111. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Belgium1

647. Paris USRO. Reference Brussel’s 453, Sept 14.2 Belgian Ambassador at his request called on Secretary today.3 Said Mr. Spaak understood there had been discussion of Congo by Foreign Ministers4 and wondered if the Secretary could convey their views. Secretary said unfortunately he not present this discussion but went on to express his views situation in Katanga. Mentioned his concern over some of the persons who had been brought up from Léopoldville by UN and central government, such as Bocheley-Davidson. Said US had pressed UN to work out settlement between Tshombe and Adoula. Added US worried about possible collapse of UN effort as they did not have necessary back-up. Stressed aim of US was immediate cease-fire and recommencement of discussion of issues between Tshombe and Adoula.

Belgian Ambassador expressed particular concern about Lincoln White statement evening September 145 and said it would undoubtedly be badly received in Belgium where people tended consider UN activities as US operation. In response request that US issue another “correcting statement” Secretary said we would need more information before any further statement could be made. Secretary mentioned he thought [Page 219] some of trouble in Katanga caused by mercenaries who had gone underground temporarily.

Ambassador also passed on to Secretary Spaak’s request that US, British and French concert to obtain from UN juridical basis for its action. Secretary asked Amb. to assure Spaak that he personally following situation and had talked with Mr. Bunche twice about it. Added his British and French colleagues also concerned. Expressed hope Spaak would understand that US had not been consulted about this operation. Added although US pays a part of cost UN operation they not always inclined follow our advice. Ambassador clearly implied SYG authorized operation order have clear record on Congo by Sept 19.

Referring Spaak’s visit Moscow, Amb. said Spaak felt situation so tense and dangerous that it might be possible for him bring back useful information from Khrushchev. Wondered if Secretary who had been discussing matter with his fellow FonMins, might have some message to send to him. Ambassador assured Secretary Spaak was firm on questions such as peace treaty, access to Berlin, etc. Secy. replied not possible to say anything this time as Ministers had only discussed contingency plans so far. Doubted Spaak be able open up any new possibilities as Mr. Khrushchev had been remarkably consistent in Vienna talks, aide-memoire, as well as in Fanfani and Sulzberger talks. Added he would be discussing matter with Mr. Gromyko in New York next week. Secretary said expected Mr. Khrushchev would employ same “terror tactics” in dealing with Spaak as on previous occasions. Expressed hope that Mr. Khrushchev could not get any impression from visit that there were differences within alliance in view Spaak’s former close association with NATO and De Staerke’s present position.

In subsequent conversation with Deputy Under Secretary Johnson Ambassador was informed that Foreign Ministers had been in general agreement that objective in the Congo must be to bring Adoula and Tshombe together for political talks. He added it further agreed representatives of all three countries would work toward this end both in UN and the Congo.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/9–1461. Confidential; Priority. Drafted and approved by Blue. Repeated to Léopoldville, USUN, London, and Paris.
  2. In telegram 453, MacArthur reported a September 14 conversation with Spaak, who declared that the U.N. authorities had deliberately taken the initiative in using force, contrary to Hammarskjöld’s prior assurances to Spaak. He said that he had received a telegram saying the Congolese Government was closing the Belgian Consulate in Léopoldville. He warned that if this was done, he would stop all Belgian aid to the Congo and withdraw every Belgian technician. MacArthur commented that he had known Spaak for 15 years and had “never seen him more angry and bitter.” (Ibid.)
  3. A memorandum of the conversation by Blue is ibid., 770G.00/9–1561.
  4. Rusk discussed Germany and Berlin with Lord Home and Couve de Murville on September 14 but left before the Congo was discussed. A memorandum of the brief discussion of the Congo states that Deputy Under Secretary Johnson told Home and Couve that Rusk had expressed to Bunche U.S. concern over the use of U.N. forces. Home stated that he had told Hammarskjöld that the U.N. action had caused “consternation” in the United Kingdom and that continuation of the present U.N. line would jeopardize British support of future U.N. military actions in other parts of the world. (Ibid., 396.1–WA/9–1461) According to Harold Macmillan, he spoke to Kennedy on September 14 and urged that they press Hammarskjöld to get a settlement on a federal or semi-federal basis. (Pointing the Way, 1959–1961, p. 442)
  5. A September 14 statement by Department spokesman Lincoln White noted U.S. support for the concept of a unified stable Congo and expressed the hope that order would be restored promptly and that the province of Katanga would play a constructive role within the Congo. The text is in telegram 405 to Léopoldville, September 14. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/9–1461)