363. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Harriman) to Secretary of State Rusk1


  • Congo Rescue Mission

We have just been informed by CINCSTRIKE that the Paulis evacuation has now been completed with the evacuation of nearly 400 refugees. The planes are safely back in the air with the Belgian paratroopers and on their way to Kamina. Meanwhile, there has been a partial redeployment to Kamina of the remaining paratrooper force at Stanleyville; this redeployment will be completed tomorrow.

Present plans are that the entire paratrooper force will leave Kamina on November 29 via Ascension, Las Palmas and Spanish bases to Belgium. This delay from previous plans to begin the move on the 28th is occasioned by Spaak’s desire to have the entire unit arrive in a group for appropriate ceremonies in Brussels.

Late yesterday afternoon, you suggested to Joe Palmer that we should have a final look at the question of possibly utilizing the force for other rescue operations in the Congo before it is finally withdrawn. In the absence of any Belgian request for further operations and in view of the fact that our information indicates that the few remaining Americans are in locations which would not be affected by paradrops, both Joe Palmer and I believe that the force should be withdrawn on the 29th according to the foregoing plan.

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Would you kindly let us know urgently whether you concur in this judgment.

Approve withdrawal on the 29th2

Believe we should reconsider possible further use of force before withdrawal

W. Averell Harriman3
  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division Harriman Papers, KennedyJohnson Administrations, Subject Files, Box 448, Congo (3). Secret.
  2. Rusk initialed his approval of this option. The 10 U.S. C–130s and the Belgian paratroop battalion that had carried out the rescue missions at Stanleyville and Paulis left the Congo at dawn on November 29.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.