105. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State1
593. Embassy officer today informed Linner in confidence of Parliament vote on Katanga Embtel 589.2 Linner stated GOC has now issued arrest warrants for Tshombe and Munongo but did not intend exercise warrant on Tshombe.
Linner said decision being taken today whether force should be used in Katanga. Personally he opposed to use of force unless absolutely necessary. He believed chances for peaceful solution had improved in last two days since Tshombe now indicating in his conversations with UN officials that he looking for way to divest himself of Munongo. However Tshombe still afraid come Léopoldville for two reasons: (1) concern for personal safety and (2) fear Munongo will take over in his absence. Linner stated Gizenga’s presence Léopoldville has done much to allay Tshombe’s fears re personal safety.
According Linner Tshombe’s last remaining prop is support he believes he receiving from British and French. In case of French Linner stated he “has no illusions” and knows they supporting Tshombe. Linner in contact with British Charge and is convinced British official policy not supporting Tshombe. However activities British Consul Elisabethville have led Tshombe conclude he has British support.
Linner stated it “would not be difficult to arrest Munongo since he now has sufficient troops in Elisabethville”. However he reluctant to do so even with full backing he now has from GOC. Since Katangans would not be taken by surprise he expects some shooting would take place. Thus he attempting get Tshombe to carry out Munongo arrest.
Linner stated this week should be decisive one for Katanga operation.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/9–1161. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Brussels, Elisabethville, USUN, London, Paris, and Salisbury.↩
- Telegram 589, September 11, reported that in secret session on September 9 the Congolese Parliament had passed a resolution asking Kasavubu to take the following actions: declare a “state of exception” in Katanga; arrest Tshombe, Munongo, and other Katangan leaders; suspend the Katangan provincial government and assembly; appoint a special commissioner for Katanga; occupy the radio station with troops; request the United Nations to disarm the Katangan police, gendarmerie, and militia; establish joint ANC–U.N. patrols to assure order; expel all foreign civil and military advisers; forbid entry into Katanga for 6 months by all foreigners not specifically authorized by the Congolese Government; and confiscate all Katangan war equipment. (Ibid.)↩