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

624. Léopoldville pass Elisabethville. Following based on uncleared memo conversation:2

Congo FonMin Bomboko called on Secretary October 10, stated GOC has two basic problems, Gizengists and Katanga. Re Gizengists, [Page 249] Bomboko stated parliamentary approval of present government with moderates in control still viewed by Gizengists as defeat. Gizenga came to Léopoldville only under parliamentary pressure and to avoid complete isolation. His group continues efforts attempt increase their influence in GOC but so far moderate group had been successful inhibiting Gizenga and Gbenye. Gbenye for example had not been successful setting up his own Surete apparatus. Problem bloc and Casablanca group diplomatic reps largely resolved.

Re Lundula, Bomboko stated he would be called to Léopoldville in near future and be given opportunity regulate his status. If he refuses, Gizengist parliamentarians will be held responsible for making him behave.

Bomboko said he disturbed certain elements US press and opinion appear view GOC as pro-communist and dominated by Gizengists, however Léopoldville moderate group thought best prepare ground thoroughly and move against Gizengists only after their actions known and therefore more vulnerable to counter-action, rather than to take counter-measures only against Gizengist intentions.

Bomboko said moderate group must take certain precautions however, e.g. physical protection for leaders, creation investigative service for PriMin permitting him keep track activities his ministers, creation counter-intelligence unit in FonOff to follow activities foreign missions, creation military intelligence unit and effective loyal commando force for Mobutu, positive action in field of press, youth, radio, dissemination of tracts and establishment Congo embassies, key capitals, with Washington embassy to be opened in near future.3

Re Katanga, Bomboko said there is considerable bitterness against Tshombe on part other Congolese, and most feel Tshombe has been given many opportunities cooperate. However Congo cannot afford civil war and Léopoldville group recognizes need make certain changes in constitution. Bomboko aware cooperation Tshombe with GOC would strengthen moderate position generally and in parliament and Tshombe intransigence provides ammunition for Gizengists.

Now Tshombe feels he has won victory and will be more difficult deal with. Bomboko inquired what means open to US to induce UN take prompt effective action Katanga to prevent civil war. Secretary stated we shared Bomboko views Katanga problem and asked Bomboko what in his view US might do in this regard.

Bomboko replied difficult for him answer since he not familiar with means open to US to influence UN, however pointed out that in past UN inaction [Page 250] had permitted military build-up Katanga and installation bloc diplomats Stanleyville, even though UN controlled airfields and had troops both places. At same time UN had prevented GOC from utilizing bilateral channels. Bomboko stated now GOC legitimately installed, UN would have no further excuse not make every effort neutralize regional opposition like Tshombe and Lundula, if necessary by disarming troops these factions, although he realized fighting would be involved if such move attempted in Katanga at present. In addition UN should now begin military re-training program but only for those troops loyal Kasavubu.

Secretary enquired whether Bomboko saw any possibility fruitful talks with Tshombe. Bomboko replied he had some hope, and that if Tshombe willing recognize authority Kasavubu, talks might be productive. Question whether Katanga returns to Congo not negotiable, however GOC prepared to talk about practical matters such as taxes, economic relations, transport etc.

Secretary enquired who seems have most influence Tshombe. Bomboko replied financial groups, including British, Rhodesian, and Union Miniere.

Secretary said he hoped moderate group knew they had support of USG, but that for many reasons much of this support had to be channelled through UN. As example USG support Secretary cited pressures we bringing bear on Tshombe. Bomboko pointed out his group never had any doubts re USG support. Secretary said we much interested strengthening Adoula government and hoped Léopoldville moderates would stay in close touch with Embassy Léopoldville so that we could be informed of developments and assist as appropriate. FonMin replied he had always collaborated with Embassy but on basis freedom not satellite and was persuaded US only nation really close to Congo.

Secretary closed discussion by assuring Bomboko US had no national interests Congo, does not ask Congo to join any military grouping, and hoped Congo would develop as truly independent nation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/10–1361. Secret. Drafted by Woodruff, cleared by Fredericks, and approved by Vance. Repeated to USUN, Brussels, Paris, London, and Salisbury.
  2. A memorandum by Vance of Rusk’s conversation with Bomboko on October 10 is ibid., 770G.00/10–1061.1
  3. Bomboko discussed these points in more detail in a conversation with Fredericks the same day. Lavallee’s memorandum of the conversation is ibid.