au-Prince.


104. For Ambassador Bennett from Mann. In view of today’s information regarding new invasion by unknown armed band at Madre Dame Marie and conflicting reports which we have concerning possible support by Dominican military of released Haitian internees, growing feeling here is that even if new rebel band has no connection with Castro we cannot afford to be implicated directly or indirectly with another attempt by Haitian internees to enter Haiti again from Dominican Republic. It would seem to us most inconsistent to directly or indirectly support intervention in Haitian internal affairs after having so recently condemned Cuban intervention in Venezuelan internal affairs. If you perceive no objection suggest you make this clear to Reid Cabral so that he can be under no misunderstanding about USG attitude. You may furthermore inform him that it seems quite possible Haiti will decide to bring matter before OAS and that we are anxious that Dominican government have clean hands in event this should happen.





335. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs (Crockett) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter- American Affairs (Mann)/1/


Washington, November 23, 1964.


/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 15–1 HAITI. Secret.


The Multiple Dilemma in Formulating U.S. Policy on Haiti




(1) Continuation of the brutal Duvalier dictatorship and maintenance by the U.S. of even minimal relationships with it are disadvantageous to the United States because:


(a) Continuing economic deterioration, moral decay and despair of another alternative work to the advantage of the communists. In addition, only the most clandestine opposition can hope to survive under Duvalier, a situation more suited to communist organization and tacts than to non-communist opposition.


(b) Haitian oppositionists, along with many of our own people and the people of the Hemisphere, are unwilling to concede that the U.S. interest is better served by the maintenance of even a minimal relationship with the Duvalier dictatorship as contrasted to the moral advantage to be gained by a complete U.S. withdrawal from Haiti.


(2) The maintenance of a U.S. presence in Haiti is in the U.S. interest because:


(a) The U.S. must be in the best position possible to protect the lives and property of its citizens in Haiti.


(b) Haiti has a voice in international forums (OAS, UN, etc.) which can be used for or against U.S. interests. Direct access to Duvalier is necessary in order to get maximum advantage for the U.S. from Haiti’s vote and voice in international forums.


(c) We must be on the scene if we are to have maximum influence on the course of events in Haiti when Duvalier goes.




(1) Actively consort with Duvalier’s opposition to overthrow him.




The better Haitians, who are all in opposition to Duvalier, would be greatly heartened. Their bitterness toward the U.S. for tolerating Duvalier would be blunted. We would garner support for such a policy from many of our own people and the people of the Hemisphere who abhor Duvalier. If the policy resulted in Duvalier’s overthrow, it would open the prospect for establishment of a less repugnant successor government.




To undertake an interventionist policy such as this would be to assume very grave responsibility for the consequences. In the final analysis we can ensure the establishment and continuation of a less repugnant post-Duvalier government only if we are prepared to install and control it with force of arms if necessary. To undertake an interventionist policy in Haiti without being prepared to go the whole way to ensure its success would be to invite a double curse on our house, i.e., (a) to have intervened, and (b) to have failed.


An interventionist policy in Haiti would represent a major shift of U.S. policy in Latin America. Our enemies would exploit it to the fullest. Many of our friends would see in it a precedent involving much greater dangers to their interests than does Duvalier’s continuation. We could expect major and continuing criticism.


Assuming we were prepared to bear the consequences in order to do something meaningful for the Haitian people, the needs are so monumental that even the unrestrained application of our resources could be expected to make only a modest impact for at least a generation. Thus, the initial and continuing foreign policy price would be great. The long-term cost to our economy would be very high. But demonstrable and real benefits would be quite small, at least through the mid-term.


(2) Work closely and fully with Duvalier despite his shortcomings.




Substantial input of funds and technical assistance would alleviate the great suffering of Haiti’s masses to some extent in the short run and would offer improved prospects for the country’s future. A substantial U.S. developmental effort might give us some leverage in softening Duvalier’s brutal oppression of the Haitian people.




All of the better elements of Haiti (who are in opposition to Duvalier) would decry such a policy as strengthening Duvalier’s hand at home and abroad. Many of our own people and the people of the Hemisphere would denounce our support of a brutal dictatorship. Experience has demonstrated that Duvalier prefers to forego U.S. assistance unless he can get it on his terms and exploit it to his maximum advantage. This would minimize benefits accruing to the Haitian people while maximizing benefits to Duvalier and his supporters. Reactivation of an assistance program in Haiti would be taken as a sign of U.S. weakness by Duvalier and would probably provide little if any additional leverage in dealing with him.


(3) Maintain a U.S. presence in Haiti but make clear by word and deed our distaste for the Duvalier dictatorship.




The U.S. position would be clear for all to see. We would satisfy most of those who criticize us for consorting with Duvalier. We would continue to enjoy a presence in Haiti.




It is unlikely that Duvalier would long tolerate a U.S. presence in Haiti under these circumstances, but would force a confrontation offering two alternatives: (a) a softening of the policy, or (b) the expulsion of our Ambassador and possibly our entire mission. At the very least, our ability to exploit our presence in Haiti would be greatly circumscribed.


(4) Maintain a U.S. presence in Haiti on as normal a basis as conditions there permit, but deny Duvalier U.S. endorsement or economic assistance.




Maintenance of a U.S. presence in Haiti on as normal a basis as possible permits maximum application of our influence in attaining our policy objectives. We will be on the scene and in a position to take quick and effective counter measures should a communist takeover threaten or occur either before or after Duvalier’s demise.




Maintenance of even limited relationships with the Duvalier dictatorship places us in an ambiguous position, especially for those who find it simpler to see all things in black and white. Criticism and bitterness will be engendered, creating problems for the U.S. now and in the future. Elements of the Haitian opposition who offer the best hope for the country’s future are estranged by such a policy. It is a difficult policy to implement because it has few tangible benefits for Duvalier. Consequently, he is constantly tempted to force a confrontation which might deny him the limited benefits he now enjoys over the short run but offers prospects of more tangible returns as the price for a future rapprochement. To stay this temptation, Duvalier must be kept in doubt about future U.S. intentions and the value which the U.S. places on maintaining a presence in Haiti.




Despite the disadvantages, Course of Action (4) is clearly the least unattractive of the alternatives open to the U.S.



336. Memorandum of Conversation/1/




New York, December 10, 1964, 11 a.m.


/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–67, POL HAITI–US. Confidential. Drafted by Irwin and approved in S on December 30. The memorandum is part V of VII.




New York, December 1964


Revolutionary Action by Haitian Officials


The Secretary

Mr. Irwin, ARA

Mr. Glenn, Interpreter


Rene Chalmers, Foreign Minister of Haiti


The Secretary said that he wished to comment briefly regarding the mounting of military forays against Haiti from United States soil. The Secretary emphasized that such action is illegal in the United States and that the policy of the United States Government is not to permit such action to occur on its territory. The Secretary said that it is not possible to take action against people who only plot with their tongues—that, too, would be contrary to our law. However, the United States would be pleased to be informed through our Embassy of any actual plots the Government of Haiti believes might be afoot. He assured the Foreign Minister that the United States would take measures, as it had in the past, against such action.


The Haitian Foreign Minister replied that there have been several conversations through the two Embassies on this matter. He recognized that the United States Government does not tolerate such action on United States soil. He said that he fully realized that when the Government of Haiti reports such suspicions to the American Embassy that they are transmitted to Washington. The Minister said that he wished to speak frankly, however that in the last invasion, the Haitian Government took two prisoners and a large amount of matériel. He said that a large part of this matériel had come from Syracuse, New York and, although the prisoners may have been attempting to mislead the GOH, they made statements to the effect that they had been trained on United States territory. He said that he had discussed the matter with Ambassador Timmons, saying that he did not believe the United States was responsible. However, at this time, he wished to suggest the possibility of some low-level United States officials being involved, or persons who belong to some “quasi organization.” The Minister concluded that he believed it behooved him to prepare a complete file on this subject for the Secretary.


The Secretary said he would appreciate this, and asked that the Minister have the American Embassy address the report to his personal attention. He repeated his disavowal of any United States participation in rebel activities, and said that all over the world rebel elements falsely claim the support of the United States for their own advantage.



337. Memorandum From Robert M. Sayre of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/


Washington, December 30, 1964.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. IV. Secret.



Both the New York Times and the Herald Tribune are giving particular attention to the smuggling of arms into Haiti./2/ The arrival of two T–28’s in Haiti earlier this year in the face of a ban of export licenses is what whetted their curiosity. Szulc and Collier have apparently been working together. They tried to develop the thesis with the Director of Caribbean Affairs that the United States Government was conspiring with Duvalier to provide arms, despite the fact that we refused an export license. They apparently gave this up as a bad theory, but are now on the tangent that the Department of State and CIA are preventing prosecution because they are unwilling to let a key witness testify. This witness can apparently testify to the fact that the aircraft in Haiti are in fact the ones smuggled out of Florida.


/2/ Mann called Valenti on December 28 about the two newspapers’ articles and said that he had learned from a journalist friend that the “whole Haiti story was leaked by Justice.” Mann added that “the newspaper people had tried to sell the idea that Duvalier was promised help in return for Haiti’s vote at the July OAS meeting so this was why they could get T–28s from us. This was not true at all.” (Ibid., Papers of Thomas C. Mann, Telephone Conversations with LBJ, January 4, 1964–April 30, 1965)


[1 paragraph (3 lines of source text) not declassified]


Mann feels that the emphasis which the two papers are giving to the story indicates a new effort on their part to revive the dictator-democracy issues. He regards our present policy as perfectly defensible. We have done everything we can to prevent arms shipments to Haiti, including obtaining an arms embargo by all the Europeans, which is effective. Although Mann regards Duvalier as the worst dictator in the Hemisphere, and would be happy to see him go, no one has suggested any way to do it except by force. Mann regards this an unacceptable course. Even if this were done, no one has a satisfactory alternative in prospect. Haiti has never had a reasonably decent government, even by Latin standards. Some, like Duvalier, are just worse than others.





338. Airgram From the Embassy in Haiti to the Department of State/1/


A–332 Port-au-Prince, February 24, 1965.


/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 1 HAI–US. Secret. Drafted and approved by Timmons; cleared by Curtis, Political Counselor Warner, Economic Counselor Breaux, Military Attaché Lieutenant Colonel Warren, USIS Attaché Moss, and Consul General Maule.


Results in 1964 of the Application of United States Policies toward Haiti


1. Introduction and Summary—The purpose of this airgram is to analyze briefly the results in the calendar year 1964 of the application of United States Government policies toward Haiti, especially in two key areas—the specific requests that the United States Government made to the Haitian Government in matters of substantial bilateral or multilateral concern, and the requests of the same nature that the Haitian Government made to the United States Government. As will be indicated below, the Haitian Government responded affirmatively to all such requests made by the United States Government (except in one case—the suspension of an expulsion order against an American citizen), while at the same time the United States Government, in accord with the established policy, successfully rejected all Haitian requests and maneuvers to obtain the resumption of the United States economic and military assistance to Haiti.


2. Basic United States Policy toward Haiti—The elements of United States policy toward Haiti for the immediate and short-run future, as set out in the currently applicable Policy Paper entitled “Haiti—Plan of Action for Period Beginning May 1, 1964,”/2/ prepared by the Embassy and ARA/CAR and approved by the Latin America Policy Committee on May 21, 1964, may be summarized as follows:


/2/ For the draft version, see Document 329.


(a) To maintain a substantial United States presence in Haiti (defined as being an Ambassador and an adequate Embassy staff) so as to be able to influence the situation when the inevitable change in regime occurs, either through Duvalier’s death or through his assassination or deposition, and to deny Haiti to the Communists.


(b) Meanwhile, to give no aid or support to Duvalier through resumption of United States economic or military assistance, and to frustrate his efforts to buy arms in the United States or other countries.


(c) To influence the Haitian Government to support United States positions on matters of bilateral or multilateral concern (such as in the OAS, UN and specialized international agencies).


(d) To protect the substantial number of United States citizens resident in Haiti (over 1,000) and the large United States investments here (estimated at more than $60 million), and to collect the debts owed by Haiti to the United States Government and to United States citizens and firms.


[Omitted here is discussion of major requests for and by the Haitian Government.]


6. Conclusions—


In terms of the four major objectives set out in Paragraph 2 above, the following conclusions may be drawn:


(a) During the period under review the desired United States presence in Haiti was maintained, and two attempts by the Haitian Government (in December, 1963 and January, 1964) to bring about the withdrawal of three key Embassy officers (Army Attaché, Chief of Political Section, and Public Affairs Officer) were decisively defeated. I made clear to the Haitian Foreign Minister in January, 1964 (a month after my arrival here) that the Haitian Government was naturally free to declare these officers persona non grata, but in that case the United States Government would retaliate against Haitian Government personnel in the United States on a one-for-one basis. The Haitian Government dropped the matter.


(b) All Haitian Government efforts to obtain the resumption of United States economic and military assistance were successfully rejected.


(c) The Haitian Government agreed to support United States Government positions on all matters of substantial bilateral and multilateral concern, and this was accomplished without the resumption of United States assistance.


(d) Except in the case of Bishop Voegeli, United States citizens and investments here were successfully protected.


Benson E. L. Timmons



339. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter- American Affairs (Vaughn) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Thompson)/1/


Washington, April 19, 1965.


/1/ Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Country Files, Haiti. Secret; Eyes Only.


Proposal to counter Radio Havana Broadcasts to Haiti


ARA endorses the attached proposal/2/ to use Haitian exiles to broadcast radio programs in Creole to counter communist propaganda now regularly beamed to Haiti by Radio Havana and recommends that you support it in the 303 Committee./3/


/2/ Not found.


/3/ An April 23 memorandum for the record notes that the proposal received telephonic approval from 303 Committee principals on April 22. (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Country Files, Haiti)


As pointed out under e. Risks Involved, Duvalier’s reaction to this operation could be quite sharp. It is possible that our ability to maintain a presence in Haiti will be threatened. In recommending approval of the program, the Department emphasizes the importance of avoiding, to the extent possible, program content which would tend to direct Duvalier’s displeasure towards the United States, rather than the Haitian exile community. To this end, particular care will be required in preparing that portion of broadcasts originating in the U.S. which is aimed at disassociating the United States from Duvalier in the Haitian mind.



340. Memorandum of Conversation/1/


Washington, May 4, 1965, 5 p.m.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. IV. Confidential. Drafted by von Thurn. The memorandum is part II of V. The meeting was held in the Secretary’s office.


Arms for Haiti


The Secretary
Rene Chalmers, Foreign Minister of Haiti

Andre Theard, Ambassador of Haiti

Miss von Thurn, ARA/CAR

Mr. Glenn, Interpreter


Foreign Minister Chalmers stated that the Government of Haiti lacks weapons and ammunition with which to defend itself against outside attack; he said that this problem is of particular concern to his government at present in view of the situation in the Dominican Republic./2/ Chalmers stated that Haiti has made numerous efforts to obtain arms during the past year but that none of these efforts has been successful. He added, slowly and emphatically, “this will become a question”, repeating the statement several times. (Note: He did not mention specifically his government’s several unsuccessful requests for U.S. military assistance nor did he make specific reference to the equally unsuccessful applications for munitions control export licenses. He also avoided mention of Haiti’s attempt to smuggle weapons out of the United States.)


