250. Action Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Todman) to the Deputy Secretary of State (Christopher)1


  • Proposed PL–480 Title III Program for Haiti


Final action by Interagency Group on Human Rights and Foreign Assistance on PL–480 Title III program for Haiti.


At the February 27 meeting of the Committee you asked for a report on several questions concerning this program:2 The AID General Counsel advises us that the human rights language of our PL–480 Legislation is applicable to Title III agreements, in addition to Title I. Ambassador Jones and Mark Schneider agreed to add the standard human rights language to the agreement.

Ambassador Jones also stated he would communicate to the GOH that future year commitments are dependent both on fulfillment of PL–480 program requirements and on performance in the area of human rights.

The Department of Agriculture has now formally approved the Title III program, as proposed. All other concerned agencies have also approved (A.I.D., Treasury, and OMB) as well as EB.

Remaining Issue: HA is concerned that approval of this program would amount to an increase in PL–480 assistance for Haiti. This would conflict with the concept reflected in Presidential Directive 30 of channeling resources toward countries with positive human rights records.3

ARA, AID, and the other concerned agencies and bureaus are agreed that the performance objectives of the program cannot be met at reduced levels, particularly in view of the very stiff reforms to be demanded of the Haitians: tax reform, budget reform, and administrative and policy reforms. These amount to a virtual revolution in the [Page 584] Haitian Government’s entire development effort. Ambassador Jones and our AID experts report the proposed levels—$18 million in FY–1978 and $25 million in succeeding years—are essential to the integrity of the program. I concur fully.

I also believe that this program conforms with the concepts in PD–30 of promoting basic economic and social rights, and giving consideration to countries with an improving record of human rights observance.4

Attached is a table showing how past and future levels of assistance to Haiti will be affected by the Title III program.5 There is no increase in overall assistance this fiscal year, and only a relatively modest increase in FY–1979: 15 percent. Should such an increase appear too high in light of the human rights situation in the future, the AID program could be adjusted.

HA notes that previous years’ assistance levels contained exceptional resources to meet the emergency humanitarian needs of drought relief and more than $9 million each year went through private organizations (down in FY–79 to $4.8 million). Also, since we are now in March, it should not be difficult to use a lower first year figure since $18 million was for the full fiscal year. A final year figure of $12–13 million would be approximately equivalent to last year’s level and permit us to still plan for higher figures in future years based on both fulfillment of the Title III requirements and additional human rights improvements.6


That you approve the proposed Title III program for Haiti.7

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Christopher Papers, Box 34, Human Rights—Haiti. Confidential. Drafted by de Santillana on March 8; cleared in HA, AID, AA/LA, and EB/IFP.
  2. Not found.
  3. Presidential Directive 30 ordered that the United States “shall use the full range of its diplomatic tools” to promote human rights. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. II, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Document 119.
  4. A paper entitled “Human Rights Developments in Haiti” is attached but not printed.
  5. Attached but not printed.
  6. Haiti received $18.57 million in food aid in FY 1978, and $15.40 and $15.76 million in food aid in FY 1979 and FY 1980, respectively. Title III aid was suspended in March 1979, but Title I and II aid continued. (USAID Greenbook) See Document 256.
  7. Christopher checked the approve option. Ambassador Jones presented the Title III proposal to President Duvalier on May 8. (Telegram 1772 from Port au Prince, May 8; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780195–03580)