117. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between President Eisenhower and Secretary of State Herter 0


[Here follows discussion of an unrelated subject.] The President then asked if the Secretary had talked to the Canadians.

The Secretary said he had just talked to Howard Green1 and explained that in view of the Congo situation he couldn’t get away, and the Secretary said Green asked him about coming up tomorrow and the Secretary told him he would call Green tonight and let him know.

The President said this might be all right; that it is only an hour-and-a-half up there by jet.

The President then asked if we had gotten any ideas from Hammarskjold on the Congo request.

The Secretary said Mr. Wilcox had just spoken to Hammarskjold’s assistant, Mr. Cordier, and that Hammarskjold is now meeting with the African Ambassadors at the UN and is hoping he can work it out through them rather than through the Whites.

The President asked what we had said to the Congo.

The Secretary said we have said nothing yet but we plan to say we are in consultation with the UN on this whole matter. The Secretary said he would be very adverse to sending in our troops in these circumstances.

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The President said that was right; that he didn’t think any Western troops should go in; that he would rather see Turkish or Pakistani troops if they can’t get African troops.

The Secretary said there has been a ticker report that our Ambassador gave agreement in principle to this request. The Secretary said there is no indication our Ambassador did anything of the sort and we will have to deny that he has given agreement in principle.

The President said we are always willing to do our duty through the UN but we are not going to unilaterally get into this.

The Secretary said our Ambassador also reported a possible serious food problem in Leopoldville and the Secretary said we are looking to see if we can help out in that regard.

The President said this was all right and commented that maybe after this situation some of these people won’t want now to be independent.

The Secretary said he felt we should send something to Timberlake to say we can’t undertake to send troops as U.S. troops but we are discussing the situation with the Secretary-General of the UN at the present time. The Secretary said Hammarskjold wants to arrange for colored, French-speaking officers.

The President said there is nothing more we can do now except keep in touch with the UN. The President said we would be completely in error to go in unilaterally.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Herter Papers, Telephone Conversations. No classification marking. Prepared in the Secretary’s office.
  2. Canadian Foreign Secretary.