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

438. Inform Linner and Bunche US compliance late SYG’s request for urgent dispatch 4 US transport aircraft for use internal Congo airlift effected in hope the reinforcement of UN forces Katanga which they will make possible will enhance chances achievement early cease fire under conditions favorable to UN achievement its basic objectives in Congo.2 As Léopoldville pointed out in its 712,3 collapse of UN operations Congo or settlement on Tshombe-Munongo terms would greatly strengthen Gizenga position. Either would of course also gravely prejudice overall position UN. SYG’s death and ambiguous military results [Page 228] to date UN Katangan operations cannot help but hearten his Katangan opponents.

While we continue believe as stated Deptel 431 to Léopoldville4 that the UN objective in the Katanga should be attainment of early cease fire, we believe that the changed circumstances render practical prospects achievement early cease fire on conditions acceptable to UN require UN attaining position of greater strength in Katanga. US action referred to above and supply by Ethiopia of jet fighters should permit this improvement UN posture Katanga. Purpose would not be to support long drawn out military operation but rather attempt avoid necessity thereof through UN presence sufficiently strengthened hopefully to convince Tshombe and European advisers of necessity prompt negotiation on reasonable terms.

Leopoldville pass Elisabethville.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 332.70G/9–1861. Secret; Niact. Drafted by Vance, cleared by Fredericks, and approved by Cleveland. Also sent to USUN and repeated to London, Paris, and Brussels.
  2. Telegram 1559 from the JCS to USCINCEUR, September 18, authorized the use of three C–130 and one C–124 aircraft in support of the U.N. forces in intra-Congo airlift during the existing emergency. The flights should be made only if the USCINCEUR representative in the Congo was satisfied that they could be made without undue risk. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, JCS 9111/4031 (17 Sept 61))
  3. Dated September 18. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/9–1861)
  4. Telegram 663 to Brussels (Document 114) was repeated to Léopoldville as telegram 431.