1994 U.S. intervention in Haiti

By Hannah Van Demark

Entering into my senior year in the fall 2014, I hoped to write my thesis on the 1994 U.S. intervention in Haiti. During the summer 2014, the National Archives released thousands of Clinton records including details of the consideration of military action in Haiti during the early 1990s. Most of the newly released documents are available exclusively at the Clinton Presidential Library. The History Department constantly reinforces the importance of “going to the source,” and, as a senior history major, I was excited about the prospect of conducting original research at the Clinton Presidential Library. Thanks to the generosity of the Evalyn Clark Fellowship, I had the opportunity to do just that.

During October 2014, I was in Little Rock for four days and spent each of the days in the Clinton Archives from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Four collection lists were particularly useful to my research, including the national security council records regarding Haiti, communications between Clinton and his National Security Advisor Anthony Lake regarding Haiti, the Administration’s record on President Jean-Bertrant Aristide of Haiti, and records of Clinton’s National Security Council Foreign Policy Speechwriter Anthony Blinken. Analyzing these recently declassified documents gave me a much greater understanding of the internal discussions and considerations leading up to the 1994 U.S. intervention into Haiti. After being told to “go to the source” over the last three and a half years, I am very grateful I had the opportunity to visit the Clinton Presidential Library to conduct research for my senior thesis.