/2/ A May 4 briefing memorandum from Vaughn to Secretary Rusk for this meeting recommended that the Secretary receive Chalmers, since “the need for Haiti’s vote at the OAS is clear” and “Chalmers is one of the few MFM delegates who has expressed broad general support for our recent actions in the Dominican Republic.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL HAITI–US)



341. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter- American Affairs (Vaughn) to the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hughes)/1/


Washington, May 13, 1965.


/1/ Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, 303 Committee Records. Secret.


The Impact in Haiti of the Dominican Crisis


In the two and a half weeks since the fall of the Reid Cabral government, the Dominican crisis has had only a very limited impact on the situation in Haiti. This could change quickly however if the several Haitian exile activists now serving with the Dominican rebel forces should succeed in obtaining rebel logistic support for an invasion of Haiti.


Immediate Impact


Relations with the Dominican Republic


From the outset of the Dominican crisis, official Haitian reaction has been one of ill-disguised fear that Juan Bosch, or someone answerable to him, might gain control of the government in Santo Domingo. Haitian officials have seized eagerly on the leftist infiltration of the present pro-Bosch forces as a pretext for their fears, and have underscored again and again their willingness to go along with any move to brand Bosch a threat to the security of the hemisphere. As a practical matter, Haiti’s fear of Bosch has little to do with the issue of Communism and is based primarily on Bosch’s association with leaders of the non-Communist left, principally Figueres, Betancourt, and Munoz Marin, all of whom are openly and loudly critical of the Duvalier dictatorship to the point of having pressed for OAS censure of the regime. Bosch himself, during his brief tenure in office, permitted Haitian exiles to launch two probes against Haiti from Dominican soil.


Haitian Exile Groups


Usually reliable sources report that Haitian exiles living in Santo Domingo obtained a sizeable quantity of weapons when the Dominican rebels stormed the Fortaleza Ozama on April 30. Among these exiles were two individuals who participated in Dominican-based guerrilla invasions of Haiti in June and August of 1964. These two, plus their French military advisor, are currently members of Colonel Caamano’s inner circle according to recent reports. The acquisition of arms and of influential new Dominican contacts materially changes the power position of these exiles. The Reid Cabral government had disarmed and/or interned most of these exiles under pressure from the OAS. To date there are no indications that the exiles have organized themselves for an invasion but they have reportedly expressed their intention of doing so as soon as the situation permits.


Relations with the U.S. and the OAS


The immediate practical effect of Haiti’s newly revived fear of Bosch has been to mute the otherwise predictable criticism of the use of U.S. military forces in Santo Domingo and to soften, temporarily, Haiti’s perpetual attempts to blackmail the U.S. in OAS meetings. During the current Meeting of Consultation, Haiti’s fears have dictated support for the U.S. position, without haggling. At the same time, however, there are indications that Duvalier may soon attempt to trade on his “cooperation” and on the proximity of the Dominican crisis to make a bid for the resumption of large-scale U.S. aid. Even before the start of the Dominican crisis, Foreign Minister Chalmers said he believed it would be useless for the forthcoming Rio OAS conference to discuss “the strengthening of representative democracy” without giving attention to the underlying question of “reinforcing the respective economies”.


Internal Repercussions


There is no evidence that security measures have been tightened in Haiti nor that the border garrisons have been reinforced. There have been reports that one of the two Haitian Communist parties (the PPLN) and several other small, disorganized opposition groups—all of which are clandestine—have discussed the implications for Haiti of the Dominican crisis but there has been nothing to indicate that any group plans overt action on the face of Duvalier’s ruthless repressive tactics. Aggressive broadcasts by Radio Havana, in Creole to Haiti, urging Haitians to back the Dominican rebels, have had no visible effect.


The Haitian economy, chronically shaky and recently in a state of near paralysis, has not been affected by the Dominican situation.


Possible Impact in the Next Few Months


One of the most obvious possibilities for the near future is that the Haitian exiles now serving with the Dominican rebels may attempt an invasion of Haiti under cover of the present confusion in Santo Domingo.


If these exiles should find themselves able to move, they could well succeed in bringing Duvalier down with as few as 300 well equipped men. Their failure to do so in 1964 can be ascribed in large part to the lack of support from the Dominican side of the border, lack of trained manpower (no invasion group numbered more than 30 or 40), and a lack of suitable equipment.


In 1964, despite the exiles’ poor logistics and support, Duvalier was unable to effectively control the invasion areas for four months (July through early November). The exiles now in the best position to mount an invasion, i.e., those in Santo Domingo, have had no pronounced ideological orientation but reportedly have drawn closer to leftist groups in recent months for lack of support from other quarters.


Ambassador Timmons’ assessment of Duvalier’s probable reaction to this and to other factors in the situation is set forth in the attached telegram (Port-au-Prince 1489, May 11, 1965)./2/ While it is possible, as stated in the Embassy assessment, that Duvalier might accept or even welcome U.S. military intervention in the event of an invasion, such intervention would almost certainly create serious difficulties for the U.S. in terms of hemisphere opinion and would be likely to backfire within Haiti after a short time, given Haiti’s vivid memories of the U.S. Marine occupation of 1915–1934.


/2/ Telegram 1489 from Port-au-Prince, May 12, reported Timmons’ discussions with Chambers and Raymond, and Timmons’ analysis that Duvalier favored an authoritarian regime in the Dominican Republic, as far to the right as possible. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 DOM REP)



342. Intelligence Memorandum/1/


OCI No. 1754/65


Washington, May 13, 1965.


/1/ Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, 303 Committee Records. Secret. Prepared in the Office of Current Intelligence of the CIA. Secret; No Foreign Dissem.; Controlled Dissem. A May 14 memorandum from Murat W. Williams (INR) to Vaughn noted that this memorandum was circulated at the May 13 meeting of the 303 Committee. The Committee agreed that “a small group of determined insurgents could unseat Duvalier.” Bundy directed that State and the CIA “coordinate on investigating alternative sources of political power in Haiti,” since Duvalier’s days might be numbered and the United States “should not be caught short.” (Ibid., Country File, Haiti)




1. Since Francois Duvalier’s accession to power in 1957, he has attempted to destroy every force which could possibly overthrow him. The military, which has been the traditional kingmaker in Haiti, lost most of its power in 1958 when the National Security Volunteers (VSN-Militia) and the secret police (Ton-Ton Macoute-bogeymen) were created as counterforces. Since that time there have been repeated purges within the military. Those who have been purged have been replaced by Duvalier favorites who owe their positions to him. A civil service does not exist. All government employees are hired on the basis of their loyalty to Duvalier. Even cabinet officers are changed frequently to prevent their building up any following. Discontent is believed to be widespread, but opposition, both real and imagined, is ruthlessly and immediately suppressed.


2. Over the years there have been numerous incursions by anti- Duvalier Haitian exiles. In August and September 1963 several incursions took place on the northern border area, the last with a force of over 100 men. These expeditions met with failure, however, because Duvalier was alerted and because of the poor leadership of the exile commander, Brig. Gen. Leon Cantave. Cantave has since lost exile support.


3. From June to September 1964 two separate groups invaded Haiti. One group of about 30 came from the Dominican Republic and operated in the southeastern portion of the southern peninsula for several weeks, then crossed back into the neighboring republic where they were temporarily interned by Dominican officials. The other group landed on the southwestern portion and was comprised of 13 men. This group was probably the best trained and equipped that has operated in Haiti. The Haitian military were unable to engage them for several months, but the group was finally worn down until all had been captured and killed. It is significant to note that a force of only 13 men operating in the countryside were capable of running the Haitian Armed forces (FAdH) ragged for several months. The FAdH was demoralized at its inability to engage the enemy. There were complaints that the army lacked good field support and sufficient supplies. Another widespread complaint was that the VSN—Duvalier’s favorite— was not up to the task of fighting for the country.


4. The last two incursions were eventually beaten back, but only at great cost to the economy. Haiti has been unable to recover fully and is now in serious economic straits. Government employees are not paid for months on end. The Duvalier government has repeatedly asked for US economic aid. Following its vote in the OAS to back the US in its actions in the Dominican Republic Haiti may seek “its reward.”


5. Although Haitian exiles are agreed that Duvalier must be overthrown, they are divided amongst themselves. The exile factions work singly without overall direction and therefore are unable to put large groups in the field. Last year’s defeats also have served to dampen exile spirits.


6. During the past several weeks we have had reports that some Haitian exiles are fighting with the rebels in the Dominican Republic. These exiles are probably led by Andre Riviere, a French soldier of fortune. He is reported to have fought in Indochina, and is an expert in guerrilla tactics. In the past several years Riviere has instructed anti- Duvalier exiles—numbering about 70–100—in the Dominican Republic. Those Haitians presently fighting with the rebels may be some of those which he has trained. One of the exiles’ perennial complaints was that they lacked arms; however, they may have acquired some from the Dominicans. At present Riviere—who reportedly has had Communist ties in the past—is a translator and military adviser to Manuel Montes Arache—one of the leaders of the Dominican rebel command.


7. [16 lines of source text not declassified] Radio Havana has long been trying to incite the Haitian people to overthrow the dictatorship. Recently these broadcasts, in the Creole language, have included excerpts from “Che” Guevara’s guerrilla warfare book. [2½ lines of source text not declassified]


8. Should exiles be able to mount an incursion on several fronts simultaneously, with small, well-trained groups who could be resupplied, the Duvalier regime could be overthrown. Depressed economic conditions in Haiti limit the government’s ability to finance protracted military operations.


9. This paper has the concurrence of WH/DDP and O/NE.



343. Memorandum Prepared for the 303 Committee/1/


Washington, June 2, 1965.


/1/ Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Country Files, Haiti. Secret. Drafted in the Western Hemisphere Division, forwarded with a June 3 covering memorandum through the Deputy Director for Plans and the Director of Central Intelligence, with the signed concurrence of Thomas H. Karamessines, Assistant Deputy Director for Plans, Central Intelligence Agency. The covering memorandum stated that this CIA–State coordinated paper was the response to McGeorge Bundy’s May 13 request for a plan of pre-emptive action in Haiti; see footnote 1, Document 342. The covering memorandum was attached but not printed.


Haiti—The Threat and Possible Pre-emptive Measures


I. Alternative Sources of Political Power


There are no alternative sources of political power in Haiti today. The army, stripped of its best officers, is powerless to act against the regime and its armed rabble, the National Security Volunteers (VSN). There are no political parties other than the two communist parties which operate clandestinely. All power rests with President Duvalier who has relentlessly smashed all overt opposition.


II. The External Threat


No presently established group of Haitian exiles in the United States is capable of invading Haiti.


A potential threat to the Duvalier regime exists in the Dominican Republic. There, several Haitians who have long been identified with anti-Duvalier activities are known to be serving with Colonel Francisco Caamano. It is reliably reported that arms have been put at the disposal of these men. One of them has stated that these arms are to be used to liberate Haiti. They are trained guerrilla fighters and four of them are known to have participated in two previous invasions of Haiti.


It is further reported that nearly all of the trained men (30–60) who took part with them in the previous invasions are also with the rebels and have their own Headquarters in Santo Domingo. From the reservoir of 80,000 Haitians in the Dominican Republic they can probably build a new invasion force of as many anti-Duvalierists as they can arm and lead.


Equating these facts with the belief that a well-armed and determined force of from 200 to 300 men, well-trained and well-supplied, could overthrow the Haitian government, the danger should not be minimized. The Communists inside the country, although few in number—approximately 500 hard core—are the best organized and best disciplined of all opposition elements and can be counted on to attempt to seize power in the period immediately following Duvalier’s disappearance. They could also be counted on to capitalize on an invasion attempt, especially if it came from leftist-led elements in the Dominican Republic. There is indication of outside direction from international communism through Haitian party members in Mexico City, Paris and Moscow. They have sympathizers in cabinet positions in the present government. The masses, long-suffering and apathetic, and exhorted daily by Radio Havana Creole language broadcasts, could likely be swung behind the leaders. Those in the provincial areas, especially the southern peninsula, are reliably reported to be tense, and ready for a revolt with racial implications at the slightest opportunity.


If the new government of the Dominican Republic assumes a posture unfavorable to the exiles, their capability to mount an effective invasion of Haiti will be diminished. If the new government is of leftist persuasion, action against Duvalier may be expected. In that case Haiti might fall quickly to the Dominican-based rebels and their Communist-oriented associates.


III. The Problem


An attempt to overthrow the Duvalier government by effective forces of Haitian, or other, leftist elements now in the Dominican Republic, would demand pre-emptive action. Internal revolt by disgruntled members of Duvalier’s entourage, which is an accepted possibility, would likewise call for pre-emptive action to forestall accession by undesirables, unless an understanding had been reached with the Haitian Army leaders to the effect that order would be maintained until acceptable exiles could be returned. Sudden deterioration of Duvalier’s health, which is known to be poor, would precipitate a crisis in which similar immediate action would be necessary. The above conclusions are drawn in the belief that no individual, or group of individuals, now in Haiti or outside it, with enough power to seize control, is free of Communist influence, or acceptable to the U.S. Government by any standards applicable to its own, or hemispheric, interests.


IV. Proposed Alternatives for Pre-emptive Action/2/


/2/ A June 10 memorandum from Vaughn to Thompson expressed Vaughn’s concurrence with sections I, II, and III of the CIA paper, but noted his disagreement with sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of section IV. [text not declassified] (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, 303 Committee Records)


[6 paragraphs (64 lines of source text) not declassified]


V. Preparations for New Regime


By direction CIA has conducted an intensive survey of Haitian individuals of influence, both inside and outside the country, in order to pinpoint those best suited, in terms of U.S. interests, for inclusion in a post-Duvalier provisional government. Factors considered in selection of potential participants have been political ideology, responsiveness to U.S. direction, influence inside Haiti, experience and stability. A suitable group is at hand and could be activated in a matter of hours. Included would be Marcel Fombrun, Louis Roy, Robert Bazile, Francois Latortue, Raymond Joseph, Luc Fouche, Joseph Dejean, Paul Magloire and Jean Elie. They are all known to each other and have shown signs of being capable of working together.


Haitian army officers in exile have been carefully screened and enough have been selected for a rapid reconstruction of the Haitian army along lines consistent with U.S. interests.


VI. Suggested Action in a Crisis Precipitated by Duvalier’s Health Failure


The political vacuum created by Duvalier’s disappearance would almost certainly necessitate quick action. The least exceptionable form of action would be for the U.S. Ambassador to make immediate contact with General Gerard Constant, the Army Chief of Staff, and tell him that if he can keep the army together and maintain order, the U.S. will guarantee his safety, and arrange the arrival in Port-au-Prince of Haitian civilian leaders now in exile in accordance with a listing to be negotiated with him on the spot.



344. Telegram From the Embassy in Haiti to the Department of State/1/


Port-au-Prince, June 4, 1965, 1745Z.


/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, AID (US) HAITI. Confidential; Limdis.


