323. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Harriman) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler)1


  • Dragon Rouge

1. With reference to General Lemnitzer’s telegram of November 15 to Ambassador MacArthur regarding the Dragon Rouge operation,2 the Department of State:

A. Considers Dragon Rouge to be a Belgian operation with U.S. logistical support; and

B. Agrees that if and when the necessary joint US/GOB decision to implement the plan has been made, the military commander responsible for making the “go/no-go” and timing decisions from Kamina onward should be the Belgian paratroop commander.

2. The plan now provides that, following completion of the mission and refueling and crew rest at Leopoldville, the 12 C–130’s “will prepare to return to home station via Wheelus”. As was the case with the movement to Stanleyville, overriding political considerations make the use of Wheelus for the return trip impossible. The plan should be [Page 471] amended to provide for return without overflying African countries, none of whom would be likely to grant overflight clearances even if we were prepared to request them. The most direct politically acceptable route would be the one used by the C–130’s for the flight from Brussels to Stanleyville, i.e. via Ascension and Las Palmas to Europe.

3. The plan makes no provision for the evacuation of Belgian paratroopers from Stanleyville after completion of the mission. We are asking the American Embassy in Brussels to ascertain Belgian intentions in this regard.

W. Averell Harriman 3
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Top Secret. Drafted by McElhiney.
  2. Not found.
  3. Printed from a copy that indicates Harriman signed the original.