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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Embargo on Haiti

April 20, 1994

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

Six months ago I provided you with my initial report on the deployment of U.S. Naval Forces in the implementation of the petroleum and arms embargo of Haiti. I am now providing this further report, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, to inform the Congress about the status of the U.S. contribution to the ongoing U.N. embargo enforcement effort.

In response to the continued obstruction by the military authorities of Haiti to the dispatch of the U.N. Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) and their failure to comply with the Governors Island Agreement, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 875 (October 16, 1993). This resolution called upon Member States "to use such measures commensurate with the specific circumstances as may be necessary" to ensure strict implementation of the Haitian embargo on petroleum and arms and related material imposed by United Nations Security Council Resolutions 841 and 873 (1993). Under U.S. command and control, and acting in concert with allied navies and in cooperation with the legitimate Government of Haiti, U.S. Naval Forces began maritime interception operations on October 18, 1993, in order to ensure compliance with the embargo terms.

Since that time, U.S. Naval Forces have continued enforcement operations in the waters around Haiti, including at times in the territorial sea of that country. The Haiti maritime interception operations generally have employed up to six U.S. surface naval combatants serving on station in the approaches to Haitian ports. The maritime interception force has been comprised of naval units and supporting elements from the United States, Argentina, Canada, France, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

The objective of these maritime interception operations is to ensure that merchant vessels proceeding to Haiti are in compliance with United Nations Security Council sanctions. The enforcement operations have been conducted in a thorough and safe manner. As of April 18, 1994, more than 6,000 vessels had been queried, 712 boarded, and 44 diverted to other than Haitian ports due to suspected violations or cargo that was inaccessible to inspection. These operations have been generally effective in preventing the sale or supply of embargoed items through sea trade and have specifically deterred tanker shipments of petroleum products, as one important aspect of the Haitian embargo enforcement effort. There have been no U.S. personnel casualties during the conduct of these operations.

The valuable U.S. contribution to U.N. embargo enforcement operations is important to U.S. goals and interests in the region and, fundamentally, to the restoration of democracy in Haiti. I am not able to indicate at this time how long the deployment of U.S. Naval Forces in this multilateral operation will be necessary. I have continued the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces for these purposes pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations and as Commander in Chief.

I appreciate the support the Congress has provided for this important U.S. contribution to multilateral efforts to restore democracy to Haiti, and I look forward to continued cooperation with you in these matters.



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. An original was not available for verification of the content of this letter.

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

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