140. Memorandum of Discussion at the 452d Meeting of the National Security Council0

[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda items 1–3. Secretary of State Herter presided at the meeting-]

4. U.S. Policy Toward the Congo (NSC 6001; NSC Action No. 2262)1

[Here follows Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles’ briefing on unrelated subjects.]

Turning to the Congo, Mr. Dulles said that in Lumumba we were faced with a person who was a Castro or worse. CIA had been studying his background; we know that he has received a large payment from Egypt. We believe that he is in the pay of the Soviets either directly or through the UAR. [2½ lines of source text not declassified] [Page 339] The USSR is apparently attempting to use Egypt as a spearhead in the Congo and in Africa generally. If they manage to do so, it will give them another lever in Africa. The fact that the port of Matadi was now held by UN troops would be helpful to the general situation in the Congo. Mr. Dulles went on to describe Mr. Lumumba’s background which he characterized as “harrowing”. In 1956 Lumumba had been convicted of embezzling 100,000 francs and had received a two-year jail term. There were strong Leftist and Communist trends in his background. He had attended a Communist youth meeting in 1959. Lumumba has clearly been promised assistance by the Communist Party of Belgium. We do not know how much assistance they are giving but it is clear that the Belgian Communist Party is being used as a channel. It is safe to go on the assumption that Lumumba has been bought by the Communists; this also, however, fits with his own orientation. Secretary Herter noted that the first man off the first Soviet plane to arrive in the Congo, which was bringing sugar to the Congo, was a member of a Soviet trade mission.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated subjects.]

Mr. Gray asked Secretary Herter whether he wished to say anything about the situation in the Congo. In response Secretary Herter read off figures as to the numbers and nationality of the UN forces that were being provided for the Congo. The Secretary General had asked for a force of 7500-odd. The UN force in the Congo as of six o’clock the night before totalled 3300. By Thursday night2 it would total 4485 and the expected grand total would be approximately 11,000. Secretary Herter said that his hat was off to the U.S. Air Force for its splendid work in lifting these forces into the Congo so quickly. General Twining stated that the principal problem was the route problem rather than the lack of aircraft. There were limits to the numbers of aircraft that terminals could take and that a given route could carry. The UN would like more airlift and if we were satisfied they could use it over the existing route we would provide it. But we might have to delay the airlift somewhat because of route problems. In any event, the military would keep State informed of what it planned to do. Secretary Herter, again expressing his admiration for the work of the Air Force, pointed out that the first shipment of food had been landed within 24 hours and the first forces within 48. General Twining noted that the aircraft carrier Wasp was now in the area.3 He said that it had no fighting planes aboard. Secretary Herter said that he thought that the Wasp did have fighting planes on it but General Twining assured [Page 340] him that it did not; that it carried food, medical supplies, etc; and that this was entirely a relief operation. Mr. Gray pointed out that the OCB on Wednesday had talked about the possibility of increasing the U.S. visibility and credit for the magnificent job that had been done.4 It was possible that the Secretary General might make some kind of statement. We seldom get credit for what we do.

Secretary Mueller5 inquired as to whether all Belgians were being removed. Secretary Herter said that that was the big issue. The Belgians refused to leave their bases in the Congo. They had concluded a treaty with the Congo before independence which had not yet been ratified by either side. It provided for withdrawal of Belgian forces except in two areas. The Belgians are willing to make a phased withdrawal from the rest of the Congo. This whole problem was complicated by the secession of Katanga. Secretary Herter noted that there was a report that Katanga would unite with Kivu and Ruanda-Urundi. He also noted an item received that morning indicating that some of the Belgian forces were being withdrawn to Ruanda-Urundi which is a UN mandate territory.

Mr. Gray inquired as to how the cost of the U.S. operation was to be met; whether it would be necessary to ask Congress for supplemental funds for the initial operation and for continuing expenses. Secretary Herter stated that under the UN Participation Act of 1945, the President has broad authority, implementation of which was delegated to the Secretary of State in 1951. The Act provides for automatic reimbursement for expenses incurred in such an operation without special authorization by Congress. The arrangement for the present operation was that the U.S. would contribute the transport and the 400 tons of food. Any additional U.S. expenditures—for example, for helicopters and rations—were on a reimbursable basis. If food were again required in large quantities, we would have to look at the problem. ICA had some leeway but a problem existed because Congressionally-approved interim arrangements on funds did not permit the undertaking of new projects. It was the view of the State Department General Counsel, however, that provision of additional food would be a relief activity and that such activities did not constitute new projects. Mr. Staats indicated that this was also the Budget view. Secretary Gates then inquired as to who would reimburse the U.S. Secretary Herter said that the UN would do so and that Hammarskjold had decided to handle the expenses as a regular budget item rather than on a voluntary contribution basis. Secretary Gates inquired as to whether we had [Page 341] been reimbursed by the UN in the past. Secretary Herter assured him that we had operated under the same sort of arrangement in Palestine and that we had been reimbursed at that time.

