199. Memorandum of Discussion at the 458th Meeting of the National Security Council0

[Here follows a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting.]

1. Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security

2. U.S. Policy Toward the Congo (NSC 6001; NSC Actions Nos. 2262, 2270, 2276, 2284 and 22871)

[Here follows the first portion of Allen Dulles’ briefing on unrelated subjects.]

Mr. Dulles began his briefing on the Congo by noting the difficulties involved in keeping up to date on the situation there. He stated that Kasavubu’s move to throw out Lumumba had been undertaken without adequate planning. Kasavubu’s move had produced consternation among his aides and advisers who had planned it for two days later. Mr. Dulles observed that it was not easy to run a coup in the Congo. As an indication of the lack of planning, Mr. Dulles pointed out that for a time Kasavubu had controlled the radio in Leopoldville, but that when he left the radio station it was left unguarded. As a result Lumumba was able to enter the station and to make an impassioned [Page 461] appeal to the people. Lumumba’s ability to influence the Congolese people, Mr. Dulles observed, was greater than that of Kasavubu.

Senate President Ileo, whom Kasavubu had selected to replace Lumumba, is Western-oriented. At last report, Ileo was in Kasavubu’s house with a UN guard protecting him. There was a report that some pro-Kasavubu troops were moving into Leopoldville. This, Mr. Dulles indicated, might change the picture. There was also a report that morning that the Congo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs had gone to the U.S. Embassy to seek asylum. At last report, the U.S. Ambassador had engaged him in a conversation but it was not clear whether he had been given asylum. Secretary Herter interjected to say that we had appealed for UN troops to protect the Foreign Minister.2 Mr. Dulles stated that the Foreign Minister was opposed to Lumumba. Lumumba did not trust him and therefore had not taken him along to the UN.

Mr. Dulles referred to the savage tribal warfare raging in Kasai Province. He went on to say that Tshombe was strengthening his army, increasing it from 1100 to 3000 men. Tshombe, he also indicated, had a fair amount of Belgian matériel. He noted that ten IL–14 Soviet transports were being used to bring Lumumba’s forces to Kasai Province. He noted that the UN had taken over the airport at Leopoldville, but that it was not in effective control of other airfields in the country, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] five large Soviet transports were presently on their way to Stanleyville. These transports had by-passed Athens and had gone by way of the UAR. The UAR Consulate had issued visas for 83 persons but more might be aboard. Mr. Dulles stated that two merchant ships had unloaded 100 trucks, food and other supplies at Matadi. Two hundred Bloc personnel were now in the Congo, exclusive of air crews. There were fifteen Bloc physicians and five Bloc nurses. Other offers of personnel had been made. Concluding this part of his briefing, Mr. Dulles stated that Lumumba always seemed to come out on top in each of these struggles.

Mr. Gray noted that the Congo was scheduled as an item on the Council agenda and asked Secretary Herter whether he wished to say anything on the subject. Secretary Herter said he had very little to add. Hammarskjold, he noted, had made a formal protest to the Soviets. Hammarskjold was disturbed by the possibility that the Soviet fliers [Page 462] were military personnel engaged in military operations. If this were the case, the UN could move against them. If these were peaceful operations, however, the UN could not move. Mr. Gray asked whether Hammarskjold was prepared to move. Secretary Herter said he thought so. Mr. Dulles pointed out that the Soviets were engaged in carrying troops into the Congo. Secretary Douglas asked whether the Soviets were bringing arms into the Congo by plane. Secretary Herter said that we did not know.

[Here follows the remainder of the briefing.]

The National Security Council:3

Noted and discussed an oral briefing by the Director of Central Intelligence on the subject, with specific reference to developments in the Soviet anti-ballistic missiles program; Sino-Soviet relations; Khrushchev’s plans to attend the forthcoming meeting of the United Nations General Assembly; and the situations in the Congo and Laos.
Discussed recent developments with regard to the situation in the Congo.

[Here follow agenda items 3–5.]

Robert H. Johnson
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Johnson on September 12.
  2. Regarding NSC Action No. 2287, see footnote 4, Document 180.
  3. Timberlake reported this in an unnumbered CRITIC (emergency) telegram from Léopoldville, September 7, which requested that Hammarskjöld send instructions to Cordier to provide protection for Bomboko and other legitimate members of the government and Parliament. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/9–760) A memorandum for the record of the same date by Wallner indicates that the substance of the message had been conveyed to Hammarskjöld, who had immediately cabled Cordier authorizing him to provide protection for Bomboko. (Ibid.)
  4. Paragraphs 1 and 2 constitute NSC Actions No. 2294 and 2295, approved by the President on September 13. (Department of State, S/S/–NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)