356. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) and the Under Secretary of State (Ball)1

Ball informed Bundy of his talk with the Belgian Amb. who said this had been the most important and moving experience in Spaak’s life. Ball thought some kind of message should be sent out. Ball told Bundy of the efficient job the paras were doing in Stan. This has been a model operation.

Bundy suggested that the President could call Spaak if someone would dictate 3–4 lines on what he should say. Ball was not sure the call should go to Spaak. Bundy suggested as an alternative, Rusk might call Spaak and say the President had asked him to express the warmest congratulations . . . . Ball thought Spaak might like to have something he could put out. Bundy then suggested a message to the PM or to the King. Ball said we would get something up and send it over. Bundy suggested the message be telephoned over and action would be taken on it.2

Bundy asked if there had been any preliminary thought on “what next”. Ball said nothing had come through about whether it would take another drop or whether the column would go up the road.

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Bundy asked about Gbenye. Ball said there had been no mention at all. Ball told Bundy about his short backgrounder for the press. Ball said this morning he fed out the story from Hoyt which said one, if there had been another 24 hour delay, he thinks there would have been a massacre; two, that the air drop was what saved them—only that saved them. Bundy thought this would be very good therapy for us. The fact that some of the hostages were shot justified the movement.

Ball said that Spaak did not want a SC meeting3 and things were relaxed there. Ball said he was trying to reach Humphrey and fill him in, before his luncheon.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Ball Papers, Congo III, 11/7/64–3/17/66. No classification marking. Prepared by Jacquelyn Taylor.
  2. Telegram 1176 to Brussels, November 24, conveyed a message from Rusk to Spaak expressing his “personal compliments and gratitude.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO)
  3. In telegram 1065 from Brussels, November 24, MacArthur reported that since Spaak continued to have serious reservations concerning a request for a Security Council meeting, they had agreed to send a full written report to the Security Council without requesting a formal Council meeting. (Ibid.)