“Former Ambassador Prudence Bushnell's notebooks provide a never-before-seen view into the inner workings of US diplomacy during one of the international community's darkest hours in recent decades. Her personal notebooks, published here for the first time by the National Security Archive, shed light on the Ambassador's own personal ethical struggles, not only with US foreign policy regarding non-intervention during the humanitarian crisis, but also the moral dilemmas that the international community faced from its unwillingness to intervene while genocide ravaged Rwanda.”
“In an interview from 2013, Ambassador Bushnell describes the failed US policy as merely 'keeping busy with tasks that lacked impact so we could say that we were doing something,' even though she knew the official policy of pushing for a cease fire was futile, stating 'If you don't want to make a decision, then you keep everybody busy. You keep the pot boiling, but you don't have to make a decision. And that is what we were doing.'”
“Around April 13th, Bushnell wrote in her personal notebook that 'NSC [National Security Council] requested IO [Office of International Organizations] to draft resolution to pull UNAMIR' [Bushnell Notebook No. 3, page 52]. At that time, Richard Clarke and Susan Rice, the key officials in the NSC working on the US response to the Rwanda crisis, had directed Albright to support a withdrawal of UNAMIR at the UN.”
“An April 13, 1994 memorandum from Douglas Bennett to Secretary of State Warren Christopher (via Peter Tarnoff) regarding an upcoming telephone call to Secretary General Butros-Ghali, indicates that the US supports terminating the UNAMIR peacekeeping operation, and that '…this is not just a Belgian idea.' The document states, 'Given the chaotic conditions in Rwanda, it is impossible for UNAMIR to fulfill its mandate. It is our view, therefore, that the force should withdraw from the country now. At an appropriate time, the force's mandate should be terminated' [Document 15].”
“While we can start to piece together an idea of where the decision to pull out originated, thanks to recently released correspondence between UN representatives from the UK, New Zealand, and Czech Republic and their home governments, we are still missing key documents about how the decision was made within the US government. Crucial documents that would help us understand this decision to call for the withdrawal of UNAMIR troops are in the collections of the Clinton Presidential Library but have been held up by bureaucratic red tape for over a year, and remain unavailable to the public.”
“Bushnell later describes the US policy as a decision not to decide, stating that 'We are trying to do things right, not do the right thing' and points to a lack of leadership at the senior levels: [...] Bushnell also expresses her personal difficulties with the options that were available to her, ...”
These materials are reproduced from www.nsarchive.org with the permission of the National Security Archive.