WASHINGTON — The Bush administration on Tuesday ruled out sending American troops or police to quell the political violence in Haiti, while Canada and France said they would deploy police only as part of a political settlement there.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell acknowledged that the administration, already stretched thin in the Middle East and elsewhere, had no appetite for sending forces to Haiti, where violence among gangs and political allies and foes of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has killed more than 40 people.

"There is, frankly, no enthusiasm right now for sending in military or police forces to put down the violence that we are seeing," Powell said. "What we want to do right now is find a political solution, and then there are willing nations that would come forward with a police presence to implement the political agreement that the sides come to."

The United States sent 21,000 American troops to Haiti in 1994, to oversee the reinstatement of Aristide as president after he was overthrown in a 1991 coup.

Both supporters and critics of Aristide have expressed disappointment with his tenure since then, saying he has done little in ten years to reconcile the nation or ease the hemisphere's worst poverty.

Powell said that the administration has sent a team of experts to assess the crisis. Anti-Aristide partisans and thugs now control a major town, Gonaives, and are threatening to impede the delivery of badly needed food and other relief supplies. The Organization of American States also has representatives on the island.

"We have a serious humanitarian problem there now," Powell said.

Richard Boucher, the State Department spokesman, said there was no evidence that Haitians were seeking to leave the country as refugees, but officials are monitoring the situation closely and have taken steps to intercept boats at sea. After the coup that ousted Aristide, the U.S. Coast Guard interdicted 41,000 Haitian refugees.

Powell called on Aristide to help defuse the situation by putting in place a political agreement, brokered with fellow Caribbean nations, to disarm his loyalists, reform police and welcome political opponents into a new governing council. Powell said the United States would not support Aristide's removal in a coup.

"We cannot buy into a proposition that says the elected president must be forced out of office by thugs," Powell said.

Powell spoke by telephone with French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, who called an emergency meeting in Paris on Tuesday to weigh the risks of sending peacekeepers and discuss how otherwise to help Haiti, an impoverished former colony that is home to 2,000 French citizens.

"We have to reflect on what we can do, for example, in the framework of the Security Council," de Villepin said.

De Villepin stopped short of saying France would send troops and acknowledged the difficulty of such a deployment when a nation is embroiled in rebellion.

But France could contribute from its overseas territories in the region, he said. The French Defense Ministry said it has 4,000 military personnel at two bases in the area, in Martinique and Guadeloupe.

"An intervention force . . . implies a stop to the violence, a restart to dialogue," he said. "Nothing will be possible in Haiti if there isn't a jolt."

Canada joined France in stating it was ready to augment Haiti's 4,000-member police force once the violence stops.

In Ottawa, Canada's foreign minister, Bill Graham, said his country would be willing to send about 100 French-speaking police officers to Haiti if the violence subsides under a political deal. For that to occur, Graham said, Aristide must make political concessions, including the appointment of a new prime minister, and his opponents must disarm.

"Canada will go forward if there is a political solution," Graham told reporters. "Aristide must accept some conditions; the opposition, too."

But some observers argue that the situation may already be too polarized — or chaotic — for a settlement, and that the United States and other governments might be compelled to send forces to bring peace under less than ideal conditions.

"The question is: How much suffering and violence and disorder in Haiti can the U.S. tolerate?" said Peter Hakim, the president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a forum of hemisphere leaders.

He called it "almost inevitable" that the United States would have to find some way, whether with Caribbean nations or the Organization of American states, to intervene.


Contributing: Associated Press