[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[June 12, 1998]
[Page 953]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

[[Page 953]]

Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Situation in Guinea-
Bissau and the Deployment of United States Forces
June 12, 1998

Dear Mr. Speaker:  (Dear Mr. President:)
    On June 6, 1998, elements of Guinea-Bissau's army mutinied and 
attacked the government of President Vieira. Government forces mounted a counterattack, but have 
been unable to quell the revolt. Rebel forces, who occupy a military 
camp very near the U.S. Embassy compound in Bissau, came under attack 
from government and foreign forces on June 10, placing the Embassy and 
U.S. Government employees at risk.
    As a result of the deteriorating situation in Bissau and the threat 
to American lives and property, a standby evacuation force of U.S. 
military personnel from the U.S. European Command was deployed to Dakar, 
Senegal, on June 10 to be prepared to evacuate American private citizens 
and government employees, as well as selected third country nationals in 
Bissau. Currently, both the airfield in Bissau and the main road to the 
airport are closed due to the fighting between government and rebel 
forces. Forty-four Americans have already been evacuated by a Portuguese 
vessel and a Senegalese ship from the city of Bissau, leaving our 
Ambassador and a staff of four in the U.S. Embassy there. Efforts are 
underway to coordinate the evacuation of 17 Peace Corps volunteers in 
upcountry areas.
    The forces currently in Dakar, Senegal, include enabling forces, a 
Joint Task Force Headquarters, fixed-wing aircraft and associated 
support personnel, and a U.S. special forces company. Although U.S 
forces are equipped for combat, this action is being undertaken solely 
for the purpose of protecting American citizens and property. United 
States forces will redeploy as soon as it is determined that the 
evacuation is completed.
    I have taken this action pursuant to my constitutional authority to 
conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief 
Executive. I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the 
Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. I 
appreciate the support of the Congress in this action to protect 
American citizens in Guinea-Bissau.

                                                      William J. Clinton

Note: Identical letters were sent to Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House 
of Representatives, and Albert Gore, Jr., President of the Senate. This 
letter was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on June 13.