370. Guidelines Prepared by the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs1
GUIDELINES OF U.S. POLICY TOWARD HAITI
United States short-term objectives in Haiti are to keep Haiti on our side and to prevent further economic and social deterioration and political chaos.
In order of priority U.S. intermediate or long-range objectives are:
- A stable government aligned with the United States.
- Less dishonesty and inefficiency within the Government to permit the U.S. aid program to function more effectively.
- Improvement in the economic and social life of the Haitian people through a technical and economic assistance program which will ensure a rate of economic growth greater than that of population growth.
- Development of a more reliable, constructive and respected military establishment to fulfill its constitutional role.
- An improved climate for foreign private investment.
- Settlement of pending claims of private U.S. citizens against the Haitian Government.
Lines of Action
- Continue to live with the Duvalier regime so long as there is no acceptable alternative.
- Consciously direct U.S. policy toward the development of a better alternative; to this end increase the flow of intelligence information and identify elements and individuals acceptable to the U.S. as the nucleus of a successor government.
- Evaluate and appraise the potential and likely support for an alternative government which might be received from elements within Haiti, including especially the armed forces.
- Avoid actions that might precipitate Duvalier’s downfall as long as this would create a power vacuum which Castro-Communists could be expected to exploit.
- Demonstrate resolution and firmness in dealing with Haitian officials and, whenever possible, take the lead in matters affecting U.S.-Haitian relations.
- Urge Haitian officials to avoid excesses and brutality and respect human rights.
- Discourage the GOH from its tendency to by-pass the Embassy and USOM and deal directly with Washington agencies.
- Carry forward as much constructive economic and social development as possible.
- Insist that the GOH help itself and demonstrate its willingness and capability to use U.S. aid effectively, by undertaking badly needed reforms designed to improve public administration, particularly budgetary and fiscal procedures.
- Undertake, in cooperation with other organizations such as the Pan American Union and ECLA, a comprehensive analysis of the Haitian economy and socio-cultural systems, and the formulation of a national development plan to serve as a basis for Haiti’s long-range economic development.
- Undertake some projects such as low-cost housing, waterworks, highways and airports to provide large-scale employment and demonstrate the tangible results of U.S. aid.
- Extend aid in the form of grants or long-term, low interest loans for projects which are not self-liquidating.
- Use the so-called “turnkey contract” procedure for major projects as a means of counteracting the low level of probity and quality of Haiti’s administrative machinery and the efforts of many Haitian officials to utilize U.S. aid for purposes not in keeping with our objectives.
- Regard budgetary support only as a temporary expedient.
- Insist that the GOH include provisions in its budget to service debts owed U.S. citizens.
- Continue, through our present military and materiel assistance programs to develop and maintain a favorable attitude toward the U.S. within the Haitian Army.
- Develop roles for the Army to play in the economic development of the country, in coordination with other such activities being undertaken in the country.
- Improve the professional capacity, discipline and stability of the Haitian Armed Forces through U.S. training, and encourage more efficient and economical use of these forces within present manpower and funding ceilings.
- Continue to provide Haiti with the type and quantities of military assistance believed to be required in order to maintain constitutional law and order, giving consideration to the recommendations developed by the country team in consultation with the special inter-departmental team which was recently sent to Central America to assess the internal security situation of each country.
The various contingencies that may arise in Haiti, and recommended courses of action to meet them, are the subject of a separate paper entitled Haiti—Contingency Situations and Recommendations dated May 29, 1961.2
[Here follows a section entiled “Rationale,” which reported that Haiti had too many people, too little arable land, and scant prospect for economic development since it lacked basic infrastructure. U.S. efforts to aid Haiti had been defeated by corruption of its venal governments. The Rationale section also stated that there were no good prospects for opposition to Duvalier inside or outside Haiti, and that the Duvalier government had little ability to administer joint aid programs, and limited ability to service additional foreign debt. Finally, the section listed five special problems: little capacity for self-government; the legacy of the U.S. Marines’ intervention; a tendency to bypass the Embassy and USOM and to try to deal directly with Washington; social and racial tensions; and Duvalier’s hypersensitivity to criticism.]