119. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Congo0

63. Following confirms message sent Timberlake via Brussels in reply his conversation with Ferguson this morning:1

Congo proposal to send US troops has been fully discussed by Secretary with Defense. Our position is that we cannot undertake to send US troops to Congo under purely US auspices. We have however taken matter up with UNSYG who has it under consideration. We understand problem and will do all we can to help in framework of UN. We have doubts however of advisability of sending in US troops for many reasons principally among them being the question of language and color. We also feel it would be inadvisable to send the two companies of the 24th Infantry to Brazzaville on a standby basis. End message.

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Shortly after TimberlakeFerguson telecon we were shown copies of AP, AFP and Presse Belga telegrams stating you had agreed in principle to furnishing troops. On basis your telephone conversation we have denied this to press.

With reference your request for flour matter is under urgent consideration and separate cable follows.2

SYG has reported his meeting with Africans went well and that he has formula for original Bunche request in mind. This complicated of course by subsequent receipt of request from Kasavubu and Lumumba that UN forces intervene to halt “Belgian aggression”3 although this may be garbled version of message sent through Bunche from Brazzaville. In this connection do you know whereabouts Kasavubu and Lumumba and is there not danger they may disavow request from Vice Premier and Foreign and Defense Ministers? Furthermore telecon with AmEmbassy Brussels indicates Bomboko plans request Belgian intervention if US declines request for US troops. With Lumumba and Kasavubu on one hand denouncing Belgian aggression and Bomboko possibly requesting Belgian protection, we wonder who actually can speak with authority for GOC. Please endeavor clarify.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.5411/7–1260. Confidential; Niact. Drafted and approved by Satterthwaite and cleared in draft by Herter, Hare, Wilcox, and McBride and cleared by S/S. Repeated to Brussels, Paris, London, and USUN.
  2. See Document 116.
  3. Telegram 64 to Léopoldville, July 12, stated that efforts were being made to secure 100 tons of wheat flour from stocks at Lomé and instructed the Embassy to ascertain whether Bunche would accept U.N. responsibility for its distribution. (Department of State, Central Files, 870G.49/7–1260)
  4. Reference is to a message cabled from Kasavubu and Lumumba to Hammarskjöld on July 12 requesting U.N. military assistance to protect the Congo against “the present external aggression.” For text, see U.N. doc. S/4382 or American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1960, p. 524.