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

133. Department pass UNSYG. Plane with General Alexander and Carlucci1 of Embassy aboard together with refugees returned from Stanleyville 2030 17th. Alexander radioed me from plane asking me, Ralph Bunche and General Gheysen2 meet him on arrival.

Bomboko and Kanza3 were with Bunche and asked for ride to airport expecting see Kasavubu and Lumumba. Just before departing [Page 323]had message from plane that neither was aboard. At airport Alexander handed Bunche letter signed by Kasavubu and Lumumba, Embassy’s translation of which follows in our telegram 139.4 I have thermofax copies original letter. Bomboko and Kanza seemed stunned by letter which Bunche showed them and he explained that UN has never before been served with ultimatum and does not accept ultimatums.

Alexander told us situation in Stanleyville tense but Force Publique has so far limited itself to roughing up Europeans and no known serious injuries or outrages in Orientale. In conversation with Lumumba some time after arriving in Stanleyville Alexander said former demanded all Belgian troops be out by Monday or could not vouch for actions of Force Publique. Alexander told him that was physically impossible. Following meeting Lumbala, Chef d’Etat of the Presidency, told Alexander UN was involved in imperialism and intentionally delaying sending in troops. After an hour Lumumba handed Alexander letter to Bunche. They decided remain Stanleyville and Alexander is sending transportation for them today.

Alexander feels Kasavubu not happy with direction being taken by Lumumba but seems to be weak and under latter’s thumb. Alexander feels Lumumba is irrational and so does Bunche. I think at very least we are dealing with man who is temporarily irrational.

I talked at length with Bomboko and Kanza who said they would call Cabinet meeting to be held on arrival Kasavubu and Lumumba and would meanwhile line up Cabinet members they know or might persuade to go against any such ultimatum. Bomboko considers it illegal since it has neither Cabinet nor Parliamentary approval.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/7–1860. Confidential; Niact; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Paris and Brussels.
  2. Second Secretary Frank C. Carlucci, III.
  3. General Roger A. Gheysen, Commander of Belgian metropolitan troops in the Congo.
  4. Thomas Kanza, Minister Delegate from the Congo to the United Nations. For his account of these events, see The Rise and Fall of Patrice Lumumba.
  5. The letter, dated July 17, concluded: “If by July 19, 1960, the United Nations is unable to discharge the mission which we have entrusted to it, regretfully we may be obliged to call upon the Soviet Union to intervene.” (Telegram 139 from Léopoldville, July 18; Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/7–1860)