358. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Lang) to the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Vance)1


  • Congo

1. I understand that a meeting will be called this morning to decide two questions—

(i) Whether Dragon Rouge forces should be withdrawn to Kamina.

Basically this seems a political question. Leopoldville reports that Stanleyville is secure enough for the Dragon Rouge forces to withdraw, and Dragons Noir and Blanc could be launched from either Stanleyville or Kamina. Those favoring withdrawal argue that it will emphasize the humanitarian aspects of the Stanleyville drop. Others argue to the contrary, fearing that the OAU meeting tomorrow will interpret a move to Kamina (as opposed to a withdrawal from the Congo) as an indication that the Belgian forces intend to remain indefinitely.

(ii) Whether Dragons Blanc (Bunia) and Noir (Paulis) should be launched tomorrow. Earlier, Leopoldville strongly recommended both drops. Leopoldville wants to take no chances with what appears to be an established rebel pattern of executing hostages. Subsequently, the Belgian para commander recommended going forward only with Noir. Apparently, he feels that his forces are tired and he wants to use two companies against Paulis instead of one originally planned. (This would leave him one assault company and one headquarters/support company.)

[Page 519]

2. Incidental Intelligence. The commander of JTF Leo reports that the rescued hostages feel that Stanleyville could have been taken “without a shot,” if Dragon Rouge had been launched two weeks earlier. After the fall of Kindu, Boende and Bumba, the rebels were “psychologically defeated.” They began discarding uniforms, etc., but after several weeks they became brave again.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 69 A 7425, Congo 381 (12 Aug. 64). Top Secret. A stamped notation on the memorandum reads: “Mr. Vance has seen.” A copy was sent to McNaughton.