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Letter to Congressional Leaders on Haiti

October 20, 1993

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

I have directed the deployment of U.S. Naval Forces to participate in the implementation of the petroleum and arms embargo of Haiti. At 11:59 p.m. E.S.T., October 18, units under the command of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command, began enforcement operations in the waters around Haiti, including the territorial sea of that country, pursuant to my direction and consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 841, 873, and 875. I am providing this report, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, to ensure that the Congress is kept fully informed about this important U.S. action to support multilateral efforts to restore democracy in Haiti and thereby promote democracy throughout the hemisphere.

During the past week, the world has witnessed lawless, brutal actions by Haiti's military and police authorities to thwart the Haitian people's manifest desire for democracy to be returned to their country. With our full support, the United Nations Security Council has responded resolutely to these events. On October 16, the Security Council, acting under Chapters VII and VIII of the United Nations Charter, adopted Resolution 875. This resolution calls upon Member States, "acting nationally or through regional agencies or arrangements, cooperating with the legitimate Government of Haiti, to use such measures commensurate with the specific circumstances as may be necessary" to ensure strict implementation of sanctions imposed by Resolutions 841 and 873. The maritime interception operations I have directed are conducted under U.S. command and control. In concert with allied navies, U.S. Naval Forces will ensure that merchant vessels proceeding to Haiti are in compliance with the embargo provisions set forth in the Security Council resolutions.

The initial deployment includes six U.S. Navy ships and supporting elements under the command of the U.S. Atlantic Command. These U.S. forces and others as may be necessary, combined with those forces that other Member States have committed to this operation, will conduct intercept operations to ensure that merchant ships proceeding to Haiti are in compliance with United Nations Security Council sanctions. On the first day of the operation, one of our ships, with U.S. Navy and Coast Guard personnel aboard, carried out an interception of a Belize-flag vessel and allowed it to proceed to its destination after determining that it was in compliance with the embargo. In addition, the forces of the U.S. Atlantic Command will remain prepared to protect U.S. citizens in Haiti and, acting in cooperation with U.S. Coast Guard, to support the Haitian Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations (AMIO) of the United States, as may be necessary.

The United States strongly supports the Governor's Island Agreement and restoration of democracy in Haiti. The measures I have taken to deploy U.S. Armed Forces in "Operation Restore Democracy" are consistent with United States goals and interests and constitute crucial support for the world community's strategy to overcome the persistent refusal of Haitian military and police authorities to fulfill their commitments under the Governor's Island Agreement. I have ordered the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces for these purposes pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.

Close cooperation between the President and the Congress is imperative for effective U.S. foreign policy and especially when the United States commits our Armed Forces abroad. I remain committed to consulting closely with Congress on our foreign policy, and I will continue to keep Congress fully informed about significant deployments of our Nation's Armed Forces.



NOTE: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Robert C. Byrd, President pro tempore of the Senate. This letter was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 21.

William J. Clinton, Letter to Congressional Leaders on Haiti Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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