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Committee on international relations
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ADMINISTRATION ACTIONS AND POLITICAL
MURDERS IN HAITI
U HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS
JUNE 26, 1996
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1996
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COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
TOBY ROTH, Wisconsin
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
JAN MEYERS, Kansas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
JAY KIM, California
SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas
DAVID FUNDERBURK, North Carolina
STEVEN J. CHABOT, Ohio
MARSHALL "MARK" SANFORD, South
MATT SALMON, Arizona
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania
LEE H. HAMILTON, Indiana
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
HARRY JOHNSTON, Florida
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
ALBERT RUSSELL WYNN, Maryland
JAMES P. MORAN, Virginia
VICTOR O. FRAZER, Virgin Islands (Ind.)
CHARLIE ROSE, North Carolina
PAT DANNER, Missouri
EARL HILLIARD, Alabama
RICHARD J. GARON, Chief of Staff
MICHAEL H. VAN DUSEN, Democratic Chief of Staff
ROGER NORIEGA, Professional Staff Member
CAROLINE COOPER, Staff Associate
Hon. Strobe Talbott, Deputy Secretary of State ................................................. 3
Opening statement of Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman .............................. 23
Opening statement of Representative Lee Hamilton ................................. 24
Opening statement of Representative Donald Payne ................................. 26
Statement of Hon. Strobe Talbott ........................................................... 28
Letter to Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, Barbara Larkin,
enclosing additional questions to Deputy Secretary Talbott ......................... 33
Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott's responses to additional questions
from Chairm an Gilman ...................................................... ........................ 37
Hearings and briefings on Haiti policy provided by the Department of State
for HIRC m em bers and staff ........................................................................... 52
Responses to questions for the record submitted by Deputy Secretary Talbott
by Representative Goss .................................................... ........................ 54
ADMINISTRATION ACTIONS AND POLITICAL
MURDERS IN HAITI
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 1996
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS,
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:05 a.m. in room 2172,
Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Benjamin Gilman (chairman
of the committee), presiding.
Chairman GILMAN. The committee will come to order.
We are pleased to have with us this morning Deputy Secretary
of State, Strobe Talbott.
Mr. Secretary, you come at a difficult moment. I know you are
Acting Secretary of State while we have another critical issue out
there. By now, all Americans know that at least 19 of our Air Force
personnel were killed, if not more, and 270 wounded in a vicious
terrorist bombing yesterday in Saudi Arabia. All of our Nation joins
in condemning this barbarous act. The perpetrators are going to
have to be pursued, and we are pleased the Administration is mov-
ing quickly in seeking to bring them to justice. I know that our gov-
ernment will do all that is possible to help bring this about. Our
deepest condolences go to all of the families, friends and loved ones
of those who were killed and injured.
Before proceeding further, I ask that we pause for a moment of
silence in memory of those who died in that attack.
The purpose of today's hearing is to address a number of dis-
tressing questions that have arisen over the Administration's ac-
tions with regard to the spate of political murders in Haiti prior
to last year's elections. There is evidence that the Administration
downplayed those murders in order to avoid any negative fall-out.
There is also evidence that the Administration was aware that
death squads directed by key security aides to former President
Aristide were operating for a full year before acknowledging this to
There is further evidence that the Administration deliberately
prolonged the FBI's presence in Haiti long after it knew that Hai-
tian authorities were stonewalling the bureau in its investigation
of the murder of a prominent opposition leader, Mireille Bertin.
Further, the Administration, in congressional testimony and in
statements to the news media, continued to state that President
Aristide's Haitian Government was cooperating with the FBI in the
Bertin case when they knew that this was not so.
The Administration's previous lack of candor with the Congress
and with the American public and its efforts to evade accountabil-
ity for its actions in Haiti are matters of serious concern. At our
insistence, the Administration has provided access to hundreds of
documents pertaining to these matters. Regrettably, the vast ma-
jority of these documents are still classified. We had hoped to per-
suade the Administration to declassify most of these documents in
time for our hearing so that the American people could judge for
themselves whether the Administration's policy in Haiti is the suc-
cess being claimed or another example of an endeavor to cover up
another foreign policy bungle. Hopefully, these documents will soon
We are pleased that the Administration has made available to us
today the principal architect of its policy in Haiti, Deputy Secretary
of State Talbott, presently Acting Secretary.
Again, we welcome you, Mr. Secretary. We look forward to your
Because Mr. Talbott is the Acting Secretary at this time, his time
with us is extremely limited, especially so because of the bombing.
We will recognize only our ranking minority member or a senior
member for an opening statement. Of course, all members are in-
vited to place their opening statements in the record.
Mr. Gejdenson, do you have an opening statement?
Mr. GEJDENSON. Thank you. Yes, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Talbott, you have to understand why you are here first and
before we look at the facts of the case. This was sent out some time
ago. I think about 6 months ago-April 23-from Bob Walker and
Jim Nussel and it is basically a directive to try to use taxpayer
money to assault the Administration and prepare for the elections.
And so you are not the only one we are calling up based on that
directive. It is happening in every committee. So I do not want you
to feel special by your presence here today.
What astounds me is of all the places to pick for an assault, to
pick Haiti where every previous administration failed to achieve
what this administration achieved. Frankly, this does not take a
major in history to figure out this is the first peaceful transition
of a government in Haiti since 1800. And to sit here today and to
say that it is an imperfect situation-and we now have the fourth
hearing-we have had continuance assaults on the floor over the
Haiti policy-not a lot of recognition that we did have a democratic
election; that we had a peaceful transfer of power; that we have a
process where there are no longer boatloads of Haitians drowning
in the ocean between Florida and Haiti, not to mention the pres-
sure on the Floridians for providing services for all the Haitians
that arrive there-what is astounding is that, yes, there are some
increases in some kinds of violence. I think there are actually de-
creases in deaths overall.
You know, I just looked at some statistics. There has been an in-
crease in crime in East Germany, Mr. Secretary. Do you realize
that since East Germany joined West Germany, the crime rate has
gone up? I think it is not surprising maybe that when we go from
an authoritarian state to democratic institutions that we may get
some information we did not previously receive, and that may lead
to some of these misplaced conclusions.
Now-I know I am on the other side of you on this one, Mr. Sec-
retary-but I am not supporting MFN but, I mean, if we are hold-
ing hearings on the four deaths in Haiti, I would hope that neither
the Chairman nor any of the members on the other side of the aisle
are supporting MFN because I can assure you the Chinese Govern-
ment's been involved in far worse.
So we have to understand why we are here. This is a political
exercise. It is a political exercise to try to do damage to a policy
that has been incredibly successful. Perfect? I am not sure you find
perfect policies anywhere. And I do not think you can blame Mr.
Gilman for this. This is clearly at the direction of Speaker Ging-
rich. This is one more of Mr. Gingrich's attempt to go beyond what
ought to be done in this committee and in the Congress.
So I thank you for coming here today and I apologize in advance
for your having to put up with this.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Gejdenson.
I might just add that many of our members have taken a very
active interest over the years in helping Haitians turn their coun-
try around-a number of us on this side of the aisle, both sides of
the aisle. We had a bipartisan mission there last spring accom-
panied by Mr. Bereuter and others. We sent President Clinton a
15-page report with constructive recommendations which, regret-
tably, a number of them were ignored. Administration officials
have told us that our pressure on cleaning up the police force in
Haiti has actually helped them finally move some of the political
cronies out so that the new force is not tainted by any criminal ele-
ment. Perhaps Secretary Talbott will be able to confirm that kind
We have also been even-handed, and we pressed for U.S. aid to
the Haitian Truth Commission which looked at abuses by the mili-
tary. We have raised serious concerns about the killings by very
poor Haitians in Cite Soleil who were probably among President
Aristide's fiercest supporters. And we have insisted that the inves-
tigation of the murder of a Lavalas parliamentarian, President
Aristide's own cousin, be treated as a priority.
Moreover, this is not just about Haiti. We cannot help pretend
to help the Haitian people by turning a blind eye to human rights
abuses there or by deceiving our own people here at home. Our
constitutional oversight duties are clear, and we will continue to do
our work in that direction. The chips will have to fall where they
Secretary Talbott, would you be kind enough to stand and raise
your right hand so that we may swear you in, as we have done
with all of our witnesses?
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you.
And, Mr. Talbott, you may either put in your full statement or
a summary statement. We will be pleased to include your full
statement in the record.
Please proceed, Secretary Talbott.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE STROBE TALBOTT, DEPUTY
SECRETARY OF STATE
Secretary TALBOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would first like to acknowledge with gratitude your comments
at the opening of this proceeding regarding the tragedy and the
horror that has occurred in Saudi Arabia. When you and I spoke
on the phone last night shortly after this dreadful news had come
to both of us, you expressed your concern, your sympathy and your
support. I have passed on those sentiments to Secretary Chris-
topher who, through me, thanks you for them. As I mentioned to
you before we began, Secretary Christopher is in the Middle East
and either is right now in Bahrain or will be there shortly in order
to inspect the scene of this terrible event and report back to Presi-
dent Clinton and to the Nation. I can only echo what you have
said, as well as what President Clinton and Secretary Christopher
have said, and that is that this country will not rest until the per-
petrators of this monstrosity are brought to justice.
Chairman GILMAN. We welcome that prompt response and we
wish the Secretary well in his initiative in going into Saudi Arabia
at this critical time.
Secretary TALBOTT. Mr. Chairman, I genuinely do want to also
thank you for the chance to appear before you and your colleagues
today. As you suggest, I will submit the full text of my opening
Chairman GILMAN. Without objection.
Secretary TALBOTT [continuing]. For the record. And in order to
economize your time, I will offer a shorter version of my opening
Under both Republican and Democratic administrations, one of
the principal and enduring goals of American foreign policy has
been to promote, strengthen, and, when necessary, defend democ-
racy, particularly in this hemisphere, our neighborhood. There is
no more dramatic example of that commitment than Haiti. In a
word or a phrase, I would describe our Haiti policy as a work in
Let me put it into context. When President Clinton came into of-
fice, Haiti and Cuba were the only exceptions to the democratic
consensus that has developed in the Western Hemisphere over the
last couple of decades. Following a coup d'etat in September 1991,
a human rights outrage and a humanitarian catastrophe festered
in Haiti off our own shores. Tens of thousands of Haitians took to
rickety, overcrowded boats to seek sanctuary in the United States.
Meanwhile, the victor in the first free, open and honest election in
Haitian history, lived eight blocks from where we are sitting today
In the fall of 1994, a U.S.-led military force brought Jean-
Bertrand Aristide back to Haiti and back to the office to which he
had been elected by some 67 percent of Haitian voters. What we
restored was not an individual but an institution, a process, and
an idea-democracy. As a result, national executive power in Haiti
today resides with President Aristide's elected successor, Rene
Preval. It also rests with 1,900 elected local officials, mayors, city
and county council members, and it rests with 110 elected rep-
resentatives in two houses of Parliament.
On my last trip to Haiti on May 29, I visited that body. It has
become a vital and serious forum for debate and deliberation.
President Preval is working hard to persuade the Parliament to
support his program of economic reform. This system of checks and
balances between the executive and legislative branches of govern-
ment is something new in Haiti and it is something that I am sure
that you and your colleagues would especially support, Mr. Chair-
man. Indeed, I hope that Congress will make it possible to support
the overall trend in Haiti. That trend is in the right direction, from
Haiti's standpoint and from our own.
But there are many obstacles. There are challenges. There are
difficulties. It has not been easy and it will not be easy. Haiti's
fledgling political institutions are fragile. The economy is weak.
Haiti's people are desperately poor. Quite simply and quite bluntly,
they will not make it as a democracy unless they are able, with our
help, to develop a viable economy. It is in our interest as well as
theirs that they succeed.
Unless we stay engaged on their side, the gains of the last 2
years could slip away and we could find ourselves once again con-
fronting a nightmare and a refugee crisis in our own neighborhood.
For this reason, we appreciate Congress' support for our ICITAP
police training and various other development assistance programs.
These initiatives represent an investment in the future well-being
of this country as well as the neighbors. They are a bargain com-
pared to what it might cost in the future if we were to turn our
back on Haiti today.
