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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 22, 1995
                          TEXT OF A LETTER FROM
                     THE PRESIDENT TO THE SPEAKER OF

March 21, 1995

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

On September 21, 1994, I reported to the Congress that on September 19, 1994, U.S. forces under the command of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command, were introduced into Haitian territory following an agreement successfully concluded by former President Jimmy Carter, Senator Sam Nunn, and General Colin Powell and as part of the Multinational Force (MNF) provided for by United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 940 of July 31, 1994. I am providing this update of events in Haiti (Operation "Uphold Democracy") consistent with the War Powers Resolution to ensure that the Congress is kept fully informed regarding events in Haiti.

At their peak last September and into October, U.S. forces assigned to the MNF in Haiti numbered just over 20,000. Approximately 2,000 non-U.S. personnel from 27 nations also participated in the initial stages of the MNF. Over the last 6 months, U.S. forces gradually have been reduced, consistent with the establishment of a secure and stable environment called for by UNSCR 940, such that they currently number just under 5,300. Non-U.S. forces -- both MNF and International Police Monitors (IPM) -- currently number approximately 2,800. When the transition to the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) authorized by UNSCR 975 of January 30, 1995, is complete on March 31, 1995, approximately 2,500 U.S. forces will remain in Haiti as the U.S. contribution to UNMIH's force structure. Following transition to UNMIH, non-U.S. forces will total approximately 3,500, for a total force of approximately 6,000. In addition, a U.N. civilian police monitor component of UNMIH will number approximately 900.

In January, the United Nations Security Council determined that a secure and stable environment had been established in Haiti, based upon assessments from the MNF Commander and the U.N. Secretary General, and recommendations from the MNF Member States. As to the duration of the deployment, it is anticipated that the entire U.N. security mission, including U.S. forces, will withdraw from Haiti not later than February 1996. Presidential elections are scheduled for November 1995 and the inauguration will be held February 7, 1996.

Overall, Haiti has remained calm and relatively incident-free since the deployment of U.S. and MNF forces. The level of political violence has decreased substantially since the departure of the de facto government. There is normal activity in the streets, and in stark contrast to when MNF forces first arrived, people are able to go outside at night due to a more secure environment. The number of weapons in Haiti also has been significantly reduced. Early in its deployment, the MNF took control of heavy and crew-served weapons belonging to the FAd'H (The Haitian Armed Forces). The MNF is also administering a weapons buy-back, seizure, and reduction program that has thus far yielded over 33,000 weapons, including hand grenades.

Thus far, there have been only five incidents involving attacks on or gunfire by U.S. forces. On September 24, 1994, a U.S. Marine Corps squad exchanged gunfire with members of the FAd'H at the police headquarters in Cap Haitien. One Marine was wounded, and ten Haitians were killed. On October 2, an unidentified individual fired shots over a wall in Les Cayes, wounding an American soldier. On October 14, a member of the FAd'H was wounded by U.S. Special Forces when he burst from his barricaded room and ran towards a U.S. soldier during a confrontation in Belladere. On December 26, U.S. forces came under fire during a demonstration by disgruntled former members of the FAd'H outside FAd'H General Headquarters. After receiving fire, the MNF fired on the Headquarters resulting in several Haitian, but no U.S. casualties. Finally, on January 12, 1995, a two-man Special Forces team was fired on at a toll booth south of Gonaives. One U.S. soldier was killed and another injured in the incident. The Haitian gunman was also killed.

I have taken the measures described above to further the national security interests of the United States. I have ordered the continued deployment of U.S. forces to the MNF pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.

I remain committed to consulting closely with the Congress, and I will continue to keep the Congress fully informed regarding this important deployment of our forces.



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