118. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

798. Congo. Bunche today read us excerpts from top secret tel which he said SYG sent just before leaving on flight which ended in crash.

Bunche said he had reported to SYG his talks with Secy and Cleveland re UN’s evaluation that strong action in Katanga was necessary to avert civil war. In reply to US view that there was no indication of clear and present danger of GOC intervention in Katanga, SYG’s reply was, in substance, the fol res passed by Congo Parliament shows pressures for ANC action; situation is difficult for Adoula. There is ample proof that our (meaning UN) evaluation of risk of war was correct. Risk may have been or may be activated by ANC intervention in Katanga or breakup of [Page 229] Adoula Cabinet with Orientale group going to Stanleyville. Short of trend toward resolution of Katanga problem, at least in form of discussions, risk remains grave. Our (UN) response has been measures tending to free Tshombe of foreign domination or domination by ultras. These have been absolute condition for staving off aforementioned risk; in particular, they are absolute condition if we are to give Adoula chance to keep govt together and resist pressure for military action. SYG went on: Of course, Adoula and several others in Cabinet know ANC without foreign support would not be able to end Katanga secession by military means and also know that such solution would not be basis for acceptable future. As Adoula himself has pointed out to me, political problem facing him is one understood only in emotional terms.

Bunche referred to GOC decision (ourtel 796)2 which, he said, showed accuracy of SYG’s appraisal.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/9–1861. Secret; Priority; Limited Distribution. Received at 2:50 a.m. on September 19 and repeated to Brussels and Léopoldville.
  2. Telegram 796 from USUN reported that, according to Bunche, the Congolese Cabinet had decided that the United Nations “must put its troops into a position to fight with equal arms against mercenaries in Katanga.” If it could not do so, the Congolese Government proposed to ask friendly countries for military assistance so that it could undertake operations itself. (Ibid.)