Let me, Mr. Chairman, now address the question that I know is
of particular concern to you and your committee and that is the on-
going effort of our administration to deal with political violence in
Haiti. From the beginning, one of the central premises of our policy
in Haiti has been that real and enduring democracy depends on the
rule of law. That means that in supporting democracy in Haiti, we
have opposed official lawlessness at any level, at any time, on any
scale. From virtually the moment that the multinational force ar-
rived in Haiti and sent the dictators packing, we worked with the
Haitians to help them dismantle the old instruments of repression
and to help them build, virtually from scratch, new structures that
will, over time, help undergird civil society.
At issue here is more than just institutions. There is also an
issue of political culture. Haiti has to cope with the legacy of state
violence and terror as old as the country itself. The thugs who
ruled the country during the 3 years between President Aristide's
overthrow and his restoration systematically used paramilitary
gangs to commit acts of rape, kidnapping, mutilation and murder
as methods of governance. A trademark method was to cut the
faces off their victims with machetes, then leave the bodies in the
street for pigs to eat and for citizens to ponder.
With the arrival of the international military mission and the re-
turn of President Aristide, there was a dramatic reduction in the
level of violence and institutionalized brutality. Human rights
groups estimated that some 3,000 political murders occurred in
Haiti during the period from 1991 to 1994. That is, after the coup
and before President Aristide's return. By comparison, since Sep-
tember 1994, there have been no more than two dozen execution-
style killings in Haiti, some of which appear to have had a political
However, even this greatly reduced number of killings is still too
many and we take them seriously. In the wake of the murder that
you referred to, Mr. Chairman, of Madame Bertin, a spokeswoman
for the opposition, we launched a comprehensive effort to identify
and bring the perpetrators to justice. As the investigation of that
murder and other crimes advanced, it became apparent that at
least some might be traced to individuals employed by the Haitian
security forces; individuals who were accountable to the democrat-
ically elected government that we were in Haiti to support.
Our administration raised its concern about this situation in the
strongest, clearest and most persistent terms repeatedly with
President Aristide, his government and then with President Preval.
I personally made representations on this subject seven times. Sen-
ior White House officials and other senior administration officials
did so as well.
Our message was simple. As part of our policy of supporting Hai-
ti's transition to democracy, we would assist the new security
forces. But we would not be able to continue that assistance if
those institutions harbored, particularly in leadership positions,
people implicated in serious crimes.
By March of this year, the president of Haiti had removed all the
individuals we had reason to believe were implicated in these mur-
ders. That action, combined with the Haitian Senate's rejection ear-
lier this year of the nomination of a police director general publicly
linked to allegations of corruption, sent a strong and welcome sig-
nal that the Haitian Government is bent on making a clean break
with a troubled past.
The Administration has made clear to the government of Haiti
at all levels that a thorough investigation of the political and pro-
fessional killings is crucial both to consolidation of the rule of law
and to maintenance of international support. Last fall, the Admin-
istration strongly encouraged the Aristide Government to establish
a Special Investigations Unit to focus on two categories of crimes:
the most egregious of those committed during the coup era, but
also the hit-team-style murders that occurred since the restoration
The U.S. Congress, as you indicated, Mr. Chairman, sent a simi-
lar message in the form of the Dole Amendment, which conditions
non-humanitarian assistance to the Haitian Government on the
thorough investigation of these murders. The Administration sup-
ports the objectives of this legislation, as do bipartisan majorities
in both houses. To aid this effort, we have worked closely with the
Haitian Government to provide the Special Investigations Unit
with the resources it needs.
I visited the SIU when I was in Port-au-Prince on May 30. We
are encouraged by what we have seen and heard from President
Preval, from Secretary of State for Public Security Manuel, and
Pierre Denize, the new, very impressive, and I might add, quite
courageous Director-General of the Haitian National Police.
However, it is still too early to report that Haiti has met the Dole
Amendment standard of thorough investigation. We have therefore
consulted closely with Congress on the assistance programs we feel
must go forward even as the Haitian authorities pursue the inves-
tigations. These include funds for the training of the Haitian Na-
tional Police and the SIU and strengthening of the Parliament.
The new Haitian Police is, Mr. Chairman, like democracy itself-
something new under the Haitian sun. A non-political, competi-
tively selected, well-trained professional force committed to the rule
of law. But it is also, like Haitian democracy, a fragile, fledgling
institution that needs our continuing help.
In short, and in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, while our military en-
gagement in Haiti is over, the United States still has a vital inter-
est in remaining active in the long-term difficult task of helping
Haiti build a stable democracy. That emphatically means a society
of laws and accountable law enforcement.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Talbott appears in the ap-
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Secretary Talbott.
Secretary Talbott, on January 4 of this year, the Administration's
Special Haiti Coordinator, James Dobbins, confirmed for the first
time publicly that U.S. officials have information implicating mem-
bers of President Aristide's palace guard as well as his Minister of
Interior, Mondesir Beaubrun, in political killings. The committee
would like to know when these hit squads involving President
Aristide's senior aides first became known to you and others in the
As you know, our committee staff has reviewed hundreds of docu-
ments shown to us by the Administration at our request, and we
appreciate the cooperation of the State Department with regard to
making those documents available. As early as January and Feb-
ruary 1995, several State Department telegrams and memoranda
named President Aristide's four most senior security aides as orga-
nizing hit squads to target opponents of the Aristide Government.
Secretary Talbott, did you see such documents in January and
February 1995; and, if so, what was your reaction to telegrams
from our embassy in Port-au-Prince reporting on hit squads linked
to the Palace as early as January 1995?
Secretary TALBOTT. Mr. Chairman, I, like others in the Adminis-
tration who have been working on this issue, have been aware
since fairly soon after the return of President Aristide that there
was at least a danger of recurrent political violence. Our concern
was that elements-particularly elements in the Haitian military
forces-loyal to President Aristide might be given high posts after
his return to power and that they might be involved in political vio-
Very early on, within weeks after the restoration of democracy,
we focused on this as an issue that we knew would be with us for
some time. We knew it would be with us for some time because
Haiti, as I indicated in my opening statement, is a country that has
undergone a terrible political violence through the decades and, in-
deed, the last couple of centuries and old habits die hard, particu-
larly when they are fanned by fresh vendettas.
Now, we emphasized to the Haitian Government very early on
the importance of removing from the hierarchy of the security serv-
ices any individuals suspected of human rights abuse in the pre-
coup period. Two individuals who were of particular concern to us
were removed from the security military services in the vetting
process-that is, the process of selecting out undesirable ele-
ments-in February 1995.
Then something occurred in that same month; namely, the mur-
der of a military officer, Joseph Kebreau. This incident raised our
level of vigilance to the danger of political violence. Then in March
1995, Madame Bertin was murdered and this galvanized our ad-
ministration's attention to the possible re-emergence of organized
political violence. As subsequent killings took place, between Feb-
ruary and the summer of that year, there were reports from our
embassy suggesting that there might be links among the several
Now, you asked, as I understand it, about when we discussed
this with the Congress. We have made a point of staying in the
closest possible touch with the legislative branch. There were dis-
cussions with the Congress intensively on the subject of Haiti
throughout the spring of 1995. Now, those discussions were con-
centrated on the subject of parliamentary elections and the military
security situation in Haiti.
However, information generated by the executive branch, includ-
ing by our embassy in Port-au-Prince, was made available to this
committee-your committee, Mr. Chairman-in real time. That
means virtually as it became available to us. This included ten sep-
arate intelligence products that were shared with this committee
between March and December 1995. I might add, Mr. Chairman,
that we always made a point of complying with congressional re-
quests for briefings.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Secretary, did you personally see detailed
reports of hit squads in early January or February 1995?
Secretary TALBOTT. I do not remember the precise time when I
saw written reports. In the chronology I have just given you, I was
acutely aware of this problem because we, as a government, were
aware of this problem.
But I want to make clear that it took a while for fragmentary
and inconclusive evidence to reach a kind of critical mass; a critical
mass that identified this as an issue that would require us to en-
gage directly with the Haitian Government, particularly as regards
individuals in the security services who we had reason to believe
might be implicated in the murders. When we felt that the evi-
dence had reached that point, we went to the Haitian leadership
and pressed them very, very hard to get these people out.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Secretary, there are dozens of cables,
memoranda and e-mail before March 1995 in which Administration
officials discuss the emerging series of murders linked to Aristide's
inner circle. Did you personally see detailed reports of these hit
squads in early January or February?
Secretary TALBOTT. You are asking, once again, exactly when I
saw which documents. I stayed abreast of both documentary and
other evidence. I talked frequently with my colleagues who are
working full-time on Haiti and I was aware of the problem as the
government became aware of the problem.
Chairman GILMAN. Was the problem well-known within the Ad-
ministration at least by March 1995 that these hit squads were op-
Secretary TALBOTT. As I indicated, March 1995 was a key mo-
ment because that was the month when Madame Bertin was killed.
It was subsequent to that, between that time and the summer, that
there were additional killings and also we began to see evidence ac-
cumulate suggesting that there might be linkages or connections
among those crimes and therefore perhaps connections among the
perpetrators of the crimes.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Secretary, you testified before the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee on March 9, 1995, and before this
committee on February 24, 1995. We have reviewed our hearing
transcripts as well as notes from staff briefings, and these govern-
ment hit squads were never mentioned in any of your testimony.
Can you tell us why the Administration officials did not inform
members of this committee regarding that serious issue when you
first received these reports well over a year ago?
Secretary TALBOTT. As I have already suggested, Mr. Chairman,
the information available to us-certainly much of the information
available to us-in the executive branch was also available to
Members of Congress and we were responsive to any requests for
briefings. I do not recall the content or the principal subject of the
hearings that you refer to or the testimony that I gave. But, given
the timeframe, I would suspect that the topic of the hour, as it
were, was first of all the progress toward democracy and that
meant how things were going in preparation for the parliamentary
elections; and, second, the status of the military operation. But I
can assure you that one of the cornerstones of our policy from the
beginning was rule of law.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Secretary, can you make those cables
available to us that took place between the embassy in Haiti and
the State Department up to March 1995?
Secretary TALBOTT. Mr. Chairman, I know there has been inten-
sive discussion going on between you personally-I have seen the
correspondence between you and Secretary Christopher and, of
course, between the committee and committee staff and the Depart-
ment. We have made available more than 900 documents. Of
course I will take very seriously any reiteration of that request. If
you feel that there is additional information that you need, I will
attend to it myself.
Chairman GILMAN. And if they could be declassified.
Secretary TALBOTT. Which are you asking to be declassified, Mr.
Chairman GILMAN. The cables that came from Port-au-Prince
embassy to the State Department up to March 1995.
Secretary TALBOTT. Up until March.
Chairman GILMAN. Yes.
Secretary TALBOTT. Of-
Chairman GILMAN. Nineteen ninety-five.
Secretary TALBOTT. When you, through staff, have specified ex-
actly which documents you are referring to, I will certainly take a
direct and personal interest in that and I will consult closely with
You know, Mr. Chairman, because you and I have discussed it
recently, the concern we have with regard to the declassification of
cables. This is not an issue of whether to make these documents
available to the committee and committee staff. It is a matter of
whether to put them on the public record.
Mr. BERMAN. Would the Chairman yield for a question?
Chairman GILMAN. Be pleased to yield to the gentleman.
Mr. BERMAN. I thank the Chairman for yielding.
If I might ask the Chair, is there an allegation or a belief that
in this January, February, March 1995 period there was either a
failure to provide documents that the committee had requested, or
a failure to answer, or a misleading answer to a question with re-
spect to these issues? Is that the basis for what we are-
Chairman GILMAN. No. We just would like to know what our
State Department officials knew up to March 1995 based on cables
that came out of Port-au-Prince.
Mr. GEJDENSON. But you know that.
Mr. BERMAN. Just to follow up, it is not an issue of the commit-
tee having been misled by the Administration.
Chairman GILMAN. We are not drawing any conclusions at this
time. We would like to have the facts before the public. We believe
it is apparent by March 1995 that there was information available
about the hit squads.
My time has run, and Mr. Gejdenson.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
God, I wish there had been this much commitment to hit squads
in El Salvador as the process was going on. I think everybody here
is offended by any killing, whether it is one or dozens of killings.
