The prospect that U.S. ground troops will be sent to Zaire diminished sharply Monday as senior Clinton administration officials concluded tentatively that the security force proposed by Canada and approved by President Clinton last week is no longer needed.
Plans have changed in light of the massive return of refugees over the weekend from eastern Zaire to Rwanda.
As a result, just five days after Clinton approved U.S. participation in a multinational relief force for Zaire, the developments have refocused planning away from the ominous scenario of a heavily armed rescue force backed by helicopter gunships.
Now the emphasis is on a more conventional airlift of supplies to a receptive country, and on providing development assistance.
No final decisions on changes are to be made until participating countries meet Thursday in Stuttgart, Germany.