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

2009. Congo. Verbatim text. Fol is memorandum received from SYG today.2

The developments in the Congo, particularly as a result of the announced withdrawals by the United Arab Republic, Morocco and Indonesia, call for an early reassessment of the United Nations operation. If withdrawals were to remain limited to those who have thus far announced them, there would be no immediate threat to the continuance of this operation. If, however, withdrawals without any sizeable new contributions on the part of those whom we recently approached were to continue, or if Ghana, for instance, should find it necessary to withdraw its contingent, it would obviously be necessary publicly, by action of the Security Council, to reassess future United Nations policy.

The consequences of a complete United Nations withdrawal and its impact on the Congo and on African affairs in general are of course most serious and, I believe, a basis for reappraisal not only on my part but on the part of the major powers. Having regard to the successful co-operation between the American Government and myself during the Suez crisis, I feel that a strenuous diplomatic effort undertaken by the United States might yet be helpful in order to stem the tide. It would appear to me that two sets of actions by the United States Government might indeed be most helpful.

Firstly, all possible encouragement might be given, through United States diplomatic channels, to those countries whom we recently requested to provide additional troops, such as Senegal and Mexico. Also, a diplomatic intervention in Ghana for the purpose of preventing any withdrawal might, if thought opportune in Washington, be most helpful. In this connection a clarification of United States policy might indeed be helpful in order to lend emphasis to such approaches.

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On the other side, the United States influence could perhaps also be utilized in the direction of bringing about a neutralistic course inside the Congo by avoiding, particularly through overt Belgian operations, the implication that the Western powers see the only solution in the regime of Mr. Kasavubu and his allies, without the possibility of adjustments and constructive compromises.

I could also imagine that there may be ways in which, at this juncture, the United States might be willing to consider whether a discreet approach to Moscow in regard to Congolese affairs might not substantially assist in reducing contentiousness in this field. From certain contacts of my own, I see at least a few straws in the wind which may indicate that Moscow itself would have some interest in removing, at least to some extent, the Congo affair from East-West contention.

I am fairly certain that some of these steps need urgently to be considered if, as a result of the recent politically immature actions by some states, the Congo should unwittingly become an even more complicated problem in relations between the major powers than it has been over these last six months.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/1–2661. Secret; Priority; Limited Distribution.
  2. Telegram 2010 from USUN, January 26, transmitted the text of Hammarskjöld’s covering letter and the texts of two messages dated January 25 from Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to Hammarskjöld. Nehru suggested an approach to the United States and the Soviet Union to keep the Congo out of the cold war and to implement U.N. policy on foreign intervention, Congolese integrity, and the emergence of a Congolese government with wide support. He recommended enlisting Belgium’s allies to bring about Belgian evacuation and to bring pressure on Kasavubu to convene the Congolese Parliament, and he urged the disarmament of Mobutu’s forces and U.N. pressure for the release of political prisoners. (Ibid.)