298. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Read) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Compliance with NSC Action 2498 of August 11, 1964

In compliance with paragraph b.(1) of NSC Action 2498 of August 11, 1964,2 Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, through their representatives in Washington, were sounded out by the Department about the possibility of providing assistance, including the provision of limited forces, to the Congo. Foreign Minister Spaak of Belgium made similar approaches. The reactions of the countries concerned were uniformly negative, although they were sympathetic to Belgian-U.S. aims in the Congo.

The Department of State also instructed its representatives in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Senegal, Liberia and the Malagasy Republic to make representations to those governments encouraging affirmative responses to the Congolese request for troops. Their responses were not completely unfavorable, but all preferred that such assistance be made within the framework of multilateral African action in the Congo. The provision of forces, however, was not agreed at the OAU Conference at Addis Ababa in early September.

The President’s authorization contained in paragraph c. of the NSC Action to assist in airlifting equipment and men from the United States and other nations to and within the Congo is still being carried out. Four C–130 aircraft went to the Congo August 12 and have since engaged in transporting Congolese troops, military supplies and equipment, food and other relief equipment within the Congo. One C–130 was withdrawn October 8. In addition, the United States has airlifted, as necessary, equipment provided by Belgium to the Congo and Rwanda.

The President’s authorization to Defense and AID to consider favorably additional military and economic assistance to African countries providing military assistance to the Congo has not been acted upon since no African country presently provides such aid. However, the five countries from which the Congo has requested military assistance [Page 434] have been informed that the United States would consider favorably requests for an airlift of their troops to the Congo. The British have indicated willingness to airlift Nigerian troops.

H. Gordon3
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Congo, Vol. VI. Secret.
  2. Not printed, but see Document 211.
  3. Herbert Gordon signed for Read above Read’s typed signature.