The chain of events that led the President of the United States thus to apologize for events in Rwanda show deliberate efforts on the part of U.S. government officials to avoid characterizing what was happening in Rwanda as a genocide. This paper will examine key bureaucratic, personal and policy factors in the United States, France and the United Nations leading to their respective reactions to the Rwandan genocide that began on April 6, 1994. Between that date, when an airplane carrying the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down in still-mysterious circumstances, and June 22, when the French Op ration Turquoise intervention force arrived, upwards of a million Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered with the incitement and direction of the government of Rwanda. This paper will examine whether the Rwandan experience makes it likely the U.S. government would or could act differently in a similar crisis in the future. The paper will also look at the effect that the Convention on Genocide has had on governmental decision-making, arguing that it has paradoxically become a brake upon, rather than an assurance of, prompt government action in the face of genocide.