552. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission in Geneva1

51385. For Ambassador from Secretary.

1. Please deliver following message from me to ICRC DirGen Gallopin.

2. “You know of our concern over the situation in the Congo. We have believed that the peaceful evacuation of the mercenaries along the lines proposed by the Organization of African Unity is essential if the Congo is not to experience another tragedy. For this reason we have been gratified with the actions the International Commission of the Red Cross has already taken to put into operation a workable plan to evacuate the mercenaries and the Katangese.

We hope that you will be able to move rapidly to put this plan into effect. It seems to me that each day’s delay makes more difficult the final solution. Each of the vitally interested parties, the Congolese government and the mercenaries, may be tempted to take other actions which might bring about the tragedy we all want to avoid. It might be useful for you, while working out final details, to try to send representatives to Kinshasa and Bukavu so as to keep up the momentum towards a peaceful solution.

I know that you have financial problems in handling this task. As Ambassador Tubby told you the other day, we are seeking and hope to [Page 801] have shortly an additional $200,000 to help cover the extraordinary expenditures the ICRC has already encountered in its recent operations. I hope to be able to confirm this contribution soon.

We consider the Congo evacuation essential if there is to be peace and stability in Central Africa and would not want your mission to fail, especially for lack of funds. I therefore want to assure you that my government will make sure that the ICRC does not suffer financially from its humanitarian mission in the Congo. As you know, the Belgian Government is seeking to find additional money and is in touch with other countries which may be prepared to help. If the results of this effort are insufficient, we will do what we have to, in addition to the large contributions we have or are about to make, to assure your success. If there are other problems, such as transport, we will try to be helpful.

With this thought in mind, I want to restate our hope that you can move forward promptly on this urgent problem.

Sincerely yours, Dean Rusk

3. For Ambassador: In delivering above message, tell Gallopin orally that he has my personal commitment on above assurance that USG will guarantee ICRC against financial loss from proposed Congo operation.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Brown, cleared by Katzenbach, and approved by Rusk. Repeated to Kinshasa and Brussels.