1587. Embtel 1586./2/ Summary follows of salient points June 3 ltr from Duvalier to President/3/ (based on copy of English translation handed me by Duvalier):


/2/ Telegram 1586 from Port-au-Prince, June 4, reported that Duvalier gave Timmons an “administrative letter” for the President, as well as a copy for himself, in a meeting that morning. Timmons also reported that Duvalier asked that he transmit a request that Haitian Ambassador Andre Theard be granted a “personal audience” with Johnson, at which time Theard would deliver a “confidential letter” from Duvalier to the President. (Ibid., POL 15–1 HAITI)


/3/ The signed copy of the letter is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence File, Haiti–Presidential Correspondence.


“Dramatic events” in DomRep point up relationship peace and stability to prosperity. For Haiti all three depend on help from “friendly and understanding USG,” and international banking institutions. Haitian people have courageously endured natural catastrophes and economic difficulties for years but must be extricated from “economic strangulation.” Duvalier has long seen need for changed USG attitude (as leader Hemisphere) to end “steady deterioration” in relations between states, and particularly “to understand me.” Despite being “less well understood,” GOH has accepted “policy of sacrifice in hope . . . of resurrection of national economy by injection of fresh dollars . . . for works of infrastructure” such as roads, harbor works, communications, hydro projects, sugar mills, irrigation, airports and other “realistic projects for an aid program.” “Foundered economy of Haiti cannot through its own efforts . . . be reinvigorated.” “Adequate injection of money and capital to put country back on its feet” is necessary. “This can only come from US . . . in form generous aid . . . long term loans . . . , economic and technical assistance . . .” Duvalier is “sure” that President’s “personal attention to economic situation of Haiti” will permit quick action “in way Pres Eisenhower did six years ago.” Closes with “fervent hopes for . . . fruitful cooperation in all fields between US and Haiti.”/4/




/4/ Telegram 1594 from Port-au-Prince, June 5, reported Timmons’ preliminary reactions to Duvalier’s letter. He concluded that the request for an appointment for Theard to deliver the “confidential letter” was probably a maneuver to test the “temperature of water in Washington.” Timmons observed that Duvalier’s aid request was “clearly related” to the crisis in the Dominican Republic and consequent OAS actions, in which Haiti provided the necessary 14th vote on several occasions. He noted that the “administrative letter” was the 7th request for U.S. aid since the “current phase” of relations began in December 1963, but that this was the first time Duvalier had personally made such a request. Timmons asked whether any change in current policy toward Haiti was needed. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 15–1 HAITI)



345. Memorandum From the Deputy Director for Coordination of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Williams) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Vaughn)/1/


Washington, June 11, 1965.


/1/ Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Country File, Haiti. Secret; Eyes Only.


Minutes of the 303 Committee Meeting June 10, 1965


The minutes of the meeting of the 303 Committee held on June 10, 1965 contain the following items:


[Omitted here is discussion of Cuba; see Document 302.]


“Haiti—The Threat and Possible Pre-emptive Measures/2/


/2/ See Document 343.


[2 paragraphs (8 lines of source text) not declassified]


“c. The action suggested in paragraph 6 was also approved to the effect that Ambassador Timmons should get in touch with General Gerard Constant, Chief of Staff, and advise him that, in the event of Duvalier’s death,/3/ his (Constant’s) safety would be guaranteed if he could maintain civil order until the arrival of Haitian civilian leaders in exile in accordance with a listing to be negotiated with Constant at the critical time.


/3/ A June 16 memorandum from Williams to Peter Jessup of the National Security Council Staff, reported that the minutes of the 303 Committee meeting were to be corrected to show that Timmons was to take the action indicated in the event of Duvalier’s death, not before. (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Country File, Haiti)


“d. Mr. Vance submitted a list of four potentially useful Haitian officers produced by the JCS who, in their estimate, appear to be a cut above the Haitian average. [2 lines of source text not declassified]”



346. Memorandum Prepared for the 303 Committee/1/


Washington, June 15, 1965.


/1/ Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, 303 Committee Records. Secret; Eyes Only. In a June 23 memorandum to Thompson, attached but not printed, Vaughn recommended that Thompson support the CIA’s proposal in the 303 Committee.


Haiti—The Danger and Possible Pre-emptive Action


I. Assessment of the Situation


The danger inherent in the Haitian situation may require preemptive action of an urgent nature if U.S. interests are to be served. It may flare without warning, following any one of three separate developments which the U.S. Government is presently powerless to prevent. They are: (a) An invasion by leftist-led Haitians known to be serving with the rebel forces in the Dominican Republic, known to have arms at their disposal, and known to have the intent.


(b) An internal revolt led by members of Duvalier’s entourage, with or without Communist backing from the outside, which might well be forthcoming. (c) The sudden demise of Duvalier, resulting in a power struggle in which none of the contestants would be acceptable, and which might be won by the best-organized opposition forces inside Haiti, the Communists.


II. Warning Signals


There are reliable reports that Haitian Communists outside the country have recently accelerated their organizational activities. Haitians in Paris and in French universities, numbering in the hundreds, are being wooed by the Communists among them, reportedly to demonstrate to the French Communist Party that the financial support being channelled to them from Moscow is justified. Haitian students in West Germany, both Communists and non- Communists, are being invited to Prague for quick indoctrination courses. A group in Caracas is allegedly expecting support from the Communist movement in Venezuela. Radio Havana continues its inflammatory barrage in the Creole language, exhorting Haitians inside the country to revolt against Duvalier and the U.S., whom they treat as a single oppressor. There are unconfirmed reports that small quantities of arms have been smuggled to the Communists in Port-au-Prince. Plotters are reported to be at work in inner circles of the Haitian government where Communist sympathizers are tolerated. Reports on Duvalier’s health run the gamut from indigestion to his death. He may safely be considered in questionable health.


III. The Problem


To reduce, or eliminate, the possibility of an invasion of Haiti by leftists in the Dominican Republic./2/


/2/ A June 28 memorandum from Williams to Vaughn transmitted the minutes of the 303 Committee meeting of June 25. During the 303 meeting FitzGerald reported the recent deaths of Andre Riviere and a Haitian émigré leftist fighting in the Dominican Republic, and suggested that the threat of a takeover by leftist exiles was no longer as likely. (Ibid., Country File, Haiti)


To constitute a contingency force composed entirely of Haitians which could be moved swiftly to Port-au-Prince to preserve order and protect a provisional government of our own choosing following Duvalier’s disappearance./3/


/3/ [text not declassified]


To prevent a take-over by Communists or Communist sympathizers now in positions of power in Duvalier’s government, should they, or other unacceptable elements, trigger an internal revolt. To explore quick means of approach in time of crisis to the Chief of Staff of the Haitian Army in order to gain army backing of the provisional government against the National Security Volunteers (VSN) and the Ton Ton Macoutes (TTM).


IV. Proposal


[4 paragraphs (37½ lines of source text) not declassified]


V. Advantages


It is believed that the action suggested above would:


(a) materially reduce the possibility of an invasion of Haiti by leftist-led elements in the Dominican Republic by usurping the manpower and isolating the leaders;


(b) allow the constitution of a pre-emptive force of Haitians under competent Haitian officers for quick transfer to Port-au-Prince in case Duvalier dies or is overthrown by internal revolt;


(c) diminish the capability of Communist agitators to foment trouble by appealing to those men of military age among the Haitian population of the Dominican Republic;


(d) improve the morale of the key officers in the Haitian army who know the exile officers who would be involved and feel some solidarity with them. It might do more to assure an army on which reliance could be placed in time of crisis than any move that could be made at present.


VI. Disadvantages


Disadvantages might be:


(a) [2 lines of source text not declassified];


(b) the creation of an organization with a will and capability to act against Duvalier; its purpose may conflict with U.S. policy, and it may be difficult to deter.


VII. Diplomatic Action


As a separate action to be undertaken immediately at the time of Duvalier’s disappearance, it has been agreed that the U.S. ambassador make contact with General Gerard Constant, the Haitian Army Chief of-Staff and tell him that if he can keep the army together and maintain order, the U.S. will guarantee his safety and arrange the arrival in Port-au-Prince of Haitian civilian leaders now in exile, in accordance with a listing to be negotiated with him on the spot. It is suggested that the ambassador explore with the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] ways and means of making swift, sure contact when the need arises. It is believed that Constant would be more amenable and have more chance of successfully controlling the army if the suggested action [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] is approved, as noted in paragraph IV (4) above.


VIII. Attributability


It is believed that all the action proposed in this paper can be undertaken without revealing the hand of the United States Government.



347. Memorandum of Conversation/1/



New York, October 8, 1965, 11 a.m.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. IV. Confidential. Drafted by Hemba and DeSeabra, and approved in S on October 19. The memorandum is part I of II.


New York, September–October 1965


Economic and Financial Situation in Haiti


Secretary of State Dean Rusk

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Rene Chalmers (Haiti)

Mr. Alton W. Hemba (USDEL)

Mr. Jose DeSeabra (Interpreter)

Minister-without-Portfolio Clovis Desinor (Haiti)

Ambassador Andre Theard (Haitian Ambassador to the U.S.)


The Foreign Minister said he wished to discuss the economic and financial situation in his country. He said conditions are very poor. Contributing factors are two hurricanes in the relatively recent past, lower incomes from coffee, sisal, and sugar, and a lower income from tourism because of the situation in the Dominican Republic. Because of near famine in parts of the country, the government has had to feed 600,000 people for about 6 months. The government of Haiti is unable to remedy the situation alone. The Foreign Minister turned to Minister Desinor and asked him to add to the presentation.


Minister Desinor repeated that the country is unable on its own resources to come out of its dire economic plight. Haiti needs outside help, and he wondered how the United States could assist. Minister Desinor also suggested that it might be in order for the United Nations Special Fund to supply economic assistance because of the decline in income from coffee.


The Secretary replied that he would explore the possible applicability of the UN Special Fund in the Haitian situation. The Secretary added that the Inter-American Development Bank with our concurrence is already studying the initiation of a number of educational projects for Haiti.


Minister Desinor suggested that the projects under consideration by the Inter-American Development Bank are more social in nature, whereas the most urgent need of the country is for economic development. He dwelt on economic development as a fundamental, pressing need. He then referred to Haiti’s requests for U.S. assistance as outlined in two recent letters to President Johnson, one delivered to our Ambassador in Port-au-Prince and the other delivered to our Chief of Protocol. Minister Desinor suggested that social progress that is not accompanied or backed by economic development may become a serious burden on the country.


The Secretary mentioned that in the past we had had some differences, not strictly political, but more in the nature of administrative problems in carrying out our aid activities in Haiti. The Secretary suggested that perhaps we should have a fresh start, a new look, on both sides, through frank and private discussions. The Secretary said that, speaking frankly to good friends, it was a matter of concern to him that Haiti, an important country in the Western hemisphere and situated so near to the world’s richest market, had such a low standard of living and had made virtually no economic progress during his tenure as Secretary of State. What is needed is statesmanship of the highest order to identify and remove the obstacles to progress, to assist the Haitian people to move into the modern world. At times matters become too entangled at the highest level, and perhaps a more down-to-earth approach, say, for instance, meeting the problems of a particular village, would help. Somehow there must be found a way to light up the imagination of the Haitian people to do more on their own with what is available, with their own resources. For instance, professional Haitians, such as doctors, who go off to other countries where individual opportunities are greater, might be encouraged to stay home and devote their talents to their own people. Haiti probably would find an affectionate interest in the hemisphere in its efforts to improve conditions.


Minister Desinor said that Haiti appreciated the understanding which the Secretary displayed, and his country would like very much to pursue discussions along this line with the United States. He added that while it was important to work from the people up it was even more essential to provide the people with much needed jobs, food and health facilities. Minister Desinor again emphasized that the fundamental problems of his country derive from economic stagnation, and he said that an injection of dollars into the economy is needed. The Secretary and the Foreign Minister agreed that the two countries would continue discussions on this general subject.



348. Action Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Vaughn) to Secretary of State Rusk/1/


Washington, October 21, 1965.


/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL HAITI–US. Secret. Drafted by Maureen Harris (ARA/CAR).


Recommended Response to President Duvalier’s Letter to the President




There is attached (Tab B) a translation of a letter of August 12 to the President from President Duvalier of Haiti, and a recommended response to be signed by you (Tab A)./2/


/2/ Tabs A and B are attached, but not printed. At Tab B was the “confidential” letter which, according to a handwritten note file with the translation of Duvalier’s letter, indicates it was hand delivered by the Haitian Ambassador to Chief of Protocol Lloyd Hand for the President and delivered to the White House on September 16. (Johnson Library, Special Head of State Correspondence File, Haiti—Duvalier Correspondence)


Duvalier’s rambling six-page letter appears intended to prompt an offer of renewed US military assistance and to remind the President that we have not acted favorably on an earlier letter, received in June,/3/ requesting resumption of large-scale economic aid (except for a verbal acknowledgment by Ambassador Timmons no reply was made to the June letter). Although the letter of August 12 proposes that Duvalier and the President “have a meeting”, the context indicates fairly clearly that Duvalier is willing to view the proposed meeting as spiritual and figurative rather than physical.


/3/ Reference is to the “administrative” letter; see Document 344.


I believe that the President should not sign a letter to Duvalier. Any communication from the President—however innocuous—might receive publicity which we would prefer to avoid. While I do not discount the possibility that Duvalier might react strongly to this apparent “brush off” of his overtures to the President, I believe that it is unlikely that his annoyance will take any overt form. As you know, Haiti’s chronic economic problems have reached new proportions and there are indications that Duvalier feels that he cannot afford any action that might affect Haiti’s standing with the USG or the international agencies from which he also hopes to gain assistance. Even though I am now reviewing our position in Haiti to determine whether there are some areas in which we might be able to offer some accommodation to Duvalier, I believe it would be unwise to delay further our reply to his letter.




/4/ A handwritten note by Bromley Smith filed with the translation of Duvalier’s letter cited in footnote 2 above indicates that “reply is to come from Secretary not President.”


I suggest that you sign the attached letter to Duvalier (Tab A).



349. Telegram From the Embassy in Haiti to the Department of State/1/


Port-au-Prince, October 21, 1965, 2242Z.


/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 1 HAI–US. Secret; Priority; Limdis. Received at 9:26 p.m.


220. For Asst Secy Vaughn and Amb Stewart, ARA/CAR.


1. Following updating of my views on USG policy toward Haiti may be timely in context both of Dept’s current consideration of what USG reply, if any, should be made to Duvalier’s letters to President of June 3 and Aug 12,/2/ and of Secretary’s talk in NY Oct 8 with Ministers Chalmers and Desinor./3/ (June 3 letter contains direct request for resumption USG economic assistance; Aug 12 letter is more generalized request or hope for resumption some form US military assistance.)


/2/ For summaries of these letters, see Documents 344 and 348.


/3/ See Document 347.


2. Comments this tel of necessity highly compressed. Dept already has available Emb’s extensive analysis of Haitian situation and US policy as they have evolved during past two years. I consider that basic US policy goal as laid down in current LAPC paper/4/ remains entirely valid, i.e. maintenance effective USG presence (i.e. Amb and essential Emb personnel) in Haiti so as to be in position influence events when Duvalier passes from scene, and to frustrate any Communist attempt to take over before or after. Meanwhile, there other short-run policy objectives of considerable importance to US national interests here, including (a) persuading GOH to support USG positions in OAS, UN and other international orgs, (b) protection US nationals and investments in Haiti, (c) servicing GOH debts to USG and private US citizens (GOH recently resumed service on debts to Ex-Im Bank and AID). Concurrently, USG has in operation two very limited programs of assistance to Haiti (malaria eradication and Title III P.L. 480 assistance through vol agencies) which are designed benefit Haitian people directly and avoid political exploitation by Duvalier.


