384. National Security Action Memorandum No. 2461


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Director of Central Intelligence


  • Future Policy Toward Haiti

The following conclusions were reached during a meeting with the President on Haiti on May 20, 1963.2

Ambassador Thurston should be recalled for consultation and a final decision on his return to Haiti will be held in abeyance until the Ambassador can give his views on this matter. (Action: Department of State)
Fleet units now positioned off the island of Gonaive may be withdrawn after May 23 if there have been no untoward developments before then indicating reconsideration of this decision. There will continue to be an increased patrol of the Windward Passage to insure against illicit traffic between Cuba and Haiti. (Action: Department of Defense)
Involvement in any program to unseat Duvalier should be limited, for the present at least, to encouraging and helping fund an effort by Haitians. Further consideration of the commitment of U.S. prestige or U.S. forces should be deferred until we have fully explored this approach. [1 line of source text not declassified]
Great care should be taken to insure that we control the time frame of any revolutionary action that might involve the United States in any way.
[4-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]
A determined effort should be made during the course of the next few months to encourage the development of an exile force that might challenge Duvalier. (The manner in which this decision was reached did not preclude intensified efforts to achieve the same goal by working with oppositionists within Haiti.) [1 line of source text not declassified]
It is extremely important that there be no discussion with the press about our plans for handling the Haitian problem.
McGeorge Bundy
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, NSAM 246. Top Secret.
  2. The President had two “off the record” meetings during the morning of May 20, but his Appointment Book does not indicate the topics discussed. (Ibid.)