192. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State0
545. Contemplating Soviet strategy from Leopoldville perspective, it seems to me there is two-pronged attack. In view strong African states backing UN agreed respond to GOC appeal and Russia went along. In two subsequent SC meetings Soviets made usual violent noises and offered disruptive resolutions possibly hoping find wide enough crack for entering wedge. I have feeling they primarily rattling resolutions to make SC apprehensive and therefore heave sigh relief when eventually withdrawn as I believe they intended all along. That tactic so designed inspire SYG and Bunche walk softly in Congo and leave them more scope here. Most serious effort is centered in Leopoldville where they well on way completely capturing Lumumba and followers like they took Castro1 in Cuba. Believe pattern very similar but this one is easier in some ways; Congolese are totally disorganized, they are political children and only pitiful few have faintest idea where Lumumba is taking them. In fact I feel sure even Lumumba fails realize where he is being led. Hence, I would expect Cuba time could be cut by 50 percent [garble] Congo course.
Hope Stanleyville incident2 has removed any lingering trace of the fiction that we are dealing with [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] or a responsible government in the Congo. The first condition which a [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] country must satisfy to qualify for recognition is that it has de facto control over the country. This government, since early July, has had no such control. The principal instrument with which to assert it has broken up into independent groups of armed savage bandits.
Thousands of Congolese watched the beating of our air crew. Lumumba arriving minutes after this event, did not even refer to it in his speech to the crowd at the field. Every such outrage, with the perpetrators going scot free, encourages them to go further. Unless they are stopped and guilty persons punished, the Congo can be in for a blood bath of frightening proportions. The present strength of the [Page 449] UN would suffice to keep order in principal cities and towns but not in the interior. The longer the present flabby posture of the UN is continued, the greater the potential disorder becomes.
The UN has suffered several Lumumba attacks already, and I feel he is quite capable of demanding seriously that UN troops leave the Congo. Unless their present wraps are removed, I would favor the immediate acceptance of ah invitation to start sending some troops home, starting, I suggest, with Guineans. I think such action might just shock even Lumumba into a recognition of what his and the Congo’s prospects would be and cause him to do an about-face. UN could then demand, and I think obtain, certain levers without which the economic and social programs being planned cannot be carried out. One is mandate to officer and command police and army until retrained and officered by competent Congolese. Another would be the establishment of a judiciary of competent, preferably African, judges and intensive training of Congolese replacements at earliest time. At same time, we are receiving more and more reports that the people are turning against Lumumba. He may just be on his last spectacular lap and it could not end too soon for me. His only demonstrated skill is in attack and incitement. These tactics destroy; what this country needs is reconstruction. Many more people will soon be hungry. They will blame Lumumba who can be expected to blame UN. In other words I think showdown with UN near and I hope they are ready for it. From this perspective I am bearish.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/8–2960. Confidential. Also sent to USUN and Ottawa and repeated to Brussels.↩
- Cuban Premier Fidel Castro.↩
- Telegram 533 from Léopoldville, August 29, reported the beating of eight USAF crewmen and two Canadian technicians when a U.S. aircraft carrying equipment for the U.N. force landed at Stanleyville. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/8–2960) For text of a note protesting the attack which Timberlake presented that day to Bomboko, see Department of State Bulletin, September 19, 1960, p. 440.↩