244. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission at the United Nations0

704. Ref: Elisabethville’s 1681 (sent USUN 45, Brussels 97, Leopoldville 131), USUN’s 1022.2 Department seriously concerned by implications of SYG note to Belgians and report your conversation with SYG.3USUN should approach Hammarskjold soonest to elicit further information regarding his program for Katanga, particularly his demand that Belgium withdraw all personnel from Congo and provide assistance exclusively through UN. Purpose in seeking information on following points is to register with SYG our view that we must not risk creation of administrative and security vacuum in Katanga which would only add immeasurably to difficulties in rest of Congo.

How many technicians and para-military personnel does SYG believe involved? As we understand it, number in Katanga alone might be on order of some 900, in fields of public administration, technical services, judiciary as well as police and security forces. Obvious that withdrawal, without trained replacements, could result in [Page 533] chaos. Is SYG in position to replace them immediately so that major exodus of private Europeans in Katanga and widespread lawlessness can be averted?
In circumstances of withdrawal of Belgian technicians, how would SYG propose guarantee public order? Even in Leopoldville, third Commissioner was assaulted this weekend while UN troops apparently observed incident without intervening.
How would SYG propose meet additional costs which would be incurred if all Belgian technicians were to leave as he requested? How much money would be involved?
What plans does SYG have for training of Katanga personnel to replace Belgians?

You should also point out that we had understood Belgian technicians in Congo would be encouraged to return outside UN framework if requested do so by GOC. We continue receive reports, indicating that even when GOC has requested Belgian aid, latter’s technicians have experienced opposition from UN officials on spot. We hope UN officials in Congo will be instructed not to intervene in this matter. (FYI. Ambassador Daufresne de la Chevalerie, Belgian representative to recent DAG meeting, has raised this question with officials here and reportedly has discussed it with appropriate UN officials NY. Claims have concrete evidence of opposition of UN officials in Congo to Belgian technicians there. Belgian Embassy has made similar approach to Bohlen.)

We strongly urge SYG not make exchange with Belgians public at this time. We urge that he not move precipitously on this matter. We could not support any action which would result in extension to Katanga of chaos experienced in Congo.

At your discretion, if SYG refers further to question of status Lumumba, you may say that this whole issue and SYG’s recent comments on it receiving careful attention in Washington and that you expect to seek further discussion with him about matter shortly.

In light press reports on outcome of recent Mobutu–Tshombe meeting,4 you may as appropriate make point that evidence is that Tshombe prepared cooperate within framework unified Congo and not pressing secessionist line.

You may also wish to point out that we feel the recent Berendsen-Tshombe agreement for division of public security responsibility [Page 534] in Katanga5 is helpful step and we would welcome any further evidences cooperation including UN program to re-train Katanga forces and assume advisory role thereto.

FYI. Dept pouching copy SYG letter to Tsombe6 mentioned urtel 1022 just received from Belgians which you should read before making démarche. End FYI.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 343.170G/10–1560. Confidential. Drafted by Cargo and Tron, cleared by Woodruff and Blue and in draft by Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Charles E. Bohlen, and approved by Wallner. Repeated to Leopoldville, Elisabethville, and Brussels.
  2. Dated October 11, telegram 168 from Elisabethville reported a conversation with a Belgian official who urged U.S. intercession to persuade Hammarskjöld to reverse his recent efforts to compel the withdrawal of Belgian technicians from Katanga and South Kasai. (Ibid., 770G.00/10–1160)
  3. Dated October 15, telegram 1022 from USUN reported that Wigny had given Wadsworth a copy of a note verbale from Hammarskjöld requesting the withdrawal of all Belgian personnel who were operating independently of the United Nations; Wigny requested U.S. support for the retention of Belgian personnel in the Congo. (Ibid., 343.170G/10–1560) For text of Hammarskjöld’s note verbale to Loridan, October 8, see U.N. doc. S/4557, Part B; also printed in Public Papers of the Secretaries-General, vol. V, pp. 214–215.
  4. On October 15; see Document 243.
  5. In a visit to Elisabethville, October 16–17, Mobutu declared support for a confederate structure for the Congo and invited Tshombé to participate in a round-table conference.
  6. Telegram 172 from Elisabethville, October 17, reported that U.N. Representative Ian Berendsen and Tshombé had agreed to establish two neutral zones in North Katanga in which the United Nations would assume responsibility for preserving law and order. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/10–1760)
  7. Dated October 8, the letter informed Tshombé of Hammarskjöld’s request to Belgium and urged him to help resolve the Katanga problem in a spirit of conciliation and unity. For text, see U.N. doc. S/4557, Part B; also printed in Public Papers of the Secretaries-General, vol. V, pp. 218–220.