179. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State0
433. I have become increasingly unhappy over failure of UN so far to adopt a strong enough policy to ensure real control over public order. At the outset, it was the leaderless FP which was the sole disturber of order and there was no pattern of directed effort. I said repeatedly after UN decided to come in that it should in the shortest possible time reduce the FP elements to discipline or disarm them, [Page 420] retrain those elements who wash clean after investigation and insist the bad hats be punished. I also said an officer corps of Congolese should be trained as soon as possible. This was based on assumption that GOC genuinely wished to restore order and would loyally support UN effort.
Today there are still thousands of FP with their arms in remote parts of the country as well as in many of the principal cities over which the UN has not asserted authoritative control. It is true in Leopoldville the potential for real trouble is, however, much worse since Lumumba has greatly increased his personal authority over the local FP and they have, in the last few days, again made arbitrary detentions, including UN personnel, civilian and military, and broken into hotels and apartments. They now show unmistakable signs of being directed. Their actions follow Lumumba’s frequent public statements and the line he takes in them; i.e., he claimed yesterday there were Belgian paratroops in UN uniforms and wearing UN armbands and the detentions of UN personnel followed immediately.
This force has already shown its lack responsibility and under Lumumba’s direction could be incited to action against UN troops and even whites in general. He has already shown direction of next step which is attempt secure withdrawal Swedes. If that successful, expect Irish and Canadians will be next on the list. He would probably be happy if all but a few Guineans and Ghanaians (without white officers) were withdrawn.
I can assure Department that if UN does not immediately act to take FP out of GOC control and if FP continues to get away with current conduct, most of the handful of Europeans still in Leopoldville will leave and the remainder would be some foreign Embassy personnel, Communist agents and carpetbaggers.
We are convinced that foregoing is the Communist plan. Lumumba, Kashamura, Ghanaian Ambassador Djin and Madame Blouin are all anti-white and latter Communist. So are Momo Toure, Yansan Sekou, and Louis Behanzin, Guinean advisers. Our latest arrival, Serge Michel1 of the FLN is even more in the Commie camp and anti-western. They seem to be having no trouble in urging Lumumba further down roads which his own instincts direct him at least part way. The objective seems clear: Remove the bulk of Europeans and you eliminate effective western influence. Once Europeans have gone, nationalize their property on simple theory that business and industry must run to keep Congolese employed and if Europeans will not run them Congolese Government must. Finally GOC would invite Commie bloc experts in to keep business and industry going.[Page 421]
It seems to me clear Lumumba is playing this game wittingly or unwittingly. I would hate to stand here and watch this gambit played out under the noses of an impotent UN military force. In fact many of latter are already furious at indignities they have suffered and at UN for keeping them under such wraps that they cannot be effective.
I quite understand the difficulties facing the SYG and the SC in applying effective military control. I suppose the USSR would at this stage veto any resolution with teeth in it and there would be a first-class hassle in the Assembly if taken there. However I feel the risk must be taken and the sooner the better. This situation is rapidly getting worse and the Commie design now seems suddenly clear. It is already late.2
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/8–1760. Secret. Repeated to Brussels, Paris, London, and Elisabethville.↩
- Michel had been lent to Lumumba as press attaché by the Algerian Provisional Government.↩
- Telegram 541 to Léopoldville, August 23, stated that while the Department agreed basically with Timberlake’s analysis of the situation, it did not believe it was time to urge stronger action against the Force Publique. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/8–1760)↩