The Reagan administration, saying it is "deeply distressed and saddened" by the violence that led to cancellation of Haiti's elections, yesterday increased its pressure on Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy's military-controlled government to ensure that Haitians get the chance to vote quickly and safely for a president.
In its initial statements about the Haitian situation, the administration, while condemning Sunday's violence, carefully avoided questioning the motives of the Namphy government and concentrated instead on encouraging it to clamp down on the groups that killed and terrorized voters.
Yesterday, however, amid growing indications that Namphy and the Haitian army are maneuvering to retain long-term control, the administration's rhetoric toughened noticeably. State Department spokesman Charles E. Redman said, "We remain deeply distressed and saddened . . . . It is now incumbent on the government to take dramatic and credible steps to demonstrate that it has the will and the ability to arrest, prosecute and punish those who struck this blow against democracy.
"The United States government calls on the Haitian government to act to stop the violence and to restore confidence in its commitment to the democratic process, and its willingness to conduct an orderly and honest transfer of power to the freely elected representatives of the Haitian people."
Redman said the United States was consulting with other governments that have an interest in Haiti, and he acknowledged that there might be a role for the Organization of American States in underscoring hemispheric concern that progress toward democracy in Haiti be kept on track. But he emphasized that any moves must be diplomatic and that the United States is not contemplating actions beyond suspension of most U.S. aid earmarked for Haiti in the current fiscal year.
Redman said $62 million in economic aid -- $48 million in balance-of-payments support and $14 million in development aid -- is being suspended and that a planned request for about $4 million in military assistance has been shelved. However, he added, because the United States does not wish to punish Haiti's poor people for failures of their government, $32 million in food and development aid disbursed through nongovernmental agencies will continue.