220. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State0

746. Mobutu last night asked Embassy if US could transport his delegation to New York. It was suggested that since there are already two delegations there it would be better combine them with Bomboko as head and Kanza as deputy. He seemed to buy idea and promised send telegram. Embassy now endeavoring get Kasavubu and Mobutu together on this project.

Mobutu obviously frightened possibility of assassination. This morning he nipped an attempt on his life by a major who had been put up to it by Mpolo and Gizenga. Accordingly has ordered arrest Lumumba and close Cabinet associates.

Mobutu’s office a mad house. People, children, dogs come and go in steady stream. He doesn’t even have a secretary and still talks naively about his “council of students” running government. He feels that this will be a device to bridge transfer his coup to an Ileo-Kasavubu government by end October but said he logically cannot support Ileo immediately. He seems be completely honest, dedicated and appalled by enormity of problems facing him. General Kettani and Moroccan officers appear be principal advisers.

Meanwhile Lumumba, who is reportedly hiding out somewhere under Ghanaian protection, is characteristically active, issuing press releases which turn up mysteriously on bars of three major hotels. He complains that UN has prevented him from flying troops here from [Page 495] Stanleyville to “restore order”. It is clear that if he can’t get rid of Mobutu in next few days he will make effort get Stanleyville and operate from there. Mobutu aware this and determined to prevent.

Note: Re Department telegram 816.1 Mobutu made it clear his initial press conference that he recognized Kasavubu as Chief of State.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/9–1860. Secret; Niact. Also sent to USUN and repeated to Brussels, Paris, London, Rabat, and Accra.
  2. Dated September 17, telegram 816 stated that since the legitimacy question might be important at the special session of the General Assembly, the Embassy should try discreetly to encourage a public statement by Mobutu, or whoever was in control, recognizing Kasavubu as Chief of State. (Ibid., 320/9–1760)