263. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State 0
1181. Deptel 1372.1
- No difference opinion except perhaps on timing.
Adoula is as anti-Lumumbaist as the others including Bomboko, is energetic and has better general position among parliamentarians many of whom resent closure of Parliament by Mobutu and Commissioners. He also stands well with Mobutu. In last analysis it will be Kasavubu and other Congolese who should and will decide makeup which we can hope influence but by no means control. We can, I believe, work with almost any likely combination of moderates [Page 587] and I would, therefore, not wish take strong line favoring any one list now. Believe solution will be found only if anti-Lumumba leaders get together (Embtel 1082).2
In view line taken by SYG that Lumumba not legally ousted and Ileo not legally installed (not so far changed to our knowledge) is there any reason to think UNOC would cooperate with the Ileo government more than with Commissioners in the interim before parliamentary approval? Would not same apply to a new cabinet formula? UNOC has said it deals with man in chair. Do Department and USUN believe position with Afro-Asian nations would be improved by substitution of “cabinet” for “Commissioners”? While latter is novel appellation, they are civilian, not military, officials and any anti-Lumumba “cabinet” would need Mobutu and CNA behind it to survive over near future at least.
Mobutu is the key for the present even though I could wish he were more able and less impulsive. He has announced timetable December 31 for completion work Commissioners as such. We feel it will take at least until then for provincial leaders get together to obtain necessary atmosphere for peaceful political activity (i.e. Stanleyville) and prepare to get parliamentary support for a new formula. Problem especially difficult for Tshombe and only slightly less so for Kalonji.
I question therefore (A) whether dissolution Commissioners would be acceptable Mobutu and other key figures before end December, (B) whether fallback to Ileo government (never, incidentally, dismissed) or some reshuffle in cabinet would really get us further forward. Fact is Commissioners have been much more constructive and productive than either preceding government even though UNOC disparages them. I hope they will be retained in some appropriate capacity in eventual government.
Finally, we have distinct impression UNOC policy is directed toward solution which would, in our opinion, lead to restoration Lumumba to power if implemented before opposition can organize itself. Unless such policy changes, I have feeling any new or revived cabinet formula would be equally distrustful to UNOC and no less subject attack by unholy alliance. If, on other hand, UN interpretation Loi Fondamentale were changed to recognize dismissal Lumumba and embrace Ileo government, we would have quite a different situation.
- Agree but problem not simple and very little confidence should be placed in durability or even accuracy our head count. We know very large amounts have been given already to members Parliament by Soviet Bloc and lately through UAR for pro-Lumumba votes. We have by reliable authority been told certain members have been promised $2,000 US for each when next favorable vote cast. The stakes may [Page 588] go even higher. Hence, I feel there is a very real risk that Parliament will vote by pocket rather than by principle in enough numbers to support Lumumba in near future and might do so even after best efforts of working coalition of anti-Lumumba leaders. I think it is logical and prudent therefore to keep in mind that Mobutu and CNA represent only relatively stable counter to return Lumumba at present and might have to assert themselves again if moderates fail. I would not like to see them emasculated.
(A) Previously discussed. (B) Possibly so but would reduction pressure be significant? (C) and (D) Already discussed. (E) Do not believe it likely that change in present situation could be sold and implemented before arrival advisory commission understood be end this week. Simple withdrawal of Commissioners by Mobutu with Kasavubu approval would automatically revive Ileo government as we see it.
While reiteration intention seek parliamentary approval might be good public relations move, it has been implicit in announcement Ileo government. Commissioners have constituted only interim government by definition from beginning with announced termination date.
Doubtful particularly in view considerations paragraphs 2 and 3, that any definitive or constructive solution can be found appease advisory commission at this late date before arrival. Agree Kasavubu would be offended by action his absence. Best bet appears try impress Commission with good intentions and accomplishments Kasavubu, Mobutu and Commissioners. Lines should be that necessary and effective groundwork must be laid before democracy can hope function. For example all provinces must participate and all parliamentarians must be free to express opinions.
We have continued discussions with Mobutu, Ileo and others along lines leading, we hope, to eventual government which could obtain parliamentary approval. We cannot and should not try precipitate them into action which, in our view, is highly questionable at moment and which they are not prepared take for much same reasons.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/11–1560. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Also sent priority to USUN and repeated to Brussels.↩
- Document 262.↩
- Document 254.↩
- See footnote 5, Document 262. Telegram 1274 also requested that the Embassy keep the Department fully informed of developments.↩
- Telegram 1431 to Léopoldville, November 18, conveyed a message from Penfield requesting that Ferguson, who was passing through the Congo, discuss this telegram and related correspondence, on all channels, with the Embassy. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/11–1560)↩