Special National Intelligence Estimate

Washington, June 7, 1961


Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 79-R01012A, ODDI Registry. Secret. According to a note on the cover sheet, the Central Intelligence Agency, the intelligence organizations of the Department of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Joint Staff contributed to this special estimate. It was submitted to the U.S. Intelligence Board on June 7 by the Director of Central Intelligence. All members of the Board concurred except the representatives of the AEC and FBI who abstained on the grounds that the subject was outside their jurisdiction

J.Gracia, Pres. F.Duvalier & Claude Raymond
Claude Raymond, President F.Duvalier & General Pierre Merceron

«By the forced retirement of some officers and the reassignment of others, President Duvalier has further ensured his control over the military establishment, the principal instrument of political power in Haiti. 4Although the officer corps as a whole almost certainly resents his divide-and-rule technique, he has put in the key positions men on whom he relies. General Merceron, the army commander, strongly resents the growing influence of Major Raymond, the commander of the Presidential Guard, but has been unable to curb it


II. Consequences of Trujillo’s Assassination

7. The assassination of Generalissimo Trujillo is unlikely to have any important direct effect on the Haitian situation. Despite the psychological encouragement Trujillo’s death has almost certainly given to opponents of Duvalier, it has not changed the presently unfavorable situation confronting them in Haiti.

8. If guerrilla operations develop in the Dominican Republic, they might spill over the Haitian frontier, but probably not to such an extent as to involve major clashes or to have a serious unsettling effect on the position of the Duvalier regime within Haiti. We consider it extremely unlikely that either Castro or the present Dominican regime would undertake military operations in or against Haiti in view of the risks of US or OAScounteraction. Major subversive pressures on Haiti from the Dominican Republic would probably arise only in the event that pro-Castro elements gained power in the Dominican Republic»

Paper Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency

Washington, undated.

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI/McCone Files, Job 80-B1285A, Memos for the Record, 4/15/63–6/4/63. Secret. A handwritten note at the end of this paper indicates that copies were sent to McGeorge Bundy and Ball on an eyes only/personal basis, at the request of McCone on May 20.

«Apparently Duvalier, in the absence of assassination, will survive the efforts of internal opposition elements (now not organized) will be inaugurated and will continue in control of Haiti. His statements (whether sincere or not) that he will not proclaim a Socialist or Communist state place the United States in the position where we cannot oppose him on political grounds except for the following reasons:

a. Violation of Haitian constitutional processes, thus extending his tenure of office;

b.His administration has not been in the best interests of the Haitian people; and

c. We don’t like him and it appears he does not like us. […]»


415. Telegram 36580 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Haiti1

Washington, February 13, 1976, 2359Z.

36580. Subject: Plotting by Haitian Exile Leaders to Overthrow the Haitian Government.

[2 paragraphs (10 lines) not declassified]

1. Haitian exile leaders including Alphonse Lahens, Tavernier (FNU), Paul Magloire, and Rouzier (FNU) in New York City and Dr. Roy (FNU) in Montreal, Canada, are plotting to assassinate President Jean-Claude Duvalier of Haiti and his mother, Madame Simone Duvalier, and form a joint civilian-military government to rule pending free elections. The exact date of the planned assassination and coup d’état has not yet been decided. (Field comment: Roy (FNU) may be identical [Page 1070]with Dr. Louis Roy, a Haitian exile leader in Montreal. The identities of the other plotters have not been determined.)

General Jean-Baptiste Hilaire, Chief of Staff of the Haitian Army & President JC Duvalier

2. The plotters have been in secret contact with Lieutenant General Jean-Baptiste Hilaire, Chief of Staff of the Haitian Army, who has allegedly agreed to assume power as temporary Chief of State after the coup. Hilaire has also agreed to arrange the assassination of General Gracia Jacques, commander of the Presidential Guard, who the plotters believe would probably oppose the coup. A group of 17 Haitians who served with the United States Armed Forces in combat in South Vietnam are to comprise the assassination unit and plan to ambush President Duvalier during one of his daily motor trips in the environs of Port-au-Prince. Two of this group, Gabrielle (FNU) and Leroy (FNU) recently left Peru where they were instructors under contract to the Peruvian Army. Most of the 17-man unit entered Haiti by commercial air on about 1 February. An unidentified number who are considered political exiles re-entered Haiti illegally in small boats via the Bahamas. During the landing in rough seas they lost most of the weapons which they brought with them but they expect to receive more weapons soon from a source in Marseilles, France. Guy Bouchereau, leader of the unit, is to select a secure landing site for arms and munitions to be smuggled in by small boat also via the Bahamas. Bouchereau returned to Haiti about a year ago; his father was killed by former Haitian President Francois Duvalier.

General Jacques Gracia & President François Duvalier

3. Unknown to most of the other plotters Alphonse Lahens is attempting to establish contact secretly with General Jacques through a trusted intermediary. The intermediary is to tell Jacques about the plot, including Hilaire’s plan to have him killed, and offer Jacques the chance to kill Hilaire first. Jacques would then become acting President of Haiti. Lahens is concocting this sub-plot because he fears that Tavernier is collaborating with Hilaire to cut Lahens out of the leadership after the coup has taken place.

4. [1½ lines not declassified] that Haitian Armed Forces were placed on an alert on 6 February. It is not known if the alert may have had any possible connection with the above reported plotting.)

5. [4½ lines not declassified] classified by recorded reporting officer. Exempt from declassification schedule of E.O. 11652. Exemption category 5B (2), impossible to determine date of automatic declassification. Unquote.


  1. Summary: The Office of Caribbean Affairs forwarded information on an alleged plot by Haitian exiles to assassinate President Duvalier.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D760056–0376. Secret; Niact Immediate; Limdis. Drafted by Strasser and approved by Heavner. All brackets are in the original except those indicating text that remains classified. In telegram 36581 to Port-au-Prince, February 14, the Department requested the Embassy’s recommendation on whether or not to warn Duvalier about the alleged plot, noting that doing so might trigger a crackdown that would “sharply set back if not reverse recent moves toward liberalization” while failing to do so could result in “chaos” in the event of his assassination. (Ibid., D760056–0379)

Considérations Personnelles:«Si Jacques Gracia tue Hilaire, il deviendrait président par interim D’Haïti»…

L’intermédiaire doit exposer le complot à Jacques, y compris le plan de Hilaire de le faire tuer, et offrir à Jacques la chance de tuer Hilaire en premier. Jacques deviendrait alors président par intérim d’Haïti.[The intermediary is to tell Jacques about the plot, including Hilaire’s plan to have him killed, and offer Jacques the chance to kill Hilaire first. Jacques would then become acting President of Haiti]…

Entre-temps… : “SENGHOR VISIT TO HAITI, MARTINIQUE AND GUADELOUPE ANNOUNCEDhttps://medium.com/@gilbertmervilus/senghor-visit-to-haiti-martinique-and-guadeloupe-announced-362e605bf57



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