Mr. Gray then stated that it was probably not reasonable to suppose that the Soviets would actually send troops to the Congo—even if they had a clear request to do so which they apparently did not have at present. He wondered what we would do, however, if they did send troops. In response Secretary Herter said he would like to obtain the views of the military as to the Soviet logistics problem in any such operation. We refueled our planes now in Rome, Cairo, and Morocco. Their problem, however, would be greater. Also there was the problem of movement in the Congo. Matadi was now in UN hands. Would the Russians lay siege to it? In response General Twining stated that the JCS had produced a paper dealing with this subject which contained proposed actions to forestall or to impede the introduction of Soviet forces and other actions to deal with the situation if they did get in or are about to get in.6 He would like, he said, to send this paper to the State Department. He noted that the Secretary of Defense had not yet approved it however. Secretary Herter asked how the Russians would get into the Congo. General Twining said that they would get in by air; this would involve overflights of other African areas. Secretary Herter asked whether they would refuel in Cairo. Secretary Gates noted that two of the Soviet planes that had already come into the Congo had come non-stop from the USSR. General Twining stated that the JCS paper contained proposed courses of action for dealing with different situations; for example, an embargo on arms, a blockade, and action to get other countries to agree not to let the Soviets overfly them. Mr. Dulles inquired whether airfields in the Congo would take the TU–114; if so, the Russians would be able to fly in non-stop. General Twining said that there was only one field that could take such aircraft—the field at Leopoldville. But, he said, most of the Soviet equipment for carrying troops consisted of small, short-range aircraft. They would therefore be subject to route and range limitations. General Twining then described a possible Soviet routing from Odessa via, among other stops, Khartoum and Stanleyville. He concluded by stating that we should look at this problem now in order to see if there were not things which should be done in advance.

Secretary Herter then referred to the meeting of the UN Security Council the night before and stated that we hoped that there would be no resolution other than one which would simply accept the Secretary General’s report. The Russians had called the meeting to hear the Secretary General’s report, but either they or the Tunisians would file a resolution requesting immediate Belgian withdrawal. We favor [Page 342] phased withdrawal but there were two sticky points. One was the matter of the Belgian demand that they be permitted to stay in their two so-called bases in the Congo and the other was the question of Katanga.

Secretary Gates, referring to Mr. Dulles’ comments on the orientation of Lumumba, said he understood there were indications—besides evidence that Lumumba had been bought off—that recent developments in the Congo were Communist-inspired. For example, interviews with missionaries seemed to indicate that persons had been sent to the tribes in advance of independence with instructions. The revolt appeared to have been synchronized. It was important, Secretary Gates felt, to step up our efforts to prove that the revolt was Communist-inspired. Mr. Dulles agreed. He stated that we had interviewed the missionaries. Lumumba may have sent out instructions and these instructions may have been under a Communist directive. The insurrection had been simultaneous in many areas and it was therefore difficult to find any other explanation. The Czech Consulate had been the center of Communist intrigue in the Congo since 1955 or 1956. There was evidence that orders had come from a central point. Mr. Dulles said we were working very hard to establish the facts.

The National Security Council:

[Here follow numbered paragraphs 2 and 3; there was no paragraph 1.]

4. Noted and discussed recent developments with regard to the situation in the Congo, with specific reference to:

The number and nationality of UN troops which are being provided for the Congo.
The desirability of calling world-wide attention to the magnificent contribution of the U.S. Air Force in transporting UN troops and food to the Congo.
Arrangements for funding U.S. activities related to the Congo, including both U.S. contributions and reimbursable assistance to the United Nations.
Consideration to be given by the Departments of State and Defense to a study by the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding possible courses of action which might be taken to preclude the entry of Soviet forces into the Congo or in the event that such entry is imminent or occurs.7

Robert H. Johnson
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Johnson on July 21.
  2. NSC 6001 is printed as Document 22; regarding NSC Action No. 2262, see footnote 9, Document 126.
  3. July 21.
  4. Telegram 205 to Léopoldville, July 20, informed the Embassy that the Wasp had been ordered to “stay out of sight of land and do not operate aircraft over land or territorial waters Congo unless otherwise instructed American Ambassador Leopoldville or CINCLANTFLT.” (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.5811/7–2060)
  5. A record of the meeting on July 20 is ibid., OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430, OCB Preliminary Notes.
  6. Secretary of Commerce Frederick H. Mueller.
  7. Document 145.
  8. Paragraph 4 constitutes NSC Action No. 2270, approved by the President on July 25. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)