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

1063. Dragon Rouge. Ref: Brussels 986.2 We cannot of course question GOB decision to delegate authority to de Kerchove re activation of Dragon Rouge, and we are prepared on basis reftel to accept his notification of Godley of code word “Punch” as constituting GOB decision to implement Dragon Rouge plan. For its part, however, USG must continue reserve right take final decision in Washington at highest Governmental level. We therefore propose following “GO” procedure in order preclude misunderstanding or confusion in possibly fast-moving circumstances:

1. US channels will be used exclusively for necessary consultations and communication of decisions.

2. Without questioning GOB delegation to Belgian Ambassador Leo, procedures outlined below assume Belgian “Punch” signal could come from either Brussels or Leo.

3. If “GO” originates Leo: Amembassy will communicate simultaneously to Washington and Brussels “Punch” and US Embassy recommendation. If USG concurs, JCS will be informed and will transmit “Punch” and appropriate instructions to US force commander through military channels. If USG nonconcurs, it will consult with GOB immediately.

4. If “GO” originates GOB Brussels: If US concurs, US will signal Dragon Rouge force through JCS as (3) above. If US nonconcurs, it will consult Brussels and Leo urgently.

5. If “GO” originates Washington: USG will Flash Brussels and Leo and accept “Punch” from either, then proceed with “GO” to Dragon Rouge force through JCS as (3) above. If GOB or Belgian Ambassador Leo nonconcurs, US will expect GOB and/or Belgian Ambassador Leo to consult with USG urgently regarding nonconcurrence and reasons.

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Believe above conforms generally with Belgian understanding described reftel. Please confirm soonest that GOB accepts above more specific procedure.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Top Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Palmer and Brubeck, cleared by Creel and Lang and Alexander in DOD, and approved by Harriman. Repeated to Leopoldville, CINCMEAFSA, and USCINCEUR.
  2. In telegram 986 from Brussels, November 18, MacArthur reported that the Belgian Government had delegated to de Kerchove the authority to recommend initiation of Dragon Rouge on the basis of Van der Walle’s recommendation. (Ibid.)