13. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Belgium1

1388. Following based on uncleared memo of conversation.2

Belgian Ambassador paid first call on Secretary January 27. Meeting devoted mostly to presentation Belgian viewpoint on Congo. Scheyven repeated Belgian request for US intervention with SYG for latter to assist in release eight Belgian soldiers seized in Kivu and now reportedly in Stanleyville. It was noted US had already approached UN [Page 32] Secretariat in this sense. Scheyven also asked US aid in obtaining UN protection for all Belgians in Kivu.

In other points, Belgian Ambassador said his Government believes Congolese round-table should be allowed proceed but stressed rapid results unlikely. He repeated Belgians opposed fragmentation Congolese state. He added Belgians also thought UN should have succeeded Belgium as guarantor law and order in Congo. Scheyven emphasized Belgian thesis economic life Congo would suffer further heavy blows if remaining 40,000 Belgians departed. He adverted to evidence Stanleyville regime receiving UAR and Soviet support.

Scheyven then referred to Bomboko’s requests in Paris for arms and money and admitted furnishing arms directly to Bomboko now would contravene existing Security Council resolutions. However, he wondered what should be done because UN not now maintaining law and order. Secretary inquired what Belgians thought should be done if group UN members felt present UN policy had about been played out. Scheyven admitted matter complicated by Afro-Asian belief Lumumba remains Prime Minister legally. Secretary thought many believed that right Congolese Head of State to dismiss Prime Minister was formalistic one, exercise of which had not been expected. Scheyven also admitted need for improving present governmental situation in Congo.

Scheyven then discussed dangers Communist takeover in Central Africa if Stanleyville regime succeeded and thought UN should take unspecified action against Gizenga who he alleged was supported by only few hundred men. It was agreed US and Belgium should remain in close touch here and in Brussels on this whole range of problems.

Secretary concluded we were giving urgent thought to alternatives to present line. He said on one hand we wished keep Cold War out of Congo but on other hand Soviets seem determined join “Battle of Africa”. He thought West clearly could not afford lose Congo and believed we did have various assets there including friendliness of most people. He also noted UN troops had been ineffective because of political directives and noted merely putting problem into UN does not ensure its solution.

Finally it was agreed that for present we should try maintain UN effort and help SYG if possible in obtaining new troops such as Senegalese. Scheyven again criticized Kasavubu for his public attacks on Dayal which had made solution this problem by SYG more difficult.

Scheyven made clear continuing overall Belgian concern with all aspects Congo problem.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/1–2861. Confidential. Drafted and approved by Director of the Office of Western European Affairs Robert H. McBride and cleared by Donald B. Easum of the Executive Secretariat. Repeated to Léopoldville and USUN.
  2. Drafted by McBride. (Ibid.)