But I sat through this Congress with many people on the other side
when thousands of people were killed by hit squads, tens of thou-
sands of Guatemalans, and there seemed to be no interest at all
in those deaths. And now we have a Democratic administration
that has brought a democratic change of power to Haiti and we
keep trying to thread a needle that it seems to me the Administra-
tion has taken action on and we are heading in the right direction
in the policy.
Is Haiti a perfect society? I do not think the Secretary would say
that. He might even have a hard time saying it about our society
Let me ask you this, Mr. Secretary. In the last exchange with the
Chairman, it seems to me the debate here is not whether or not
the Chairman has seen most of these documents. What the Chair-
man wants to do is take documents that are presently classified
and make them available to the public. Is that the debate you are
having now with the Chairman?
Secretary TALBOTT. I regard it as a useful and enlightening dis-
cussion on a tough subject. We in the Department of State believe
very much in trying to keep the U.S. Congress, to the greatest ex-
tent possible, informed about both events on the ground and about
our own policy. We see that as incumbent on us given the Con-
gress' responsibility for oversight.
We have some additional responsibilities as well, of course, and
one is to preserve the confidentiality of our own deliberative proc-
esses and of diplomatic exchanges and I think, Mr. Gejdenson, that
insofar as there is, shall we say, a nuance of difference between the
Chairman and myself, it is on this subject.
If the United States is going to continue to conduct effective di-
plomacy around the world, it has got to be able to have confidential
exchanges with the leaders of other countries. If the memoranda of
conversations of those exchanges becomes public relatively recently
after the exchange takes place, it will, I believe, have a chilling ef-
fect on our ability to conduct foreign policy.
Mr. GEJDENSON. So, for instance, if the Administration were
similarly asked to release documents in the discussions between
the Saudis and the Americans, or the Israelis and the Americans,
regarding the terrorist activity and Saudi actions, the Administra-
tion would be equally hesitant to release those simply because it
would then leave foreign leaders in a position where they would
not exchange cables with the United States for fear that every
cable would soon be out in the press and causing some political tur-
moil, I would think, in their home countries.
Secretary TALBOTT. That sounds correct as a general proposition.
I would just emphasize that we will, of course, make our judgments
on a case-by-case basis.
Mr. GEJDENSON. And, Mr. Secretary, we are not denying the
Congress information. The Congress has this information. It is a
question of whether this information goes public.
Let me ask you this. How many times-
Chairman GILMAN. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. GEJDENSON. I will be happy to yield as long as you are as
generous with my time as you were with your own, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. I will be pleased to.
Let me note for the record that the Administration, with great
fanfare, declassified some 5800 documents from prior administra-
tions related to Guatemala. NSC staff director, Nancy Soderberg,
said regarding those Guatemala documents on May 12, and I
quote, "Our premise is that none of this happened on our watch.
We are going to let the chips fall where they may." The Guatemala
documents released by the Administration included sensitive
memoranda, for example, between former Assistant Secretary of
State Bernard Aronson to your predecessor, Mr. Eagleburger. The
Guatemala documents even include documents from your own ad-
Thank you for yielding.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would just say that those documents related to a time where
there was not real democratic change in Guatemala. These were
not governments that were respecting human rights and there
were thousands of Mayan Indians who were massacred by those
I would say additionally, when it comes to briefing, God, we have
been briefed and I am also forgetting information from the Admin-
istration. It seems to me my records indicate that the State Depart-
ment has briefed Congress on Haiti since August 1995 about 24
Is that correct, Mr. Secretary?
Secretary TALBOTT. I am looking for it. Perhaps staff will give me
Mr. GEJDENSON. Well, I might add that on top of the State De-
partment's 24 briefings, there is an additional 15 briefings from the
CIA. So this administration has kept the Congress informed. We
have the facts. No one is making the argument that there is a per-
fect system in Haiti.
Have there been any execution-style killings linked to the gov-
ernment since the new government has taken over? The change of
power to the-
Secretary TALBOTT. Not to my knowledge.
Can we pause on that? This is an extremely important point.
We use the terminology here sometimes with more precision than
the facts merit. Any murder is a terrible thing. In a sense, any
murder is an execution. Now, we had a particular category of mur-
ders that we were concerned about during the period that the
Chairman has stressed in his opening statements.
There is still violence in Haiti today. That is one reason why we
feel it is very important for there to be a continuing international
presence and why the United States must continue to support the
Haitian National Police.
If I could just say one more word on this and then also give you
some statistics: The Haitian National Police, in large measure, we
think, because it is doing a good job and its leadership is doing a
good job, has become the target of violence itself and there have
een a number of cop killings as well as kidnapping and that kind
The figures that I have, Mr. Gejdenson, are that over the past
2V2 years, 34 Administration officials have testified to or briefed
Congress a total of 147 times on the subject of Haiti. Forty-four of
those appearances were before this committee. I have come before
you five times on a variety of subjects and twice on the subject of
Mr. GEJDENSON. Let me just-
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time is expired and we are
on the roll call.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Would the gentlemen give me an additional 30
Chairman GILMAN. Yes.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Just to say that it seems to me that individuals
have been implicated, have been removed from positions of respon-
sibility. What we ought to be doing is praising this administration
for the work they have done in Haiti, not trying to find a way to
condemn them. And we ought to be assisting the Administration to
move forward with the establishment of a long-term democratic in-
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Gejdenson.
At this time, I would like to welcome the newest member of our
committee, Congressman Jon Fox of the Thirteenth District of
Pennsylvania. Jon is in his first term in Congress. He also serves
on three other committees-Banking and Financial Services, Veter-
ans Affairs, and Government Reform and Oversight. And prior to
his election to the Congress, Jon served on the Board of Commis-
sioners in Montgomery County and also served in the Pennsylvania
House of Representatives. I am sure my colleagues will want to
join me in giving a very warm welcome to our newest colleague,
Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate very much your
yielding. Let me just join you in welcoming Jon Fox to the commit-
tee. I have no doubt at all that he will serve with distinction. We
are delighted to have him on the committee and I join you and the
other members in welcoming him.
Mr. Fox. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Just as a point of clarification, I resigned from Government Re-
form and Oversight to be on this committee. I think members are
not allowed to be on more than three and I removed yesterday from
Government Reform and Oversight so I appreciate the honor to
serve with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in harmony and
to move forward the great agenda.
Thank you very much.
Chairman GILMAN. Good choice, Mr. Fox.
Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary Talbott, according to the media reports and official doc-
uments we have seen, you and other senior Washington officials
traveled to Haiti on several occasions in July and August 1995 in
an attempt to persuade the opposition political leaders to contest
the run-off parliamentary and subsequent Presidential elections.
Just prior to your trip to Haiti in mid-August 1995, do you recall
reading reports from Mr. James Dobbins, the State Department's
Haiti Coordinator, or from other officials, that two dozen politically
motivated murders had been committed by gangs linked to Presi-
dent Aristide's palace?
Secretary TALBOTT. Mr. Bereuter, as I already suggested in an-
swering the Chairman's question, it was in that timeframe-name-
ly, by the summer-that we were aware that there had been a
number of killings that were suspiciously connected. So I had nu-
merous sources of information on that subject.
Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you.
We have reviewed numerous cables and memoranda reporting
that the murder of Mireille Bertin had been linked by the FBI to
a series of killings by hit squads linked to the government officials.
Did you, or, to your knowledge, did any other administration offi-
cial who traveled to Haiti to encourage these opposition leaders to
re-enter the political campaign ever warn them that our govern-
ment had detailed reports that hit squads targeted opponents of
the government? If not, why not?
Secretary TALBOTT. I think this is maybe a question that I
should appropriately answer in the hypothetical and then I will
elaborate. Had we information at our disposal that we considered
to be credible suggesting that there was a plot to murder any of
the opposition figures with whom I and others were meeting during
that period, we would have certainly warned those individuals and
we would have done so directly. However, Mr. Bereuter, that issue
did not arise.
Now, the Bertin murder and the subsequent killings did lead to
a great deal of anxiety and concern and rumors in Port-au-Prince
which our embassy took very seriously. But there were no threats,
as far as I know, that we considered to be credible against the indi-
viduals with whom we met.
27-248 96 2
My purpose in going to Haiti at that time was to encourage plu-
ralism and democracy and to do everything that we could to make
sure that the elections were as successful as possible.
Mr. BEREUTER. Secretary Talbott, isn't it true that by mid-Au-
gust of 1995, you or other administration officials had met directly
with President Aristide suggesting that we had knowledge that hit
squads were aimed from his government at political opponents who
were contesting elections?
Secretary TALBOTT. I would put the point somewhat differently.
We had information that there were suspicious and worrisome link-
ages among these murders and reason to believe that some people
in the Haitian security and police apparatus might be implicated
and we did not think that it was consistent either with his own
commitment to democracy and rule of law or to our support for
Haiti and particularly to those institutions for those individuals to
remain in office and therefore we urged the Haitian Government
that they be removed from office. And, as I indicated earlier, I
made a number of those representations myself.
Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Secretary, if you found it appropriate to warn
the head of state that, in fact, these hit squads existed and that
they were aimed at political leaders, it seems strange, to put the
best construction on it, that you would not, or some officials from
the government would not, warn the political leaders who you were
encouraging to run for office about the danger to their own lives.
When I had a chance to question Mr. Dobbins, for example, some
time earlier, he acknowledged to this committee under questioning
that rather than warn Mrs. Bertin directly, U.S. officials asked the
Minister of Justice to do so, in spite of the fact that President
Aristide's Minister of Interior was implicated in the uncovered plot.
Mrs. Bertin then was killed less than a week later and her family
and other sources confirmed that she had never been warned.
Is that your understanding of the facts, as well? And doesn't it
confirm that, in fact, there was a real danger to political opponents
and yet they were not warned by the Administration?
Secretary TALBOTT. Let me take the questions in the order in
which you raised them.
I assure you, Mr. Bereuter, that all of the political figures with
whom I and others met in the summer of 1995 were acutely aware
of the problem of political violence. They did not need to be told of
that danger by visitors from Washington. Those killings were high-
ly publicized at the time.
In answer to your first question, I said that if we had had infor-
mation indicating that any individuals-not just among the people
we were meeting with but any individuals in general-were tar-
geted by a plot of this kind, we would have warned them.
Now, let me say a word or two about-
Mr. BEREUTER. But we did not warn Mrs. Bertin.
Secretary TALBOTT. Well, that is, as you suggested in the way
you framed the question, the U.S. military leadership in Haiti at
the time, in very close consultation with the embassy, informed the
government of Haiti and the government of Haiti said that they
were going to warn Madame Bertin, and then they got back to us
and said they had indeed warned Madame Bertin.
Now, there is a controversy. There is an unresolved question
about whether that warning was extended and the terms in which
it was extended.
Mr. BEREUTER. But, Secretary Talbott-
Secretary TALBOTT. Could I add one sentence?
Largely as a result of that experience, we undertook subse-
quently to warn people directly rather than indirectly through the
government of Haiti.
Mr. BEREUTER. Secretary Talbott, once again, the plot that our
FBI uncovered, which was made fully known to the Secretary of
State and to the State Department, showed that a Cabinet-level of-
ficer of that government that you were expecting to warn Mrs.
Bertin was himself implicated in the plot to kill people. And it
strikes me as strange and maybe irresponsible for you to suggest
that these people ought to put themselves up for office when you
knew that, in fact, there were people in the Administration plotting
to kill enemies of the Aristide administration.
Secretary TALBOTT. Well, I would refer you to the Department of
Defense. Now I am going to say a word or two on this from my own
vantage point because they were involved and have extensive infor-
mation on the way in which the warning to Madame Bertin was
handled and the reasons for it.
There is a very important reason, though, that I want to under-
score in this setting and that is that the U.S.-led multinational
force was in Haiti not in order to govern the country and not in
order to carry out police functions but in order to establish a secure
and safe environment so that the government of Haiti could go
Now, my understanding of the facts in that case is that the chan-
nel through which the warning was to be extended to Madame
Bertin was a creditable, as well as credible, channel. But for addi-
tional details, I would refer you to them. What I am saying is that,
as a result of that experience, we undertook subsequently to handle
any warnings directly, or to make it our practice to do so.