/4/ See Documents 329 and 338.


3. As Dept aware, GOH has acceded to all USG requests for support in last two years (see especially Emb’s A–332, Feb 24)./5/ Particularly important examples were (a) GOH support of US at 1964 MFM on Cuba, (b) at time of landing US forces in DomRep last April, and (c) subsequently at 10th MFM on DomRep. GOH has also consistently supported USG on UN items, including Chinese representation, disarmament and Article 19, and at USG request made statement in UNGA Oct 1 this year generally supporting US policy in Viet-Nam (Depcirtel 316/6/ and Embtel 166/7/). Latest example of GOH support contained Embtel 216./8/ I need not emphasize that such support does not imply any change in character of Duvalier regime, which remains brutal and regressive dictatorship, but is motivated entirely by GOH self-interest (e.g. fear that Caamano/Bosch govt in DomRep would have allowed Haitian exiles mount operations against Haiti) and hope that GOH support of USG would lead to resumption of US economic and military assistance to Haiti. Landing of US troops in DomRep has also undoubtedly had salutary effect on Duvalier (as well as on local Communists), although some desperate act (such as firing PAP) by Duvalier in event of, say, substantial exile invasion, is always possibility (CAS htp 784).


/5/ Document 338.


/6/ To all posts, August 30. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 27 VIET S)


/7/ Dated September 17. (Ibid.)


/8/ Dated October 20. (Ibid., POL HAI–US)


4. I remain reasonably confident that even if USG makes no reply at all to Duvalier’s two letters, he will not attempt PNG reprisals against USG presence here although he remains intensely suspicious US intentions toward him (see especially [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]./9/ However, he might be tempted begin withhold some of full GOH support now being accorded US policy. This connection, I assume it important that GOH continue vote with USG on unfinished DomRep business in 10th MFM. There is also upcoming Rio Conference to consider. These and other factors indicate desirability avoiding any flatly negative response (or fail to respond at all) to Duvalier’s June 3 letter and indeed point to need insure maintenance low key “lowcost” dialogue with GOH, so as to keep ball in play in USG’s own selfinterest. Examples of items recently injected into dialogue from US side are resumption of carefully-spaced US naval visits to PAP for R and R (Deptel Wirom 71)9 and USG approval in principle of GOH request Oct 8 for increase in modest Title III program (Deptel 104)./10/


/9/ Not found.


/10/ Dated August 23. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 18–9 LA)


5. Focusing these considerations down to Duvalier’s June 3 letter, I recommend following approach, dealing first with substance of reply, and then form.


6. (A) Request in June 3 letter covers both bilateral USG econ assistance, and also loans from international financial institutions such as IDB.


(B) Duvalier basically wants a bilateral “injection of dollars” into Haiti by USG, e.g., general budget-supporting assistance. I remain completely opposed for several reasons. On technical side, money would simply go into pockets of regime without benefit to Haitian people, and it would be impossible for USG to control. Of even more weight is fact any such aid would constitute, and would be so interpreted in Haiti and outside, as US political support for regime. This clearly undesirable and unacceptable to USG, and to Congressional and US public opinion.


(C) However, as Dept has had in mind for some time (Deptel 694, June 25),/11/ and as was I believe touched on by Secy in talk with Chalmers Oct 8, it seems desirable to explore with GOH whether a carefully delimited social-benefit project, to be financed indirectly with AID funds, could be undertaken, while avoiding political and administrative problems which brought almost all direct US econ assistance to Haiti to an end in 1962–63. Have in mind project whereby a US university or private foundation, with AID financing, would work with GOH on creating effective national health service (NHS). This would be vehicle for attacking many types medical and public health problems in Haiti, and consolidating gains from Malaria Eradication Program, now well advanced. But, most importantly, such an NHS could be vehicle for implementing a population program, if GOH decides embark on one. A response along this line would be very limited but nevertheless positive reply to a portion of June 3 letter, would serve to keep dialogue going, and might even lead to a valuable institution-building project if properly implemented and controlled. Doubt that Duvalier could get any political mileage out of it, especially if aid financing is indirect. Even if nothing came of exploratory discussions, useful time would have been gained.


/11/ Actually dated June 24, not June 25. (Ibid., AID (US) HAI)


(D) As regards Duvalier’s request as it affects international institutions, both UNTA program and IDB either have in operation or are considering limited TA projects here with institution-building objectives. UN projects should continue, and I recommend that US Executive Director IDB be authorized approve four Haitian TA projects now under consideration. Additionally, however, to further US objectives spelled out above, there is room for some limited and carefully controlled international capital assistance to Haiti, similar to $2.3 million water supply loan granted GOH by IDB in 1964. Therefore recommend that USG indicate informally to IDB management that US would not oppose IDB working up a sound project for, say, further loan to IDAI (which already has $3.5 million line of credit from IDB). (Perhaps some financing for Peligre electrification could be worked out within IDAI framework.) Such loan assistance would benefit Haitian economy long after Duvalier goes, and here again I doubt it would have any significantly negative political by-products in US public opinion if way properly prepared. Water supply project seems going well under strict IDB control and not subject political exploitation by Duvalier.


(E) If USG adopts line contained foregoing subparas, we could reply to Duvalier that bilaterally USG is prepared see if worthwhile specific project could be developed. Multilaterally, we could say that USG naturally prepared have IDB consider sound Haitian projects on merits. GOH already fully aware that USG holds absolute veto over IDB loans (Fund for Special Operations) to Haiti; thus if Haiti gets a small loan for IDAI GOH will know that USG was determining factor, and this again would constitute very limited but positive reply to second aspect Duvalier’s June 3 letter.


7. As regards form of US reply to two letters, I recommend against substantive written reply, on ground that Duvalier might release it publicly or otherwise exploit. This leaves following alternatives: President, or Secretary on his behalf, could send brief generalized letter, saying President has taken note of views Duvalier expressed, etc. and that there are some matters which Amb Timmons will pursue with FonMin (this picks up note on which Secy/Chalmers Oct 8 talk ended), or I could give oral reply to Chalmers along same line. On balance I prefer brief noncommittal letter. In either case I would then begin talking to Chalmers as indicated subparas (C), (D) and (E) para 6 above and after working out careful scenario with appropriate political filling.


8. Duvalier’s broad hint, in Aug 12 letter, regarding resumption US military assistance, should be ignored, and I recommend USG continue maintain strict policy of not supplying any such assistance to GOH, and of continuing frustrate Duvalier’s efforts obtain arms in US or elsewhere.


9. Appreciated Dept’s reaction.


10. Country Team concurs.





350. Memorandum From William G. Bowdler of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/


Washington, December 17, 1965.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence File, Haiti—Duvalier Correspondence. Confidential. A notation in Bundy’s handwriting at the top of the memorandum reads: “You tell ‘em [illegible] to do it your way. It’s absurd to answer an August letter in December. MGB.”


Reply to Duvalier


Last June 3 and August 12 Duvalier sent the President letters asking, in effect, for renewal of U.S. economic assistance to Haiti (see attached Read-to-Bundy memo)./2/ The August 12 letter contains highly offensive language charging that our Embassy (under Ambassador Thurston) and the MAAG worked with the Haitian armed forces to overthrow him.


/2/ Attached but not printed.


After several months of delay on when and how the letters should be acknowledged, State has now suggested that the President send the brief, non-committal acknowledgement included in the attached memo.


The background to State’s delay is important. From June to October they deliberately postponed answering the correspondence, first because they were awaiting the more substantive August 12 letter and after that because of the problem of Duvalier’s mood. During this period, Duvalier was making noises about PNGing Ambassador Timmons. State wanted to string him along, making no commitments on assistance and avoiding giving him any pretext to act against the Embassy. In October, they decided that the situation was calm enough to reply. I advised ARA, in order to avoid the President getting involved in correspondence with Duvalier, to take advantage of his hospitalization to have Secretary Rusk reply on his behalf. They readily bought this, drafted a letter and sent it to the Seventh Floor for signature. In the Secretary’s absence, the reply went to Ball. He refused to sign it because it did not take issue with the objectionable paragraphs.  Then Tom Mann got into the act and he decided that a Presidential reply is necessary to avoid antagonizing Duvalier. I checked back with Tom to see how strongly he felt about this. He is still of a mind that the President should send a non-committal acknowledgement along the lines of the one suggested, avoiding any reference to the objectionable paragraphs.


My view is that we should not put the President in the position of replying to Duvalier. One reason is the long delay in answering the correspondence. Another is that I prefer not to have the President corresponding with this petty tyrant. But much more important are the highly offensive paragraphs. I don’t see how the President can send a letter ignoring the charges. And if he replies rejecting them, we run the serious risk of Duvalier reacting against our Embassy, which it is in our interest to prevent.


I think that the nature of Duvalier’s charges and the language used are such that State could have declined to accept the August letter on delivery. If it had done so, however, it probably would have produced the Duvalier reaction that we wanted to avoid. But perhaps now the paragraphs offer an escape hatch.


I would recommend no written reply, either from here or from State. I would have Allan Stewart or Jack Vaughn call in the Haitian Ambassador and tell him in very polite language that:


1. the offensive paragraphs make it very difficult for us to reply formally without taking strong issue with the charges, which we, of course, do not accept;


2. because of this, we would prefer not to have to reply as we do not believe it would further relations between our two countries;


3. perhaps the useful conversations between Secretary Rusk and Foreign Minister Chalmers at New York and Rio/3/ might be considered an adequate substitute; or if the GOH prefers, we would be pleased to entertain a new letter without the paragraphs in question.


/3/ See Document 347 for Rusk’s conversation with Chalmers in New York. A memorandum of their conversation at the Second Special Inter-American Conference in Rio de Janeiro on November 23 is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. IV.


If you agree on this approach, I recommend that you call Tom Mann and tell him that we would prefer to handle it in this fashion./4/




/4/ A notation in Bundy’s handwriting next to this sentence reads: “Yes tell him.” A December 20 memorandum from Bowdler to Read informed the Department of Bundy’s decision. (Ibid., Special Head of State Correspondence File, Haiti—Duvalier Correspondence) A memorandum of conversation, dated January 12, 1966, reported that Vaughn informed Ambassador Theard that morning that the President had decided not to answer the two letters sent by President Duvalier because of the objectionable references in the second letter. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL HAI–US)



351. Information Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Vaughn) to the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Mann)/1/


Washington, January 5, 1966.


/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 1 HAI–US. Secret. Drafted by Osborne (ARA/CAR). A note in Mann’s handwriting in the upper right-hand corner of the memorandum reads: “Jack—Hope you will have a talk with the Secy soon about Haiti on a) your plans for CARE, the Israelis, possibly the Mexicans, Venezuelans, and Colombians and b) the possibility of a US base of some kind.”


Contingency and Policy Planning on Haiti


Our present contingency plans for Haiti are currently valid. The longer Duvalier remains in power, however, the less will be the potential influence of Haitian exiles. In a chaotic situation even several years hence, these exiles could provide some personnel for a provisional government, but forming a permanent stable government from exiles will be most difficult if Duvalier remains in power another year or more. To form the basis of a stable successor government, therefore, we will have to rely largely upon Haitians who remain in Haiti, including those presently in Duvalier’s entourage.


Our review of the Haitian situation suggests a need to shift our tactics in an attempt to build some assets in Haiti. We believe this should be done indirectly through an expansion of U.S. voluntary agency programs, the Inter-American Bank, etc. A revised LAPC paper is being prepared./2/


/2/ See Document 352.


If one or more members of Duvalier’s regime prove unable to seize and hold power following Duvalier’s departure from office, an extended period of anarchy and chaos is likely to result, inviting a Communist bid for power. In order to restore law and order no effective means other than intervention with U.S. military forces would be available to us unless by that time a permanent Inter-American Peace Force had been organized and made ready to function promptly. We doubt that an IAPF will be effective in time for a Haitian crisis and consequently the present contingency plans in this respect remain applicable./3/


/3/ A January 25 memorandum from Vaughn to Mann reported that a new contingency plan for Haiti was being drafted. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 1 HAI–US)



352. Paper Prepared in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs for the Latin American Policy Committee/1/


Washington, January 19, 1966.


/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 70 D 209, Latin American Policy Committee Folder. Secret. The paper was approved by the Committee on January 19; see Document 353.




I. Assessment of Current Situation


A. Background


1. Political


After declaring himself “president for life” in 1964 Duvalier has consolidated his control of Haiti by eliminating or terrorizing all actual and visible opposition to his rule.


Duvalier has not recently committed so many atrocities against Haitians and foreign residents of Haiti as he did earlier in his regime, probably because there is less identifiable opposition to him than in the past and because he wishes to improve his image abroad. Extortion, corruption, and brutality still characterize his government, however, and the general economic situation has reached new lows.


The Haitian Government has cooperated with the United States on issues arising in the OAS, the UN and other international forums, but this is apparently based upon the hope of eliciting foreign economic assistance rather than an identification with U.S. objectives.


In July 1965 a group of Haitian exiles began broadcasting to Haiti in Creole from Station WRUL in New York City. Listener interest has been greater than anticipated and through the station’s efforts the Haitian people have performed a few acts demonstrating their opposition to Duvalier and support of the exile group but exposing the demonstrators to a minimum of retaliation. The exiles estimate, probably correctly, that Haitians believe the broadcasts are a prelude to a foreign-based operation to overthrow Duvalier, but if such an operation does not take place within six to nine months listener interest will decline and the latent non-marxist opposition within Haiti will disappear. The exiles also believe that if Duvalier remains in power another year few exiles will maintain an active interest in Haitian affairs and there will be no pro-West exile group capable of assuming power upon Duvalier’s departure.


Haitian Communist parties are in complete disarray following Duvalier’s arrest of a number of Haitian Communist leaders in July 1965 and the voluntary exile of others. Communist intellectual influence continues to increase, particularly among Haitian youths and intellectuals. There are unconfirmed reports of Communist training schools in the Cayes area, but it is unlikely that any significant amount of organized Communist activity can be conducted in Duvalier’s police state.


In view of the weakness of opposition to Duvalier a successor regime will most likely be composed of one or more of Duvalier’s lieutenants. If, however, Duvalier’s lieutenants fight for power among themselves chaos could result which would invite a Communist bid for power.


Our Embassy at Port-au-Prince has been successful in avoiding clashes with the Duvalier regime and in executing its two-year-old mission of maintaining its presence and preventing the expulsion of its personnel. It has not been appreciably successful in influencing key elements of Haitian society except the press and the business, religious and diplomatic communities. As a result of Duvalier’s pressure upon Haitians, United States personnel have limited contact with civilian and military officials, youth, labor, peasants, students, teachers, intellectuals and other groups most likely to provide the future leadership of Haiti.


[Omitted here are sections on economic, social, cultural, and security.]


II. Policy Objectives and Lines of Action—International Relations




A. General Objective


Haitian understanding, acceptance and support for United States foreign policy objectives.


1. Specific Short-Term Objective


Continued support by Haiti for United States objectives in the United Nations, the Organization of American States and other international organizations.


