404. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon1 2

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  • U.S. Policy Toward Haiti

The Interdepartmental Group for Inter-American Affairs (IG/ARA) met on September 15, 1971, to review the FY 1973 Haiti Country Analysis and Strategy Paper. The decisions taken at this meeting bear on NSSM 70 and NSDM 94 which concerned U.S. policy toward Haiti in the period when President Francois Duvalier’s death was assumed imminent. NSSM 70 also addressed the question of transition from the regime of President Duvalier to its successor and noted that “upon Duvalier’s disappearance, a potential new U.S. Government-Haitian relationship will develop with its own set of opportunities and constraints.” While it is premature to judge the new Haitian Government definitively, developments thus far offer promise. The political atmosphere in Haiti has been liberalized, economic planning and development are receiving greater attention, and the previous Government’s coolness toward the U.S. has been abandoned. In the light of these new circumstances, the IG/ARA decided in its review that:

1. The U.S. should modify its posture toward the Haitian Government, which had been characterized as “cool and correct” with the regime of President Duvalier, adopting a “more normal” diplomatic stance. This shift represents neither approval nor disapproval of the new regime, but the willingness to deal with the new government on the same basis that we deal with the governments of other hemispheric nations.

2. Subject to funding availabilities and Haiti’s meeting normal development criteria, we should move [Page 2] to normalize our bilateral assistance effort, shifting from Supporting Assistance to Alliance for Progress financing by FY 1973. We should also be prepared to broaden our program emphasis from strictly humanitarian endeavors to include development-oriented projects where consistent with overall U.S. policy and in response to Haitian initiatives. While we will continue to encourage greater involvement of multilateral institutions as the primary source of assistance to Haiti, this will not preclude consideration of bilateral capital assistance requests.

I have reviewed and approve the decisions taken by the IG/ARA.

William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 785, Country Files, Latin America, Haiti, Vol. I. Secret. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. In a January 10 memorandum to William D. Broderick, Director of ARA/CAR, David A. Ross of ARA/CAR observed that Knox favored the “the re-establishment of a military mission to Haiti” as part of a more normal relationship with that country. Ross cautioned that U.S. interests in Haiti did not “warrant such close involvement with Haitian politics or such intimate association with the new Duvalier regime.” (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 1 HAI–US)
  2. Secretary Rogers reported on the recommendations of the September 15 Interdepartmental Group for Inter-American Affairs (IG/ARA), which included modifying U.S. posture toward the Haitian Government to adopt a more normal stance and normalization of bilateral assistance.