107. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State0

9. Ambassador Murphy accompanied by Tomlinson called on Lumumba late yesterday.1

Ambassador opened conversation by suggesting it would be helpful if Lumumba could outline his policies and programs, which he (Ambassador) could report to the President and Secretary of State.

Lumumba responded first with his (oft-repeated) political views—that the Congo to remain unified must have a unitary and not federal form of government. Federalism in Africa would soon become tribalism and cause break-up of Congo. Nevertheless the provinces should have substantial measure of autonomy for local affairs.

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In international affairs Lumumba said the Congo would maintain a neutral position. Questioned by Ambassador as to what he meant by that term Lumumba quickly replied he did not wish the Congo, after having gained its independence to lose it through domination by other power. He then asserted that Communist ideology was not for the Congolese who were freedom-loving people and Christian. The Congolese looked to US, Belgium and other Western democracies for support and especially US which was known to favor emancipation of African peoples.

On economic side Lumumba stressed need for development capital and asserted guarantees would be given for protection private investments and property. Referred to urgent need for development in agricultural and industrial fields and exploitation of Congo’s resources including INGA.

Psychologically it was important for US to provide aid immediately and to give training opportunities to Congolese in US. Ambassador reminded Lumumba our intention provide 300 study grants and initiate ICA program as soon as agreement concluded. Stressed our assistance was in mutual interests both countries.

Lumumba after regretting inability accept Ambassador Burden’s invitation for US visit this spring expressed hope President Eisenhower could visit Congo. Psychologically it was important that he should be the first to make such a visit.

Comment: Lumumba’s quick switch from neutrality to expression of seemingly pro-US, pro-Western sentiments is typical of his character in suiting his words to his audience. We do not consider that his bid for US and Western aid in any way implies he would not accept aid from Communist countries. Implication in our view is that if we are not here soon with enough aid the Communist will be. Same implication applies to suggestion concerning President’s visit in view press reports of Khrushchev’s proposed visit to Guinea and Ghana.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/7–460. Confidential. Repeated to Brussels.
  2. For Murphy’s published account of this conversation, see Diplomat Among Warriors, p. 409.