Haitian President Ertha Pascal-Trouillot expressed confidence yesterday that her 10-week-old interim government will be able to hold democratic elections as early as September, despite continuing violence in Haiti and a lack of funds.

Trouillot, who met Thursday with President Bush, Secretary of State James A. Baker III and other officials, said during a meeting with Washington Post editors and reporters that a U.S. aid package of $31 million for the rest of this calendar year is not enough to address her government's basic needs. However, she said, her administration would find a way to organize the elections. Haitians and some U.S. officials have expressed doubts that a vote can be arranged so soon, particularly in the face of resistance from within the military and supporters of Haiti's longtime ruling family, the Duvaliers.

Trouillot, a reserved 46-year-old widow, left her position as a supreme court justice in March to head the interim government following the ouster of Gen. Prosper Avril. While her personal commitment to democracy and fair elections appears universally accepted, several U.S. officials said they cannot rule out a repeat of the chaotic elections that followed the overthrow of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986.

Gangs of gunmen scuttled a 1987 election when they attacked polls and killed 37 people, as troops stood by. As a result, U.S. aid to the Haitian government was cut off. In 1988, the army supervised a disorganized election seen as fraudulent and soon after overthrew the civilian who had been named the winner.

Recently, Haiti's supporters in Congress asked the administration to transfer $20 million from the defense budget to help Haiti pay for essential imports and stabilize its chaotic economy, a congressional source said. They managed to get $10 million, to be taken from elsewhere in the foreign aid budget, he said. U.S. aid for Haiti also includes $3 million to fund the election and $18 million in surplus wheat.

A U.S. official who specializes in Haiti expressed concern that the aid package may be too little, and frustration at the difficulty in keeping top administration officials focused on Haiti amid competing issues involving U.S.-Soviet relations, Europe and the Middle East.

"If this {election} effort collapses, we're going to be left with chaos, a mass feeding problem, mass migration and a platform for the drug trade," he said. "We won't be able to isolate ourselves from the consequences of that. It's cheaper to find the money now rather than later."

Port-au-Prince, the capital, has suffered a crime wave since Trouillot took office, with daylight robberies and shootings that have been attributed to unpaid soldiers, Duvalierists and ordinary criminals. Haiti's government is virtually bankrupt and struggling to pay its employees and provide even basic public services.