Lines of Action


a. Urge the acceptance of United States objectives through personal contacts with Haitian officials, emphasizing the basis for United States positions as well as urging Haitian support for them.


b. Through public media and in contact with business, youth, religious, university and other leaders of Haitian society, publicize United States positions on key international issues and the bases for them.


2. Specific Short-Term Objective


Encourage the Haitian Government to develop and use generally recognized instruments and methods in the conduct of its foreign relations.


Lines of Action


a. Encourage Duvalier to use normal diplomatic and other recognized channels in his dealings with the United States and international agencies and discourage his use of unofficial intermediaries.


b. Discourage visits to Haiti by high-ranking officials of the United States unless such visits are clearly in the national interest and specifically coordinated with the activities of our Embassy at Port-au-Prince.


c. If Duvalier should again take reprisals against United States personnel in Haiti or attempt to use Haiti’s votes in international gatherings improperly to his advantage, insure that such actions prove clearly unproductive from his point of view.




B. General Objective


A mutually advantageous economic relationship designed to promote the long-term interests of the United States.


1. Specific Short-Term Objectives


Increasing mutually satisfactory trade with the United States.


Lines of Action


a. Urge Haiti to provide improved facilities for tourists and to avoid incidents which discourage tourist travel to Haiti.


b. Assist Haiti in obtaining fair prices for its exports in international markets.


c. Encourage Haiti to diversify and improve the quality of its exports through meaningful contacts with reliable international traders.


d. Encourage American business to help Haiti in the production and export of winter vegetables, particularly from the Antibonite Valley.


e. Urge Haiti to improve its climate for productive foreign investment.


f. Approve applications for investment guaranties where such applications meet AID criteria.


g. Continue visits to Haiti by United States naval vessels, subject to advance clearance by the Embassy in each case.


2. Specific Short-Term Objective


Security of American lives and property in Haiti and respect for legitimate contractual obligations with American interests.


Lines of Action


a. Conduct appropriate representations with the Haitian Government to protect American lives and property.


b. Maintain contact with American private interests in Haiti to keep informed of their problems.


c. Maintain consular protection and related services.


d. Impress upon Haitian officials and business leaders the necessity of maintaining the sanctity of contracts and concessions under the norms of international law.




C. General Objective


Understanding among all segments of the Haitian public of American culture and institutions.


1. Specific Short-Term Objective


Widely disseminated information on American domestic and foreign problems and progress in resolving them.


Lines of Action


a. Continue present USIS information and cultural programs, targeting them not only towards urban educated groups but to potential leaders among the peasants, labor and students.


b. Increase our facilities for teaching English and other cultural center activities in order to influence the younger generation and the intellectuals towards American ideals and objectives.


c. Encourage Haitian youth to develop a knowledge of the principles and methods of the Alliance for Progress and their relevance to Haiti.


d. Publicize the progress being made by and in behalf of American negroes in the United States.




D. General Objective


A Haitian society opposed to Communist influence, maintaining friendly relations with neighboring countries and capable of self defense against external aggression and internal subversion directed from abroad.


1. Specific Short-Term Objective


Effective countering of any attempts to subvert the Haitian Government by direct action from abroad.


Lines of Action


a. Maintain continuing close observation of activity in the two small Communist groups in Haiti, seek the elimination of pro- Communist members of the Haitian Government and counter other forms of Communist influence in Haiti.


b. Disassociate the United States from any exile attempt to invade Haiti or any exile plot against Duvalier except under extreme provocation.


c. Maintain close surveillance over Haitian, Cuban and other exile groups to prevent the illegal use of United States territory to launch an attempt to overthrow Duvalier.


2. Specific Short-Term Objective


Increased Haitian resistance to any extension of influence over its internal or external policies by the USSR, Cuba or other Communist countries.


Lines of Action


a. Discourage Haiti from extending its political or economic relationships with the Soviet Bloc (Poland is the only Bloc country with which Haiti maintains diplomatic relations).


b. Watch carefully for any signs that Haiti has any type of contact with Cuba and move immediately to urge the Haitian Government to cut off any such contacts.


c. Continue dissemination of anti-Communist information among literate Haitians through cultural centers and missionary organizations as well as through mass media.


d. Persuade the people of Haiti, especially youth and intellectuals, that communism is a system incompatible with their own legitimate aspirations and that Cuba is the focal point of Communist danger in the Western Hemisphere.


3. Specific Short-Term Objective


Encourage normal relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.


Lines of Action


a. Encourage the Haitian Government to maintain its present neutral attitude toward the Provisional Government of the Dominican Republic.


b. Persuade the Haitian Government to move toward the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Dominican Republic when an elected government has taken office there.


4. Specific Short-Term Objective


Prepare and maintain on a current basis plans for possible implementation upon the departure of Duvalier from the Presidency.


Lines of Action


a. Keep up to date United States plans for Emergency and Evacuation actions as well as plans designed to restore order in Port-au-Prince and Haiti’s other important population centers. These plans might include possible use of our IAPF units in the Dominican Republic to secure the Haiti–Dominican Republic frontier in cooperation with Dominican forces, intense surveillance of the sea and airspace between Haiti and Cuba and between Haiti and other Caribbean islands, and the provision of emergency medical and food relief to the Haitian civilian population.


b. Until the OAS establishes a mechanism for dealing with anarchy and chaos in hemispheric countries, conduct continuing discussions with influential and receptive OAS member countries regarding the current situation in Haiti and plans for dealing with possible contingencies that might arise in Haiti. We would hope to elicit the cooperation and support of these countries, particularly when formal OAS action is desired.


c. Continue to maintain contact with Haitian exiles who might be useful in a severe crisis in Haiti without encouraging them to believe that they are the chosen instruments of the United States.


III. Policy Objectives and Lines of Action—Internal




A. General Objective


A Haitian political system, non-Communist in orientation, with prospects for development along democratic lines and providing for the regular, orderly transfer of political power.


1. Specific Short-Term Objective


Influence of the Duvalier government in any move, however slight, toward a more democratic outlook and a lessening of its repression of the people.


Lines of Action


a. Seek opportunities for a substantive dialogue and meaningful contacts with officials of the Haitian Government, as part of the process of arriving at a level of mutual accommodation which will best promote United States interests and objectives.


b. Continue the present USIS information and cultural program and encourage United States mass media to report frequently and accurately on Haiti.


c. Disseminate through mass media, books, periodicals and personal contact descriptions of democratic societies and free social and economic systems.


d. Continue book presentation program among Haitian opinion leaders.


2. Specific Short-Term Objective


Build resources for our relations with any future government and our ability to influence it.


Lines of Action


a. Develop contacts with such potential leaders as may be identifiable among Haitian youth, intellectuals, students, labor, peasants, and military and civilian officials.


b. Promote low-cost book, magazine and pamphlet distribution preferably in French and directed towards Haitian youth and intellectuals.




B. General Objective


A healthy Haitian economy with self-sustained growth providing increasing standards of living for all elements of its population.


1. Specific Short-Term Objective


The establishment and maintenance of sound monetary and fiscal policies and practices by the Haitian Government.


Lines of Action


a. Support the IMF in its efforts to balance the Haitian budget, maintain the convertibility of the gourde and amortize the Haitian internal and external debt (including payments to private American citizens, Eximbank, AID, etc.).


b. Encourage the Haitian Government to modernize its customs and tax collection services with the assistance of the International Monetary Fund or another appropriate international agency.


c. Continue to urge through CIAP and other economic assistance agencies the incorporation of all the Haitian Government’s collections and expenditures into its regular budget system.


d. Refrain from granting emergency or budget-supporting assistance to Haiti in the absence of some overriding consideration of political expediency.


2. Specific Short-Term Objective


A meaningful Haitian development program achieving a maximum of self help in its implementation but avoiding support to the Duvalier regime.


Lines of Action


a. Make clear to the Haitian Government that its economic development program and other self-help plans, by means of which Haiti would participate in the Alliance for Progress, should be evaluated by the CIAP, and, if Haiti is found eligible for AFP assistance, the Government of Haiti should look primarily to the Inter-American Development Bank and other lending organizations.


b. Insist that the Haitian Government refrain from improper interference in Haitian development agencies such as IDAI (Agricultural and Industrial Development Institute) and CAMEP (Port-au-Prince water supply project), suspending disbursement of loan funds if necessary to achieve this end.


c. Make necessary representations to protect legitimate American investment in Haiti from harassment and intimidation by Haitian officials and their agents.


d. Defer resumption of large-scale, government-to-government assistance until Haiti has made the necessary administrative and fiscal reforms and has demonstrated its readiness to cooperate fully in the development activities of international organizations.




C. General Objective


A unified Haitian society, free of racial antagonism, with equal opportunity for the members of all classes and undivided by language barriers. 


1. Specific Short-Term Objective


Identification of educated Haitians with the needs and aspirations of the Haitian masses.


Lines of Action


a. Convince Haitian leaders that Haiti’s economic future depends upon the ability of the Haitian peasantry to produce for market, purchase goods and pay taxes.


b. Encourage a university or foundation to study means of teaching large numbers of Haitian peasants the elements of the French language.


c. Stimulate greater acceptance of Fulbright Exchange Professors in Haitian universities, including professors in the social sciences and the humanities.


2. Specific Short-Term Objective


A healthy, vigorous Haitian population, consistent in size to the country’s economic potential.


Lines of Action


a. Continue United States financing of the Malaria Eradication Program and provide the assistance required to carry on effective malaria controls after the present program is completed.


b. Encourage and assist religious and charitable agencies to conduct programs at the community level in health, sanitation, nutrition, education and family planning, commencing with a pilot program conducted by one or more of the voluntary agencies operating in Haiti.


c. Urge the Haitian Government to conduct similar programs in health, sanitation, nutrition, and planned parenthood, using its own resources and any assistance international organizations are prepared to provide.


d. Encourage international organizations, particularly the Inter- American Development Bank and the United Nations Special Fund, to develop and finance sound projects in health, education, nutrition and agriculture that do not support the Duvalier regime.


3. Specific Short-Term Objective


Haitian communities capable of identifying and solving local problems through joint action.


Lines of Action


a. Encourage and assist American charitable agencies to conduct community development programs in Haiti utilizing surplus agricultural commodities for self-help projects in housing, small-scale agricultural projects, street and road maintenance and similar community projects.


b. Encourage and if necessary assist third countries such as Israel to establish and operate community development and agricultural activities in Haiti.


c. Encourage and assist American universities, foundations and charities to assign young people to Haiti to assist in community development programs.


d. Stimulate private groups and third countries to undertake humanitarian programs in Haiti, particularly hospitals, clinics, schools, cooperatives, marketing, credit, agriculture and the like.


e. Encourage one or more private foundations to provide supplies, equipment, and technical assistance which are required in community development activities by the charitable agencies concerned but which are beyond their limited resources.


4. Specific Short-Term Objective


Improved technical and professional education for Haitian youth, particularly promising rural young people.


Lines of Action


a. Encourage the Inter-American Development Bank and other international organizations to develop and finance projects in agronomy, medicine, veterinary medicine, university and professional education.


b. Encourage private agencies or an American foundation to reactivate the 4–S (4–H) movement in Haiti.


c. Urge the Haitian Government to use its own resources to rehabilitate the farm extension program.




D. General Objective


Haitian security forces capable of maintaining law and order in accordance with modern police concepts.


1. Specific Short-Term Objective


The development of a professional army oriented to control by a democratic constitutional government.


Lines of Action


a. Encourage the Haitian military to accept police functions as its primary mission until the economy of the country can support more ambitious missions.


2. Specific Short-Term Objective


Amelioration of Duvalier’s repressive security apparatus and effective controls over the secret police.


Lines of Action


a. Continue to oppose and frustrate Duvalier’s attempts to purchase arms in other countries.


b. Defer the reestablishment of a military mission in Haiti, deny any further United States military assistance to the Duvalier regime and avoid identification with the personnel of Duvalier’s repressive security apparatus.


c. Urge Duvalier to eliminate the excesses of his security forces as necessary to improve his image abroad, the chief obstacle to increased foreign assistance, private investment and tourism.


3. Specific Short-Term Objective


Better understanding of the political forces at work in Haiti and the part played by Haitian exiles.


a. Strengthen our reporting capabilities in Haiti to insure that we will have adequate information available to us in a crisis situation.


b. Continue discreet contacts with Haitians outside the Government and with those in exile in order to attempt to build up assets for the future.



353. Draft Contingency Plan/1/


Washington, April 29, 1966.


/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/S SIG Files: Lot 70 D 263. Secret. Forwarded under an April 29 covering memorandum for consideration at the May 3 meeting of the Senior Interdepartmental Group (SIG). The paper indicates it was the third draft; see footnote 3, Document 351.




I. Introduction


1. The LAPC paper, approved January 19, 1966,/2/ sets forth the current situation in Haiti and the bases for the assumptions made in this contingency paper. It also sets forth some actions which prepare for contingencies described in this paper, including:


/2/ Document 352.


a. Accelerated efforts to broaden our contacts in Haiti in order to influence potential successors to Duvalier.


b. An intensified effort to obtain greater information on personalities and power relationships within Duvalier’s entourage.


c. Regular consultations with the representatives of selected members of the OAS to exchange ideas on the current situation and possible actions to be taken in contingencies. Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico will soon be consulted.


d. Continued contact with non-Communist Haitian exiles.


e. Encouragement to United States press and other mass media to report frequently and impartially on Haiti in order to influence Duvalier and the members of his entourage to the extent possible.


2. In addition, US agencies will prepare and keep up-to-date lists of persons with experience in Haiti from which to select persons to serve on temporary duty in a crisis situation.


3. In the existing situation, it is not possible to identify clearly the competing groups that may emerge when Duvalier falls. Lists are available of possible Haitian successors from the military, the VSN, civilian politicians and other potential power groups.


II. United States Objectives in Haiti


1. The United States should insure that a non-Communist government is established in Haiti and preferably a government that will permit the orderly political, economic and social progress of the country. The U.S. would prefer a successor government that:


a. Is able to gain and maintain effective control of the country.


b. Governs with the minimum recourse to violence and repression.


c. Takes effective steps to begin to improve the economic and social life of the country.


d. Continues to cooperate with the United States and other non- Communist countries on international issues.


e. Accepts the international obligations of Haiti.


f. Takes effective measures to eliminate any Communist influences.


g. Commits itself to restore representative government.


2. On the other hand, the US might have to accept a government that is able to maintain effective control of the country and is non- Communist.


III. The Problem


1. a. When Duvalier leaves the presidency of Haiti, whether by voluntary departure, death, or forceful overthrow, the United States will want to influence the character of a successor government.


b. If Duvalier loses control of the situation in the country, the U.S. might be required to take action to stabilize conditions and obtain an acceptable successor government.


c. If a Cuban-based group entered the country while Duvalier was in power the U.S. would also want to take action to stabilize conditions and obtain an acceptable successor government.


IV. Assumptions


1. There is not at present an effective force in Haiti prepared to overthrow Duvalier. However, disaffection of key followers might result in his loss of control of the country with anarchy a result. Given the lack of an effective internal or external opposition, Duvalier may be succeeded at least initially by one or more persons close to the center of power, including the military, no matter how his departure from office takes place.


