150. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State 0

259. Re Deptel circular 129.1 Embassy agrees that if forced make any statements at this time Department should limit itself to continued support unity of Congo and UN effort.2 However, in view present highly fluid situation in Congo and many complex problems Department should during present crisis attempt reserve its public judgment.

Lumumba is an opportunist and not a Communist. His final decision as to which camp he will eventually belong will not be made by him but rather will be imposed upon him by outside forces. Lumumba, who from very beginning has stood for unity of Congo, would be sorely tempted have recourse to Russia or bloc countries if we or Belgians were to recognize Katanga and thus help bring about fragmentation of Congo. Such a move by Belgians would also fly in face UN policy with predictable reaction other African countries. Indeed same reaction can be expected if Belgians refuse admit UN troops or fail get theirs out after UN arrival. Comment: UN, There are unconfirmed reports that Belgians, if forced to give way to UN, will evacuate every Belgian citizen and movable piece property. US journalists returning today from Elisabethville report an Algerian type colon atmosphere that may well be already beyond control of GOB moderates.
Historically, Katanga has resented power which former Government General and now GOC has and is wielding from Leopoldville. Province has always believed it supporting rest of Congo by making major contributions to country’s revenue. In political sphere, Tshombe appears believe sincerely Lumumba to be dominated by Communists and by desire become dictator. It is most unlikely he would ever place himself or Katanga under Lumumba’s authority.
There has been increasing talk particularly among anti-Lumumba politicians regarding creation separate states in various parts of Congo including Bas-Congo, Equateur, Kasai and Kivu, not to mention Katanga, which would substitute present authority Central Government with loose confederation. Now that Government General has been abolished and base of power of GOC has, with collapse Force Publique, almost totally disappeared, force for unifying country has been seriously impaired. In fact, most effective force left to bring about unity of Congo appears to be UN. Embassy firmly believes we should continue support action and developing policy of UN in Congo.
Fact that few days ago Jason Sendwe’s appointment as official representative (Commissaire d’Etat au Katanga) of Central Government in Katanga was approved by Senate and in view of his many public statements opposition secession, one must assume that he will continue oppose independence of Katanga and support position of Lumumba.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/7–2660. Secret; Eyes Only. Repeated to Brussels and Elisabethville.
  2. Document 143.
  3. Telegram 178 from USUN, July 22, reported Bunche’s suggestion, passed on by Hammarskjöld, for a U.S. statement supporting Congolese unity. The Department replied in telegram 119 to USUN, July 22, that it did not consider such a statement appropriate at that time, although it did not rule out the possibility. (Both in Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/7–2260)