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Letter to Congressional Leaders on the Situation in Somalia

June 10, 1993

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

On December 10, 1992, President Bush reported to the Congress that U.S. Armed Forces had been deployed to Somalia to assist the United Nations effort to deal with the human catastrophe in that country, to avert related threats to international peace and security, and to protect the safety of Americans and others engaged in relief operations. This action was part of a multilateral response to U.N. Security Council Resolution 794, which authorized Member States, under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, to use all necessary means to establish a secure environment for humanitarian relief operations in Somalia. Since that time, my Administration and its predecessor have endeavored, through briefings and other means, to keep you informed about the progress of U.S. efforts in Somalia. I am providing this further report, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, in light of the passage of 6 months since President Bush's initial report on the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces to Somalia.

As you are aware, the U.S.-led operation, known as Operation Restore Hope, was responsible for stemming the tragic situation and saving many lives by ensuring that desperately needed relief efforts in behalf of the civilian population could proceed. Owing in large measure to the success of the U.S.-led Unified Task Force in Somalia (UNITAF), the responsibility for the continuing operation was transferred in an orderly fashion to the operational control of the U.N. Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II) on May 4, 1993, pursuant to U.N. Security Council Resolution 814. This Resolution similarly invoked Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter and endowed UNOSOM II with the right to use force to ensure that the mandate is implemented.

The United States continues to support U.N. efforts in Somalia by providing approximately 3,000 U.S. logistics and other support personnel under the operational control of UNOSOM II. In addition, approximately 1,100 U.S. troops remain in the area as a Quick Reaction Force (QRF), under the operational control of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command, for use in emergency situations. The UNOSOM II deputy commander, a U.S. Army general who is the U.S. contingent commander, is authorized to send the QRF into action as may be necessary.

On June 5, 1993, UNOSOM II forces operating in Mogadishu encountered attacks instigated by one of Somalia's factional leaders, resulting in the deaths of 23 Pakistani military personnel. Three U.S. military personnel assigned to UNOSOM II sustained minor injuries. As envisioned in response to such situations, the QRF was called upon to assist in quelling the violence against the lawful activities of UNOSOM II in implementing the U.N. mandate. On June 6, 1993, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 837, reaffirming the authority of UNOSOM II to take all necessary measures against those responsible for these armed attacks.

Our forces will remain equipped and prepared to accomplish their humanitarian mission and defend themselves, if necessary; they also will be provided such additional U.S. support as may be necessary to ensure their safety and the accomplishment of their mission.

I have continued the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces to Somalia pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive and in accordance with applicable treaties and laws. This deployment is consistent with S.J. Res. 45, as adopted by the Senate on February 4, 1993, and as modified and adopted by the House on May 25, 1993.

Effective U.S. foreign policy requires close cooperation between the President and the Congress, and this imperative is particularly important regarding issues surrounding the use of our Nation's Armed Forces. I remain committed to ensuring that the Congress is kept fully informed on these matters and that the public good is served through constructive discussions and cooperation between our two branches.



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.

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

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