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

764. Re Congo, urtel 1096.1 Department appreciates receipt your thoughtful report and suggestions following your long conversation with SYG. Situation in Congo continues to drift. We therefore request you follow up soonest last conversation with SYG. In our judgment it is essential that you continue take firm and constructive approach with SYG. As general framework to your discussion we suggest you include following principal considerations:

US continues be seriously concerned with developments in Congo which, if not checked soon, will inevitably lead to increasing deterioration and chaos with disastrous consequences to free world community and UN position in Congo. We have noted, and SYG is fully aware, that pressures and concrete actions by UAR, Ghana and Guinea, abetted by Dayal who is under instructions from SYG, continue unabated in direction of keeping Lumumba issue alive and otherwise making it more difficult for Kasavubu, Mobutu, Commissioner Generals, et al. to follow constructive course. We cannot stand idly by and permit situation in Congo to retrogress so as to lead to serious increase in Soviet influence in Congo, which in turn would have gravest repercussions in terms of US support for UN generally and for Congo operations specifically.

Starting point of any constructive plan for Congo must be from assumption that Kasavubu is recognized legally and otherwise as chief of state. On this there is full agreement between SYG and US. While Hammarskjold does not agree with our view that Lumumba is no longer Prime Minister, there is at least some flexibility here since he has not and apparently does not intend to deal with Lumumba as Prime Minister. These two basic factors offer some hope that we and SYG can take fresh look at situation and move ahead in concert on constructive course of action.

Our objective is to encourage emergence reasonable, stable “non-aligned” government (excluding Lumumba) which on caretaker basis can begin to bring about order from chaos and can get administrative [Page 555] mechanism and ministries started on constructive tasks. It clear that Ileo Government cannot do job. Moreover, while the College of Commissioners have been useful in reactivating GOC operations, they have no legal claim to status as a Government and so cannot long continue in present form. We believe that conditions in Congo are such that it should be possible successfully to encourage Kasavubu to appoint new caretaker government—perhaps under Bomboko or some other individual as Prime Minister. In order for such plan to be feasible, Mobutu, who in our judgment still retains good deal of strength with CNA, must be, for lack of anyone with comparable strength, force which maintains caretaker government. We believe he can be brought around to cooperating.

We have in mind ourselves going to Kasavubu with view to suggesting appointment of new caretaker government. In order for such plan to work satisfactorily, it absolutely essential have at least UN acquiescence both in NY and in Congo. We believe that if SYG willing cooperate with us on this fresh start he could provide necessary lead and instructions to Dayal which would be helpful to all concerned on ground.

Our hope would be that new caretaker government would seek approval of parliament as soon as circumstances are propitious.

In order for such proposal to work UN force in Leopoldville would have to maintain strict impartiality. As long as moderates in Leopoldville are unable express their views freely for fear of assault by Lumumba’s henchmen no effort to seek constructive moderate regime which could work confidently with UN has chance of success. FYI. While we do not wish to suggest at this point what steps would be necessary by SYG with respect to activities of UN in Congo, some consideration will undoubtedly have to be given to possibility of placing Tunisian and possibly Nigerian troops along side Ghanaian and UAR troops in Leopoldville, and possibility of providing Dayal with deputies who might give more balance to leadership of UN on ground. End FYI.

While you should not seek SYG’s approval of this approach which he may be reluctant to give, if Hammarskjold indicated interest in working out arrangements along lines of above, you should state that we will be prepared discuss with him details as to how this can be achieved. We believe that with close cooperation between US and SYG such caretaker government can be secured and in manner in which UN impartiality will be maintained.

Related Subject We note further reports re possibility of good-offices commission being established and being sent to Congo. We know SYG is not keen on idea although he is likely to feel himself to be under pressure to agree. We strongly prefer that no such commission be established for dispatch to Congo. However, if this cannot be [Page 556] avoided, we ought to try to make certain that its composition is acceptable to us. You should indicate to SYG that we believe strongly that no country should be included on such a commission which has taken a definite position in favor of one side or other. This criterion would rule out of membership Ghana, Guinea, UAR, India, or Soviet bloc. It would leave number of African countries, including Tunisia, Liberia and Nigeria, which together would form acceptable combination.

For Leopoldville. We believe above points fit in with your current thinking but would appreciate any comments you may have.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/10–2260. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Sisco; cleared with Wallner, Stoessel, and Satterthwaite; and approved by Dillon. Repeated to Léopoldville as telegram 1207.
  2. Document 249.