103. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

639. Congo. SYG requested see Yost this a.m. in order discuss current Katanga developments. Dean and Campbell (UK) as well as Wieschhoff and Wachtmeister (Secretariat) also present.

SYG began by giving detailed history recent events starting August 23 when GOC passed ordinance in effect reiterating provisions February 21 SC resolution concerning withdrawal foreign military advisers and mercenaries from Katanga.2 SYG said these totalled 506, of which 412 Belgians and 94 mixed nationalities. Only approximately 300 have been brought under control, 185 of which actually repatriated, 8 await [Page 203] repatriation from Kamina and 40–50 from Elisabethville. Remainder have gone underground either to hills or taken refuge in Consulates.

SYG said UN has asked Belgians for list Belgian soldiers and mercenaries present Katanga as of August 1 and has requested full repatriation all such people by target date September 9. SYG said Belgians have agreed to both requests but currently drawn attention to fact situation somewhat beyond Belgian control particularly with regard those in hills.

SYG said Tshombe had stated publicly at time GOC decided endorse UN action re Katanga that he supported this decision. Munongo, however, probably due his involvement Lumumba murder and his realization he has no future in United Congo, is resisting and has taken to airwaves in order stimulate tribal agitation, particularly among Balubas. As result there are 15,000 refugees on UN hands in Elisabethville. SYG said Tshombe has every right arrest Munongo who literally in state insurrection, but Tshombe, showing characteristic weakness, has refused do so. In response query, SYG said some 200 foreign officers and mercenaries present no military threat per se but in view Munongo’s activities, could become dangerous in stimulating dissident tribal units.

SYG noted Belgian authorities had repeatedly warned UN that, without Belgian officers to command it, gendarmerie would unquestionably revolt. Nine days have elapsed, SYG pointed out, and still no signs of revolt. On contrary, gendarmerie appears satisfied with change, encouraged by occasional and heretofore almost non-existent promotions and pleased to have their arms back for which they credit UN. SYG reemphasized gendarmerie not source of trouble. In reply Yost query he said UN no longer plans supply officers for Katanga gendarmerie, except ultimately for training as part of broad ANC training program.

SYG noted that purpose of UN Katanga operation at this time had been to strengthen Adoula vis-a-vis Stanleyville. UN authorities had felt that, as long as Gizenga had example of Katanga separatism to follow, he would hold out in Orientale and his followers in GOC would divert energies Adoula Government to reducing Katanga redoubt and avenging Lumumba. UN operation had therefore been designed clean up Katanga as essential prelude full integration Orientale. SYG thought results so far had served this purpose well.

However he pointed out that coming week extremely critical. If present situation continues he is convinced ANC will initiate major assault on Katanga which would mean outbreak civil war on substantial scale. Alternatively, UN would have to act much more drastically in Katanga. Either of these alternatives is most undesirable. Only reasonable solution is for Tshombe to open negotiations with Adoula and arrange full scale cooperation with central government under constitution. In SYG’s view Tshombe quite willing to do so but being prevented [Page 204] by Munongo. SYG believes latter will have to be removed from scene very shortly if problem is to be solved. At this point he read telegram he just received from Léopoldville quoting Kasavubu as fully endorsing recent UN action in Katanga except that he regretted UN had not moved further and faster.

Finally SYG spoke rather harshly of Consular Corps démarche last week.3 He averred Consuls had expressed great concern for security of whites which is not at present being threatened but no concern for security of Africans which is being threatened by Munongo maneuvers.

In response to Yost’s query he declared recent resolution of Katanga Parliament hostile to UN was taken in absence of quorum and is not significant. He also said UN representatives are in daily contact with Tshombe though they have ceased any effort keep in touch with Munongo.

Yost commented that we understand reasons which have prompted UN undertake present Katanga operation, but that USG, thinking along same lines, is now deeply concerned lest Katanga be eliminated as significant political force, just at time when its moderate political influence may be most gravely needed to counterbalance that of Stanleyville. While Gizenga may have renounced his efforts to maintain separate regime in Stanleyville, we feel this merely means transfer center of power struggle to Léopoldville where extremists will endeavor make their influence predominant inside GOC. It is as counterweight to this influence that we feel Katangans should be enabled and encouraged to play important role.

Dean strongly supported this argument. SYG expressed full agreement, said this exactly his intention and that if Tshombe will negotiate with Adoula this is precisely what will occur. Yost expressed appreciation for this analysis and these assurances but asked that we be kept informed daily during present critical period. SYG agreed.

Comment: We have impression that SYG is determined to eliminate bulk of remaining foreign military in Katanga by end this week and is also determined either neutralize or destroy Munongo whom he considers committed, for reasons of self-preservation, to Katanga separatism. If these objectives can be achieved he believes he can prevent ANC attack and bring Katanga peacefully into fold. Fact he called UK and ourselves in for this lengthy exposé indicates he believes next week or so very critical and he desires our understanding and cooperation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/9–661. Confidential. Repeated to Léopoldville and Brussels.
  2. For text of this ordinance, dated August 24, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pp. 829–830.
  3. Telegram 295 from Elisabethville, September 2, reported that the Consular Corps had approached O’Brien formally on the subject of the safety of foreign nationals. Canup had not participated in the démarche and had telephoned O’Brien to disassociate the U.S. Consulate from it. (Department of State, Central Files, 332.70G/9–261)