Mr. BEREUTER. I do not think you can shift the blame to the De-
partment of Defense since our ambassador and others were partici-
pating in those decisions and certainly the State Department was
involved, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary TALBOTT. I do not regard it as a matter of assigning
blame. Now, obviously, a woman died a violent death. That was an
outrage and it was a human tragedy as well as an ominous mo-
ment in Haiti's re-emergence as a democracy. We took it very seri-
ously. I feel that the Department of Defense handled this in a to-
tally responsible fashion.
Obviously, when there was a corpse lying on the street, all of us
thought very long and hard about what we could do to make sure
that this did not happen in the future.
Mr. BEREUTER. Madam Chairman, I think we will have to recess
so we can go vote. Is that correct?
I yield then.
Mrs. MEYERS [PRESIDING]. Yes. We will stand in recess for a few
minutes while we vote until the Chairman returns to continue the
Chairman GILMAN. The committee will come to order.
I regret that we are faced with a series of votes on the floor.
There are going to be four votes. It will probably take an hour. So
what I am going to suggest, Mr. Secretary, we will continue until
the votes take place. Then we will submit to you a series of ques-
tions which we would want you to respond to within a brief period
of time so that we do not unduly delay you and have you sit around
for an hour while we complete our votes on the floor.
Mr. Secretary, in a highly unusual step, a contingent of FBI spe-
cial agents were dispatched to Haiti on the night of March 28 to
investigate the murder of Mireille Bertin, an Aristide opponent
who was shot just a few days before President Clinton was sched-
uled to visit there. These facts were confirmed for us by Mr. Dob-
bins, as well as by the FBI and Justice Department representatives
in hearings before this committee and the Judiciary Committee last
According to the FBI testimony before our committee by Deputy
Assistant FBI Director William E. Perry, beginning June 1995, the
FBI team was, and I quote, "stymied by what he called, and I
quote, "unreasonable conditions" imposed on the FBI by Haitian
authorities. An FBI chronology provided to our committee states
that on or about June 30, 1995, FBI Director Louis Freeh called
you to say that he was prepared to withdraw the FBI team because
of these obstacles.
Mr. Secretary, do you recall that conversation?
Secretary TALBOTT. I do, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. And did Deputy Attorney General Jamie
Gorelick contact you to express similar concerns?
Secretary TALBOTT. I could easily believe that she did. Ms.
Gorelick and I talk all the time on a variety of issues, including
Haiti. But I certainly remember the issue and the exchange with
the Bureau at that time.
Chairman GILMAN. And, Mr. Secretary, there are several em-
bassy cables that describe obstacles that the FBI had encountered
in its efforts to interview Haitian security officials. One such em-
bassy cable observes that the Haitian obstruction of the FBI's in-
vestigation was designed to create political cover, rather than to
protect the rights of the suspects in the Haitian Government.
Do you recall seeing those reports, Mr. Secretary?
Secretary TALBOTT. I do not recall that particular cable. I cer-
tainly recall that the Bureau encountered obstacles in its pursuit
of the Bertin case.
Chairman GILMAN. And did you recall that the embassy's view
was that these obstacles were merely designed to create political
Secretary TALBOTT. I recall that there was a good deal of inter-
pretation and analysis and conjecture at the time, including on the
part of various government agencies in our mission in Port-au-
Chairman GILMAN. And, Mr. Secretary, our committee staff has
viewed talking points with no national security markings on them
that were drafted by Mr. Dobbins for use with President Aristide
around June 30, 1995. That unclassified document which was
drafted by the Administration's most senior Haitian policymaker
states that the FBI's withdrawal from Haiti, and I am quoting,
"would be a political disaster here in the United States because it
would be impossible to keep the reason quiet."
Do you recall seeing those talking points, Mr. Secretary?
Secretary TALBOTT. Again, I would answer it thus. I certainly
can imagine seeing those talking points because I paid close atten-
tion to everything that Ambassador Dobbins prepared and I do re-
call, of course, my own conversations with the Haitian leadership
at that time.
Chairman GILMAN. Have you seen drafted talking points that
refer to Director Freeh's call to you?
Secretary TALBOTT. Talking points written for-
Chairman GILMAN. With regard to conversation with Director
Secretary TALBOTT. I remember having a conversation with Di-
rector Freeh at that time on the issue that you describe.
Chairman GILMAN. And those were talking points for Director
Freeh's conversation with President Aristide.
Secretary TALBOTT. Director Freeh's conversation with President
Aristide? No, I-
Chairman GILMAN. Well, your conversations with Mr. Freeh and
Secretary TALBOTT. My conversations with Director Freeh, as I
recall, Mr. Chairman-and you, of course, have refreshed my mem-
ory-were on the subject of whether he should pull the Bureau con-
tingent out of Port-au-Prince. My conversations with the Haitian
leadership during that time were on a number of subjects but very
prominently on the subject of why the Haitian leadership should
get rid of these people from the security apparatus.
Chairman GILMAN. Did you provide Mr. Dobbins with an account
of Director Freeh's call to you?
Secretary TALBOTT. I am certain that I would have talked to Am-
bassador Dobbins about that. He was the coordinator of our Haiti
policy in the State Department and the presence of the Federal Bu-
reau of Investigation in Haiti was an important component of our
Chairman GILMAN. And, Mr. Secretary, did you suggest that Mr.
Dobbins should mention the domestic political concerns regarding
the FBI's withdrawal?
Secretary TALBOTT. What I am sure was in the air, both inter-
nally and in our discussions with the Haitian leaders, was the fol-
lowing point. The problem of political violence, and particularly po-
litical violence that was suspicious and possibly connected with the
leadership of the country, was a problem for the United States of
America as a whole. On this subject, there was a high degree of
unity and agreement between the executive and legislative
It was very important to Haiti that the United States be able to
continue its many forms of assistance to Haiti. It was not going to
be able to do so if this issue of political violence was unresolved,
not least because there was intense interest in the subject in this
body; that is, the U.S. Congress.
Chairman GILMAN. And, Mr. Secretary, would you agree that the
draft document that you had drafted shows the Administration's
pre-eminent political concerns about the FBI's possible withdrawal
and your concern about the FBI's possible withdrawal?
Secretary TALBOTT. I had several concerns about the Bureau's
withdrawal. One of those concerns-in fact, the one that, as I re-
call, was pre-eminent or most prominent in my mind-was that if
the Bureau had simply pulled out because of the very real obstacles
that it faced, we would be, in effect, giving up and going home with
the case unresolved. I felt very strongly that there should be a
transition of some kind from the Bureau, the FBI, which was en-
countering obstacles in Haiti, to an indigenous Haitian investiga-
tive unit of some kind. I wanted there to be a transition between
the FBI and the SIU.
But I make no bones about it now and I made no bones about
it at the time. It was, is, and will continue to be very important
to Haiti and very important to our Haiti policy that we have the
highest possible degree of cooperation between the two branches of
government and, indeed, bipartisan cooperation.
Chairman GILMAN. So, essentially, it was your recommendation
that the FBI delay in leaving Haiti.
Secretary TALBOTT. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. But I want to just make
clear for the record, Mr. Chairman, that I am answering your ques-
tions on the basis of my own recollection. The document that you
referred to is a bit of a puzzlement to me, although I frequently
have memos from staff and from colleagues. But that is really not
terribly germane because I remember pretty well what the issue
Chairman GILMAN. Did there come a time when you discussed
the delayed withdrawal of the FBI with Mr. Aristide and then indi-
cate to him that by mid-August we would turn the inquiry over to
Haitian or U.N. investigators?
Secretary TALBOTT. If you would be good enough to include that
in the list of written questions-I was talking to President Aristide
on several occasions during that period. The issue of political vio-
lence and implication of people in his entourage was front and cen-
ter. The Bureau was there trying, without much success, to do its
good work so the two issues, I am sure, might have become con-
nected in my conversations with the Haitian leadership. But I will
try to provide you with more on that.
Chairman GILMAN. We will be pleased to include that in the
questions. Thank you.
Mr. Secretary, are you prepared to acknowledge, as something
that many of our U.S. officials realize privately 10 months ago, that
the government we re-installed in Haiti started, or assisted in,
murdering some of its political opponents within 3 months of our
invasion and then stonewalled the FBI's inquiry, which began to
lead back to the Administration in Haiti?
Secretary TALBOTT. No, sir, I am not prepared to acknowledge or
accept that characterization either of Haiti or of U.S. policy. If you
would like, I would amend it and tell you the way I see it. May
I do that?
Chairman GILMAN. Please.
Secretary TALBOTT. The problem was bad apples in the barrel.
That is, I think it is going too far to characterize the Haitian Gov-
ernment as institutionally embarked on a campaign of terror and
murder. There were individuals in the Haitian Government and in
the Haitian security services who had, we believed, engaged in ac-
tivities that, as we discussed already, were inconsistent with rule
of law and democracy and we pressed very hard to get them out
and they are today out.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you.
Mr. Goss. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, I am sure you are familiar with the name of Duly
Brutus, who is a former president of the Haitian Parliament; who
has testified before this committee; and who has been basically
threatened and victimized along with his family. He has been
chased out of his country and is now seeking political asylum in
the United States of America. Are you familiar with Mr. Brutus
and his story?
Secretary TALBOTT. I am familiar with Mr. Brutus. I met him on
a couple of occasions when I went to Haiti myself. I am not familiar
with all of the details of his story.
Mr. Goss. Mr. Chairman, I would like to include in the record
the chronology of events prepared by Mr. Brutus with regard to the
victimization threats, problems he had and how he came to arrive
in the United States.
Chairman GILMAN. Without objection.
Mr. Goss. Thank you.
Mr. Secretary, the question I have for you is why is a true Demo-
crat like Mr. Brutus forced to seek political asylum if Haiti is the
emerging democracy that the Clinton administration wishes us to
believe that it is?
Secretary TALBOTT. In order to answer that question, because it
is cast in terms of Mr. Brutus' own personal experience, I will need
to follow up and get back to you when I familiarize myself--
[The response appears in the appendix.]
Mr. Goss. Thank you.
Secretary TALBOTT [continuing]. But I would-go ahead.
Mr. Goss. I would accept that.
Since October 15, I would like to know, has the U.S. Government
directly notified any Haitian or Haitian Americans whom it consid-
ers to be in credible danger of assassination? Has the embassy
taken any steps, with the information it has, to put people on
Secretary TALBOTT. I will find out the answer to that and get
back to you promptly.
[The response appears in the appendix.]
Mr. Goss. Thank you. I would like names and dates and so forth,
if you would, please, on that. We understand they may be avail-
The next question I have, Mr. Secretary, speaks to a time in Au-
gust 1995, based on your statement that you pay close attention to
what Ambassador Dobbins says. At that time, I am told that Am-
bassador Dobbins recommended to you that you should refer to any
political killings that happened in Haiti as "revenge motivated" and
to say that "none of these killings were linked to the elections or
to current Haitian poli:cs."
Do you have any recollection of that?
Secretary TALBOTT. You went through that very fast. Would you
repeat the question?
Mr. Goss. I would be very happy to.
Ambassador Dobbins providing guidance to you back in August
1995 suggesting that you refer to any political killings which were
clearly going on and being reported in the press as "revenge moti-
vated' or to say that, quote, "none of these killings were linked to
the elections or to current Haitian politics."
Do you remember that guidance?
Secretary TALBOTT. I do not recall that guidance.
Mr. Goss. Do you remember reports from Ambassador Dobbins
that political murders are becoming a potentially explosive factor
in U.S.-Haitian relations and that murder gangs are targeting
Secretary TALBOTT. Without remembering the prose or the au-
thor of the prose, I can certainly say that I remember that being
precisely the issue that we are talking about here. The issue of po-
litical violence in Haiti was a very serious one, both in our bilateral
relations and, of course, in the formulation of our policy.
Mr. Goss. I think that the list of questions that will flow from
that, Mr. Secretary, will have to do with based on what we knew,
and we knew a great deal about what you referred to as the bad
apples, did we do enough to contain them? To bring them to jus-
tice? Have we taken care of the problem in its entirety? And, have
we been entirely candid with Congress and the American public,
realizing we have made a great investment in Haiti? I will submit
those questions, along with those from staff for further answers be-
cause I think they are very illuminating. I do not believe we are
going to have a classification problem with them because I think
we are not talking about sources, methods, or means. I think we
are not talking about national security. I think we are talking
about attempts to spare the Administration embarrassment and I
will be very candid on that point.
