375. Paper Prepared in the Department of State1


[Here follow a discussion of the objectives of the plan (the orderly departure of Duvalier, a working but cool relationship until that time, and preservation and strengthening of the U.S. position with the political [Page 776]forces that the United States wanted to see replace Duvalier), a description of the current situation, and an assessment that a change of government in Haiti was likely within the next year.]

Plan of Action

Use the implementation of the recently signed loan for the construction of the jet airport as a device for maintaining correct and continuing relations with Haitian officials.3
At every opportunity in conversations with President Duvalier and other high Haitian officials, exert pressure directed against anti-American, crypto-Communist or Communist elements both in and out of the Government.
React with toughness and vigor to any Government excesses involving the violation of the rights of American citizens.
Public Law 480, Title III4 programs should be maintained, with vigorous Embassy support in fighting obstructionism. Appropriate instances of obstructionism should be protested by formal note. If the programs cannot be maintained because of obstructionism, they should be suspended and the reasons for the suspension should be made known publicly.
Maintain maximum pressure on the Government to pay its debts both to official American lending institutions and to private American creditors. Particular attention should be given to the satisfactory settlement of private American claims which have been pending for almost a year before the Haitian Claims Commission.
American officials should talk fiscal and administrative reform at all levels of contact with Haitians, both in and out of the Government, so that it will be clearly understood that such reforms are a sine qua non for United States aid to Haiti. Mention of such reforms should specifically include the incorporation of all Government revenues into the regular budget, since there is no accountability for the substantial proportion of revenues that are now outside the budget.
While limiting its activities to support of the malaria eradication campaign and execution of the jet airport construction loan, the USAID Mission should continue its searching evaluation of United States aid to Haiti in the light of experience, and an attractive and realistic contingency aid program for an acceptable successor government should be prepared.
To offset our retrenchment in other fields, USIS should continue a high level of activities, and the Haitian-American Institute should step up the quantity and quality of United States cultural programs in Haiti in order to raise American cultural prestige. On carefully selected matters where local media for political reasons dare not publish news about U.S. positions regarding Haiti, USIS should be utilized as a channel for distributing this news, bearing in mind, however, the need to protect USIS’ relations with local information media and the Haitian Government.
United States Military Missions in Haiti should: (a) continue, where possible, to maintain or increase effective contact, private and official, with the Haitian Armed Forces and its leadership, with a view to preventing loss of existing latent assets, and to developing a solid basis for future cooperation; (b) pursue intelligence collection efforts as directed and required; (c) maintain current plans for short-notice resumption of MAP material and training support for the Armed Forces which could be offered to a new and more responsive regime; (d) develop contingency plans for a broader civic action program for the Armed Forces under a successor regime so they may play a more constructive role in the development of the country.
Increase the number of visits by units of the United States Navy to the outlying ports of Haiti in order to demonstrate an American presence and sympathetic interest in those areas.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service should be requested to issue re-entry (I-512) permits to exile leaders residing in the United States who are attempting to organize a unified movement of all Haitian exiles, both here and in other countries, and need to travel outside the United States to do so. Because of their indefinite residence status as exiles, they are unable without such a permit to re-enter the United States once they leave, except by applying for and obtaining a resident visa from a United States Consul abroad.
Consider means of reducing the size of United States military missions in Haiti in such a way as not to violate agreements, hamper United States interests, or provoke Duvalier to demand their complete withdrawal. Planned increases in Military Attache coverage should be implemented.
Continue to block pending AID, IDB, and IDA loans to Haiti which, if approved, would be exploited politically by Duvalier and would support his current effort to portray his regime as progressive, and respected and accepted internationally.
Follow closely the financial position of the Haitian Government in order to take advantage of any circumstances in which the United States can exercise any influence thereon in ways furthering our principal objective, i.e., the departure of Duvalier in favor of an acceptable alternative.
Assess, on a continuing basis and against the evolving situation, the potential for achieving our objective through a direct approach to Duvalier calculated to encourage him to leave office. Such an approach could be made either through a special emissary or through the American Ambassador, who would point out that there will be no resumption of US aid to Haiti so long as he remains in power, and that it would be in the interests of the Haitian people, U.S.-Haitian relations, and peace and progress in the Caribbean area for him to step down and make way for an orderly succession. In 1956 the then American Ambassador, accompanied by the Papal Nuncio, made such appeal to President Magloire just before he left office.
Encourage the international press to publish the facts about Haiti, when this can be done without risk of detection, so that the repressive and illegal nature of the Duvalier regime will continue to be spotlighted on the international scene and so the Haitian opposition will take encouragement from this sympathetic interest in their plight.
Publicize by means of background press briefings, statements by appropriate members of Congress, Government officials, etc. that U.S. economic aid has been drastically reduced and military materiel shipments suspended for some time because of the inadequacies of the Duvalier government, its failure to adhere to agreements, and attempts to subvert U.S. aid to political ends. Such briefings and statements should also: (a) deplore the oppressive nature of the Duvalier regime and Duvalier’s failure to step down from office at the expiration of his elected term of office, (b) reiterate the desire of the United States to help the Haitian people in accordance with the principles and democratic spirit implicit in the Alliance for Progress, and (c) intimate that substantial U.S. assistance would be forthcoming to a cooperative, responsible government.
As the end of Duvalier’s constitutionally elected term approaches, consideration should be given to consulting with the representatives in Washington of those Latin American and NATO governments that maintain diplomatic missions in Port-au-Prince, with a view to encouraging them to recall their representatives from Haiti over the period May 15-22, 1963, in order publicly to disassociate their countries from Duvalier’s flouting of Haiti’s constitution and electoral laws.
If Duvalier is still in office on May 15, no actions should be taken to underline the passage of that date or prejudice the continued presence of our Ambassador, except to follow the procedure of the past two years, i.e., call the Ambassador back on consultation before May 15 and have him remain away from Haiti until after May 22, the second anniversary of Duvalier’s “reinauguration.”
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL HAI. Secret. This paper, which was drafted by Abbuhl, was transmitted to Bundy under a February 21 memorandum from Brubeck. Bundy requested the plan to show President Kennedy en route to Palm Beach, Florida, the night of February 23.
  2. This plan replaced one drafted by Abbuhl on October 16 and October 23, 1962, covering October-May 1963. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Haiti, 9/62-2/63)
  3. In the “Current Situation” portion, not printed, it was explained that the $2.8 million loan from AID for a jet airport was approved “in order to reduce the risk that our negative attitude toward Duvalier might provoke him to intemperate action before we were prepared to deal with him.” See also paragraph 2 of Document 374.
  4. The Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act, July 10, 1954, 68 Stat. 454.