382. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Martin) to Acting Secretary of State Ball1


  • Haiti Course of Action

While the understanding of the meeting which we had in Mr. Dungan’s office last night2 was to prepare alternatives for presentation to the [Page 791]President, rather than recommendations, I should like on the basis of that paper to make the following recommendations to you:

Basically I think we should follow courses (b) and (c), maintaining the Embassy under a Charge but with formal relations suspended and seeking to test the attitude of the Haitian people toward Duvalier through Haitian intermediaries. This is a course which I think we might follow for several months before considering an alternative. Such a course involves certain other steps which follow.
As of the 24th or 25th of May the Ambassador should be recalled for consultation with no immediate attempt to return him there or officially assign him elsewhere. We would put him to work in ARA.
As of about June 1 special alerts would all be stepped down and the major military units withdrawn but patrols in the Windward Passage should be increased somewhat beyond precrisis levels with particular attention to traffic from Cuba.
There should be a slowing routine appearing phase down of the staffs of our military missions.
We should continue the malaria eradication program and proceed on a normal but very strict basis with the airport loan.
We should not have formal relations but the Charge should be free to talk informally with the Foreign Minister and to use informal channels for routine communication between himself or other members of the country team and Haitian Government.
While one cannot predict OAS potentialities until the Committee files its report, which should be by the end of this week, I think we may assume that with the quieting down of the Dominican-Haitian conflict OAS interest will become rather secondary. The best we can hope for is to stimulate interest in the human right aspects of the Haitian problem and a recognition that glaring violations of human rights can become a threat to peace and security and therefore a matter of international concern.

I do not think this program is one which should be finally adopted for at least 48 hours, namely until we see what develops in the course of the celebrations scheduled for tomorrow and in their immediate aftermath.

A principal problem about this arrangement is the nature of the diplomatic relations we have or don’t have with the Duvalier regime. The longer we keep relations in a state of suspension, the more difficult it may be to stay there and to conduct necessary business. On the other hand reestablishing formal relations with the Duvalier regime could create embarrassing difficulties for us in recognizing and assisting a competing regime. Perhaps we might wait a week or so longer before crossing this particular bridge to see what the prospects look like for having such a competing regime problem.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL HAI-US. Top Secret. Drafted by Martin.
  2. No other record of the meeting has been found. For the policy paper as approved by the President, see Document 384.