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Letter to Congressional Leaders on Deployment of United States Armed Forces to Haiti

March 21, 1996

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

I am providing you my fourth report on the continuing deployment of U.S. Armed Forces to Haiti, most of whom have served as part of the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH). I am providing this update of events in Haiti, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, to ensure that the Congress is kept fully informed regarding U.S. support for the successful efforts of UNMIH to assist the Government of Haiti in sustaining a secure and stable environment, protecting international personnel and key installations, establishing the conditions for holding elections, and professionalizing its security forces.

As you know, pursuant to U.N. Security Council Resolution 975, UNMIH was authorized to assume responsibility for the U.S.-led Multinational Force for peacekeeping operations in Haiti. Through the presence of UNMIH and its support to the United Nations-Organization of American States International Civilian Mission, a tremendous improvement in the observance of basic human rights in Haiti has been achieved. Over 5,000 Haitian police have received professional training and continued to be observed by and receive guidance from UNMIH international civilian police monitors. Haiti's Presidential election on December 17, 1995, led to the first-ever transition from one democratically elected President to another on February 7, 1996.

In Resolution 1048 of February 29, 1996, the U.N. Security Council extended UNMIH's mandate for a period of 4 months and authorized a decrease in the troop level of UNMIH to no more than 1,200. Beginning in January of this year, there has been a phased reduction in the number of U.S. military personnel assigned to UNMIH. At present, 309 U.S. personnel remain a part of UNMIH, primarily providing logistical, aviation, psychological operations, engineering, staff, and medical support. These forces are equipped for combat. By April 15 we expect to withdraw all U.S. military personnel from UNMIH.

In addition to U.S. personnel assigned to UNMIH, U.S. military personnel are assigned to the U.S. Support Group Haiti as part of the FAIRWINDS exercise. Over the past 6 months, the Support Group has demonstrated the capabilities of U.S. military engineers to deploy overseas in an austere environment and has also provided training opportunities for military engineering, support, medical, and civic affairs personnel. Through this exercise, substantial humanitarian and civic assistance has been provided to the Haitian people. This assistance has included the repair and restoration of nine schools and one hospital and the drilling of wells in order to provide potable water to two remote communities. Currently, the Support Group consists of 184 military personnel, who are under U.S. command and follow U.S. rules of engagement.

There have been no serious security incidents or civil disturbances involving attacks on or gunfire by U.S. forces since my last report.

I have taken the measures described above in order to further important U.S. foreign policy goals and interests, including the restoration of democracy and respect for human rights in Haiti. I have ordered the continued deployment of U.S. forces in Haiti pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive, and in accordance with various statutory authorities.

I remain committed to consulting closely with the Congress on our foreign policy, and I will continue to keep the Congress fully informed about significant deployments of our Armed Forces.



NOTE: Identical letters were sent to Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Strom Thurmond, President pro tempore of the Senate. This letter was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on March 22.

William J. Clinton, Letter to Congressional Leaders on Deployment of United States Armed Forces to Haiti Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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