102. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Congo1

341. Brussels’ 328.2While we approve removal of Belgian military personnel Katanga at earliest possible date and believe this action will reduce Tshombe ability remain in secession we believe current situation requires great care and careful assessment subsequent UN steps if eventual political reconciliation is not to be jeopardized. We fear there is danger that recent action might start chain of events which UNOC could not control and which would lead well beyond legitimate objectives initial measures.

Furthermore, we believe that Tshombe could provide conservative counterweight needed in Adoula government, and we hope UN will use new position of strength to induce Tshombe’s cooperation with central government and not to destroy him. Moreover we certainly wish avoid major political upheaval or civil war in Katanga as result UN action.

We recognize Tshombe has never shown serious interest returning Katanga to Congo except on basis confederal arrangement which would be politically and economically unacceptable to Adoula. Also possible he may no longer have sufficient independent authority Katanga to effect reintegration on acceptable basis even if he wished. Nonetheless we do not believe all peaceful means toward meaningful reconciliation have been exhausted and consider imperative avoidance further use military measures and destruction of political framework in Katanga.

We believe it important for all concerned to accept fact Katanga’s leaders still hold many economic cards, that they have substantial separatist public opinion behind them, that present GOC needs Katanga more than Katanga needs GOC, and that political upheaval in Katanga would seriously endanger possibility Katanga making desired economic contribution to Congo and its leaders playing legitimate role in GOC.

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For present therefore Tshombe in our view should be afforded every opportunity save face and go to Léopoldville of own volition without pre-conditions but with personal stature not any further reduced.

Welcome addressee comments on foregoing. However pending receipt views and further developments Congo following lines action should be pursued:

For Léopoldville: You should present as much as appropriate of foregoing views re Katanga problem at highest available level GOC and suggest moment may be opportune for conciliatory gesture from Adoula to Tshombe with appropriate fraternal overtones. You should also inform Linner of our views and enlist his cooperation.

For Brussels: You may advise GOB we acting on Spaak suggestion reftel.

For Elisabethville: You should maintain dialogue with Tshombe, see him as often as you deem feasible and continue press argumentation used previously.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/8–2861. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Woodruff; cleared by Eisenberg, Blue, and Wallner; and approved by Ferguson. Also sent to Brussels and Elisabethville and repeated to USUN, Paris, and London.
  2. Telegram 328, August 28, stated that Spaak had asked the Embassy to convey his suggestion that it would be most helpful if Adoula could be persuaded to send a conciliatory message directly to Tshombe requesting him to come to Léopoldville. (Ibid.)