July 15, 1994
The Honorable Warren Christopher
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Mr. Secretary:
The crisis of Haiti deepens each day. The new pressures and increased sanctions from outside, the bellicose rejection of these measures by those who wield power within Haiti, the desperate plight of the refugees, and the ominous threat of military intervention all make it imperative that a solution be found soon to the present impasse.
In May, the Catholic bishops of Haiti issued a pastoral message to their people, and to all people of good will. The bishops urge a course of action that could lead to national reconciliation, rather than to continued destruction. Let me summarize the main points of their message, a copy of which is enclosed.
The people are dying and the country, they say, is on the very brink of ruin, and is now threatened with armed intervention from abroad. An invasion that would add to the bloodshed and violate their proud sovereignty must, they maintain, be rejected.
Many measures, they continue, have been tried but all have failed to resolve the present crisis. Perhaps the model that succeeded in bringing about settlements in the South African and Middle East situations holds out the only hope here; namely, getting the protagonists to sit down together at the same table, as they did not do even at Governors Island.
From our own communications with church people in Haiti, I know that the bishops are prepared to do whatever they can to further a process of true negotiation. Whether the possibility of a negotiated political settlement of the crisis still remains, the bishops do not say, but they do plead with the leaders on both sides to make the bold gesture, to come together in frank and courageous dialogue, and save the nation whose very survival depends on their finding a way out of this impasse.
I hope, Mr. Secretary, that these reflections of the Haitian bishops may be of some value to you and your staff as you make the difficult decisions regarding U.S. policy toward Haiti. Be assured of my prayers in this most serious undertaking.
Most Reverend Daniel P. Reilly
Bishop of Norwich
Chairman, USCC Committee
on International Policy
cc: Hon. William H. Gray
Hon. Anthony Lake
Hon. Richard Feinberg