391. Proposed Plan of Action1


  • Haiti: Proposed Plan of Action from November 1, 1963 through April 30, 19642

[Here follow sections entitled “Assessment of the Current Situation,” which states that in light of the failures of the invasions by Haitian exiles from the Dominican Republic, the fall of the Bosch government, and Duvalier’s purges of the Haitian Army, Duvalier faced little threat to [Page 805]his rule; and “Possible Courses of Action,” which states that the United States had four options: continue to isolate Duvalier and attempt to hasten his downfall, establish as near normal relations as possible by considering requests for assistance only as they aided Haitian economic development—as opposed to supporting the Duvalier regime, come to an accommodation with Duvalier, or engage in an all-out effort to remove him and establish an acceptable successor government, using U.S. forces if necessary.]

Conclusions and Recommendations

The situation within Haiti and external factors bearing on the internal Haitian situation have changed materially since Ambassador Thurston was recalled on May 26, 1963. While the United States has been adequately represented within Haiti by its Charge d’Affaires during the intervening five months, maximum U.S. influence can be exerted only when the leadership and prestige which an accredited Ambassador enjoys can be brought to bear. No decision as to future long-term United States policy toward Haiti should be reached until our new Ambassador3 has had an opportunity to familiarize himself, on the scene, with current Haitian conditions and to submit his assessments and recommendations. To this end, the new United States Ambassador to Haiti should assume his duties in Port-au-Prince as quickly as possible. During the period of not more than six months which will be required for him to survey the situation, and prepare recommendations, the United States should:

Maintain our present cool posture toward Duvalier while denying his government economic or financial assistance other than of a purely humanitarian nature.
Disassociate ourselves from any exile attempt to invade Haiti or plot to assassinate Duvalier except under the unlikely circumstances (1) that the prospects for success appear favorable, (2) that public U.S. involvement could be avoided, and (c) that the installation of an acceptable successor group is assured.
Keep OAS members currently informed of the situation in Haiti.
Continue U.S. participation in the malaria eradication program and PL 480 assistance to voluntary agencies in Haiti. Until Haitian farmers are able to replace crops destroyed by Hurricane Flora, provide a reasonable amount of additional PL 480 foodstuffs.
Seek an understanding with the Haitian Government on the size, composition and responsibilities of the MAAG.
Continue blocking AID, IDB and IBRD loans and discourage assistance from Common Market and other non-Communist countries on the grounds that such aid gives prestige and material support to an undesirable dictatorship.
Continue to insist that the IMF fully justify on economic grounds its stand-by arrangements with Haiti.
Continue to press for payments on debts owed the United States Government even if only on a token basis in deference to the precarious state of the Haitian finances.
Discourage visits to Haiti by high-ranking officials of the United States, international organizations or other governments which could be exploited by Duvalier. By the same token, discourage visits to Washington by Haitian officials by receiving them at the lowest level consistent with their rank.
Continue to discourage naval visits and tourist travel to Haiti under present conditions

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL HAI-US. Secret. Drafted by Virgil B. Randolph of ARA/CMA on November 13.
  2. This plan was drafted on November 4 and submitted to the Latin American Policy Committee, which apparently approved it at its meeting of November 7. (Memorandum from Crockett to Martin and Cottrell, November 4; ibid.)
  3. Benson E.L. Timmons III was appointed Ambassador to Haiti on November 30.