107. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State1

613. Have just had one hour talk with Adoula.2 Surprised to find Gizenga3 (sporting Jomo Kenyatta4 lapel button) present most of time. Delivered President’s letter5 and autographed books. Adoula sincerely touched by this personal attention.

After amenities referred to forthcoming PL 480 negotiations and fact funds available from sale could be made available to UN for assistance [Page 210] to GOC. Sensed certain confusion Adoula’s part that we might be talking bilateral aid for he spoke for several minutes of necessity for maintaining aid on multilateral basis through UN. He then requested warm thanks of GOC be transmitted USG for aid given in part. Subsequently during conversation Gizenga reverted to question of 480 aid and asked if this were on loan basis. I pointed out it was not and that sale of products would be through normal Congolese commercial channels and funds would be made available to UN and GOC.

Spent at least half hour discussing Katanga. Made all points suggested Deptels 341, 374, 3796 except Adoula going himself Elisabethville.7 Did not mention latter for Adoula himself raised it as possibility pointing out he has been to Elisabethville twice and would not dream of doing so again. All my arguments met with reasoned courteous rebuff. Adoula traced history of relations with Katanga since September 1960 meeting Brazzaville. Said he personally involved in all these negotiations and could attest that Léopoldville had always given in and Tshombe had not budged an inch. This connection referred to Tananarive where Léopoldville gave maximum even going so far as to propose confederation. Confirmed rumors we had heard that prior recent meeting provincial Presidents he sent Tshombe personal message assuring security not only by UN but also adding his own guarantee and inviting him attend stating he would be available at any time for private quiet discussions. Tshombe refused and Adoula emphasized he had made this personal appeal without going through UN or other intermediaries. On latter point Adoula said he had met frequently with Conakat deputies and Senators who reported in confidence their discussions only to have them published shortly in Katangese press.

I emphasized our desire to be helpful and our sincere hope for Congolese unity. Said I had no wish meddle in internal Congolese affairs and hoped to see national reconciliation. My government was, however, hopeful every effort would be made reach solution without bloodshed or economic dislocation of country and to conserve potential of Katanga. Asked if it were not true Tshombe was prisoner of his entourage or his fears and if some way could not be found to free him and save face for him. Adoula said he convinced Tshombe a prisoner both of his [Page 211] apprehensions and his advisers. He strongly affirmed he would do all possible avoid bloodshed, could not deny conversations would not ensure8 but he would try to limit these also. He expressed his understanding our concern, yet was visibly oppressed by its intentions; also doubtless constrained by intermittent smug presence Gizenga. In response my queries he seemed on point of identifying some kind peaceful initiative he might take but never did.

Adoula brought up courteously but pointedly recent speech by Senator Dodd.9 (His first reading of press report coincided our representations.) I sought dissociate executive branch from sentiments expressed Dodd’s speech. Said observations made by me on behalf my government did not partake Senator’s philosophy. Fortunately press report Adoula had of Dodd’s speech, which he read to us, indicated Dodd was attacking US administration for precisely action we were now taking, i.e. supporting Congolese unity.

At this point Godley, who had been leafing through President’s book,10drew Adoula’s attention to portion expressing President’s views on transition from colonialism (re Algeria), a page and a half of which Adoula read out loud with obvious gratification and which I was able to point out had been written while President was Senator and was criticizing certain of administration’s policies. I assured Adoula my confidence his intention do his best for peace and we felicitated each other on frankness.

Gizenga-Adoula interchange and telephone call indicated Gizenga leaving shortly for Stanleyville. During farewells inquired when this trip might occur, duration and reason. Gizenga said he would be leaving “in few days” for “few days” in Stanleyville pick up effects and family. Specifically indicated he would return Léopoldville.

Only other point brought out was phone call from Bakavu which led Adoula remark situation going badly there with tribal complications. Said he was convinced recently independent countries such as Congo not prepared for majority rule and rule must be by compromise and collaboration lest minority feel oppressed by majority as they had been oppressed by colonial authorities.

Comment: Believe Adoula will do utmost avoid bloodshed Katanga. He nevertheless appeared resolute solve problem. Do not believe there [Page 212] is anything further can be said by us here lest additional demarches be interpreted by Adoula already under great strain as USG associating self with the Katangese, with separatism and what he considers reaction. Despite my admittedly brief time here nevertheless have a notion UN and GOC will somehow or other bring Tshombe to heel and avoid fire fight. Much depends, however, on what men without future (Munongo) may do to stir up Katanga.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.70G41/9–1361. Confidential. Repeated to Brussels, London, Paris, Elisabethville, Brazzaville, USUN, and Salisbury.
  2. The meeting apparently took place on September 12. Telegram 606 from Léopoldville, September 12, noted that Gullion was to see Adoula at 3 p.m. that day. (Ibid., 770G.00/9–1261)
  3. Gizenga went to Léopoldville on September 3. He and Adoula left that day for Belgrade where they attended the Conference of Non-Aligned Countries. Both returned to Léopoldville on September 9.
  4. Kenyan nationalist leader.
  5. It conveyed the President’s greetings and good wishes; a copy, undated, is in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Congo.
  6. Telegram 341 is printed as Document 102. Telegrams 374 and 379, September 8 and 11, urged Gullion to present the views in telegram 341 to Adoula as soon as possible and urge him to capitalize on the success of the U.N. action and initiate talks with Tshombe. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/9–861 and 770G.00/9–1161, respectively) Telegram 606 (see footnote 1 above) stated that Gullion had been following the line set forth in these telegrams in talks with Linner, Bomboko, and Kasavubu.
  7. Telegram 374 (see footnote 5 above) suggested a conciliatory approach from Adoula to Tshombe, possibly a high-level personal emissary or a trip to Elisabethville by Adoula himself.
  8. As received. [Footnote in the source text.]
  9. Senator Thomas J. Dodd of Connecticut. Reference is to a speech that he gave in the Senate on September 8; for text, see Congressional Record, 87th Cong., 1st sess., vol. 107, cols. 17593–17595.
  10. Evidently The Strategy of Peace, a collection of Kennedy’s speeches, published in 1960, which included a 1957 speech on Algeria.