171. Memorandum of Discussion at the 455th Meeting of the National Security Council0

[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda items 1–6.]

7. U.S. Policy Toward the Congo (NSC 6001; NSC Actions Nos. 2262, 2270 and 22761) Secretary Herter said that as far as the Congo was concerned, almost everything has been reported in the press. He said that he had had a telephone call from Mr. Hammarskjold just before he left the U.S. in which he expressed his thanks to the Secretary of Defense for expediting his own transportation and for the troop airlift. Mr. Herter said that we had got over one hurdle in the Congo for the time being but that the trouble was not over by any means. The Vice President observed that there had been a superb handling of the Congo situation. The President remarked that the only trouble is De Gaulle who seems to object to the use of African troops and UN troops, and who seems to feel that U.S. and British troops should deal with the situation.

Secretary Herter said that there had been no less than eleven meetings with the French and they had no positive suggestions to offer with respect to the Congo situation.2

The President suggested that de Murville3 should be informed that we are tired of the talk of no consultation with the French.

Secretary Herter mentioned the question which had been considered previously of sending U.S. troops and the decision against sending our troops because of the danger of a possible clash with the Soviet troops. He said that the same problem was present in the case of U.S. technicians who might be competing with Soviet technicians with a possible conflict resulting and explained that that reasoning lay behind the decision to use the medium of the UN. He also observed that Lumumba will want direct assistance from the Soviet Union. Czechoslovakia has offered to print currency for the Congo Government, he added.

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Mr. Gray pointed out that there was one exception to use of the UN for channeling assistance to the Congo and that was the matter of scholarships where the U.S. had made a unilateral offer. He said that 300 scholarships had been offered and that so far 800 applications had been received—not necessarily all from qualified students.

The National Security Council:4

Noted and discussed recent developments with regard to the situation in the Congo.

[Here follows agenda item 8.]

Charles A. Haskins
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Charles A. Haskins of the NSC staff on August 16.
  2. Regarding NSC Action No. 2276, see footnote 5, Document 156.
  3. The meetings were held June 1–August 22.
  4. French Foreign Minister Maurice Couve de Murville.
  5. The sentence that follows constitutes NSC Action No. 2284, approved by the President on August 17. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)