266. Editorial Note

An ICRC aircraft departed from Bangui in the Central African Republic at 0623Z on September 25, 1964, and arrived in Stanleyville at 0945Z. Before the final decision to fly was made, Tshombe withdrew his proviso that a Congolese Red Cross representative had to be aboard any ICRC flight to Stanleyville, and the ICRC received assurances from the Stanleyville authorities regarding flight safety and authorization to land. (Memorandum from O’Sullivan to Williams, September 25; National Archives, RG 59, AF/CWG Files: Lot 65 D 498 Rebellion. Coups. Stanleyville 1964) On September 27, O’Sullivan reported to Williams that the ICRC plane had returned safely to Bangui on September 26, but had been unable to bring out any evacuees because the rebel leaders feared they would not be able to guarantee the safety of the foreigners, ICRC personnel, or themselves if the Jeunesse and the Army learned that foreigners were being evacuated. The ICRC mission had also not been able to visit the U.S. Consular personnel, but had been assured by a Belgian who saw the Americans regularly that Hoyt and his staff were safe and well. (Memorandum from O’Sullivan to Williams, September 27; ibid.)

In telegram 151 from Bangui, September 27, Ambassador Ross reported that ICRC officials Rubli and Senn told him that feeling against Americans in Stanleyville was running particularly high and that rebel leaders considered the United States an “aggressor.” Rubli emphasized that he greatly feared for the lives of all foreigners in Stanleyville in the event of any bombings or even overflights, and warned that any military action to take the city would have to be sudden and massive enough that key points could be secured quickly or they would run the risk of a general massacre. (Ibid., Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO)