131. Telegram From the Consulate in Elisabethville to the Department of State1

430. Saw Tshombe for first time this morning. He greeted me by saying he knew I would understand why he could not receive me while [Page 254] Gurkhas occupied Consulate.2 He took initiative to express his personal affection for US and Americans, remarking that Belgians were critical of him when as child he sought American Methodist education. His feelings toward US Government were another thing, he said, particularly since US chose support recent UN military action Katanga.

Presented letter stating inter alia: 1) US confident in UN guarantee security for emissaries and 2) US like UN and GOC, not here to destroy him (Department telegram 3003 and Léopoldville telegram 2304). He made no comment after reading letter. I expressed pleasure his decision send emissaries tomorrow to Léopoldville. He confirmed this still his intention and did not seem disturbed Khiari obliged go to Léopoldville yesterday in advance of them.

He said he had given Khiari letter yesterday repeating Katanga position of August 28 on mercenaries. Speaking at some length on this subject, he said even if he wanted put Europeans once again at head of Katanga military units, Katanga members of forces would object since they have developed liking for prerogatives of command positions and are proud command without European assistance.

He referred to Radio Brazzaville but hinted would be wise postpone judgment until more factual information available. He gave no indication what his government intended do re Irish prisoners, who scheduled be exchanged this afternoon, or re cease-fire in general.

Tshombe confirmed he leaving for provincial tour tomorrow through Thursday, this time to regions near Rhodesian border.

He complained about “Canup refusal” of visa for his trip to Canada earlier this year. Tried convince him Canup spoke and acted for his government.

Saw O’Brien later this morning and learned from him Khiari left for Léopoldville last night to attempt dispel consternation which he confirmed did exist New York and Léopoldville on cease-fire accord.5 [Page 255] O’Brien deeply concerned, particularly over prisoner exchange, and said UN will of course not turn over Katangan prisoners at Manono or elsewhere if Irish not released today. I have since heard from generally reliable source that General Moke said there will be no prisoner exchange until ratification by Secretariat General.

O’Brien says emissaries not definitely named. He hopes one will be Kimba. He less enthusiastic about prospect of state secretary A. Niembo being another.

Italian Consul Natali called to say Italian medical prisoners (Consulate telegram 394)6 released 2 a.m. this morning. He expressed appreciation for US sympathy and support.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/10–1661. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Léopoldville, Brussels, USUN, Paris, London, Salisbury, and Rome.
  2. Reference is to a U.N. guard unit provided to the Consulate during the September 13 fighting. Prior to that, a Katangan police guard had been stationed there after a crowd attack on the Consulate on September 5. (Telegrams 310 from Elisabethville, September 5, and 615 from Léopoldville, September 13; ibid., 770G.00/9–561 and 770G.00/9–1361) Hoffacker reported in telegram 388 from Elisabethville, October 1, that although the U.N. guard was an irritant to Tshombe, it was necessary because of threats directed at the Consulate. (Ibid., 770G.00/10–161) He reported in telegram 404, October 7, that the guard had become a severe handicap to the Consulate’s work; telegram 600 to Léopoldville, October 9, authorized him to request its removal. (Ibid., 770G.00/10–761)
  3. Dated October 3. (Ibid., 770G.00/10–261)
  4. Telegram 230 from Léopoldville to Elisabethville, October 7 (sent to the Department as telegram 933), reported that Linner had written to Tshombe on October 6 extending formal U.N. protection to him if he came to Léopoldville. (Ibid., 770G.00/10–761)
  5. Khiari and Tshombe signed a protocol of agreement on October 13 implementing the September 20 cease-fire agreement; for text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pp. 838–839.
  6. Dated October 3. (Department of State, Central Files, 270G.5591/10–361)