381. Paper Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1
- Apparently Duvalier, in the
absence of assassination, will survive the efforts of internal
opposition elements (now not organized) will be inaugurated and will
continue in control of Haiti. His statements (whether sincere or
not) that he will not proclaim a Socialist or Communist state place
the United States in the position where we cannot oppose him on
political grounds except for the following reasons:
- Violation of Haitian constitutional processes, thus extending his tenure of office;
- His administration has not been in the best interests of the Haitian people; and
- We don’t like him and it appears he does not like us.
- Assuming (a) above to be correct, Duvalier can only be removed by some form of military action by either the OAS, the United States, or an exile group. An alternative would be an uprising by a group from within which might be catalyzed but would require almost immediate external assistance in order to survive.
- Duvalier has a small Naval force (two sub-chasers and a few small boats, personnel of questionable loyalty) a small Air Force (four P-51s probably inoperable, and a few transports and trainers, and personnel of questionable loyalty). His Armed Forces total 5280 officers and men (including Army, Coast Guard, Air Corps and Police), equipped with light arms, six antiquated tanks and a few field pieces. These forces have been weakened by recent purges of the officer ranks and morale is believed to be low. Although the Army is reinforced by a poorly equipped and badly organized civilian militia, the extent to which these forces would support Duvalier is not known.
There appear a large number of refugee or exile groups intent on disposing of Duvalier and taking over the government. Many are former Haitian political figures, who seek restoration of their power or financial positions. Some may be motivated by high principle, others by personal ambition, and there is evidence that some of them are both motivated by [Page 789]and supported by private capital who seek special consideration such as hotels, casinos, etc., in Haiti. There is evidence that some of this support might come from undesirable circles within official endorsement of one or several of these exile groups.
[1 paragraph (13 lines of source text) not declassified]
- The assumption that large segments of Duvalier’s military establishment and the Haitian population would immediately defect to the expeditionary force, while a strong possibility, must not be accepted as a certainty in planning such an operation. It is possible that Duvalier might release irresponsible groups throughout Haiti who would unleash acts of terror.
[6 lines of source text not declassified]
Throughout the history of Haiti’s independence there has been a racial problem—95% of the population are negroes and 5% are mulattoes (a combination of negro, French and marines). The mulattoes have been the elite, the successful commercial interests, and the influential forces in government, though seldom the Head of State. They have traditionally had their “hand in the till.” When a mulatto has actually headed the government, trouble has resulted. The traditional principle has been to have a negro in the top position in the government. These factors must be taken into account in considering U.S. policy.
- Whatever is done will be attributed to the United States. It cannot be otherwise. It will be looked upon as United States interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state (irrespective of how bad that state is). There will be high “noise level” which will be particularly true in many Latin American and African states. [2-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]
- [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] Duvalier, despite his statements, is bitter toward the United States. He has disposed of interests traditionally friendly to the United States who have been in Haiti. This has been done by forced exile or assassination. Hence, it can be expected that he probably will turn either to Cuba or to the Bloc for military and economic aid, and this very probably will be forthcoming.
- We must not overlook the French influence in Haiti and its continued interest in Haiti. Despite difficulties with policy discussions with France at the moment, it might be constructive to explore this entire problem in depth with France because of France’s special interest in Haiti and the distinct possibility that they may have an influence in Haiti which we do not have.
- Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI/McCone Files, Job 80-B1285A, Memos for the Record, 4/15/63-6/4/63. Secret. A handwritten note at the end of this paper indicates that copies were sent to McGeorge Bundy and Ball on an eyes only/personal basis, at the request of McCone on May 20.↩