196. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense Gates 0



  • The Deteriorating Situation in the Republic of the Congo
The Joint Chiefs of Staff are concerned over the steadily deteriorating situation in the Congo which had culminated in the attack on an unarmed U.S. Air Force crew at Stanleyville on 27 August by armed troops of the Congo Force Publique. They consider that unless [Page 454] immediate forceful action is taken by the United States to maintain U.S. and U.N. prestige, to safeguard U.S. and U.N. personnel, and to insure the success of U.S. activities in support of the U.N. in the Congo, a situation could develop which not only might be ruinous to the United Nations but might result in the Congo being taken over by Communist advisors and technicians. Moreover, such a Communist take-over could appear to be under U.N. sanction.
Efforts have been made without success to obtain directives which have been issued by the Secretary General to Commander, U.N. Forces in the Congo. In any event, it appears from reports made by the Secretary General to the Security Council that the directives to U.N. forces are negative or passive in nature resulting in U.N. forces accepting, in most cases, situations conducive to public disorder. In contrast, it is noted that in Coquilhatville the U.N. Moroccan Troops disarmed the Force Publique and have been firm but kind to them and have given them appropriate direction; the Ethiopians have taken similar action in Bunia and Paulis.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff urgently recommend the following courses of action be proposed to the Secretary of State for immediate implementation:
Actions that should be taken by the U.N.:
Issue to the U.N. Commander in the Congo a definite political and military directive defining his mission and responsibilities so as to require him to take positive action, rather than passive action, to restore law and order and to maintain public safety.
Take immediate effective control of all Congo air fields and harbor facilities which are now being utilized or may be needed directly or indirectly for the support of U.N. forces.
Permit aid (material and personnel) to the Congolese Government only through U.N. channels.
Search all ships and planes upon arrival in the Congo to assure that no arms, ammunition or unauthorized personnel are introduced into the Congo.
Assure the protection of all personnel and equipment being used by members of the U.N. in support of U.N. operations in the Congo. This should extend to the disarming of those members of the Force Publique not cooperating with U.N. forces.
Issue a strong protest to the Congolese Government for the attack on the unarmed U.S. Air Force crew at Stanleyville on 27 August, and demand guarantees against future incidents.
Actions that should be taken by the United States:
Assist, to the extent necessary, the U.N. operation in the Congo to assure its ultimate success.
Take necessary action through friendly governments to cause all Soviet Bloc ships and planes enroute to the Congo to be searched in order to inhibit introduction of arms and unauthorized personnel into the Congo.
Take necessary steps, overtly and covertly, to identify unauthorized foreign agents, particularly Communist Bloc personnel, currently in the Congo and effect their expulsion from that country.
Demand that the Congolese Government make compensation for injuries suffered by U.S. personnel in the attack on the unarmed U.S. Air Force crew at Stanleyville on 27 August.
Take all feasible means to discredit and/or eliminate Lumumba as an effective political force in the Congo and seek to support leaders responsive to U.N. guidance in the establishment of an effective and acceptable Congolese Government.
Send notes to other governments currently providing U.N. forces, and all other friendly U.N. members, informing them of the above U.S. action, and requesting that they also protest to the Congo Government, and take action in the United Nations, in support of the U.S. position.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Arleigh Burke 2
Chief of Naval Operations
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/9–260. Secret. Enclosed with a letter of the same date from Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Robert H. Knight to Herter, which stated that Gates had reviewed an earlier draft and generally concurred with the JCS recommendations.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.