103. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate General at Léopoldville 0

513. Re Leopoldville 4991 Department desires Principal Officer Leopoldville or Elisabethville immediately contact Tshombe or other responsible Conakat leaders and inform them Department appreciates Tshombe’s frankness in his conversation with Consul General Leopoldville and has carefully considered information he provided. He should be told it is our considered view that detachment of Katanga from Congo under present circumstances would lead to chain reaction in other areas which might very well result in disorder and bloodshed throughout Congo. There is definitely no possibility US troops will be sent Katanga in event attack by Lumumba forces. As is well known US Government feels that fragmentation of Africa highly undesirable. Therefore we would very much hope that Tshombe could find it possible to continue to work within framework of Congo Government.

[Page 278]

Embassy Brussels requested query Belgians as to their views this dangerous situation expressing US views as indicated above.2

Posts should comment on (1) probable Balubakat Cartel reaction, (2) possibility Union Miniere and local military backing Tshombe this move and (3) report Sendwe planning establish separate government Northeast Katanga. Report action taken.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 755A.02/6–2360. Confidential; Niact. Drafted by Ferguson and revised by Dillon, who cleared in draft; also cleared by Hare in substance and by McBride and with S/S; and approved by Satterthwaite. Also sent to Elisabethville and Brussels and repeated to Salisbury.
  2. Dated June 22, telegram 499 reported that Katanga Provincial President Moise Tshombe and two Katanganese deputies to the National Assembly had called on Tomlinson and informed him of their intention to declare Katangan independence on June 30. When Tshombe inquired as to the U.S. attitude, Tomlinson told him the United States could give no advice, but “as friend to friend,” he advised working within the framework of the future Congolese Government. (Ibid., 755A.02/6–2260)
  3. Telegrams 1529 and 1538 from Brussels, June 24, reported Embassy approaches to the Belgian Foreign Office and Belgian assurances that Belgium favored a strong central government in the Congo and opposed Katangan separatism. (Ibid., 755A.02/6–2460)
  4. Telegram 65 from Elisabethville, June 25, reported that Consul William C. Canup informed Tshombe of the U.S. attitude. (Ibid., 755A.02/6–2560)