The second area of questions I would like to ask, and goes back
to August 1994. At that time, I understand that you met with
President Balaguer of the Dominican Republic. It was at a time
that the Administration was extremely critical of the conduct of the
DR Presidential elections and, I would add, with good cause.
However, after your visit, there was no additional criticism and
President Balaguer has remained in power until very recently. I
wonder if you could elaborate for us what kind of quid pro quo
came out of your discussions with President Balaguer with regard
to cooperation on the Haitian border, or with regard to having him
step down early from his elected time, or with regard to us with-
holding any further criticism of what was obviously a very curious,
to put it mildly, election process in the Dominican Republic.
Secretary TALBOTr. If you will permit, Mr. Goss, I would first
like to very briefly and succinctly answer the earlier question;
namely, that I think we did everything we could with regard to the
bad apples. We succeeded in getting them out and we were candid
with the Congress and with the American people throughout.
Now, with regard to the Dominican Republic-
Mr. Goss. May I interrupt, just on-
Secretary TALBOTT. Yes.
Mr. Goss. Are you telling me that all the bad apples are gone?
Secretary TALBOTT. The individuals whom we were concerned
about during 1995 are now out of the security services as far as
I know. And if I need to amend that in any way, I will do so
promptly. But I believe so.
Mr. Goss. Does that mean you are satisfied with the outcome of
the investigation so far of the Bertin investigation?
Secretary TALBOTT. No, sir. Absolutely not.
Mr. Goss. How about the Feuille investigation?
Secretary TALBOTT. Sir?
Mr. Goss. Feuille? Gonzales?
Secretary TALBOTT. No. We are not satisfied.
There are several stages to this process that we have been trying
to encourage and support. One was to make sure that there were
not people in responsible positions in the security services who
were abusing democracy and rule of law, not to mention human
Another issue is thorough investigation and full prosecution of
individuals who were responsible for those murders. And, as I indi-
cated in my opening statement, included in the delivered part of it,
we do not have satisfaction there but we are going to persist.
Would you like me to go to the questions about the DR?
Mr. Goss. If you would, please, sir.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Goss. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. And I wanted to give Mr. Payne an oppor-
tunity and remind Mr. Payne that since there are four votes right
after this, we are going to adjourn the hearing and submit written
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much. Mr. Secretary, I certainly ap-
preciate you answering these questions.
You know, as it has been indicated, this is the fourth hearing we
have had. The last one was, "Where has all the money gone?" And,
after the hearing, we found out that the money went to police
training, infrastructure, education, and feeding people. Ninety per-
cent never even touched the country. So I hope that last week's
hearing we had satisfactory conclusion of "Where does all the
Now we are talking about this killing and, as it has been indi-
cated, there were between two and four thousand killings during
the 3 years when Mr. Aristide was here in exile. We had very few
hearings at that time regarding that. We have the embarrassment
of Emmanuel Constant, who has worked for the CIA. As we sent
a ship there, his group turned the ship around and found out later
he was on the CIA payroll. A crazy kind of a policy, in my esti-
mation, but CIA tends to be a bit insular.
You know, we have really heard so much about this one killing.
I think that one killing is one too many. Let me just ask you very
briefly, since time is just about up, do you feel that the situation
in Haiti now is progressing very poorly, poorly, fairly well, well,
compared to where it was before? Just very quickly, if you could
Secretary TALBOTT. Whenever I speak about Haiti, a country I
have gotten to know pretty well over the last several years, I al-
most always insert the adverb "relatively," particularly when mak-
ing positive statements-and I think there is plenty of room for
positive statements-and I also use the phrase, "by Haitian stand-
ards". There is nothing condescending or patronizing about this.
Haitians themselves often use precisely those phrases. This is a
miserably poor country but a proud and very talented and promis-
ing people who deserve.what we have helped give back to them and
I hope we continue to stay with them on that course. But it is going
to be a very difficult road, Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Right, and I agree. We are far from having this more
perfect union. I would just like to mention, too, that Human Rights
Watch, America reported that as Human Rights Watch looked back
at the military regime of terror, compared it to Haiti since the res-
toration of democracy, the difference is between night and day. Am-
nesty International reported they have not received any evidence
indicating that these killings were centrally coordinated. The UN-
OAS did not conclude that these political killings, or extrajudicial
killings, could actually be connected.
The police have not worked out as well as we want. They are
new and they are in the process of being trained. But let me just
tell you that Amnesty International came up with and released a
report just today that said that police brutality in New York has
skyrocketed with an alarming high rate of deaths and detentions,
suspicious shootings, excessive brutality. It would be wrong, then,
to say that the Governor of New York condones police brutality. I
think it is a serious situation that needs to be looked at.
But, just concluding, I feel that a lot more must be done. Presi-
dent Preval's feet must be held to the fire. I think that reforms
that we are suggesting should be closely followed. But for this to
be the fourth hearing, I guess there is another one next week-
well, we are out of session next week, so I guess it will be the fol-
lowing week-once again with the same old broken record-I have
not heard anything new in the four hearings. But I am sure there
will be four more before November.
I have no other questions. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Payne.
Pursuant to our prior discussion, since there are four votes pend-
ing and that could delay this hearing for another hour, because of
the critical nature of your responsibilities, Mr. Secretary, we will
adjourn the hearing in just a moment. We welcome your working
with our committee on necessary follow-up on any further ques-
tions and we look forward to working with you providing any nec-
essary response to the terrorist attack on our Americans in Saudi
Before closing, without objection, I will put Mr. Hamilton's open-
ing statement in the record and any questions that he may wish
Mr. Secretary, we appreciate your patience and for being with us
today. Accordingly, the committee stands adjourned.
Secretary TALBOTr. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[Whereupon, at 11:22 a.m., the committee was adjourned.]
Opening Statement of Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman
Hearing on Political Murders in Haiti
Committee on International Relations
June 26, 1996
The hearing will come to order. We are pleased to have with
us this morning Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. Mr.
Secretary, you come at a difficult moment.
By now, all Americans know that 19 of our Air Force
personnel were killed and 270 wounded in a vicious terrorist
bombing yesterday in Saudi Arabia.
All Americans join in condemning this barbarous act. The
perpetrators must be pursued and brought to justice, and I know
that our government will do all that is possible to bring this
Our deepest condolences go to the families, friends and
loved ones of those who were killed and injured. Before
proceeding further, I ask that we pause for a moment of silence
in memory of those who died in that attack.
The purpose of today's hearing is to address a number of
distressing questions that have arisen over the Administration's
actions with regard to the spate of political murders in Haiti
prior to last year's elections.
There is evidence that the Administration downplayed those
murders in order to avoid any negative fallout.
There is evidence that the Administration was aware that
death squads directed by key security aides to former President
Aristide were operating for a full year before acknowledging this
to the Congress.
There is evidence that the Administration deliberately
prolonged the FBI's presence in Haiti long after it knew that
Haitian authorities were stonewalling the Bureau in its
investigation of the murder of a prominent opposition leader,
Further, the Administration, in Congressional testimony and
in statements to the news media, continued to state that
President Aristide's Haitian government was cooperating with the
FBI in the Bertain case when they knew this was not so.
The Administration's previous lack of candor with the
Congress and with the American public, and its efforts to evade
accountability for its actions in Haiti, are matters of serious
At our insistence, the Administration has provided access to
hundreds of documents pertaining to these matters. Regrettably,
the vast majority of these documents are classified.
We had hoped to persuade the Administration to declassify
most of these documents in time for our hearing so that the
American people could judge for themselves whether the
Administration's policy in Haiti is the success being claimed, or
another example of an endeavor to cover up another foreign policy
bungle. Hopefully, these documents will be declassified soon.
We are pleased that the Administration has made available to
us today the principal architect of its policy in Haiti, Deputy
Secretary of State Talbott. Again, we welcome you, Mr. Secretary
and we look forward to your testimony.
Political Violence in Haiti
Opening Statement by Lee H. Hamilton
June 26, 1996
Mr. Chairman, I commend you for today's hearing on Haiti. It is an important subject
for this committee, and for U.S. foreign policy.
I know there are strong differences of opinion on the wisdom of the Haitian
intervention. But it seems to me the question before the U.S. today is, how do we make the
policy a success -- we do not, obviously, start from a clean slate. Much has been
accomplished, and much has not been accomplished in Haiti. But, so far as I can see, it is
not in our interest now to see U.S. policy fail. Rather it is in our interest to see it succeed.
There are many legitimate questions to be asked about the situation in Haiti today, and U.S.
policy toward Haiti. But my hope is that we all begin with a constructive approach, asking
how our policy can be improved to achieve the goals we all seek for this beleaguered land.
We are all concerned about political violence in Haiti. We want to do everything we
can to help bring to justice those who have been involved in political killings. Democracy
means accountability. We want to stop future killings.
I am also interested in looking at our policy toward Haiti across the board.
When this Administration came into office, President Aristide was in exile, living in
Georgetown. Thugs ruled Haiti. Haitians by the thousands were fleeing poverty and political
violence by setting sail for the United States in makeshift boats. Many drowned before they
reached American shores. Hundreds died back in Haiti, the victims of political violence.
Thanks to the courage of the Haitian people, the efforts of this Administration, the
superb performance of U.S. troops, support from Congress, and help from other members of
the United Nations, President Aristide was returned to office. Life in Haiti, never easy, has
been slowly improving. Much has been accomplished, and much remains to be done.
Elections were held. Power has been transferred peacefully for the first time in Haiti's
history. Political violence has decreased sharply. President Preval has begun to address
Haiti's serious economic problems.
I look forward to hearing from Secretary Talbott on the progress that has been made in
Haiti, as well as the daunting challenges ahead.
Finally, let me say Mr. Chairman, that I am puzzled by some of the statements that
have been made in preparation for this hearing. I have a press release with the headline,
"Gilman urges the President to 'Come Clean' on Haiti." It is dated June 5th. In that
statement, the Administration is, in essence, accused of covering up what it knew about
political violence in Haiti. It is accused of, and I quote, "evasion, obfuscation and deception."
It is accused of withholding critical information from Congress.
Those are serious charges.
My impression is different. It is my sense that Congress has been informed on all
aspects of U.S. policy toward Haiti, including the impact of political violence in Haiti on our
policies. Congress has been informed through hearings, briefings, and documents made
available in response to requests.
Let me be more specific. I know the Administration has testified before Congress, and
before this Committee, several times since President Aristide returned. I know that
information about political violence in Haiti was shared at many of those hearings, and
bipartisan staff briefings that occurred regularly during the same time period.
It is my understanding that the Congress has requested roughly 950 separate documents
related to Haiti from the Administration since the beginning of this Congress, that all but 20
documents have been made available thus far, and that the White House Counsel has offered
to reach an accommodation on the remaining 20 documents.
The remaining question, and it may be a legitimate question to discuss, is whether any
of these documents should be made public. I understand the Chairman wants the
Administration to make public a number of sensitive, classified documents. Those documents
have been made available to Members and committee staff. The documents contain
diplomatic communications, or sensitive national security or intelligence information. While
the documents themselves have not been made public, much of the information they contain
has been made public in earlier hearings held by this committee.
So, asking the Administration to "come Clean" actually refers to making classified
documents public. Accusing the Executive Branch of deceiving Congress because it will not
make certain documents public blurs the issue. As far as I know, the State Department is not
withholding any information from this committee.
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to the testimony of our distinguished witness.
CONGRESSMAN DONALD M. PAYNE
FULL COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
HAITI: ADMINISTRATION ACTION AND POLITICAL MURDERS
JUNE 19, 1996
Thank you Mr. Chairman, I would like to certainly commend you for holding this
very important hearing which should be entitled, Haiti:Revisited. I am anxious to hear the
testimony of our witnesses today.
To my knowledge, we have had approximately four hearings that pertain to Haiti with
the latest one dealing with human rights and the police issue. I had the privilege of attending
the hearing on last week in the Western Hemisphere entitled, "Where has all the money
gone" and we came to the conclusion that the money had gone to infrastructure, education,
and housing for the poor people of Haiti." With all these hearings, I am not sure what we
are looking for or what we have accomplished.
I have travelled to Haiti seven times since the coup that denied President Aristide the
opportunity to serve his full term and also had the chance to see the inauguration of President
Saying this, let me just articulate that I was critical of the U.S. policy preceding the
return of President Aristide, and I have also questioned some-of the reports of the CIA and
now the FBI.
