243. Central Intelligence Agency Intelligence Information Cable1
- Late March 1977
- Probability That President Jean-Claude Duvalier Will Not Resign From The Presidency In Order To Hold Elections
- [less than 1 line not declassified]
- [3½ lines not declassified]
1. In late March 1977, Guy Noel, confidential advisor to President Jean-Claude Duvalier, said that the President now is inclined to give up earlier plans to resign the Presidency and to seek election through popular vote.2 This change is due to his belief, and to that of his advisors, that the interim period between resignation and election would destroy the stability of the Haitian Government. Noel added that the President now is prepared to endure what he believes to be pressure by the United States to hold elections and, in order to reduce this type of pressure, he plans to seek financial assistance from Venezuela, Senegal and Saudi Arabia. Duvalier would use these funds to attempt to modernize Haiti as rapidly as possible in order to demonstrate his own capabilities to U.S. officials.
2. According to Noel, Duvalier is convinced at present that the only internal opposition to his regime comes from former collaborators of his father. The President is frustrated by the interference of his mother, Simone Duvalier, in his efforts to carry out reforms in the country and by her desire to continue accumulating money from public funds for the Duvalier family.[Page 564]
3. Noel said that the President plans to continue, but at a more rapid pace, to dismantle the Ton Ton Macoutes (TTM) and replace them with a group of competent young technicians. Duvalier calls the group “the Volunteers” (Vols). At present, the group has less than ten members; Noel is a member. Noel explained that members of the Vols belong to the private sector and have as their primary purpose to provide the President with written reports on recommended solutions to local problems and on proposals for new projects. Authors of proposals of interest to the President are called in to elaborate on or explain their ideas in greater detail to the President who occasionally contributes suggestions. The President normally presents the recommendations as his own ideas to the Cabinet. One of the recommendations presented by the Vols to the President was advice against Duvalier resigning in order to hold elections.3
4. Field Dissem: None.
- Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 24, Haiti, 3/77–12/79. Secret; Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals; Not Releasable to Contractors or Contractor/Consultants.↩
- In telegram 70682 to Port au Prince, March 30, the Department provided information about an off-hand remark Duvalier made to a friend about resigning the Presidency. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770113–0199)↩
- Duvalier declared himself “President for life” on April 22.↩