A member of the three-man military junta that has ruled Haiti since the flight of dictator Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier last year was apparently paid $10,000 from a Duvalier-controlled "development fund" during the dictator's heyday.

The payment to Gen. Williams Regala, minister of defense and interior, appears in a document from Haitian government files. There had long been rumors that Regala, a career military man, had links to Duvalier and to the Ton-Tons Macoutes, the dictator's murderous security force. But until now there has been no documentary evidence to support the rumors of the Duvalier association.

The disbursement record we obtained is among more than 24,000 documents the Haitian government turned over to American lawyers. The files are for use in lawsuits Haiti has filed against Duvalier and his cronies to regain millions in cash and artworks allegedly taken out of the country when the regime collapsed in February 1986.

One of the defendants is Auguste Douyon, Duvalier's longtime personal secretary. According to a Bank of the Republic of Haiti debit statement dated Feb. 21, 1980, Douyon authorized the payment of $10,000 to Regala from an account titled, "Cpte Spec de Developpement Gvt d'Haiti." The other expenditures listed suggest the account was used for travel and lodging.

In a telephone interview, Regala denied any knowledge of the disbursement. "There is nothing in my mind that I received any cash or check or anything," he told our reporter Michael Rosenfelt. "I've not received any money from anyone. Maybe it had to do with my profession. I never dealt with him {Douyon}. We didn't used to deal together."

There is indeed no way of determining from the documents whether Regala ever actually received the $10,000.

The Haitian government is trying to regain $120 million with which Duvalier and his satraps absconded. Part of this effort is a suit in D.C. Superior Court to recover 56 Haitian paintings that Douyon allegedly bought with money stolen from the Haitian government. The paintings, valued at more than $1.3 million, were discovered in a Washington warehouse where Douyon allegedly stashed them.

Disclosure that Regala was apparently the recipient of a cash payment from a special Duvalier-controlled bank account comes at a time when the Haitian military junta is trying to deal with the country's worst political crisis since Duvalier fled for his life 17 months ago. At least two dozen Haitians have been killed in the recent wave of antigovernment protests, strikes and riots. Among the protesters' complaints is that the military junta is more devoted to Duvalierism than to democracy.

Last week the U.S. State Department issued an ultimatum to all parties in Haiti, threatening to cut off aid if the return to civilian rule is interfered with. U.S. aid amounts to $100 million this year, 20 percent of the Haitian government's budget.