The murder in question here today I believe is the Durocher Bertin murders of last
year in which we still do not know exactly who or why she or her colleague was killed.
Tragic as it is, people die all over the world and I find it hard to believe that for all the
concerted effort and time that this conunittee has spent on one murder, when there were over
5,000 innocent men, women and children that died from the period of 1991-1994 when Raul
Cedras was in power.
In late 1995, President Aristide had been back in Haiti for only one year, in which
Human Rights Watch/America reported that as Human Rights Watch "looked back at the
military's reign of terror and compared it to Haiti since the restoration of democracy, the
difference was like night and day." And regarding the murders, Amnesty International
reported that they had "not received any evidence indicating that they are centrally
coordinated." Finally, the UN/OAS did not conclude that these were "political" killings, or
So, Mr. Chairman, let's get on to more pertinent matters, there has been no
substantial evidence or new information on this case and the Haitian people deserve better.
STATEMENT OF STROBE TALBOTT
DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE
BEFORE THE HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE
June 26, 1996
Mr. Chairman, I welcome the chance to discuss United States policy toward Haiti. I
do so in the spirit of our on-going consultations on this important subject. Over the past two
and a half years, 34 Administration officials have testified to or briefed Congress a total of 147
times to discuss Haiti; 44 of those appearances were before this Committee. I have come before
you five times on a variety of subjects, twice on Haiti. I am pleased to do so again. Our fHli
policy goes to the very core of our political values; it serves our basic national interest; and it
deserves bipartisan support. Under both Republican and Democratic Administrations, one of
the principal and enduring goals of American foreign policy, particularly in this hemisphere, has
been to promote, strengthen and when necessary defend democracy. There is no more dramatic
example of that policy than Haiti.
When President Clinton came into office, Haiti and Cuba were the only exceptions to the
democratic consensus that has developed in the Western Hemisphere over the past two decades.
Following a coup d'etat in September 1991, a human rights outrage and a humanitarian
catastrophe festered off our own shores. Tens of thousands of Haitians took to rickety,
overcrowded boats to seek sanctuary in the U.S. Two years ago, there were 16,000 boat people
heading our way in a single month. At that time, the man who won 67% of the votes in the first
free, open and honest election in Haitian history lived eight blocks from here, in exile in
In the fall of 1994, a U.S.-led military force brought Jean-Bertrand Aristide back to Haiti
and to the office to which his people had elected him. That mission stands as an excellent
example of the pragmatic approach to peacekeeping that Secretary Christopher and Ambassador
Albright have discussed with this Committee on several occasions. U.S. forces entered Haiti
with a clear exit strategy and a timetable. We held to both. First, we passed responsibility for
peacekeeping from the Multinational Force, made up overwhelmingly of U.S. troops, to the
United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIII), only a third of which was composed of American
forces. Then, on schedule earlier this year, the last U.S. peacekeepers left Haiti and we passed
leadership of the remaining international presence to our friends, neighbors and allies, the
This Operation was first codenamed "Restore Democracy." Then, once Mr. Aristide was
back in the Presidential Palace, it became "Operation Uphold Democracy." Those were
appropriate designations. We restored and then upheld not an individual but an institution,
a process, and an idea: freedom.
Today, national executive power in Haiti rests with President Aristide's successor, Rene
Preval. On February 7th of this year, I had the honor, along with four members of the House
of Representatives, of attending Mr. Preval's inauguration in Port-au-Prince. It marked the first
peaceful transition from one democratically elected president to another in Haitian history.
But power today in Haiti does not rest exclusively, or even disproportionately with the
President. It rests also with 1,900 elected local officials mayors, city and county council
members. And it rests with one hundred and ten elected representatives in two houses of
Parliament. On my last trip to Haiti, on May 29, I visited that body. It has become a vital and
serious forum for debate and deliberation. It has begun to fill the role that Haiti's 1987
constitution prescribes. Its members are keenly aware of the profound break with the past that
their elected authority represents. President Preval acknowledges and respects that authority.
He is working hard to persuade the Parliament to support his program of economic reform.
This system of checks-and-balances between the executive and legislative branches of
government is new for Haiti and it is something that I'm sure you and your colleagues would
especially support, Mr. Chairman.
Indeed, I hope the Congress will make it possible to support the overall trend in Haiti.
That trend is in the right direction from Haiti's standpoint and from our own.
But there are many obstacles. Haiti's fledgling political institutions are fragile; its
economy is weak and struggling; its people, while talented and proud, are desperately poor.
Their $250 per capital annual income makes them far and away the poorest in this hemisphere.
Quite simply and quite bluntly, Haiti will not make it as a democracy unless it is able, with our
help, to develop a viable economy.
It is in our interests as well as theirs that they succeed. Unless we stay engaged on their
side, the gains of the last two years could slip away, and we could find ourselves, once again,
confronting a humanitarian nightmare, political instability and a refugee crisis in our own
We appreciate Congress's support for our ICITAP police training programs, as well as
other development-assistance efforts intended to strengthen parliament, promote broad-based
economic development, protect the environment, and promote improved health care. These
programs represent an investment in our future well-being as well as a neighbor's. They are a
bargain compared to what it might cost in the future if we were to turn our back on Haiti at this
Let me now address a question that I know is of particular concern to you and your
Committee, Mr. Chairman: the on-going effort of our Administration to deal with the problem
of lingering political violence in Haiti.
From the beginning, one of the central premises of our policy in Haiti has been that real
and enduring democracy depends on the rule of law. In supporting democracy in Haiti, we have
also opposed official lawlessness, at every level, on any scale.
From virtually the moment that the Multi-National Force arrived in Haiti and sent the
dictators packing, we worked with the Haitians to help them dismantle the old instruments of
repression and to help them build, virtually from scratch, new structures that will, over time,
help undergird civil society. As Secretary Christopher noted when he spoke at the first
graduation ceremony of the Haitian Police Academy, "Honest and honorable law enforcement
is no less essential to lasting freedom than an elected parliament and a democratic constitution."
But at issue here is more than just institutions; there is also an issue of political culture.
Haiti has to cope with a legacy of state violence and terror as old as the country itself indeed,
much older than that, since most Haitians' ancestors came as slaves and suffered under harsh
colonial rule before they broke free of France and became, in 1804, the second nation in this
hemisphere, after our own, to achieve independence.
Just as Haiti's leaders often died by the sword, so they often lived and ruled, and
mis-ruled. The thugs who ran the country during the three years between President Aristide's
overthrow and his restoration systematically used paramilitary gangs to commit acts of rape,
kidnapping, mutilation, and murder as methods of governance. A trademark method was to cut
the faces off their victims with machetes, then leave the bodies in the street for pigs to eat and
citizens to ponder. Equally corrosive was a pattern of judicial corruption, arbitrary arrest, and
prolonged detention of suspects.
With the arrival of the international military mission and the return of President Aristide,
there was a dramatic reduction in the level of violence and institutionalized brutality.
Particularly notable in this regard was President Aristide's decision to disband the Haitian
military, itself an instrument of terror. Retiring this organization made another coup d'etat much
less likely and fundamentally altered the scorched, bloody landscape of Haitian politics.
That does not mean that Haiti has transformed itself, overnight, from a horror to a
utopia. Of course not. Old habits die hard, especially when fed by stubborn hatreds and fresh
vendettas, and by grinding social problems. But there has nonetheless been a dramatic
improvement. Human rights groups estimate that there were some 3,000 political murders in
Haiti during the period from 1991 to 1994 that is, after the coup and before President
Aristide's return. Since September 1994 there have been no more than two dozen
execution-style killings in Haiti, some of which appear to have had a political motive.
Even this greatly reduced number of killings is too many, however, and we have taken
them very seriously. The March 1995 murder of opposition spokeswoman Mireille Bertin was
the most infamous of several murders that threatened the integrity of Haiti's young democracy
and the authority of its new Haitian National Police.
In the wake of the Bertin murder, we launched a comprehensive effort to identify and
bring the perpetrators to justice. As the investigation of that murder and other crimes went
forward, it became apparent that at least some might be traced to individuals employed by the
Haitian security forces individuals who were accountable to the democratically elected
government that we were in Haiti to support. Our Administration raised its concern about this
situation in the strongest, clearest and most persistent terms with President Aristide, then with
President Preval. I personally made representations on this subject seven times. Senior White
House officials did so as well.
Our message was simple: as part of our policy of supporting Haiti's transition to
democracy, we would assist the new security forces; but we would not be able to continue that
assistance if those institutions harbored, particularly in leadership positions, people implicated
in serious crimes. By March of this year, the President of Haiti had removed all the individuals
we had then reason to believe were implicated in these murders. That action, combined with
the Haitian Senate's rejection earlier this year of the nomination of a police Director General
publicly linked to allegations of corruption, sent a strong and welcome signal that the Haitian
government is bent on making a clean break with troubled past: it will no longer tolerate the
corruption and abuses that marked the Duvalier dynasty and its military successors.
The new Haitian National Police has the potential to be an engine of this change. The
HNP is, like democracy itself, something new under the Haitian sun: a non-political,
competitively-selected, well-trained professional force committed to the rule of law. But it is
also, like Haitian democracy, a fragile, fledgling institution that needs our help.
That help will continue to be strictly conditioned, and with it will come our advice. By
removing from the police hierarchy those implicated in political violence, including the Bertin
assassination, Haiti has taken an important step away from its history of allowing security
personnel to commit crimes with impunity. The next step is to bring those who are responsible
for such crimes to justice.
The Administration has made clear to the Government of Haiti at all levels that a
thorough investigation of the political and professional killings is crucial both to consolidation
of the rule of law and to maintenance of international support. The same scrutiny must be
extended to the apparent summary executions of several individuals during an operation carried
out by the HNP and Ministerial Security Guard in Cite Soleil in March. Last fall the
Administration strongly encouraged the Aristide government to establish a Special Investigations
Unit to focus on two categories of crimes: the most egregious of those committed during the
coup era, but also the hit-team-style murders that occurred after the restoration of democracy.
The U.S. Congress sent a similar message in the form of the Dole Amendment, which
conditions non-humanitarian assistance to the Haitian government on the thorough investigation
of these murders. The Administration supports the objectives of this legislation, as do bipartisan
majorities in both houses. To aid this effort we have worked closely with the Haitian
Government to provide the Special Investigations Unit with the resources it needs. I visited the
Special Investigations Unit when I was in Port-au-Prince on May 30. We are encouraged by
what we have seen and heard from President PrOval, Bob Manuel, the Secretary of State for
Public Security, and Pierre Denize, the new, very impressive Director-General of the Haitian
However, it is still too early to report that Haiti has met the Dole Amendment's standard
of "thorough investigation." We have therefore consulted closely with Congress on the
assistance programs we feel must go forward even as the Haitian authorities pursue the
investigations. These include funds for training and equipping the HNP (and the SIU), and
strengthening the Parliament.
But Mr. Chairman, we must combine resolve with realism. Even with committed and
capable leaders like Director-General Denize now in charge, the Haitian National Police is a new
organization, underfunded, understaffed, and with little experience in the difficult tasks ahead
of it. There is, in general in Haiti, a lack of qualified mid-level supervisory personnel. That
applies to the security field as well and therefore represents a handicap for the HNP. In the last
several months, this young force has confronted a series of high-profile kidnapping and the
murder of eight of its own officers. Mr. Denize and his team have responded to this challenge
with an admirable combination of determination and restraint. They have endeavored to carry
out their duty without abusing their power. But the fact is, the HNP still requires mentoring and
operational advice from the international civilian police in Haiti today the so-called CIVPOL.
CIVPOL complements the training available through ICITAP and our Justice Department. There
are now 274 CIVPOL officers from six countries in Haiti, each of them helping to provide the
social stability that will allow Haitian democracy to flourish.
It is essential that there be a continuing international peacekeeping and police presence
in Haiti after the expiration of the current United Nations mandate this Sunday. We are
therefore working hard to muster support within the Security Council for a proposed successor
to UNMIH that would be composed of third-country troops.
While our own military engagement in Haiti is over, the U.S. still has a vital interest in
remaining active in the long-term, difficult task of helping Haiti build a stable democracy. That
emphatically means a society of laws and of accountable law-enforcement.
I would be happy to answer your questions.
