Interview with Cyrus Vance

When we talked on the phone you described the rules of engagement that are followed in a situation like this. From the point at which you federalized the guard and the federalists take over, can you talk about those rules of engagement and where the current law enforcement people stood in terms of the weapons and the ammunition.


Sure. The, one of the first things we did when we federalized, ah, the guard and sent the federal troops into the eastern part of the city, was to make clear that the rules of engagement, so called, in other words, the instructions to the troops, were very clear as to how they should comport themselves. And, ah, there were four basic principles in escalating order of severity as to how they should handle themselves. I can't remember the exact order but basically you started off with, ah, ah, sheathed bayonets and no ammunition in the guns and moved all the way through the, ah, four steps up to, ah, ah, unsheathed bayonets affixed to the rifles, and ammunition in the guns. And the commanders of the various units were to proceed in accordance with the severity of the problem as they saw it, recognizing that the bottom line was to use the minimum force possible in order to, ah, bring the situation under control.