Jean-Bertrand Aristide was the president of Haiti until he was overthrown in a military coup in September of 1991. The United States was a major force in reinstalling the exiled Haitian leader in 1994 under President Bill Clinton through Operation Uphold Democracy. The Novak Archive has obtained the Clinton Presidential Library's photos of Jean-Bertrand Aristide through a Freedom of Information Act request.
FOIA request 2018-0084-F includes 3,998 photographs in color and black & white film processed from 35mm. Not all of the photos in the collection feature President Aristide. US Presidential Libraries that are operated by the National Archives (like Clinton's) process requests at the folder level, meaning that photos from an entire event are processed at a time, many of which may not even contain photos of the desired subject.
As a result, the photos in this FOIA request includes many people that you'd expect, like President Clinton, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and Jean-Bertrand Aristide. But the photo contact sheets also include people you might not expect, like Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, Les Aspin, Leon Fuerth, David Gergen, George Stephanopoulos, and General John Shalikashvili, among others.
There are also random events documented in the photos, such as a visit to the West Wing by firefighters on September 16, 1994.
One event in particular, the Summit of the Americas in 1994, includes photos of a number of world leaders like President Carlos Menmen of Argentina, President Itamar Franco of Brazil, then-President-elect Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, President Violeta Chamorro of Nicaragua, President Rafael Caldera of Venezuela, and Prime Minister Jean Chretien of France, among plenty of others.
I've pulled out a small collection of interesting photos from the FOIA release below. The entire 141 pages of photos can be viewed at Archive.org. A list of oral histories about Operation Uphold Democracy can also be viewed here.
High-resolution photos can be purchased from the William J. Clinton Presidential Library for $16.50 a piece. You must supply the Library with the photo sheet number, along with the shot number of the image you'd like to purchase.
Description from the Clinton Presidential Library for FOIA request 2018-0084-F
3,998 photographs in color and black & white film processed from 35mm.
Collection is open to all researchers. Access to Clinton Presidential Records is governed by the Presidential Records Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. Chapter 22, as amended) and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552, as amended) and therefore records may be restricted in whole or in part in accordance with legal exemptions.
Documents in this collection that were prepared by officials of the United States government as part of their official duties are in the public domain. Researchers are advised to consult the copyright law of the United States (17 U.S.C. Chapter 1) which governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.
Official records of William Jefferson Clinton’s presidency are housed at the Clinton Presidential Library and administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) under the provisions of the Presidential Records Act (PRA).
Staff Archivist, 2017.
Scope and Content
The materials in FOIA 2018-0084-F are a selective body of documents responsive to the topic of the FOIA. Researchers should consult the archivist about related material.
FOIA request 2018-0084-F contains photographs of President Jean-Betrand Aristide of Haiti. President Aristide had been exiled from Haiti following a military coup d’état in 1991. He was returned to power on October 15, 1994, where he remained in office until February 7, 1996. His second term as President would occur following the Clinton Adminstration being in office. Events include meetings at the White House both prior to President Aristide’s reinstallation and following his serving of term, speeches & meetings during the September 1994 reinstallation as President, the 1994 Summit of the Americas, and a transition ceremony in 1995.
Key individuals include President William Jefferson Clinton, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice President Albert “Al” Gore, Jr., Tony Lake, Samuel “Sandy” Berger, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, Les Aspin, Leon Fuerth, David Gergen, George Stephanopoulos, and General John Shalikashvili, among others.
The December 1994 Summit of the Americas events include many foreign heads of state in attendance including, President Carlos Menmen of Argentina, President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada of Bolivia, President Itamar Franco of Brazil, President-elect Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, President Eduardo Frei of Chile, President Jose Maria Figureres of Costa Rica, President Joaquin Balaguer of the Dominican Republican, President Sixto Duran Ballen of Ecuador, President Armando Calderon Sol of El Salvador, President Ramiro de Leon Carpio of Guatemala, President Cheddi Jagan of Guyana, President Carlos Roberto Reina of Honduras, President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, President Violeta Chamorro of Nicaragua, President Ernesto Perez Balladares of Panama, President Juan Carlos Wasmosy of Paraguay, President Alberto Fujimori of Peru, President Ronald Venetiaan of Suriname, President Luis Alberto Lacalle of Uruguay, President Rafael Caldera of Venezuela, Prime Minister Jean Chretien of France, Prime Minister John Compton of Saint Lucia, Prime Minister Nicholas Brathwaite of Grenada, Prime Minister Percival Noel James “P.J.” Patterson of Jamaica, Prime Minister Kennedy Simmonds of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Prime Minister James Fitz-Allen Mitchell of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago.
Select material responsive to this case was previously processed in FOIA case # 2006-1135-F Segments 22 and 62, which contain photographs from March 16, 1993 and July 22, 1993 respectively.
This case contains only a small selection of images containing the subject matter, President Aristide. Further items include President William Jefferson Clinton confering with staff prior to meetings with President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on December 6, 1993, President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore Jr. greeting delegates for the Sumit of the Americas during arrival and at dinner on December 9 and 10, 1994, President Clinton and Vice President Gore participating in the Summit of the Americas sessions on December 9 through 11, 1994, and President Clinton participating in various events in Haiti during his visit on March 31, 1995 including greeting US troops stationed in Haiti & touring their facilites and also participating in both arrival & departure ceremonies at the National Palace.
System of Arrangement
Records that were responsive to this FOIA request were found in one collection area and one series— Clinton Presidential Records: Photographs of the White House Photograph Office and the series therein—Photographs Relating to the Clinton Administration. Processing is done at the Folder/Contact sheet level. While this method maintains folder/contact sheet integrity, it frequently results in the incidental processing of photographs that are not wholly responsive to the subject area.