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

1266. Following based on uncleared memcon:2

Bunche informed Stevenson early afternoon today that SYG had been in direct teletype contact with Linner and McKeown concerning today’s developments in Stanleyville.3 UN has now received an appeal for assistance from Lundula, which is being confirmed in letter to be sent from Adoula to Linner.

Bunche said UN has instructed Linner to provide central government with all necessary assistance. UN basing its action on: 1) mandate to preserve law and order in Congo; and 2) mandate to use force if necessary to prevent civil war.

Bunche mentioned possible complicating factor which UN unable evaluate at this time. This is that Adoula has just received letter from President of Orientale Province complaining that rebellious ANC troops preventing Gizenga from returning to Léopoldville take up his duties as Vice Premier.

Stevenson stressed importance of seizing this opportunity to improve public posture of UN in US and elsewhere and asked whether UN intended publicize this decision to assist central government.

Bunche replied following press statement put out by UNNY.

“The SYG has been in direct contact by teletype with the Officer-in-Charge at Léopoldville and the Commander of the Force on today’s developments in Stanleyville. He is keeping in touch with the situation constantly and has given instructions that ONUC exert all possible effort to restore and maintain law and order in Stanleyville and to avert [Page 360] civil war. The UN has a substantial detachment of troops in Stanleyville and they will continue to serve these objectives.”4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/1–1362. Confidential; Niact. Drafted by Tron, cleared by Williams, and approved by Cleveland. Repeated to USUN and Brussels.
  2. Memorandum of a telephone conversation between Stevenson (in Washington) and Bunche (in New York) by Tron. (Ibid., 332.70G/1–1362)
  3. Telegram 1803 from Léopoldville, January 13, from Gullion to Rusk, reported that the situation in Stanleyville was near civil war, with both Gizenga and Lundula mobilizing forces. Adoula planned to request U.N. assistance, and Linner was asking U.N. headquarters for authority to use U.N. forces to maintain order. Gullion urged Rusk’s personal intervention to ensure that Linner would be given the authority he needed to prevent civil war. (Ibid., 770G.00/1–1362) Yost, who was in Washington, telephoned Bunche in New York at 11 a.m., when Bunche stated that his information was that the Congolese did not wish U.N. assistance. (Memorandum of conversation by Tron; ibid., 332.70G/1–1362)
  4. A memorandum from Stevenson to Kennedy, undated but evidently sent on January 13, briefly summarized his conversation with Bunche and quoted the press statement. (Kennedy Library, President’s Office Files, Congo, General, 7/61–12/61)