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

416. In telecon with Secretary,2 Bunche (UN) made these points in reply to concern Secretary had expressed yesterday about fact war rather than peace being made in Katanga:

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Operation 13 September was really continuation and follow-up of roundup of “outlaw mercenaries” conducted 28 August. Mercenaries went underground after 28 August, were responsible for numerous incidents against UN operation and personnel. UN operation was being conducted with clear legality under February 21 SC resolution.
UN could not anticipate that action would require such fighting, in view fact that August 28 operation had not been seriously resisted. Therefore, there was no special reason for UN to consult U.S. or other members in advance.
First knowledge SYG had of fighting was in a “contentious Reuters report” handed to him in Accra on way to Léopoldville. (Presumably reason SYG made this point was to deny assumption that he had gone out to Congo in order to direct a big new military operation.)
SYG agrees everything possible must be done to bring Tshombe and Adoula together. Feels UN hasn’t had much help from British locally; especially critical of British Consul Elizabethville.
Bunche said UN has unconfirmed report that Katanga radio announced Tshombe and O’Brien now meeting.
SYG hopes that Linner’s report of yesterday3 and supplement to it (which we have not yet seen) will help to calm fears.
SYG takes dim view of Welensky’s position in all this. Notes that pilot of jet plane operating against UN is a Rhodesian.
Bocheley-Davidson is accompanied by two “Congolese moderates”. In any event Adoula is dominating force and has situation under control.4
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/9–1561. Secret; Priority. Drafted and approved by Cleveland and cleared in substance by Vance. Repeated to Elisabethville, London, USUN, and to the President at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.
  2. According to notes of the conversation by Phyllis Bernau, the conversation took place at 5:40 p.m. (Ibid., Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Conversations)
  3. Dated September 14; U.N. doc. S/4940. For an extract, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pp. 831–832. See also O’Brien, To Katanga and Back, pp. 247–268.
  4. According to Bernau’s notes of the telephone conversation, Bunche concluded by assuring Rusk “that our people including especially Linner are acting under direct instructions from headquarters.”