2. A struggle for power among two or more groups within the Duvalier regime may also occur. If long continued, this struggle could result in chaos and a power vacuum that would invite Communist exploitation.


3. There is no exile group, Communist or non-Communist, capable of eliminating the Duvalier government without transport and logistical support from third countries.


4. No third country will invade Haiti except under the most extreme provocation. Despite the known strength and determination of United States military power in the Caribbean and the limited value of dominating a country so poor and disorganized as Haiti, a Cuban supported invasion using trained Haitian exiles is a possibility. The Dominican Republic, the only other nearby country capable of mounting a successful invasion, is likely to be so concerned with its domestic problems that it will not mount nor permit a serious invasion effort during the foreseeable future.


5. Communist countries would like to exercise strong influence over any new government of Haiti and can be expected to promote internal chaos if they are unable to exercise such influence.


6. In a power vacuum or a chaotic situation in Haiti, the lives of American citizens and other foreign nationals would be threatened.


V. Summary of Contingencies


A.1. Duvalier falls: An acceptable individual or group immediately assumes control of the country.


2. Acceptable members of Duvalier’s entourage, being close to the source of power, might easily assume power. They would be likely to want an early accommodation with the United States.


B.1. Duvalier falls: An unacceptable non-Communist individual or group quickly assumes control of the country.


2. Our actions in this case would be designed to promote the establishment of an acceptable government by measures short of military action. If acts of violence against American lives occur, E & E action would be required.


C.1. Duvalier falls: Chaos follows; a struggle for power ensues between non-Communist groups.


D.1. Duvalier falls: Chaos follows; a struggle ensues between two or more groups, one of which is dominated by the Communists or is otherwise unacceptable.


2. In Contingencies B, C and D United States actions will depend in large measure on the nature and extent of the civil disorder. These Contingencies offer a chance for effective OAS actions in a Haitian crisis. For Contingency D, United States action will, of course, depend on the nature and strength of Communist involvement.


E.1. Duvalier falls: An individual or group in Haiti controlled by Communists quickly assumes control of the country.


2. Should this contingency present itself, the U.S. would take decisive action to install an acceptable government in its place.


F.1. Duvalier remains in office: though anarchy and chaos result, no group moves to take power.


G.1. Duvalier remains in office: A Cuban supported force of Cuban trained Haitians invades or attempts to invade.


[Omitted here is the remainder of the plan comprising 27 pages of courses of action spread sheets and 16 pages of annexes, covering memoranda, and briefing papers.]



354. Memorandum From William G. Bowdler of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow)/1/


Washington, May 2, 1966.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, SIG, 6th Mtg., 4/19/66, Vol. I. Secret.


SIG Meeting: Haitian Contingency Paper


The situation in Haiti has “stabilized” itself again after the plotting of three weeks ago. But conditions continue to be sufficiently unstable to make a sudden upheaval a possibility at any time. Ambassador Timmons is coming from Port-au-Prince today to give the SIG the latest estimate.


The contingency paper before the SIG is an incomplete and not very lucid draft./2/ The most important annexes (explained below) are missing. The paper itself was prepared according to a pre-determined standard format dictated by an IBM approach to problems and suffers from all the corresponding rigidities. My efforts to have papers tailored to individual country situations have foundered on bureaucratic requirements levied on ARA by higher authority.


/2/ Document 353.


The paper’s principal value is that it identifies the various ways which the ball might bounce if Duvalier falls or a serious effort to dislodge him materializes. In trying to anticipate specific Latin American and Communist reactions to various contingencies and prescribe fixed courses of action, the paper is unrealistic, although there is some utility in at least thinking through the possibilities. What we do in a given situation will depend upon the circumstances prevailing at the time which may be quite different from those anticipated in the paper.


In the IRG/ARA review of this paper, I insisted on the preparation of three annexes which should be kept up to date:


a. list of US personnel with Haitian expertise who could be used in Haiti or Washington in a crisis situation.


b. list of acceptable Haitians in Haiti or in exile whom we could tap to man a provisional government.


c. list of immediate economic measures which we could take following the fall of Duvalier to quiet unrest, buttress the provisional government and get the economy moving again.


As you and I discussed earlier, these three lists, plus the military contingency plans, are the guts of realistic planning in that they will enable us to act with maximum speed in any situation.


The IRG agreed to include all three lists as annexes. They are in various stages of preparation but none ready to be included in the package which the SIG will consider tomorrow.


I recommend that at the SIG you take this position:


1. The SIG should take note of the paper as a useful planning document./3/


/3/ A Record of Agreements and Decisions of the SIG meeting of May 3 reported that the Group considered the draft contingency plans on Haiti and agreed that, if possible, the United States should avoid placing its forces in Haiti for any purpose other than rapid evacuation of U.S. and certain other citizens, and that the contingency plans should not be discussed with other members of the OAS. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, SIG, 6th Mtg., 4/19/66, Vol. I)


2. The SIG should ask IRG/ARA to:


a) complete the annexes and keep them up to date as a matter of top priority.


b) revise the paper to make explicit references to the annexes and relate them to the corresponding sections of the paper.





355. Memorandum From William G. Bowdler of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow)/1/


Washington, September 19, 1966.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Office Files of Bill Moyers, Haiti. Secret. A copy was sent to Moyers.


Meeting with Ecuadorean ex-President Galo Plaza/2/


/2/ President of Ecuador 1948–1952, Ambassador to the United States 1944–1946, and a UN diplomatic troubleshooter in Lebanon, the Congo, and Cyprus during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Galo Plaza visited Haiti to assess appropriate International Development Bank and OAS assistance for that country. In May 1968 he became the fourth Secretary General of the OAS.


Ellsworth Bunker, Bob Sayre and I met with Galo Plaza last Friday to have his impressions and recommendations on Haiti from where he had just come./3/


/3/ Telegrams 261, 262, and 263 from Port-au-Prince, all September 13, reported details of Galo Plaza’s September 8–12 trip to Haiti. The first telegram reported on his meetings with Duvalier and Chalmers, and the latter two on his discussions with Timmons about Haiti’s perilous political situation and the need for United States and IDB assistance. (All in National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 ECUADOR)


His impressions were:


—Duvalier is strongly entrenched with a highly personalized system of control and the chances of a palace coup or popular uprising are virtually nil.

—He might die from natural causes or assassination, in which case Haiti will be plunged into a blood bath because there is no institutional structure.

—The deterioration of the economy and the poverty and misery of the people is appalling.

—The unwillingness of the U.S. to pump more resources into Haiti is understandable but it really works to Duvalier’s advantage since in the Haitian milieu he does better in isolation.

—The hemisphere for humanitarian reasons cannot stand idly by and permit the plight of the Haitian people to worsen because of Duvalier.

—The OAS cannot survive another U.S. unilateral intervention and we should get the Latin Americans thinking in terms of collective action now.


Galo Plaza recommended that the OAS furnish and administer through a special mission in Haiti assistance in the educational, agricultural and other fields. All activities would be under the direct supervision of the OAS mission so that Duvalier and his henchmen could not get their hands in the till. He thought that under the guise of property watchmen the OAS could put as many as 200 armed men into the country. The mission would constitute an OAS presence which would facilitate OAS collective action when Duvalier goes and chaos follows. All of this would, of course, be subject to getting Duvalier to invite the OAS in and accept OAS control conditions. He said he thought this possible and he would be willing to work on Duvalier to bring it about.


Bunker Sayre and I reacted favorably to his proposal. I told Galo Plaza that I was not as sanguine as he on the OAS aid presence facilitating rapid political decision-making in the OAS for collective action to put forces in Haiti to avert bloodshed. I suggested an add-on to his proposal in the form of a prior understanding among the American governments (worked out informally on a foreign office-to-foreign office basis and not through the OAS) that when the lid blows in Haiti, the OAS machinery will be brought into play immediately and the necessary decisions on collective action taken without delay. Galo Plaza thought this might be acceptable and in any event should be tried.


We indicated that his proposal would be carefully examined.




/4/ Printed from a copy that bears the typed signature.



356. Memorandum of Conversation/1/




New York, September 24, 1966, 3:30 p.m.


/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL HAI–US. Confidential. Drafted by Cates and approved in S on September 28. The meeting was held in the Waldorf-Astoria Towers.



New York, September–October 1966


Bilateral Relations



The Secretary

John M. Cates, Jr.—USUN



H.E. Mr. Rene Chalmers, Foreign Minister of Haiti


Foreign Minister Chalmers opened the conversation by referring to the recent meetings in Washington on August 22 and 23 between the Haitian Ambassador and representatives of CIAP and the State Department, at which it was announced Haiti was ineligible for Alliance for Progress Aid./2/ He then referred to a recent meeting in Port-au-Prince attended by Ambassador Timmons and Chalmers and his Deputy at which various high officials of Haiti were accused of disturbing the good atmosphere of Haitian-American relationships. Chalmers stated that he had prepared a special Memorandum with relation to these problems with answers to the charges which he wished to present to the Secretary. (Memorandum being pouched separately.)/3/ Chalmers then went on to state that Haiti very badly needed help, particularly in connection with the development of infrastructure, such as roads and dams. However, Haiti’s request for assistance had been denied, particularly the request with regard to the dam at Peligre (phonetic). The United States had, however, offered technical assistance on certain minor programs such as community development, rural education and birth control (as recorded, although Chalmers could have intended “malaria control”). Haiti was grateful for the aid in these minor areas. However, Haiti feared that the failure to receive help in basic development projects would mean that the already large gap between Haiti and the other Latin American countries would increase with the result that Haiti would eventually become a burden for the whole continent.


/2/ Telegrams 33460 and 33747 to Port-au-Prince, August 23, reported these meetings. (Both ibid., AID (AFP) 3 ECOSOC-IA)


/3/ Not found.


Chalmers then referred to the discussions last year with regard to a small loan from the IDB for social needs such as elementary schools. Though this was a minor program, even this had been blocked. Chalmers recalled the generous offer of help made by the Secretary last October 8 in conversation with Chalmers and Minister Dessinor. He recalled the Secretary’s statement of amazement that Haiti was still so poor although so close to a major market area, the United States.


Chalmers recounted a conversation he had had with ex-President Galo Plaza of Ecuador/4/ who had expressed the view that the great powers must aid Haiti. The Secretary interjected to say that he recently had a conversation with Mr. Galo Plaza./5/


/4/ Telegrams 261 and 262 from Port-au-Prince, September 13, reported this conversation. (Both National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 ECUADOR)


/5/ No record of this conversation has been found.


Chalmers then stated that President Duvalier had agreed in order to obtain Alliance for Progress Aid to turn over (in French he said literally “abandon control of”) the management of approved projects to appropriate international agencies. Haiti will try this approach when next it comes to the United States for assistance. Haiti was prepared to turn over this delegation of authority to an international organization “for the period of capital amortization” (it is not too clear exactly what period of time Chalmers had in mind unless it was the time necessary to amortize the loan).


Chalmers then went on to describe some negotiations the Haitian Government had had two years ago with General Electric Corporation which was about ready to agree to the project if it could itself take over the management of the Berique Dam project. Haiti wished to start again its negotiations with General Electric and carry them through to fruition. Haiti’s intention was that the management of the project would be turned over to General Electric in order to obtain agreement. Chalmers realized this was a private not a government project but he wished to inform the Secretary of Haiti’s intent to renew these discussions.


Chalmers then referred to the population explosion in Haiti which he estimated would result in an increase in population from 4.5 million to 8 or 9 million by 1980. If the Haitian Government did not do something such as complete the Peligre Dam project which would help raise the subsistence level, it would have a terrible problem on its hands.


Chalmers then went into a discussion of the situation of an unnamed Western European country whose policies (presumably political and social) the United States did not like and to which it had accordingly refused aid. When the United States changed its outlook towards this country, and the country received aid, it began to make progress in every area and “even liberalized its government”. Yet this government, he pointed out, had been one of the most backward. (Chalmers never did define which government he meant but the implication of a comparison with Haiti was clear.)


The Secretary then replied by recalling his personal esteem for Foreign Minister Chalmers and asked whether he might speak freely, saying he would leave it to Chalmers how much he would tell his government. When Chalmers expressed the hope that the Secretary would so speak, the Secretary stated he was very much interested in the possibility that Haiti might accept the concept of independent management for some AID projects. He said he had discussed the Haitian problem personally with other Latin American Foreign Ministers, all of whom were concerned with the development gap between Haiti and the other countries of the hemisphere. (Chalmers here interjected that “it was not a gap but an abyss”.) The Secretary continued, saying that if he might he would like to speak bluntly: “The position of the Haitian people was a scandal and a problem in the hemisphere”. He considered that Haiti presented a problem as urgent as any in the hemisphere including Cuba. The concern of both the Secretary and his colleagues was how the United States or the Latin American countries might move to improve the situation. The Secretary said he did not want to embarrass the Foreign Minister but there existed, in fact, a disposition to help the Haitian people if we, and others, could be assured that the people themselves would be the recipients of the aid. There had been some unhappy experiences in the past. Chalmers indicated he would like to discuss this point. The Secretary then reiterated the deep concern in the hemisphere, and he used the term hemisphere to include institutions as well as governments, with the situation of the Haitian people, a preoccupation with raising their standard of living and of education. For example, said the Secretary, the governments of Chile, Mexico and Venezuela were deeply concerned about doing something for the Haitian people. They wished to help in such a way as not to run into political difficulties and not to be hampered in their efforts. There was no intent, however, that in working with the people they would engage in plots or conspiracies. Chalmers acknowledged his certainty that the United States had no such intent. The Secretary again repeated his desire to find some way to be sure all the efforts would go to the Haitian people.


The Secretary then referred back to the Memorandum presented to him by Chalmers, saying that he would study it carefully. He expressed the hope that whatever might be done for the people could be insulated from political considerations to be sure that the people themselves might benefit.


Chalmers replied that he would report all of this to his government “which will not find shocking the proposal that some programs of AID should not be managed by the Haitian Government”.


The Secretary continued that Haiti caused him to lose a great deal of sleep pointing out it was not only the difficulties in Haiti but also the difficulties with various organs of the United States Government which were bothered about the Haitian problem.


Chalmers then asked whether he might write personally to the Secretary on some of these matters. The Secretary replied in the affirmative but urged that Chalmers use the “utmost discretion” in the interests of both of them. The Secretary repeated how much he valued his contacts with Chalmers, contacts which he wished to continue. Therefore, he wished no events to occur which might interrupt this contact. He then expressed his high opinion of Chalmers’ competence as a Foreign Minister. To this Chalmers replied that a Foreign Minister “sits on the outside”. The Secretary replied that nevertheless some foreign ministers earn their pay.


Chalmers left thanking the Secretary sincerely for his consideration and leaving with him a Note and a Memorandum.


The Foreign Minister’s Note transmitted:


“(1) a detailed memorandum concerning the difficulties met by the Republic of Haiti as to the aid which she might expect to receive either on a bilateral basis or under the Alliance for Progress;


“(2) a summary in French of the Memorandum; and


“(3) the English translation of the summary.”


The Note and attachments (being sent under separate cover)/6/ present a review of Haitian assistance to the United States in the international field and a detailed explanation of various cases, such as that of Dr. Berman, Dr. Shirer, Father Duplesis, Valentine Refining Corporation, etc., brought to the attention of the Haitian Government by the Department.