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Ms. Barbara Larkin
Assistant Secretary of State
for Legislative Affairs
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Ms. Larkin:
Enclosed are written questions for Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, pursuant to his
sworn testimony at a June 26 Committee hearing on political murders in Haiti. We will provide any
additional questions from other Committee members, as well as the unedited transcript of this hearing for
any necessary editing by Secretary Talbott, as soon as possible. With respect to these submitted
questions, please remind Secretary Talbott that, as a supplement to his statements made under oath
before the Committee, his written replies will be considered as sworn testimony.
We request that you provide us a list of all Administration briefings for members or staff of this
Committee regarding Haiti between September 1994 and October 1995 (including the date and names of
briefers), indicating at which of these sessions Administration officials cited the reliable reports of hit
squads targeting President Aristide's political opponents.
We are awaiting a written response to my June 20 letter to Secretary Christopher regarding the
declassification of 17 Department documents. We anticipate that the Department will provide a specific
justification for deciding not to declassify each of the 17 documents cited in my letter to the Secretary.
We would also appreciate a copy of the internal guidelines followed by Department officials in
declassifying documents related to Guatemala in May.
We intend to complete the record of this hearing as soon as possible. Accordingly, we ask that
written replies to these questions be submitted by July 19th. Any questions regarding the record of this
hearing should be directed to Ms. Caroline Cooper of the Committee staff, 202-225-5021.
With best wishes,
Enclosure as stated
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QUESTIONS FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY STROBE TALBOTT
Pursuant to June 26, 1996, Sworn Testimony before the Committee
For the purposes of your decision not to declassify documents cited in Chairman
Gilman's June 5 and June 26 letters to President Clinton and Secretary Christopher,
respectively, have you reviewed the documents listed in that correspondence?
2. When did you first hear of or see detailed reports, which were first produced by NSC and
Embassy officials in January and February 1995, that key Aristide security aides had
formed groups to operate against President Aristide's opponents?
(a) When did you first discuss these reports with President Clinton, National Security
Advisor Anthony Lake, Deputy National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, Special
Haiti Coordinator James Dobbins
(b) When did you first discuss these reports with President Aristide? When was the
last of the persons implicated in political murders by these reports removed from
positions of authority within the Haitian government?
(c) Why did President Aristide fail to remove these persons from positions of
authority immediately upon the requests by our government?
3. Do you recall discussing the issue of hit squads with then DOD Deputy Secretary John
Deutch, Haiti Coordinator James Dobbins, or members of the NSC staff in late February
1995? When did such discussion first occur, and what was the gist of these
4. Prior to the August 1995 classified report to Congress on this subject, when did you or
any other U.S. official first inform members of this Committee or Committee staff of the
reports received by the Administration in January and February 1995 regarding hit squads
targeting Aristide's political opponents?
(a) When you testified before this Committee on February 24, 1995, and before the
Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere and Peace Corps
Affairs on March 9, 1995, in light of startling reports by U.S. officials just prior to
your testimony, why did you not refer to hit squads run by Aristide's key security
aides targeting political opponents? Did you consider these hit squads relevant to
Haitian politics and impending elections?
(b) Why did U.S. officials fail to inform members of this Committee or its staff of the
existence of hit squads operated by key Aristide aides as soon as such detailed
reports were received?
5. Have you seen draft "talking points," drafted by Mr. James Dobbins for use with
President Aristide around June 30, 1995, that referred to FBI Director Freeh's call to you
regarding the FBI's withdrawal? Did you see this document prior to your June 26, 1996,
testimony? Did these talking points mention the political fallout of the FBI's withdrawal
because it would be impossible to keep quiet the fact that the Aristide government had
blocked the FBI's inquiry?
6. When did you first conclude that the FBI team should be withdrawn? Did you propose
this withdrawal during your mid-August trip to Port au Prince?
7. What caused the FBI agents to remain on the ground in Haiti until mid-October?
8. Have you seen a July 25, 1995, memorandum to you from James Dobbins in which he
observed that a report to you from Assistant Secretary Robert Gelbard citing negative
information about President Aristide's key security aides was based on innuendo, hearsay
and unsubstantiated allegations? Did that Dobbins memorandum also state that a senior
security aide, Dany Toussaint, had been obstructing the FBI's investigation into the
Bertin murder? Did that Dobbins memorandum conclude that some of the murders cited
in the Gelbard memorandum were "politically motivated"?
9. Have you seen a November 1, 1995, memorandum to you from James Dobbins in which
he observed that a U.S. government agency had briefed the Congress on political violence
in Haiti, seemed eager to get the story out, and had resisted efforts to coordinate an
Administration approach to this issue? As suggested in that memorandum, do you recall
ever discussing with your counterparts in the Justice Department, the FBI, or other
involved agencies regarding the need to coordinate joint briefings on the Hill rather than
have separate private briefings?
10. Have you seen an August 16, 1995, memorandum to you from James Dobbins in which
he suggested that, during your mid-August 1995 trip to Haiti, you should refer to political
killings as revenge-motivated and not linked to the elections or current Haitian politics?
11. Judging by what you knew about these political murders by September 1995, if you read
a U.S. government memorandum at that time that characterized the series of murders in
Haiti as being motivated by competition involving narcotics or the operation of gas
stations, would you regard that as an accurate summary of what U.S. officials knew at
12. Did Mr. Dobbins ever complain to you that the FBI was not sharing information with
him? Did you ever ask your counterparts at the NSC, Justice Department, or the FBI to
conduct an inter-agency briefing so that policy makers had access to complete
13. Please provide a list of all trips you have made to Port au Prince from September 1994 to
14. What is your role in the process of making cables available for review by Congressional
committees regarding Haiti? Apart from the question of declassification, have you been
involved personally in decisions to withhold certain documents from this Committee?
15. What role, if any, did you play in making the decision not to directly warn Mireille Bertin
of the murder plot discovered by U.S. officials five days before she was actually killed?
16. Did you participate in a February 16, 1996, meeting at the White House in which senior
Administration officials discussed ways to get around the Dole Amendment by ignoring
Congressional "holds" on reprogramming notifications? Have you participated in any
meeting at any time in which this strategy was proposed?
17. Are you aware of any information linking the murders of eight U.S.-trained policemen in
Haiti in the last six weeks to members of the "hit squads" that carried out earlier political
18. Are you aware of any U.S. official suggesting that the United States counsel the Haitians
to break diplomatic relations with Taiwan in order to placate Beijing over the extension
of the UN mission in Haiti? To your knowledge, did any U.S. official ever direct
representatives of the State Department to prepare a plan for this purpose?
DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE STROBE TALBOTT'S RESPONSES TO
ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FROM BENJAMIN A. GILMAN,
CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE,
(U) For the purposes of your decision not to declassify
documents cited in Chairman Gilman's June 5 and June 26 letters
to President Clinton and Secretary Christopher, respectively,
have you reviewed the documents listed in that correspondence?
(U) With the assistance of relevant U.S. Government officials,
I reviewed the 51 Department of State documents on the 62
document list enclosed with the June 5 letter from Chairmen
Gilman and Combest to the President. After that review, I made
the declassification and release determinations described in
the Department's August 2, 1996 letters to Chairman Gilman,
Representative Hamilton, Chairman Combest, and Representative
(U) When did you first see or hear detailed reports, which were
first produced by NSC and Embassy officials in January and
February 1995, that key Aristide security aides had formed
groups to operate against President Aristide's opponents?
(U) In late February 1995, I read an Embassy report on five
murders that had taken place that month. The Embassy's comment
in that cable was that "the information available to us at this
point is insufficient to establish a trend of anti-military,
anti-right wing political violence . ." The Embassy noted
that, although some of the murders were probably political
assassinations, others appeared to be the result of local
disputes. We previously made the entire cable available for
Committee review, and we have now partially declassified it in
response to the Committee's request.
Classified Information Redacted
(U) Against this background, it is not surprising that our
concerns in February and March focused largely on the
resurgence of common crime and vigilante justice. President
Aristide subsequently made calming public statements, as did
United Nations representatives, and the level of crime
Question 2. (a):
(U) When did you first discuss these reports with President
Clinton, National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, Deputy
National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, Special Haiti
Classified Information Redacted
(U) During the weeks and months following the Bertin murder, :
discussedd the commando-style killings and how to address them
with all of the above-mentioned officials and with many others.
Initially, the motives for the murders were far from clear.
What was clear by late March was that the murders raised a
number of questions to which we did not have answers. Only
after collecting additional information would we be in a
position to take action.
Oubstion 2. (b):
(U) When did you first discuss these reports with President
Aristide? When was the last'of the persons implicated in
political murders by these reports removed from positions of
authority within the Haitian Government?
Question 2. (c):
(U) Why did President Aristide fail to remove these persons
from positions of authority immediately upon the requests by
Classified Information Redacted
(U) Do you recall discussing the issue of hit squads with then
DOD Deputy Secretary John Deutch, Haiti Coordinator James
Dobbins, or members of the NSC staff in late February 1995?
When did such discussion first occur, and what was the gist of
(U) Although I do not have any specific record of our
conversations, I would likely have discussed the February 1995
murders with Ambassador Dobbins soon after their occurrence.
In the weeks thereafter, I discussed these and other killings,
particularly the Bertin murder, with senior NSC staff at
meetings of the Deputies Committee and on other occasions.
Among those with whom I would have discussed the murders were
Deputy National Security Advisor Berger, then Deputy Secretary
of Defense John Deutch, and the Vice President's National
Security Advisor, Leon Fuerth.
Classified Information Redacted
(U) Prior to the August 1995 classified report to Congress on
this subject, when did you or any other U.S. official first
inform members of this Committee or Committee staff of the
reports received by the Administration in January or February
1995 regarding hit squads targeting Aristide's political
(U) In early 1995, reports on murders dild not suggest a pattern
or trend, and the murders were few in number as compared with
the period following Aristide's ouster. As of August 1995,
there had been perhaps 20 murders since Aristide's return that
could fall into the category of commando-style killings.
Between 1991 and Aristide's 1994 return to Haiti, there had
been some 3,000 murders, according to local and international
human rights organizations. The killings which had taken place
were nevertheless a cause of great concern, and an issue on
which we had frequent discussions with the Congress --
discussions which helped, inter alia, to frame legislation in
the Foreign Operations bill responsive to the situation.
Question 4, (a):
(U) When you testified before this Committee on February 24,
1995, and before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on
Western Hemisphere and Peace Corps Affairs on March 9, 1995, in
light of startling reports by U.S. officials just prior to your
testimony, why did you not refer to hit squads run by
Aristide's key security aides targeting political opponents?
Did you consider these hit squads relevant to Haitian politics
and impending elections?
Classified Material Redacted
(U) Why did U.S. officials fail to inform members of this
Committee or its staff of the existence of hit squads operated
by key Aristide aides as soori as such detailed reports were
(U) Have you seen draft "talking points," drafted by Mr. James
Dobbins for use with President Aristide around June 30, 1995,
that referred to FBI Director Freeh's call to you regarding the
FBI's withdrawal? Did you see this document prior to your June
26, 1996 testimony? Did these talking points mention the
political fallout of the FBI's withdrawal because it would be
impossible to keep quiet the fact that the Aristide government
had blocked the FBI's inquiry?
Classified Information Redacted
(U) When did you first conclude that the FBI team should be
withdrawn? Did you propose this withdrawal during your
mid-August trip to Port-au-Prince?
Classified Information Redacted
(U) What caused the FBI agents to remain on the ground in Haiti
Classified Information Redacted
(U) Have you seen a July 25, 1995 memorandum to you from James
Dobbins in which he observed that a report to you from
Assistant Secretary Robert Gelbard citing negative information
about President Aristide's key security aides was based on
innuendo, hearsay, and unsubstantiated allegations? Did that
Dobbins memorandum also state that a senior security aide, Dany
Toussaint, had been obstructing the FBI's investigation into
the Bertin murder? Did that Dobbins memorandum conclude that
some of the murders cited in the Gelbard memorandum were
Classified Information Redacted
(U) Have you seen a November 1, 1995 memorandum to you from
James Dobbins in which he observed that a U.S. government
agency had briefed the Congress on political violence in Haiti,
seemed eager to get the story out, and had resisted efforts to
coordinate an Administration approach to this issue? As
suggested in that memorandum, do you recall ever discussing
with your counterparts in the Justice Department, the FBI, or
other involved agencies regarding the need to coordinate joint
briefings on the Hill rather than have separate private
(U) Have you seen an August 16, 1995 memorandum to you from
James Dobbins in which he suggested that, during your
mid-August 1995 trip to Haiti, you should refer to political
killings as revenge-motivated and not linked to elections or
current Haitian politics?
