15. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

2059. Congo.

Stevenson and Yost saw SYG this afternoon to discuss in general terms thinking in Dept’s preparatory papers on Congo policy and to obtain further reactions in thinking of SYG. Stevenson said Dept’s thinking was moving more or less parallel with that of SYG although final decision had not yet been taken.

SYG said he saw course of policy development in fol time sequence:

Decision on “neutralization”
Constitution of middle road government under Ileo as PriMin
Implementation of neutralization
Release of Lumumba and other prisoners after neutralization had begun, and
Convening of Parliament.

A) and B) could be reversed in order, but if this were done time relationship should be very close, i.e., immediately after formation of govt, decision on neutralization should be taken.

He plans to approach problem of “neutralization” indirectly by referring back to last Aug when he spoke of necessity of keeping ANC out of politics. He had planned to say no immediate decision was needed on ANC but that Council members should give serious consideration to problem. Dayal and staff in Congo had commented that prompt decision of SC was necessary to preserve UN situation in Congo, that Congo rapidly drifting to civil war, that UN could not be third force in civil war, and that failure SC to take positive steps at this session would be serious error. They suggested res at this session should “request” SYG to take necessary and appropriate action to assure that military units of ANC did not intervene in politics. SYG was now considering possibility saying to SC he would welcome authority of this sort, virtually in these words. Otherwise, after having made statement re keeping army out of politics he would begin to move in this direction without explicit mandate in absence objections from SC members. (He is clearly open to suggestions from us on how far we think he should go on this. His statement scheduled first thing after opening amenities tomorrow afternoon.)
His plan on “neutralization” would be to get political agreement from Leo and Gizenga essentially on basis providing retraining programs for ANC. He does not envisage use of force by UN to bring this about at least not initially. He pointed out Congolese army was larger than UN’s. He would contemplate use of force against uncontrolled units if he had political understanding with Leo and Stanleyville that forces should be neutralized. In response to question, however, he did not entirely rule out possibility UN eventually imposing its position by force except Katanga. Because of outside assistance he thought Katanga was militarily strong enough to put up heavy resistance, that Katanga would regard use UN force against it as violation agreement under which UN entered Katanga, and that Irish and Swedes (who were in Katanga) had joined ONUC on conditions they not initiate use of force.
On composition govt, SYG and Wieschhoff2 (who was present) strongly urged Ileo as PriMin, as SYG has consistently done since Oct. They believe Ileo has maintained independent position which will make it possible for him to head government of moderation. Among moderate pro-Lumumba people they believe inclusion Sendwe in govt is essential, with Kamitatu3 also desirable. SYG was opposed to inclusion of Gizenga or Kashamura.4 They regard Kalonji’s5 presence as unimportant, and they seem to rule out Tshombe coming into such government on assumption it would be middle road government excluding extremes of both left and right. They believe that if rest of Congo can be pulled together Tshombe can later be brought to terms by US pressure on Belgians, noting he has no other international support. (While this is probably correct we believe they underestimated political difficulty of dealing with rest of Congo problem without dealing with Tshombe at same time.)

From conversation with “drafter” (unnamed) of res to be presented in this SC session, he believes it will include three elements:

That Lumumba should be treated well
That Parliament should be called into session and
That Belgian military and para-military units must be withdrawn.

He was quite specific that present intention was not to call for release of Lumumba or withdrawal of Belgian civilian personnel. His source said some Africans were pushing in these directions but they did not expect to accede. (We very much doubt whether res will stay in this [Page 37] form, especially on status of Lumumba. Soviets, Ghana and others almost certainly will press for para on release Lumumba.) He said Indians wanted to attend SC session primarily in order to exert influence on res. He implied influence would be toward moderation and said Indians regarded adoption of a res as more important than its items. If res along above lines were developed, SYG thought para on UN force along lines suggested by Dayal might be added.

When we explored whether it was politically feasible to get SC decision involving time sequence he had in mind, SYG was uncertain. Key question, of course, would be timing of Lumumba release. SYG said if Afro-Asians were more experienced diplomats, this problem might be overcome. He felt there was sentiment that this was time for “statesmanship”, unpalatable as that might be. He therefore had some hope that satisfactory res might be produced, although he was afraid other side might insist on “bird in hand”, i.e., immediate release of Lumumba. He commented most Africans did not want Lumumba as PriMin and he was being used essentially as symbol. Most Africans did not want Communist govt in Congo; if West had made number of mistakes in Congo, Soviets had made even more, especially by identifying Lumumba totally with themselves.
He believes US should “play it cool” in current SC session. We should string it out until next week in order to give time to see what type of res Afro-Asians plan to come up with. Then we can see how to move and where. He thinks best time for us to approach Belgians with tough line against unilateral intervention and on formation new Congolese govt would be when we see draft or res which we think we can support.
On degree to which UN would really administer Congo, SYG said he did not relish prospect but that it was essential. There had to be Congolese govt which was political cover at top, but UN should provide hard core of personnel who would make most of decisions. Situation should in reality be one where Congolese consulted UN rather than vice versa.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/1–3161. Secret; Priority.
  2. Heinrich Wieschhoff of the U.N. Secretariat.
  3. Cleophas Kamitatu, President of the Léopoldville provincial government.
  4. Amicet Kashamura, former Minister of Information in the Lumumba government.
  5. Albert Kalonji had proclaimed South Kasai an independent state in August 1960.