/6/ Neither the note nor its attachments has been found.



357. Memorandum From William G. Bowdler of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson/1/


Washington, October 5, 1966, 6:30 p.m.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. IV. Secret.


Current Situation in Haiti

You asked for an assessment of the situation in Haiti and the status of our contingency planning. The attached memorandum covers both matters.


I have asked Linc/2/ to take a hard look at Galo Plaza’s proposal for expanded aid administered through an OAS Mission in Haiti. It would enable us to do more for the Haitian people than we are doing under present guidelines. We and the other hemisphere countries have a humanitarian responsibility to lessen their plight if means can be devised which ensure that the assistance goes to the people and not the Duvalier crowd. The proposal would also establish an OAS presence which might prove handy should collective action become necessary.


/2/ Lincoln Gordon, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.








Duvalier continues to maintain an iron grip on Haiti. The surface appearance that he has ameliorated the ruthlessness of his regime is misleading—he has physically eliminated the opposition or driven it from the country and for the time being no one is opposing him.


The general economic and social situation continues to deteriorate. Although Haiti has maintained a reasonably sound financial situation, there has been no significant new investment in the country. Successive hurricane disasters over the last several years have also adversely affected the Haitian economy. Preliminary reports on the damage done by Hurricane Inez indicates that it has not been too serious. We are providing emergency relief.


Our ability to assist Haiti is limited. We terminated our bilateral economic programs in 1963 when it became obvious that Duvalier would not permit AID to operate except under his political control. We have continued minimal indirect assistance ($3.3 million in FY 66) through multilateral and United States voluntary agencies.


We have followed basically two objectives with regard to Haiti: (1) assisting the Haitian people as much as possible without giving direct assistance to Duvalier and (2) establishing a greater international presence in Haiti and a greater awareness among the American Republics of the situation there in case contingencies should arise which would require action by the OAS or U.S.


We have tried to increase assistance through third agencies to the extent we have considered possible without assuming unacceptable political liabilities. We have urged Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia to give technical assistance. Israel and the Republic of China are considering small technical assistance projects if ways can be found to cover the dollar costs.


The IDB is considering a $1.3 million project to improve Haiti’s education facilities. The loan has the approval of all of the Latin members of the IDB Board. The project is stalled because Treasury is reluctant to vote for the project in the IDB at the same time AID is unwilling to provide assistance on a bilateral scale. Secretary Rusk has discussed this loan with Secretary Fowler. I have asked State for a memo so we can get this impasse resolved./3/


/3/ Rusk’s October 14 memorandum to the President requesting approval of his loan argued that multilateral assistance was a good way of getting aid to the people of Haiti without providing political benefit to Duvalier. The approval line of the memorandum is checked. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. IV)


Dr. Galo Plaza Lasso, ex-President of Ecuador, recently visited Haiti and has proposed an enlarged program of technical assistance and some capital development for Haiti to be conducted by the OAS under strict controls. Duvalier indicated to Galo Plaza, and his Foreign Minister stated to Secretary Rusk, that Haiti would accept international control of the program. The Galo Plaza plan anticipates a large OAS presence in Haiti to be available when a major political crisis occurs. State is staffing out this proposal and will be making recommendations on it in the near future.


State, Defense and CIA have prepared a comprehensive contingency plan for Haiti./4/ It considers all currently anticipated contingencies, including the employment of United States forces to evacuate Americans and other foreign nationals from Haiti. It includes up-to-date lists of acceptable Haitians inside and outside Haiti who could be used in forming a new government and of U.S. civilian and military personnel with Haitian experience who could be mobilized to work in Haiti as we had to do during the early days of the Dominican crisis.


/4/ See Document 353.


We are also consulting on a regular basis with the large American countries about conditions in Haiti, but we have not discussed specific contingencies or possible United States and OAS reactions because such discussions would inevitably become public knowledge.




358. National Intelligence Estimate/1/


NIE 86.1–66


Washington, October 27, 1966.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. IV. Secret. According to a note on the cover sheet this estimate was prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency with the participation of the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force and the Joint Staff. The United States Intelligence Board concurred in this estimate on October 27. The estimate was attached to a November 4 memorandum from Bowdler to Rostow that summarized the NIE’s conclusions.




The Problem


To estimate the situation and outlook in Haiti over the next year or so, and to consider what might happen in the event of President Duvalier’s death or overthrow.




A. Duvalier’s position still seems fairly strong, despite the sporadic plotting and political tension normal in Haitian affairs. We think the chances are better than even that he will remain in power during the period of this estimate. If he does, there will be continuing political repression and economic stagnation or decline.


B. Duvalier’s overthrow would probably have to be largely an inside job, with some key members of the security forces—and especially the Presidential Guard—participating. We doubt that any now in a position to organize such a coup has the will or the courage to attempt it. None of the many small groupings among the divided, bickering Haitian exiles could succeed in overthrowing Duvalier without decisive help from the US or some other foreign government. The Haitian dictator might, of course, die suddenly of natural causes, though he is only 59 and in reasonably good health; assassination is also a possibility, though he takes unusual precautions.


C. Duvalier’s departure would probably be attended by some acts of violence in Port-au-Prince and other towns. Whether this violence was limited and sporadic or became widespread and intensive would depend in large part on the manner of his going. The danger of widespread hostilities would probably be greatest in the event Duvalier were assassinated in public. A coup attempt that failed at the last minute could produce equally nasty results.


D. The most likely successor to Duvalier would be a military junta which might or might not choose to exercise power behind a civilian front. Initially at least, such a government would probably not be stable, and there would likely be maneuvering for power among its members.


E. The two Communist parties are too small and weak to be able to contend for power even in a disorderly situation following Duvalier’s departure. We doubt that outside Communist support—from Castro, the Soviets, or Haitian Communist exiles—would be forthcoming on a significant scale. We believe that the Haitian Communists themselves would see their best chance of gaining influence as coming through offers of their administrative assistance to new government leadership rather than through any attempt to seize power on their own, and we think they would act accordingly.


F. In a situation where order had completely broken down, the Organization of American States (OAS) would almost certainly acquiesce in action by the US to evacuate foreign nationals. Any proposal for US or OAS intervention to restore order and establish an effective government, however, would encounter strong opposition within the OAS. Any contention that such intervention was necessary in order to forestall a Communist takeover would be disbelieved by many OAS members unless the supporting evidence was incontrovertible. Whatever the purpose for intervening, the US would face considerable criticism internationally.


G. The initial Haitian reaction to the landing of a US force would probably be favorable, but if a military occupation were at all prolonged, opposition would develop. Nevertheless, the problems in Haiti are such that it might prove more difficult to get a force out than to put it in, as was the case in 1915. [Omitted here is the Discussion section of the estimate.]



359. Editorial Note


In November 1966 rumors began to circulate in Haiti and in Miami, Florida, that an invasion of Haiti was imminent, with Miami and the Dominican Republic mentioned as staging areas. In a November 11 memorandum from Rostow to the President, also sent as an unnumbered telegram to the LBJ Ranch, Rostow reported that there was no “hard information of any muscle” behind impending coup plans but that officials of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Departments of Defense and State were meeting that morning to review contingency plans and ensure that “the Caribbean Amphibious Force is in position to react promptly in case of need.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. IV) Rostow reported to the President the following day that Duvalier had dismissed or retired 17 Haitian military officers without first arresting them, indicating that the dictator was “sure of his ground.” (Ibid.)


A November 14 memorandum from the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, sent by telegram to the President, the Secretary of State, and the Directors of Central Intelligence and Defense Intelligence among others, reported that Rolando Masferrer, an exiled former Cuban senator, had organized an invasion force in the Miami area to overthrow Duvalier, and was attempting to charter a boat capable of carrying 300 men. (Ibid.) In a November 17 note to Rostow, Bowdler reported that he had relayed the substance of the FBI memorandum to Sayre, who reassured him that the enforcement agencies had their own people inside the ranks of the expeditionary group and would “move against Masferrer when the time is right.” (Ibid.) Telegram 88010 to Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince, November 18, reported that a Department officer had told the Haitian Chargé that “the USG would not permit such activities on its soil” and authorized the Ambassador to so inform Foreign Minister Chalmers. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–7 HAI)


Telegram 1914 from Santo Domingo, December 16, reported Crimmins’ discussion with President Balaguer the previous day. Crimmins said that U.S. policy toward Duvalier was essentially passive, stating that “we are neither helping him stay in office nor in any way abetting his overthrow.” Balaguer replied that he “in effect could not care less about Duvalier and Haiti.” Concerning invasion activity, Balaguer said that Haitians and Cubans were still preparing plans, bases, and supplies in the Dominican Republic, but that the Dominican military had raided their Manzanillo camp, seized their arms cache, and were deporting three Cuban “no-good adventurers.” (Ibid., POL 23–9 HAI) Telegrams 111362 and 112102 to Port-au-Prince, January 3 and 4, 1967, reported that U.S. Customs Service agents arrested 75 persons from Masferrer’s group during the night of January 2, seized two boats, arms, and ammunition. (Both ibid.)



360. Memorandum From [name not declassified] of the Central Intelligence Agency to the Chairman of the Contingency Coordinating Committee/1/


Washington, May 12, 1967.


/1/ Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Country File, Haiti. Top Secret; Eyes Only.


Summary of Contingency Plan for Haiti


1. The Contingency Coordinating Committee (CCC) Study on Haiti anticipates that the United States may be confronted with one of two basic situations: (a) loss of control by President Duvalier, resulting in chaos throughout the country or (b) the demise of Duvalier from natural causes or otherwise. In either case CIA will support the overall U.S. effort and provide coverage of intelligence requirements.


2. To this end, the CIA contingency plan covers the following aspects:


a. Administrative and Logistics: In either contingency it is planned to effect an immediate build-up of personnel [1 line of source text not declassified]. Provision of logistics support to satisfy CIA infiltration and exfiltration requirements is currently under active study.


b. Intelligence: Coverage of the developing Haitian situation will be reported by internal and external assets. [4 lines of source text not declassified] All available information on known or potential subversives in Haiti and abroad has been collated for ready use by the Intelligence Community.


c. [4 lines of source text not declassified] Additionally we have compiled a list of Haitians, located both inside and outside Haiti, which has been made available to the Departments of State and Defense to assist in the selection of individuals deemed suitable for use in the reconstruction period.


d. [3 lines of source text not declassified]


3. For the duration of the contingency close liaison would be maintained with both the Department of State and the Department of Defense.


[name not declassified]

CS/CIA Representative



361. Politico-Military Contingency Plan for Haiti/1/


Washington, May 16, 1967.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. V. Secret. Drafted by IRG/ARA on April 29 and June 24, 1966, Revised in the Senior Interdepartmental Group and the Contingency Coordinating Committee and approved by both groups on May 16.


I. Summary


This contingency plan for Haiti conceives of two categories of contingencies: (1) Duvalier falls from power and unacceptable Haitians achieve dominance; and (2) Duvalier remains in office but Communists or other unacceptable Haitians mount a potentially successful operation to overthrow him.


An external attack on Haiti involving a few guerrillas could occur without detection or interception by the United States and therefore might be in a position to succeed before we are able to react. Similarly, the overthrow of Duvalier and his replacement by an unacceptable successor could occur without giving us needed reaction time.


Very little military force is needed to take the capital and no other single city or area is necessary to control the existing governmental organizations of Haiti. The introduction of even a small military force in Port-au-Prince would therefore be a major, if not decisive, influence on the crisis situation. The employment of a US military force is contemplated to prevent a Communist government from controlling Haiti and, if necessary, to evacuate American and other foreign nationals whose lives are threatened.


Duvalier’s successor will probably seek our military and/or economic assistance to stabilize his regime, but withholding that assistance would not necessarily insure his downfall.


[Omitted here is the contingency plan, proposing U.S. options in response to “unacceptable” successors to Duvalier in Haiti and nine annexes.]



362. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations/1/


Washington, June 20, 1967, 8:13 p.m.


/1/ Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–9 HAI. Confidential; Priority; Limdis. Drafted by Long on June 20, cleared by Herbert B. Thompson (S/S), and approved by Sayre. Rusk was in New York June 20–22 for UN General Assembly meetings.


213370. Tosec 21.


1. At White House today on another matter Covey Oliver raised current Haitian situation and participated in meeting on that subject with Walt Rostow, Linowitz, Sayre and others. Rostow suggested possibility you exchange views Haiti with Latin American FonMins present New York./2/ We understand Argentine, Brazilian, and Colombian are or will be there.


/2/ An unattributed paper, entitled “The Haitian Situation,” June 20, reported that approaches to seven Latin American governments in June and November of 1966, hoping to elicit suggestions of multilateral means of assisting Haiti in the period following the fall of Duvalier, brought “disappointing results” and no “constructive suggestions.” It also reported that there seemed to be no disposition on the part of Latin American governments to provide technicians to Haiti. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. V)


2. Substance our current assessment situation contained in State 210686 which being repeated./3/ Reports last several days received from Rio, Buenos Aires, and Bogota in answer to State 210686 indicate those Foreign Ministries concerned re situation but have little constructive to suggest.


/3/ Telegram 210686 to Rio de Janeiro, Bogota, Buenos Aires, and four other Latin American capitals, June 13, also requested suggestions on what could be done about Haiti. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 1 HAI)


3. At meeting today consensus was it would be worthwhile if you had time for you raise Haiti problem again, reemphasize your concern, and discreetly ask for views on political, economic, and diplomatic multilateral actions which might be possible, either within or outside OAS framework.





363. Intelligence Information Cable/1/




Washington, June 28, 1967.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. V. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. Bowdler forwarded this cable to Rostow under a June 29 note, stating that this “is the latest appraisal on Haiti from a CIA staff officer [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].”




26 June 1967


Situation Appraisal—President Duvalier’s Present Strength and Capabilities


[less than 1 line of source text not declassified]


Staff officer of this organization. This is a field appraisal of the current situation. It is not an official judgment by this agency or any component. It represents the observations and interpretations of a staff officer based on information available to him at the time of its preparation.


1. Although it is true, as it has been for some years, that Duvalier could be overthrown at any moment, the political situation has not become more tense nor has it further deteriorated. There is little evidence that there has been any active plotting or that any group could form to carry off a coup without detection and ruthless annihilation. If anything, Duvalier has strengthened his position by his recent display of life-and-death control over each and every Haitian, innocent or guilty. His closest associates have remained loyal and have carried out his orders blindly, even though they must know their lives are in jeopardy. Intelligent Haitian observers say that this incredible subservience and shortsightedness is to be expected from the men close to Duvalier. He has so thoroughly involved them in his own crimes and, at the same time, so enriched them that they will cling to their prerogatives. They are unwilling to take any preventive action whereby they might lose everything, and hope to be able to save their own lives by seeking asylum at the last fatal minute. They feel they have more to fear from a future unknown regime.


2. If a real coup attempt is made and fails, Haiti may see a terrible bloodbath, but any other event probably will pass by with little loss of life. There has been no doubt for some years that Duvalier is not normal. His speech on 22 June 1967 showed definite signs of paranoia. In his fear of his enemies, imagined or real, he believes any denunciation and would take wide-range repressive action if any unsuccessful attempt were made against his life. Despite his fears, he remains in full control of his faculties and the instrument of government. Lacking real targets, he simply has removed all threats to his power: his son-in-law, his close past associates, his bodyguards, and most recently, members of his own cabinet.