(U) I have seen this memorandum, and I have released it to the
Committee as a public document. The document was not prepared
for my trip to Haiti nor did it have any relevance to the
trip. Its basic purpose was to update me on what had already
been done and said on these issues. It did suggest that up to
20 murders might be most accurately characterized as
"revenge-motivated killings," and noted that, in so far as we
knew, "none of these killings were linked to the elections, or
to current Haitian politics." The elections referred to were
the Haitian parliamentary elections, which were underway at the
time that memorandum was drafted.
Classified Information Redacted
(U) Judging by what you knew about i- .; i.,litical murders by
September 1995, if you read a U.S. IL;.ir ;idum at that time that
characterized the series of murders ik; Haiti as being motivated
by competition involving narcotics or the operation of gas
stations, would you regard that as an accurate summary of what
U.S. officials knew at that time?
(U) Did Mr. Dobbins ever complain to you that the FBI was not
sharing information with him? Did you ever ask your
counterparts at the NSC, Justice Department, or the FBI to
conduct an inter-agency briefing so that policy makers had
access to complete information?
Classified Information Redacted
(U) Please provide a list of all trips you have made to
Port-au-Prince from September 1994 to present.
(U) I made a total of nine trips to Port-au-Prince in that time
frame, as follows:
1. October 7-11, 1994. (Trip made in connection with President
Aristide's return to Haiti.)
2. December 5-6, 1994 (Trip with DOD Deputy Secretary Deutch
and Deputy National Security Advisor Berger.)
3. March 7-8, 1995 (Visited Haiti as leader of the
Presidential Business Development Mission.)
4. March 31, 1995 (Accompanied President Clinton on his trip
5. July 27, 1995 (Accompanied CINC USACOM General Sheehan and
USAID Director Brian Atwood to Haiti. Met with President
Aristide, leaders of Lavalas Political Platform, leaders of
main opposition parties, international organization officials,
and Haitian business representatives.)
6. August 16-17, 1995 (Met with President Aristide and
7. February 7, 1996 (Served as a member of the U.S. delegation
to President Preval's inauguration.)
. May 29-30, 1996 (Stopped by Port-au-Prince on the way to a
meeting of the OAS General Assembly in Panama City. Met with
President Preval and with former President Aristide.)
9. August 30, 1996 (Accompanied National Security Advisor
Lake, General Sheehan, Ambassador Dobbins, and Mr. Lake's and
my Canadian counterparts to Haiti to discuss economic issues,
UNSMIH status, and security issues. Assistant Secretaries
Davidow and Gelbard and Special Haiti Coordinator Joseph G.
Sullivan joined us on the trip.)
Classified Information Redacted
(U) What is your role in the process of making cables
available for review by Congressional committees regarding
Haiti? Apart from the question of declassification, have you
been involved personally in decisions to withhold certain
documents from this Committee?
(U) Although I made the declassification and release
determinations regarding the Department of State documents
listed in the June 5 letter from Chairmen Gilman and Combest to
the President, I do not normally participate in decisions on
which documents the Committee is to be authorized to review in
their classified form. Recommendations on congressional access
to documents are arrived at through a review process involving
numerous elements of the Department and, as necessary, the NSC
and other agencies. The recommendations are normally acted on
by a Department of State Principal below the Deputy Secretary
level -- although in two instances involving Haiti documents, I
did make the final decision on congressional access to
documents when no other appropriate Principal was available.
When documents are withheld, the Committee is informed of the
reasons for this action.
(U) What role, if any, did you play in making the decision not
to directly warn Mireille Bertin of the murder plot discovered
by U.S. officials five days before she was actually killed?
(U) I had no involvement in discussions or decisions on the
manner in which our information of a threat against Madame
Bertin would be passed to her. I would therefore refer you to
the extensive classified answer on this subject which the
Department provided to the House Permanent Select Committee on
Intelligence on October 31, 1995, and which was coordinated
with the Departments of Defense and Justice, the CIA and the
(U) Did you participate in a February 16, 1996 meeting at the
White House in which senior Administration officials discussed
ways of getting around the Dole Amendment by ignoring
Congressional "holds" on reprogramming notifications? Have you
participated in any meeting at any time in which this strategy
Classified Information Pedacted
(U) I attended the Deputies Committee Meeting on Haiti on
February 16, 1996, but there was absolutely no discussion of
circumventing the Dole Amendment. I am unaware of any
Administration meetings on "ways to get around the Dole
Amendment." As Acting Assistant Secretary Barbara Larkin made
clear in her April 22, 1996 letter to Chairman Gilman, the
Administration is fully committed to the objectives of the Dole
Amendment and shares Chairman Gilman's strong interest in doing
everything possible to help advance the rule of law in Haiti.
(U) In testimony before the House Appropriations Committee on
March 21, 1996, then Assistant Secretary for Inter-American
Affairs Alexander F. Watson Stated that "we are hopeful the
criteria of the'Dole Amendment will be met" by the Government
of Haiti. We made clear in several discussions with senior
levels of the Haitian Government that we took the Dole
Amendment very seriously and that we expected the Haitian
authorities to conduct thorough investigations of extrajudicial
and political killings and to cooperate with U.S. authorities
on those investigations.
(U) Are you aware of any information linking the murders of
eight U.S.-trained policemen in Haiti in the last six weeks to
members of the "hit squads" that carried out earlier political
(U) Are you aware of any official suggesting that the United
States counsel the Haitians to break diplomatic relations with
Taiwan in order to placate Beijing over the extension of the
U.N. Mission in Haiti? To your knowledge,.did any U.S.
official ever direct representatives of the State Department to
prepare a plan for this purpose?
Classified Information Redacted
(U) The U.S. does not take a position on whether other
governments should recognize the PRC or Taiwan. That is a
matter for them to decide. If we are asked, we explain what
our policy is, but we do not recommend how others should
proceed. In the case of Haiti, consistent with this approach,
we have made no recommendation on Haitian recognition or
derecognition of the PRC or Taiwan. To my knowledge, no U.S.
official ever directed Department of State officers to develop
a plan to influence Haitian recognition of Taiwan.
HEARINGS AND BRIEFINGS ON HAITI POLICY PROVIDED BY
THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE FOR IIRC MEMBERS AND STAFF
SEPTEMBER 1994-OCTOBER 1995
This list shows 18 meetings, briefings or hearings involving
HIRC Members or staff during this period. During this same
period, there were 26 other meetings, briefings and hearings on
Haiti involving other Members and Committees of the Congress.
In addition, CIA advises that a number of Agency products on
political killings and related issues were provided to Congress
between March 24, 1995 and December 30, 1995, including some to
HIRC and SFRC. There were four National Intelligence Daily
(NID) items between March and December 1995, and a dedicated
report on the political killings issues, August 15, 1995 and
reissued on December 15, 1995.
12 October 1995 HEARING SHC Dobbins and AID/LAC
Director Parker testify before HIRC Western Hemisphere Subcte.
FBI investigation of Bertin killing discussed. Separately,
Assistant Secretary Shattuck addresses Members at breakfast
given by Stanley Foundation.
27 July 1995 Briefing ARA/HWG briefs International
Relations Committee staff on Haiti election issues.
21 June 1995 Briefing AID and ARA/HWG brief
bipartisan HIRC staff on Haiti election, funding and police
18-19 May 1995 Meetings Ambassador Swing, visiting
from Haiti, called on Members of Congress and staff to discuss
developments. He meets Sens. Graham and Coverdell, Reps.
Brown, Gilman, Hamilton and Goss and staff of Leahy, SSCI, SFRC
and HIRC. Key issues discussed include elections, Guantanamo
refugees, and attracting foreign investment.
22 March 1995 Briefing IO briefs bipartisan
HIRC/HPSCI/HNSC staff on UNMIH intelligence sharing issues.
9 March 1995 Briefing SHC Dobbins briefs Chairman
Gilman in advance of the latter's visit to Haiti.
24 February 1995 HEARING Acting Secretary Talbott, DoD
Under Secretary Slocombe, AID AA Schneider and SHC Dobbins
testified before the International Relations Committee.
Main issues are the MNF's role and exit strategy, the cost of
U.S. deployment and upcoming elections. The Acting Secretary's
testimony and follow-up questions for the record addressed
allegations of human rights abuses by members of the Haitian
9 February 1995 Meetings Ambassador Swing, visiting
from Haiti, called on Members of Congress to discuss
developments. He meets with Sens. Pell, Leahy, Coverdell and
Dodd and Reps. Torricelli, Gilman, Goss, Frazer, Owens and
Payne to discuss, inter alia, Haiti assistance, MNF exit
strategy, private sector boosting and Cherubin's role in the
8 February 1995 Briefing SHC Dobbins and DoD, USAID,
USDOC and USTR officials briefed the Congressional Black
Caucus, including HIRC Members.
12 January 1995 Meeting ARA DAS' meet with SFRC (Fisk) and
HIRC (Noriega) majority staff to discuss broad ARA themes for
1995, including Haiti.
29 November 1994 Briefing, Deputy Secretary Talbott
briefed HFAC Members and staff on Haiti developments.
2 November 1994 Briefings JCS, ARA, AID and DoD briefed
Foreign Relations Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee staff
(separate briefings) on developments in Haiti. Safehaven
issues, police training. MNF plans, election issues,
humanitarian assistance and congressional notifications
21 October 1994 Briefing AID and State briefed Foreign
Affairs Committee staff on Haiti funding issues.
6 October 1994 Briefing Under Secretary Tarnoff
joined NSC and DOD officials to brief all interested Members,
including some from HFAC, on Haiti developments.
27 September 1994 Briefing Deputy Secretaries Talbott
and Deutch and General Sheehan brief members of the House
Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees on developments
27 September 1994 HEARING Deputy Secretaries Talbott
and Deutch and General Sheehan testify before the House Foreign
Affairs Committee on operations in Haiti.
17-19 September 1994 Briefings Senior Administration
officials alerted key Members about the Carter-Nunn-Powell
mission to Haiti and the introduction of U.S. troops.
15 September 1994 Briefing Administration officials
briefed HFAC/SFRC staffers on the call up of reserve troops for
Operation Support Democracy in Haiti.
Questions for the Record
Submitted to Deputy Secretary Talbott
by Rep. Goss
Committee on International Relations
June 26, 1996
Question: (pg. 45, In. 1069)
Why is a true democrat like Mr. Brutus forced to seek political
asylum if Haiti is the emerging democracy that the Clinton
Administration wishes us to believe that it is?
Mr. Duly Brutus was a prominent member of the Haitian
legislature elected in 1990, a leader of the Panpra Socialist
party, and served as President of the Chamber of Deputies from
August 1991 to early 1994, including much of the period of de
facto military rule.
Following President Aristide's return to Haiti, Mr. Brutus was
accused by some Aristide supporters of being a collaborator and
supporter of the military regime. He and his family were also
subject to some harassment and threats by unknown persons.
Our embassy expressed our concern to the Haitian government
regarding these threats, and we understand that the police have
attempted to investigate the case.
Regarding Mr. Brutus's current status, we believe the Haitian
Government should provide assurances that would allow him to
return to Haiti. In the final instance it will have to be a
personal decision on his part whether and when to do so.
Our embassy stays in periodic touch with Mrs. Brutus, who
remains in Port-au-Prince, to monitor her situation, and has
made our continuing concern for her security known to local
Question: (pg. 45, In. 1080)
Since October 15, I would like to know, has the U.S. Government
directly notified any potential Haitian or Haitian Americans
whom it considers to be in credible danger of assassination?
Has the embassy taken any steps, with the information it has,
to put people on alert?
The embassy or other U.S. government representatives have
warned nine Haitians that we possessed credible information of
threats to their safety. The persons notified included two
Haitian government figures, three officers of the former
Haitian Armed Forces, and four individuals in the Haitian
security services. The Department would be glad to provide
further information on the persons warned in a classified
briefing if you wish.
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