151. Telegram From the Mission at the United Nations to the Department of State 0
235. Re Congo. Lodge called on Lumumba (Congo PM) this morning1 at his hotel at latter’s request. He began by outlining US attitude toward Congo as stated both in SC and in private talks with Belgians. Lumumba replied by describing pre-independence hopes for Belgian cooperation and assistance. Instead, he said, Belgium had left [Page 358] Congolese (a) without treasury, gold having been taken to Brussels just prior to independence and (b) with insufficient trained Congolese to run country.
As to atrocities of which Belgians have complained in Security Council, he said entire police and court system was in Belgian hands even after independence, there being only one Congolese lawyer in entire country, and yet no Belgian had ever formally brought charges against Congolese for molesting women or other alleged atrocities. They had refused try use regular means which they themselves administered. Lumumba said he had ordered strict enforcement of the laws to protect all, but his orders had not been carried out by Belgian officials.
Lumumba said Belgians had long taught them there no difference fundamentally between Russians and Americans since both would come to Congo to exploit it. However, he said Congolese had great faith in America; its missionaries had done good work and Congolese people had great faith in our willingness help.
Lumumba added Belgians had tried make Congo “island” isolated from its neighbors.
Lumumba said Congolese financial position desperate. There not even enough money to pay salaries of government officials. He referred again to fact Belgians had shifted all reserves to Brussels. Lumumba and Kanza (Congo) both expressed hope US could provide loan urgently to assist them during present critical period. Lumumba referred to experience of Guinea in which French had suddenly ended all assistance with result that Guinea had face problems in any way it could. He saw parallel in Congo experiences with Belgians.
Lumumba reiterated faith in UN SYG and emphasized Congo problems could not be dealt with effectively until Belgian troops leave.
Lumumba seemed pleased when Lodge told him USG would welcome him in Washington and would make all arrangements for his visit there.
Referring to contract he had signed with Detwiler, Lumumba showed Lodge carbon of letter dated July 11 in which Detwiler said State Department knows of his (Detwiler’s) endeavors and had instructed Embassy Leopoldville cooperate with him. Lumumba said Detwiler also showed Congolese two letters from State Department officials (Kanza promised make copies of these available). From this Lumumba said he concluded Detwiler had State Department support.
Lodge explained to Lumumba there were all kinds of Americans, good and bad, and suggested Lumumba talk with Ambassador Timberlake when he wished find out our official attitude toward individual Americans.[Page 359]
Following conversation Lodge talked with Secretary,2 recommended Lumumba be received at highest levels in Washington and that Department make complete arrangements for his visit beginning tomorrow.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/7–2660. Confidential; Priority.↩
- July 26.↩
A memorandum of this conversation, dated July 26, prepared in the Secretary’s office, reads in part as follows:
“Lodge said Lumumba is certainly not crazy; that he wasn’t getting anywhere so he threatened to call in the Chinese Communists which put the necessary heat on the U.N. to get quick action. Lodge says he knows exactly what he is doing and the only question is whether he can stay in office. Lodge said Lumumba is not a bad man to deal with; that he is a little flighty and erratic in some respects; but he knows exactly what he is doing.” Lodge also stated that he found Lumumba “interesting and on the whole encouraging” and that if the Secretary gave him a little time, it could pay “big dividends.” (Eisenhower Library, Herter Papers, Telephone Conversations)↩