390. Memorandum From the White House Situation Room to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Hostage

In a phone conversation between Port au Prince, Haiti and the State Department Operations Center, U.S. Ambassador Knox reported that he and a consular officer are being held hostage at gun point by three men. The two were captured on the way to the Ambassador’s residence. Upon reaching the residence the three gunmen called Haitian President Duvallier and read a list of political prisoners to be released and flown to Mexico in return for the release of the two U.S. officials. Duvallier has agreed and Haitian and U.S. personnel are now attempting to obtain an aircraft to fly the released prisoners to Mexico.

  1. Summary: The White House Situation Room reported that Ambassador Clinton Knox had been kidnapped by gunmen demanding the release of political prisoners held by the Haitian Government.

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Country Files, Box 785, Latin America, Haiti, Vol. 1. Secret. A January 24 memorandum from Kissinger to President Nixon, marked “OBE” (overtaken by events), noted that U.S. officials were very reluctant to use an American aircraft to take the kidnappers and the released prisoners to Mexico and that other means were being sought to transport the prisoners. (Ibid.) In circular telegram 14532, January 24, the Department informed diplomatic and consular posts in the Western Hemisphere of Ambassador Knox’s release, noting that the United States had refused to play a direct role in providing ransom or transportation to the terrorists who had held him hostage. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files, 1970–1973, POL 23–9 HAI)