130. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State1

975. Department telegrams 505,2 601,3 Elisabethville’s 218.4 While trying to contribute to pressure on Tshombe we are at same time constantly trying to keep Adoula in power and receptive to negotiations. These efforts are continuous and impractical to report in every detail. They are not limited to representations made by me to Adoula and Kasavubu but as best we can our influence on ONUC and foreign mission, our use of American aid, our information and intelligence efforts, our guidance to press and American visitors are well deployed to that end.

Adoula has been working under tension for months and subject to extreme pressure from extremists. Two days ago he was acutely depressed and on point of slipping leash on Congolese Army to extent of allowing it at least to cross Katanga border. Moreover he allowed himself to be worked up much more than usually by false report UN mediator Khiari had accepted Tshombe proposition that contact be made in a “foreign Embassy” in Léopoldville. Linner professed some alarm. I met Adoula on October 10 and twice on October 11. As usual took line that policy of pressure on Tshombe and strengthening UN both for negotiation and for any eventuality was best hope provided it was matched by reasonableness on part GOC. Said I thought strong medicine administered Tshombe was beginning to have some effect and recalled efforts [Page 252] made not only by ourselves in Katanga, in UN, and world-wide, but abroad activities of Belgians, British and others who might be expected have influence on Tshombe. Alerted Adoula on basis observations our trip to Stanleyville and Coquilhatville of latest machinations Lumumbist extreme faction together with speculation on Gizenga role. Adoula needs no lesson on these dangers but I said longer negotiations deferred more they would fester.

Then used letter Tshombe had sent our Consul Elisabethville (Elisabethville telegram 406 to Department)5 in effort demonstrate former was beginning to water his wine. As possible aspects pointed out: (A) Reference to Tananarive accords which Adoula himself had earlier hinted as possible framework of agreement; (B) Readiness to meet Adoula without further reference to “neutral territory”; (C) Claim that Katangese secession was myth (Adoula snorted); (D) The “yes” to Léopoldville.

Adoula intensely interested but initially indignation Tshombe claims uppermost in his reaction. If true, said Adoula, that writ of GOC ran only in territory controlled by UN troops then Tshombe ought to strive for parliamentary solution because with UN troops withdrawn he would have majority support. He was amazed at claims Katangese Parliamentarians went to Lovanium.

In summary Adoula refused to believe that letter represented anything new. His main contention was Tshombe had repeatedly professed identical intentions but long experience had shown he had no intention of carrying them out. Adoula also believed Tshombe trying psychological warfare on Americans and fears we might fall for it (told him we aware this angle; Tshombe retains very skilled propagandists, possibly French experts ex-Algeria). Adoula said door had never been closed but Tshombe refused to cross threshold.

As further means pressure asked Adoula if he had thought of invoking any kind conciliation machinery, e.g. UN conciliation commission. Idea startled and worried him. He saw no place for arbitrament of these issues. I said for present we continued hope Congolese could find their own solution.

Denied to him (at Linner’s request) that Khiara had invited Tshombe to meet Adoula “in a foreign Embassy”.

Effect all above probably salutary but such arguments must be used judiciously because they could make Adoula lose some confidence in US extent he thinks we would force departure from irreducible GOC position: No meetings on “neutral ground”; no abstention of Katanga from Parliament; no impairment economic unity of country; and recognition [Page 253] of primacy of central government. GOC remains basically convinced (and they are not alone in that opinion) that whatever Tshombe’s words and however many emissaries he sends he has no intention whatsoever of rejoining either Union or Federation. They believe he will procrastinate interminably in expectation that dissolution and civil strife will overtake rest of country (Canup inclined concur this estimate of Tshombe; also points out as long as Gizenga stays away Tshombe likely try assist efforts spread dissension).

Another danger is that Adoula, stubborn and courageous as he has been, may simply give up. Without mass or tribal support or even truly operative governmental structure he has prevailed up to now, essentially by moral ascendancy.

We have long term plans for building up Adoula and helping create governmental apparatus but immediate goal is to keep him in office. If he should fall or withdraw or be replaced my military coup we can foresee grave consequences.

Since principal interview described above visit of CODEL Gore6 has genuinely heartened both Adoula and UN. Also since dictating above have received from Linner report of imminent dispatch Tshombe emissaries which if it really materializes should buck Adoula.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/10–1361. Secret. Received at 2:40 p.m. on October 15 and repeated to London, Brussels, USUN, Paris, Brazzaville, and Elisabethville.
  2. Telegram 505, September 26, requested the Embassy’s views as to how best to persuade Adoula and key members of his government of the necessity of taking a conciliatory attitude toward Tshombe and how best to get talks going on a constructive basis between Tshombe and Léopoldville. (Ibid., 770G.00/9–2561)
  3. Telegram 601, October 9, instructed Canup’s successor, Lewis Hoffacker, to reply verbally to a letter from Tshombe by encouraging him to go to Léopoldville to begin negotiations with Adoula. (Ibid., 770G.00/10–861) Tshombe’s letter to Hoffacker, sent on October 6, expressed willingness to negotiate a formula for a federal or confederal solution for the Congo. Hoffacker sent a translation to the Department in telegram 406 from Elisabethville, October 8. (Ibid.)
  4. Telegram 218 from Elisabethville to Léopoldville, October 10 (sent to the Department as telegram 411), suggested that if the Department wished to do everything possible to bring about fruitful negotiations between Adoula and Tshombe, the U.S. position should be flexible enough to permit at least superficial involvement of the U.S., U.K., and French Consuls in the transportation and reception arrangements for Katangan emissaries to Léopoldville. This would meet Tshombe’s request to the governments represented in Elisabethville to guarantee the security of such emissaries. (Ibid., 770G.00/10–1061)
  5. See footnote 2 above.
  6. Senators Albert Gore of Tennessee, Philip Hart of Michigan, and Maurine B. Neuberger of Oregon visited the Congo October 11–12. Reports of their visit are in Department of State, Central File 033.1100–GO.