229. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Congo1

390. For Ambassador from Secretary. Regarding your flash 631 you should know that STRCC 8653 was based directly upon Presidential instructions.2 The point is that we do not intend to be drawn step by step into use of US military personnel for armed action against the rebels while other African nations and all of Western Europe are sitting on their hands. If everyone else in the free world resigns from any serious responsibility for what happens in Africa and we have to face what we do in that circumstance, we will look at it and come to a highest level decision. But we do not wish to have that decision made for us by bits and pieces. STRCC 8653 constitutes a directive for you as well as military and I regret that you were not so informed last night. Regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted and approved by Rusk and cleared by Fredericks.
  2. Telegram 631 from Leopoldville, August 20, noted that STRCC 8653 precluded any use of force to rescue a party led by Colonel William Dodds, U.S. Strike Command’s Senior Representative in Leopoldville, which had gone to inspect the front lines near Bukuvu on the morning of August 19 and been reported missing. Godley assured Rusk and Harriman that U.S. Embassy and military officials in Leopoldville were fully cognizant of the risks involved and would not incur unnecessary ones. (Ibid.) STRCC 8653 has not been found.