123. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate in Elisabethville1

284. Salisbury unnumbered September 22.2 In reply to message from Tshombe addressed to President Kennedy transmitted through Salisbury ConGen you should deliver to Tshombe following message.

“US Govt welcomes end hostilities in Katanga and hopes that this current cease fire can lead to a resumption of efforts by all Congolese leaders with help of UN leading to peaceful reintegration of Katanga with the rest of the Congo. The US Govt will continue to offer all appropriate support to the UN for these purposes. You are well aware that the Govts of Belgium and UK, like US and most other members of UN, favor peaceful reintegration of Katanga into Congo. To work out specific arrangements under which this will be done is of course strictly internal matter for Congolese people and its elected representatives. Nevertheless, we would like to suggest strongly that you resume discussions with Léopoldville without delay in order to speed up the restoration territorial integrity of the Congo. In this manner, we believe you will contribute most effectively to return of peace and order all over country.”

When presenting this message you should orally remind Tshombe our view that separation of Katanga from Congo is not in interest of people of Katanga nor does it have as a practical matter any hope of success. No single government today or in past has recognized secession of Katanga and it is also totally unacceptable to rest of Congolese people.

Our advice at all times has been and remains Tshombe should talk with Léopoldville in a reasonable frame of mind and avoid accepting advice from persons who want to press him into extreme positions without regard to his best interests.

In past we had advised Tshombe to take part in formation of new Congo Govt. This would have permitted him to exercise great influence [Page 239] and would have created basis on which future Constitution of Congo could have been worked out in atmosphere of friendship rather than under impact of recent military encounters.

We cannot appropriately comment on form of constitution of other nations but we note that virtually all Congolese leaders favor greater autonomy for individual parts of Congo than provided under fundamental law of 1960. Believe solution should take account legitimate interests of all Congolese and permit creation of central government on workable basis.

Regarding Kimba request for visa to attend UNGA suggest you tell Tshombe this visit highly inopportune at present since most of other nations currently reacting unfavorably to Katanga armed resistance to UN. Kimba presence New York now would only tend to exacerbate Katanga relations with GOC and other Africans. Once Tshombe has taken steps along lines suggested above Kimba visit could be reviewed.

We remain willing consider what sympathetic helpful measures we could take once Tshombe has given clear proof of constructive approach to problems faced.

In your discretion also inform Tshombe of hope of Governor Williams that Tshombe will regard US Consul Elisabethville as informal friendly advisor and effective channel communications with USG.

For Léopoldville: You should convey foregoing to Linner and Adoula and other members GOC your discretion, assuring them of our intention be helpful in attaining peaceful reintegration Katanga. What Dept has in mind in next to last paragraph above is intention urge GOC be conciliatory. No distribution Tshombe telegram to Senators or Representatives will be made as considered inappropriate, nor is publicity envisaged for time being.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/9–2261. Confidential. Drafted by Vance and Eisenberg, cleared in substance by Rostow and Deputy Director of the Office of United Nations Political and Security Affairs William B. Buffum, and approved by Williams. Also sent to Léopoldville and repeated to USUN, Salisbury, London, and Brussels.
  2. Reference is to telegram 235 from Salisbury, which transmitted a message from Tshombe to Kennedy. The message argued that the United Nations had no mandate for its “aggression” in Katanga, requested Kennedy’s intervention to stop the reinforcement of U.N. troops in Katanga, and declared that “on the basis of the universally recognized right to self-determination” Katanga would negotiate with the Léopoldville authorities “for establishing a Katangan state in its relationship with the Congo.” (Ibid.) The September 23 memorandum from Ball to Kennedy (see the source note, Document 122) states that, since Tshombe was only a regional leader without legitimacy, the Department took for granted that Kennedy should not reply to his letter but was instructing Canup to press him toward negotiations with Adoula.