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

1281. Re US–UK Talks on Congo.2 Major conclusion that can be drawn from US–UK talks on Congo last Friday3 is that serious differences dividing us at end 1961 now largely submerged by more recent developments giving some cause optimism. Nevertheless, effort was made identify areas of potential disagreement in order avoid future serious policy splits.

Both sides agreed on basic objectives in Congo particularly implementation Kitona accord and UN-channeled aid to promote political stability and economic viability of integrated Congo. UK determined give no support whatever to secessionist ambitions. However, UK remains more optimistic than we on Tshombe’s willingness and ability implement Kitona agreement, and is therefore much more reluctant than we to exert additional pressures on him. UK also contends there is “limit to extent to which threats, shows of force and forms of pressure will achieve their objectives if applied to Tshombe at present time.” UK therefore believes that only form of economic measures which should be taken are those demonstrably preparatory to integration of Katanga into economy of Congo and which capable of being enforced. British particularly anxious eschew any economic measures which likely result in resumption hostilities and on this basis objects to closing tax office in Elisabethville. US stressed that Tshombe must not be permitted to believe pressure has been relaxed since the best protection against the resumption of hostilities is progress in negotiations on a constitution and in actual economic integration. US–UK agreed we should consult on continuing basis to see that optimum—rather than maximum—pressure exerted on Tshombe to follow through on Kitona accord.4

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Both sides agreed that there potential differences between us which would come to fore if situation once again deteriorates. Whereas UK likely take position of no more UN military action regardless developments, US believes would be dangerous give Tshombe impression further UN military action foreclosed under any circumstances. We very much hope there will be no resumption hostilities, but we not prepared make definitive judgment before we faced with concrete situation. US stressed UN mandate to protect law and order still stands.

US also expressed belief British tend underestimate threat to peace in Congo posed by Central Government desire reintegrate Katanga quickly and nationalist pressure on Adoula. Any delays in implementation Kitona agreement on Tshombe’s part would result in renewed ANC pressure. We regard this as additional reason make certain Tshombe proceeds rapidly.

US expressed concern at what we considered premature UK judgment that “there should be no more UN operations such as that in Congo”. US believes we should accentuate positive elements in judging success UN operation. We continue believe that in circumstances it was best risk available, and far preferable to having big power troops fighting in heart of Africa with threat East-West confrontation on battlefield. At conclusion discussion, Ormsby Gore agreed with Stevenson and Cleveland that whether or not operation is clear-cut success, our decision utilize UN was sound and we should continue make this point publicly and privately.

Both sides agreed focus on removal mercenaries by force unfortunate, but US stressed pressures would build up for action against mercenaries if Kitona agreement not implemented. Both expressed hope that economic reintegration Katanga would deprive mercenaries of pay and cause, and lead them drift away. At same time we agreed every effort should be made keep additional mercenaries from going to Katanga.

US and UK agreed highly important task for future is reorganization and retraining ANC. UK wants ONUC move rapidly from “unprofitable garrison tasks” they now performing to streamlined, French-speaking “instructional cadres” to retrain ANC. US agrees retraining program is matter of highest priority; at same time US does not think it feasible dismantle ONUC before ANC brought under control, law and order restored, and concrete progress made in political and administrative reintegration of country. UK also wanted UN move rapidly from military to civil affairs task. US agreed it now essential proceed with nation-building program in Congo.

Both agreed on need for extensive economic and technical assistance by UN. UK in favor five-year economic plan, and is prepared maintain UN Congo budget at present levels at least into 1963. Operation would then taper off and conclude by 1966. US appreciated UK desire maintain [Page 365] contributions, but we completely unable estimate period of time UN assistance will be required.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/1–1762. Confidential. Drafted by Tron, cleared by Fredericks and United Nations Adviser in the Bureau of European Affairs Henry J. Kellerman, and approved by Wallner. Also sent to USUN and repeated to London, Brussels, and Paris Topol.
  2. U.S. and U.K. officials held a series of talks in Washington in mid-January on a broad range of subjects related to the United Nations. Participants included Stevenson, Harlan Cleveland, Ormsby Gore, and Sir Patrick Dean. A brief summary of the talks is in circular airgram CA–1005, February 2. (Ibid., 301/2–262)
  3. January 12.
  4. The U.K. views outlined here were set forth in more detail in a memorandum prepared in the Foreign Office and delivered with a January 10 covering note from Ormsby Gore to Rusk, which stated that when they last discussed the Congo, Rusk had asked if Ormsby Gore could obtain a statement of U.K. policy. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/1–1062)