396. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1 2

[Page 1]


  • NSSM 70—Haiti

Attached at Tab A is a summary of a study by the Interdepartmental Group for Latin America on U.S. policy toward Haiti. The study was generated by Governor Rockefeller’s recommendation that we consider renewing aid to Haiti. The full paper is attached at Tab B.

The basic question which the study poses is whether there is anything that the U.S. can and should do now at acceptable political cost to assist Haiti’s development, to help meet the humanitarian needs of its people, and/or to prepare for and influence the transition to a post-Duvalier period.

The paper concludes that there is little we can or should do to influence the transition. It argues basically for continuation of our present policy of cool, correct relations with minimal bilateral involvement, with perhaps an increased effort at providing humanitarian assistance through established multilateral and private channels. The options, their major advantages and disadvantages, are outlined on pages 4–9 of the analytical summary at Tab A.

In view of the very limited nature of our interests in Haiti, Defense, JCS and OEP recommend that we maintain our present policy of a very limited involvement in Haiti. (Memoranda containing agency positions are at Tab C.) Specifically, they recommend we continue our present policy of no significant U.S. bilateral input to assist development, of continuing to lend humanitarian assistance through multilateral and private agency channels, and of maintaining our present course of cool, correct relations with the Duvalier government with no increased efforts to influence the transition.

State recommends that we adopt a slightly more forthcoming position. State proposes that we (1) encourage increased multilateral assistance for economic development, and (2) that, although continuing to assist in meeting humanitarian needs primarily through multilateral and private channel, we make an additional $100,000 of AID funds available to the Embassy for undertaking certain small pilot projects in the field of humanitarian assistance.

[Page 2]

Although our interests in Haiti are marginal, we do have some interest in seeing that the situation in Haiti does not deteriorate into total turmoil after Duvalier. I believe a more forthcoming position toward Haiti, as recommended by State, would:

  • —give the U.S. a toehold during the transition;
  • —signify our humanitarian concern without associating us with the Duvalier regime;
  • —be consistent with your Latin American policy emphasis on improving the quality of life for the people of the Western Hemisphere and your emphasis on using multilateral channels; and
  • —give our Ambassador some additional flexibility and help offset possible charges that we discriminate against Haiti because it is a black nation.

I therefore recommend approval of the State position.


That you authorize me to issue a NSDM approving the State position of encouraging greater multilateral assistance for economic development and of making an addition $100,000 of AID funds available for humanitarian assistance to Haiti.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–220, NSDM 94. Secret. Sent for action. Attached but not published are Tabs A–C. Tab A is an undated Analytical Summary; Tab B is NSSM 70 Study on U.S. Policy Toward Haiti; and Tab C is the agency positions (State, OEP, Defense, JCS and CIA). President Nixon initialed his approval on November 6. NSDM 94, November 13, is published as Document 397.
  2. Kissinger forwarded a summary of NSSM 70 Study on Haiti to President Nixon, noting the key points of the study and recommending that Nixon authorize him to issue an NSDM approving multilateral and humanitarian assistance to Haiti.