3. The economic situation continues to worsen. Drought conditions in the cul-de-sac may lessen the sugar crop. The coffee and sisal markets offer little hope for the Haitian economy. Duvalier’s monetary situation is shaky as revenues continue to decline. In the face of these seemingly insurmountable obstacles, it appears that Duvalier’s family has urged him to abdicate. However, there is little chance that he will, and he is likely to retain his political power while further injuring the national economy through foolish acts. Most recently, he has threatened the continued existence of the Commercial Bank by depriving its president, Clemard Joseph Charles, of much of his empire. This will be a serious blow to free enterprise and continued business operations, let alone development.


4. Duvalier’s control is total. There is no “power balance” in the palace. Duvalier plays off his militia against the army and vice versa, and he has never permitted anyone to become a threat to his own power. All opposition, or imagined opposition, is ruthlessly and bloodily crushed. Least likely to succeed in the near future are the Communists who are too small in numbers to carry through any move. Someday someone may muster up enough courage to kill Duvalier. It would not be difficult; however, then the first scramble for power would come among the top Duvalierist hierarchy which would still hold the symbols and some of the seats of power, as well as the only weapons. The army is the most likely force to seize control if Duvalier should go. A military regime would not last long and successor governments would, without outside help, continue to deteriorate and lose more and more control. In this atmosphere, the Communists will have an opportunity for insurgency; the danger, however, is not immediate.


[1 paragraph (1 line of source text) not declassified]



364. Record of Agreements and Decisions of 18th Meeting of the Senior Interdepartmental Review Group/1/


SIG/RA #18


Washington, July 27, 1967.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, SIG, 18th Mtg, 7/27/67. Secret. Drafted by Schwartz on July 31.



The Under Secretary of State (Chairman)
The Deputy Secretary of Defense
The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Director, Central Intelligence Agency
The Administrator, Agency for International Development
The Director, United States Information Agency
The Special Assistant to the President, Mr. Walt W. Rostow
The Under Secretary of Treasury
The Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
The Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
The Staff Director Mr. Covey Oliver, ARA Mr. Robert R. Bowie, S/C


A) Haiti


The Senior Interdepartmental Group:


1) Agreed to give political support, and financial support as required up to a million dollars, for the Inter-American Committee for the Alliance for Progress (CIAP) for the purpose of providing Latin American technical assistance to Haiti up to 36-man years provided that such a number of qualified French-speaking Latin Americans can be found and recruited.


2) Agreed that Contingency Coordinating Committee plans should include domestic actions to be taken, particularly with respect to Congress and the press, as well as military and political actions outside the country.


3) Directed ARA to compile an appropriate set of plans, prepared on past experience, for economic and technical assistance to Haiti in the event that President Duvalier is succeeded by a Government capable of governing.


4) Noted that in the event it becomes necessary for the US to evacuate American citizens and other foreign nationals by the use of US armed forces, it would probably be necessary for those forces to take over control of the City of Port-au-Prince; that whether or not to relinquish that control after the evacuation, and the costs of doing either one or the other, are of such importance as to require further study at all levels of the Government.


[Omitted here are decisions related to Bolivia.]


Staff Director, SIG



365. Information Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Oliver) to Secretary of State Rusk/1/


Washington, February 6, 1968.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. V. Secret. Drafted by Long on February 5. The date is handwritten on the memorandum. A marginal handwritten note by Bowdler reads: “Walt—Pls. Read.”


OAS/CIAP Technical Assistance for Haiti


On September 16, 1966, at the request of Joseph E. Johnson, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, you received Galo Plaza who proposed an OAS “plan” for Haiti. Quiet discussions on this topic were held between departmental officers and officials of the OAS/CIAP in the ensuing months and a general program, a substantial refinement of Plaza’s plan, was developed. The SIG, on July 27, 1967, “agreed to give political support, and financial support as required . . . for the purpose of providing Latin American technical assistance to Haiti . . . provided . . . qualified French-speaking Latin Americans can be found and recruited.”/2/


/2/ Document 364.



OAS/CIAP sent several exploratory missions to Haiti during 1967, and in January 1968 the Haitian government formally requested an OAS/CIAP technical assistance mission of about thirty people. At its regular meeting on January 22, 1968, the CIAP formally supported the Haitian request and called upon the member countries of the Inter- American system to join in a special multilateral effort in order to carry out this program. Haitian support of the OAS/CIAP program was confirmed during the CIAP sub-committee review of Haiti January 29– February 2, 1968. Recruiting for the team has already commenced and OAS/CIAP hopes to have the first experts on board in Haiti within weeks.


While experience in Haiti during recent years has shown how difficult it is to operate meaningfully in that tragic country, we hope that this OAS/CIAP effort will establish an OAS “presence” in Haiti which will be instructive for the individual Latin American governments and useful in case of emergency.


366. Action Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/


Washington, May 21, 1968, 7 p.m.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. V. Secret; Sensitive. Handwritten notes on the memorandum indicate it was received at 7:23 p.m. and Bowdler was notified the following day.


Haitian Situation

Bill Bowdler met this afternoon with representatives of State, CIA and DOD to review the bidding on the Haitian situation.


The intelligence community has not been able to come up with a clear picture of what is going on at Cap Haitien. A landing of some nature did take place, but we have not been able to determine the size of the invasion force. The figure of 50–75 men is the one most frequently heard, but the reports of the aircraft used could not have lifted this many. Reports on the fighting vary with the source. The invaders claim progress. Duvalier says they have been contained and will shortly be liquidated. The latest report from Ambassador Ross is that everything appears normal and outwardly calm in Port-au-Prince. He has nothing on the situation in the north./2/


/2/ Not further identified.  In a later telegram Ross reported on a meeting with Acting Foreign Minister Raymond, who stated that forces under the leadership of Haitians based in the United States had bombed Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien and “landed mercenaries” near the latter area during the morning of the previous day. Raymond asked the U.S. Government to investigate and interdict any illegal acts of Haitians based in the United States. Ross replied that the first news that both the Department and he had received about the invasion had come from Haitian Ambassador Arthur Bonhomme in Washington. (Telegram 813 from Port-au-Prince, May 21; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–9 HAI)


The Duvalier Government has sent notes of protest to the OAS and the UN but it does not call for action by either body.


At this afternoon’s meeting at State, the following contingency actions were noted, or agreed upon:


1. State, earlier today, asked FAA to put out an advisory that all non-scheduled private aircraft were to stay away from Haiti except those going to Port-au-Prince. PanAmerican notified State that it had cancelled its regular flight to the Haitian capital today.


2. The Caribbean Ready Force left Vieques, Puerto Rico, this morning on a training cruise to Panama. This will take it to the south of Haiti. At this stage, there is not sufficient justification to divert the Force toward Port-au-Prince. DOD is to furnish us tonight with the plotted position of the Task Force over the next 24 hours so that we will know precisely what its steaming time to the Haitian mainland will be.


3. DOD is stationing a patrol ship in the Windward Passage to act as a deterrent to the Cubans should they try to send forces into Haiti.


4. CIA is to determine the whereabouts of responsible civilian and military Haitian exiles in case it becomes necessary on short notice to put together a responsible government and get it into Haiti.


5. State is going through the same exercise with US officials with experience in Haiti in case we need to beef up our mission on a crash basis.


6. Our Embassy in Port-au-Prince has recently reviewed its emergency evacuation plans, but State is to ask the Ambassador to make sure that he is ready for fast implementation should the need arise./3/


/3/ Telegram 826 from Port-au-Prince, May 22, reported that the Haitian military had retaken the Cap Haitien airport the preceding day, that the small number of invaders had retreated into the countryside, and that, unless reinforcements arrived, “it would seem only matter of time before they liquidated.” Ross added that he had not made arrangements for the possible evacuation of American residents from Cap Haitien because it seemed unlikely that the invasion attempt would necessitate such action. (Ibid.)


7. State is to prepare a policy paper recommending the action we should take in the event the invaders succeed in gaining control over a respectable piece of real estate and ask for the help of the United States and/or the OAS.


8. State has kept OAS Secretary General Plaza fully briefed on developments in Haiti. We are suggesting to him that he use the delivery of a Haitian Note on the situation to call for an informal meeting of the OAS Council. This would serve to give the OAS a basis for preempting collective action in the event the Haitians try to involve the UN./4/ Galo Plaza had lunch with U Thant today. We do not know whether they discussed Haiti, and the roles of their respective organizations.


/4/ Telegram 5286 from USUN, May 22, reported that the Haitian representative had delivered a letter to the President of the Security Council requesting that the Council be convened so that “appropriate measures” could be taken to reduce the “state of tension which threatens peace,” but that he had no date in mind for such a session. (Ibid., POL 23–9 HAI/UN) Telegram 169444 to USUN, May 23, responded that the U.S. Mission should discuss the complaint with the Brazilian Security Council representative and seek to have him dissuade the Haitians from pressing for a meeting. (Ibid., POL 23–9 HAI)


9. State has informed all of our missions in Latin America of the facts as we know them. State has given special briefings to the Venezuelan and Brazilian Embassies here since these are the two countries on which we would most depend for support in the event collective action becomes necessary.


I believe the foregoing actions are commensurate with the nature of the situation as we know it to be. I have your note suggesting a meeting of principals to go over contingency plans. If after reading the foregoing you still wish to have such a meeting, I suggest it be held late tomorrow afternoon. The participants should be Paul Nitze, Dick Helms, Nick Katzenbach, Covey Oliver, Bob Sayre, Bill Bowdler, and myself.




Set up meeting for tomorrow evening


Hold up on meeting for the time being/5/


Call me



/5/ This option is checked.



367. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State (Katzenbach) to President Johnson


Washington, May 23, 1968.


[Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Country File, Haiti. Secret; Nodis. 2 pages of source text not declassified.]



368. Editorial Note


Following a meeting with Haitian Ambassador Bonhomme on May 24, 1968, Katzenbach sent a memorandum to President Johnson recommending that he receive Bonhomme, at the latter’s request. Katzenbach wrote that difficulties in the United Nations could be avoided if the President could convince the Ambassador that there was no basis for the Haitian allegations against the United States, “and that if Haiti persists it will be damaging to U.S.-Haiti relations.” A notation in the President’s handwriting next to the approved option reads: “10 minutes.” (National Archives and Records Administration, Central Files 1967–69, POL HAI–US)


A May 24 memorandum from Rostow to the President concurring with Katzenbach’s recommendation that the President receive Bonhomme, stated that “Nick’s disclaimer that ‘there is no basis for Haitian allegations against the U.S.,’ may be overstated” and that news reports suggested “that the B–25 used in the expedition may well have come from the United States [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. V)


A May 27 memorandum from Katzenbach to the President reported that the United Nations Security Council was scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. that afternoon in response to Haiti’s request that “appropriate measures” be taken to reduce tension that it alleged threatened international peace and security. Katzenbach noted that Haiti had not made clear what action it expected and that Security Council members were generally unenthusiastic about considering this matter. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL HAI–US)


Telegram 5352 from USUN, May 27, reported Bonhomme’s “long presentation” before the Security Council, in which he presented 22 exhibits linking the invasion aircraft to the United States, but did not actually name or accuse the United States as being involved in the invasion. The Brazilian representative then intervened to note that the Haitian charges were vague and were best handled in other ways. The U.S. representative expressed regrets to the Haitian representative that the latter “had not been more forthcoming in bilateral channels.” (Ibid., POL 23–9 HAI/UN)


Telegram 195334 to Port-au-Prince, July 2, reported that the Haitian and U.S. Governments were cooperating in connection with the investigation of “invasion facts.” (Ibid., POL 17 HAI–US)



369. Memorandum of Meeting/1/


Washington, May 27, 1968, 10:10 a.m.


/1/ Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Haiti, Vol. V. Confidential. Drafted by Bowdler. The meeting was held in the President’s office.


The President
Ambassador of Haiti, Arthur Bonhomme
Assistant Secretary of State, Covey T. Oliver
William G. Bowdler

Ambassador Bonhomme opened the conversation by saying he had come at the express direction of President Duvalier. He then made an indirect criticism of the State Department for the delay in getting the appointment,/2/ noting that he had asked for it one hour after the landings at Cap Haitien but had been referred to Assistant Secretary Oliver.


/2/ Telegram 170497 to Port-au-Prince, May 24, reported Ambassador Bonhomme’s meeting with Katzenbach that day during which Bonhomme said he had instructions to give President Johnson a message from Duvalier. Katzenbach asked for the “facts” of U.S. involvement in the bombing and invasion. When Bonhomme “went on in typical rambling fashion” about the operation being launched from the Bahamas, Katzenbach observed that this meant that the Haitian Government did not think the attack had come from the United States. Bonhomme replied to both issues that the “facts are for the Security Council, not for you.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL HAI–US)


The Ambassador made protestations of Duvalier’s high regard for the President. He referred to the President having “loosened the strangulation” of Haiti. To illustrate the point, he referred to the education loan granted by the IADB.


Ambassador Bonhomme then recited general complaints about exile activities against Duvalier. He said most of the action was in the United States, but it also goes on in Curacao, the Bahamas and Europe. The State Department was aware of all this. He admitted that six months ago, an expedition had been stopped in Miami by U.S. authorities, but the plotting continued. The implication here was that the State Department was not cracking down as hard as it could.


On the Cap Haitien incident, he claimed his Government had facts that U.S. aircraft flown by U.S. pilots and other U.S. military equipment had been used in the invasion. He noted that Haitian exiles, prior to and after the invasion broadcast programs from the U.S. calling for the overthrow of Duvalier. He added his government had tapes. He said there is evidence of Castro Cuban involvement and made a murky reference to the possibility of another missile crisis over Haiti if exiles, with Cuban support, were to succeed, as Castro had done with his twelve followers.


During this part of the conversation, the President interrupted to say he was not aware of any evidence of U.S. involvement. He asked Mr. Oliver and Mr. Bowdler if they had such information. Mr. Bowdler noted we had asked the Ambassador and his government for such evidence, but so far it has not been forthcoming.


Referring to Haiti’s request for UN Security Council action, Ambassador Bonhomme said Duvalier had given him instructions not to attack the United States. He would present evidence on the equipment used by the Haitian exiles and from whence they came. He admitted that the Cap Haitien invasion had been staged from the Bahamas and not from U.S. territory. He was vague on the action he would ask of the Security Council, saying the UN could recommend that states prevent the type of activities which have been directed against Haiti.


The President asked Mr. Oliver and Mr. Bowdler if they had any comments. Mr. Oliver pointed out that Haiti, in going directly to the UN Security Council, had by-passed the OAS—the body to which it should have gone with its evidence and complaint. Mr. Bowdler recalled that when we had hard evidence last year on the Miami-based invasion, we stopped it cold and got convictions. In this complaint, the Haitians say they have evidence, but have not given it to us; and we cannot act except on the basis of facts.


In closing, the President told the Ambassador he could not tell President Duvalier what to do, but it was regrettable that he had not brought his complaints to the body where we handle hemisphere differences. He reminded the Ambassador that we can act only on the basis of solid evidence, and the quicker it is furnished, the quicker we will be able to assess it and act accordingly.



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