406. Briefing Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Caribbean Countries (Broderick) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Meyer)1 2

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  • Your Meeting With the Haitian Delegation on Tuesday, March 14, at 10:00 AM

Haitian Cooperation on International Issues

The GOH has begun to play a more active and open role in international relations, both in its participation in international bodies and in its bilateral relations with other countries particularly in the Hemisphere. The GOH has resumed relations with the Government of Costa Rica, and improved its relations with the Government of Venezuela. Relations with the neighboring Dominican Republic are closer than any time in recent memory and Nicaraguan President Somoza last week paid a State Visit to Haiti. The GOH has also indicated its desire to play a more active role in the United Nations and may want US support for a seat on the Security Council.

The new regime, both out of self-interest and because of the basic pro-American orientation of its leaders, has continually expressed its willingness to be closely aligned with the US. In the recent Chirep debate at the UN, Haiti quickly agreed to co-sponsor our dual representation resolutions and the GOH has expressed its desire to be as helpful as possible on other international issues, such as narcotics, resolutions concerning Cuba in the OAS and LOS matters.

Haitian Hope for Increased Bilateral Aid

US assistance to Haiti [Page 2] has been limited since 1963 when the AID Mission was withdrawn. Since that time, US aid to Haiti has been based primarily on humanitarian considerations. Present assistance is concentrated in malaria eradication, rural community development and agricultural pilot projects and totals about $3 million per year, plus Title II commodities of approximately $1.8 million.

CIAP has generally judged the Haitian economic performance as satisfactory and greatly improved. CIAP did note (a) the desirability of the GOH more clearly articulating its development objectives and strategies; (b) the need for further improvement in the division of resources between development and operating budgets; and (c) the need to integrate the receipts of the Regie du Tabac into the regular budgetary processes.

In our discussions with the GOH delegation, we should indicate our support of these CIAP recommendations. Increased allocations for civilian and developmental purposes, coupled with full disclosure of the receipts and expenditures of the Regie, would further generate confidence in the GOH’s domestic efforts and engender support for Haiti’s development aims on the part of the international lending agencies, as well as the USG. GOH allocations for military/security are the second highest in percentage terms in the hemisphere (about 17%). CIAP has indicated that Haiti’s absorptive capacity warrants at least a doubling of current financial assistance.

We will continue to place maximum reliance on the multilateral financial institutions to meet Haiti’s external financing needs. Nonetheless, we do not exclude the possibility of considering sound project proposals beyond the capacity or interest of the multilateral agencies, in the same manner we would handle requests from other countries. In consonance with the decision last fall to regularize aid to Haiti, our assistance will progressively shift from solely humanitarian activities in the direction of more development activities. The level of grant assistance has been increased over the last two years and is at about the maximum level we can envision under current budget stringencies. We have not authorized any loans for Haiti since 1963. The Embassy has recommended a resumption of loans at a modest level of about $2.5 million per annum, but no specific projects have been submitted.

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Haitian Desire for Military Assistance

In early January, Ambassador Chalmers presented us with two identical letters to Secretaries Rogers and Laird, from Ministers Cambronne and Raymond, in which the GOH requested both arms credit and training. We told Chalmers that the Department had no problem with the licensing of items on the list which were the normal requirements of the Haitian Armed Forces and indeed that we are regularly approving applications for export licenses for moderate arms sales to Haiti. We also told him that we were willing to give sympathetic consideration to putting Haiti on the FMS List (they are not on the current list) and subject to availability of funds and competing needs, to make modest credits available for military purchases, specifically much-needed patrol craft. However, we made no firm commitments and stressed to the GOH that we were only talking about a maximum of $1–1 1/2 million and not even this before mid FY 73.

We informed the GOH that we found the size of their request, both in total (i.e. minimum cost of $40 million, maximum upwards of $100 million) and in composition (i.e. jet fighter bombers, tanks, large scale naval transport facilities) greatly exaggerated. We also told the Haitians that we were not in a position to respond affirmatively on the question of sending military specialists to Haiti at this time. We urged the GOH to examine and scale-down their request, determine their order of priorities and, after it decides what it can afford, request appropriate commercial export license for these arms. We told Chalmers frankly that the continued GOH emphasis on military assistance would make it harder for those of us who have been trying to pursue friendly relations with the new Haitian government.

The regime’s continuing pressure for US military assistance (orchestrated almost entirely by Cambronne) is an indication of its fear that anti-regime elements are planning either a campaign of terror against the regime or perhaps even its ultimate overthrow. We have no evidence of any such plans and in fact assess the Haitian regime as more secure today, [Page 4] both internally and externally, than at any time in the past decade. We have indicated this to the GOH, both here and in Port-au-Prince although we have said that we sympathize with their desire to modernize their armed forces. Light arms and improved mobility, however, are really their primary needs, from our point of view.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 HAI. Confidential. Sent through Hurwitch. Drafted on March 13 by Ross; cleared by ARA/CAR, ARA–LA/CAR, LA/DP, and AA/LA.
  2. Broderick provided Assistant Secretary Meyer with a current overview and assessment of U.S. policy toward Haiti, in anticipation of a March 14 meeting with an official visit by Haitian officials.