262. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Congo 0

1372. Embtel 1129.1 Points raised reftel indicate Embassy and Department may be thinking along somewhat divergent lines. Following comments and questions intended clarify positions. Request all addressees’ comments, under similarly numbered paragraphs:

Previous cables regarding caretaker Government going back to Deptel 1207 October 252 all based on concept of development new Government which would eventually be presented for parliamentary approval. We consider such concept essential to gain support SYG. Difference seems to be one of timing. We would certainly hope avoid immediate session Parliament and fully share Embassy views on difficulty sustained constructive Parliamentary action. Loi Fondamentale provides no time limit for presentation new Government and if UN and African pressures permit could be postponed until right moment. Further we see no reason why, if Parliament is eventually convened and delivers vote confidence to non-Lumumba Government, plus votes other essential items like Geneva ratification, it could not then be adjourned by Kasavubu, perhaps in favor of constituent assembly.
Regarding composition new Government, we note Embassy suggestion Adoula as PriMin, but would appreciate comments on Bomboko, who appears have certain advantages; e.g., he apparently ablest and most dynamic anti-Lumumbaist, is well and favorably known to Africans in New York despite recent misunderstanding, and as present Chief Commissioner might be more acceptable Mobutu as face-saver for dissolution Commissioner Government. Alternatively, contents Deptel 13693 suggest your problem of “new caretaker Government” might be handled for time being if Ileo Government could be revived and could make use of Commissioners General. Ileo’s personal weakness might be minimized if Mobutu could successfully maintain his strong-man role (as Chief of Staff or MinDef), thus leaving Ileo as little more than figurehead he is now. We would not rule out Ileo replacement by Adoula or other suitable man before Parliamentary approval stage. In addition to solving problem raised reftel, such a development would have obvious, although perhaps not decisive, advantages in furthering our objective of Government with which UN would cooperate.
Preparatory steps needed prior resumption Parliament include careful planning and agreement on floor tactics. Appears attendance full membership essential in terms SYG and international support generally and Conakat attendance in particular might well be decisive based on most helpful box score provided Embdes 103.4 Conakat attendance could be urged when appropriate by Consul Elisabethville in coordination Embassy. Lumumba’s presence Parliament would have to be accepted but interim steps above should help minimize danger his presence. Should cabinet idea prove acceptable present Congo leaders, thought might be given having new cabinet make gesture obtain national support by grass-roots tour, including Katanga.
In summary appears to us advantages caretaker Government proposal include: better chance international approval, including UN, than Commissioners can muster as extra-Constitutional government; some reduction Ghana-Guinea pressure; legally appointed functioning cabinet would increase Lumumba isolation and remove his claim [Page 586] to be legal Government; improved chance GOCONUC cooperation in vital economic programs; and reduction trouble-making potential of Advisory Commission if it can be set up prior their arrival. Caretaker Government would not simply add another Government. It should legally replace all previous, including Commissioners, and public announcement this effect should be made by Kasavubu, Mobutu, Bomboko when new Government announced. At same time, should be accompanied by publicly announced intention seek Parliament approval when full security can be guaranteed and full attendance arranged.
There are obvious advantages in moving promptly, particularly in view prospective Advisory Commission visit. At same time, full Kasavubu cooperation essential and he would probably resent it if significant action taken in his absence. Have you taken any action pursuant Deptel 1274?5 If not, do you consider that in circumstances it would be inadvisable take preliminary soundings with Mobutu, Ileo et al. before return Kasavubu, Bomboko, Adoula?

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/11–760. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Penfield and Woodruff, cleared in draft with Wallner and Cargo, and approved by Satterthwaite. Repeated to Elisabethville and USUN.
  2. In telegram 1129, November 7, Timberlake commented that the idea of a new caretaker Government would be difficult to sell to Mobutu and Kasavubu, would have no prospect of obtaining early parliamentary approval, and would create even more confusion in the United Nations. (Ibid.)
  3. Printed as Document 250.
  4. Dated November 11, telegram 1369 to Léopoldville repeated telegram 1348 from USUN, November 10, which reported a conversation with Cordier. Cordier suggested revival of the Ileo government; he thought the U.N. forces could work with it on a de facto basis, paving the way for its establishment on a de jure basis by a reconvened Parliament. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/11–1160 and 770G.00/11–1060, respectively)
  5. Dated October 19, despatch 103 estimated parliamentary support for Lumumba as follows: in the Chamber of Deputies, 65 Lumumba supporters, 57 opponents, 5 probable opponents, 7 whose positions where unknown, and 7 who had died, resigned, or never appeared; in the Senate, 29 supporters, 36 opponents, 1 probable opponent, 10 unknown, and 8 dead, resigned, never appeared, or unable to vote. The despatch noted that the figures included 7 Conakat Deputies and 7 Senators who opposed Lumumba but might not return to participate in a vote. (Ibid., 770G.00/10–1960)
  6. Dated November 2, telegram 1274 authorized the Embassy to take appropriate steps along the lines envisaged in Documents 250, 251, and 253 and footnote 1, Document 253. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/11–160)