261. Telegram From the Consulate at Elisabethville to the Department of State0

232. Reference: Deptel 177.1 Before I discussed with Tshombe on November 10 points raised in reference telegram, Tshombe’s Cabinet [Page 582] Director showed me instructions which Tshombe was about to send Evariste Kimba by teletype. These instructions authorized Kimba to join Kasavubu’s UNDel provided prior discussions between Kimba and Bomboko resulted in agreement by Central Government to recognize independence, or at least application for autonomy, of Katanga. After speaking to Tshombe as instructed, latter told me of his instructions to Kimba. I pointed to apparent similarity between Tshombe’s viewpoint and that expressed in my instructions and suggested only that instructions to Kimba seemed likely to lead to lengthy negotiations in New York with Kasavubu and Bomboko on exact character of future ties between Katanga and Congo. I suggested therefore that question of exact relationship be left open and Katanga’s position on this reserved.

At this point Tshombe, who appeared haggard and tired, launched into lengthy, querulous and somewhat irrelevant discussion of US attitudes toward Katanga. He said that suggestion I had just made concerning his willingness to support Kasavubu while reserving his position regarding future relationships appeared to him to be an attempt by US and Kasavubu to entrap Katanga into returning as part of Congo Republic. He criticized USG for lack of consideration for Katanga and overemphasis on unity of Congo. I answered by saying that, if Lumumba’s delegation were seated by UN, Katanga could indeed be fearful of its future as an autonomous area. However, I did not believe that Tshombe honestly thought that a Kasavubu victory would lead to subjugation of Katanga by Central Government, by UN or by USG. Tshombe then asked why USG continues to refuse to recognize Katanga as separate state, if not because US intends that Katanga eventually lose its national identity. I replied that our lack of recognition to date was due to fact that peoples of all sections of former Belgian Congo have not yet had opportunity, given continual disruptions of past months, to decide future relationships among and between each other and that pending this US does not wish to prejudice outcome. I referred to Tshombe’s repeated statements of his willingness to contract ties of association with other areas of former Belgian Congo and said it appeared logical not to proceed toward future association by beginning with total divorce. Tshombe’s reply was that this was purely occidental approach to political problems and that US was mistaken in not allowing Congolese peoples to work out their own relationships.

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Following discussion in which I underlined difficulties inherent in forming associations between states totally independent of each other, Tshombe returned to what he described as lack of USG regard for Katanga due mainly to fact Katanga has not attempted blackmail of Western Governments through appeals for Communist assistance. He said he greatly disturbed over USG failure to accept repeated invitations for official US participation in Elisabethville International Fair next July. I said lack of acceptance to date did not mean that reply would necessarily be negative and that I foresaw possibility of US participation in exposition. Tshombe said somewhat bitterly that Communist countries have already reserved space and he imagined this would be only reason for eventual participation by Western Governments.

Tshombe made final point that attitude of USG toward Katanga has given him heart condition.

Comment: Tshombe, who according to reliable sources suffers from insomnia and excessive worry, was obviously haunted by fear on this occasion—fear that this support of Kasavubu would signal eventual absorption of Katanga by Central Government and fear on other hand that his failure to support Kasavubu might mean return of Lumumba to power. I assume he sent instructions to Kimba in line with those already prepared prior my visit.

With reference to Tshombe’s attitude toward US, it apparent he increasingly victim of advisors who attempt to turn him against US. This and previous moment of anti-US feeling on Tshombe’s part have coincided with attempts by American companies to obtain economic positions in Katanga, most recent effort being that by Seven Seas Airlines to obtain air freedoms here. Katangan officials initially welcomed approaches by American companies and admit they desirous of breaking Belgian monopolies in Katanga. However, doubtless under pressure from private Belgian advisors, they characteristically accompany their reconsideration of private American requests with anti-American political posture.

I believe success of those advising anti-American line due less to lack of US recognition of Katanga, reasons for which are well understood, than to failure of USG to extend minor courtesies toward Katanga Government which would have far-reaching political impact. Problem of educational grant for Paul Malimba2 was apparently used as principal talking point in first instance. Presently fact that USG has not requested space for international fair has taken on exaggerated [Page 584] importance in Tshombe’s troubled mind and has perhaps been used to show that USG will not go out of its way to grant even small favors.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 320/11–1260. Confidential; Priority. Also sent to Léopoldville and USUN and repeated to Brussels.
  2. Dated November 9, telegram 177 instructed Canup to point out to Tshombé the importance of U.N. acceptance of Kasavubu’s delegation and to urge him to instruct Katangan Foreign Minister Evariste Kimba, who was in New York, to cooperate with Kasavubu to that end. Kasavubu had named Kimba as a member of his delegation but had identified him as a “Provincial Minister for Katanga,” whereupon Kimba had made a public statement denying that Kasavubu could speak for the entire Congo. (Ibid., 320/11–960)
  3. See footnote 3, Document 257.
  4. Telegram 207 to Elisabethville, November 22, stated that the Department was anxious to preserve the Consulate’s rapport with Tshombé and to sustain his position against the more extreme secessionists and xenophobes in his government. It authorized Canup to tell Tshombé that the Department did not object to public statements complaining about U.S. lack of support but that it wished to maintain good relations with him and explore points of difference as they arose. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/11–1660)