304. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Belgium1

860. Department has intelligence information that Colonel Opepe, Third Group Commander Stanleyville, has ordered rebel field commanders to arrest and imprison all Belgians, Catholic priests and nuns, Protestants and Americans and, in one case, all whites. If orders carried out, significant change in situation would be to put other foreign nationals, principally Belgian, in same situation as Americans held by rebels in Stanleyville.

For Brussels: You should see Spaak earliest to give him above information and determine if GOB sources aware these messages. In addition to getting Belgian reactions you should attempt ascertain what action GOB plans take, suggesting that it may wish use its channel communication with Gbenye to verify information and, if true, request orders be annulled. You should add that USG wishes be of assistance if possible and would be sympathetic to any specific suggestions this regard.

For Leopoldville: You should give above information to Belgian Embassy which may be able verify it. We would hope that this will give Belgians Leopoldville greater sense of urgency regarding hostages which they could communicate to Brussels. Request Godley and Palmer opinion on advisability modification present guidelines for air operations.

For Nairobi: In your discretion and in most appropriate manner you may give gist above information to Kenyatta, Murumbi or Mathu in hope this will induce in Kenyatta greater sense of urgency in dealing with Stanleyville question.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Drafted by Schaufele in AF/CWG; cleared by Hughes, McElhiney in AF/CWG, and Ball; and approved by Tasca. Also sent to Leopoldville and Nairobi.