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

1013. Subject: Dragon Rouge. We assured by Col Dunn that Belgian assault forces will give priority attention rescuing five official Americans Stanleyville, who Belgians aware are in greater danger than other foreign nationals. We understand also that Belgian assault force includes some personnel who familiar with Stanleyville area and possibly even some who speak local native languages. We consider both high priority requirements since ability find out where Americans are and disposition get to them quickly may well be life-or-death matter. As opportunities arise in discussion Dragon Rouge, you should make clear importance we attach to these two points.

In further effort along these lines, we sending Clingerman, former Stanleyville consul, to Brussels tonight (arriving 1100 PanAm 108, Nov 17). His mission in Brussels will be to consult with Belgians in order assist in planning specific measures to be taken to rescue Americans. If as we assume Belgians have no objection, he will then accompany Belgian forces from Brussels to Ascension and, if decision taken to execute Dragon Rouge, on to but not beyond Kamina. He will have all info re location Americans Stan available to us and be authorized function in general capacity of political liaison and adviser to Dragon Rouge. (For Leo: You should take whatever steps possible in advance on contingency basis to assure that latest info on location Americans and on Stan generally would be made available to Clingerman in Kamina and Ascension to include in briefing there of Belgian forces. We are assembling info on communications with Ascension.)

We note Spaak and Lefevre concerned re foreign nationals in rebel territory outside Stan and are giving thought rescue operations there also. We agree fully on importance contingency planning for such operations. CINCEUR is being instructed be prepared provide planners for this purpose immediately. Advise when they should come Brussels.

Dragon Rouge makes no provision for evacuation Belgian paratroopers from Stanleyville after mission completed there. If GOB has in mind use paratroopers for missions other than rescue foreign nationals, please advise soonest. In absence overriding considerations believe it desirable C–130 force evacuate Belgian force ASAP on completion of [Page 475] evacuation mission in order preserve most defensible public record that mission was strictly confined to evacuation, without military or political overtones. If Belgians agree, CINCEUR planners available immediately to work out with Belgians necessary modifications of plan.2

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Top Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by McElhiney; cleared by Lang in DOD, Colonel Dunn in JCS, Palmer, and McKillop; and approved by Harriman. Also sent to Leopoldville and repeated to USCINCEUR, CINCSTRIKE, and London.
  2. In telegram 960 from Brussels, November 17, MacArthur reported that Spaak said Belgium did not intend to use paratroopers except to rescue foreign nationals, and that he thought it desirable that C–130s evacuate Belgian forces from Stanleyville as soon as possible after completion of their mission. Spaak hoped that CINCEUR would send planners to Brussels as soon as possible to make the necessary modifications in the current plan and to engage in further contingency planning for evacuation of foreigners from areas other than Stanleyville. (Ibid.)