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

1006. Ref: Brussels 950 rptd Leo 380.2 You should inform Spaak that President and Secretary agree to prepositioning of Dragon Rouge at Ascension and that deployment should take place November 17 as he requests. We are instructing our military commands accordingly.

You should reiterate that any move beyond Ascension requires joint decision by US and Belgian Governments. In this connection, we agree to procedure and proposed use US communications channel for any further movement this force as suggested final para reftel.

We fear Spaak’s proposed cover story so transparent as to blow security on whole operation.3 We are sending septel alternative proposals and believe vital reach agreed position before any cover story used.4

For Leo: De Kerchove and you should coordinate arrangements for forwarding your recommendations in accordance with foregoing understanding.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 BEL. Secret; Flash; Exdis. Drafted by Palmer; cleared by McGeorge Bundy, Lang in DOD, and Williams; and approved by Harriman. Repeated to Leopoldville, CINCSTRIKE, CINCEUR, and London.
  2. Telegram 950 from Brussels, November 16, reported a discussion of the proposed operation with Spaak and Prime Minister Lefevre. (Ibid., POL 23–9 THE CONGO)
  3. Spaak’s proposed cover story was that Belgian troops were involved in a regular training exercise being conducted with the assistance of the U.S. Air Force. (Ibid.)
  4. Telegram 1014 to Brussels, November 16, proposed two cover stories: 1) The Belgian paratroopers were engaged in a joint training exercise with the British and 2) the C–130s were departing for England as part of a mission to fly electronic equipment from England to Ascension Island. (Ibid.)