202. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Williams) to the Under Secretary of State (Ball)1


  • The President’s Views on Tshombe’s U.S. Visit2

I had an opportunity immediately after the President said goodbye to Prime Minister Adoula the afternoon of February 5 to show the President the telegram reporting Tshombe’s desire to make his visit to the United States now for the additional purpose of talking to Adoula.3

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The President stated that our letting Tshombe come here to talk to Adoula would be insulting to the latter. He then referred to Tshombe’s hope to visit the United States to attend rallies and make other public appearances. He said that we should not let Tshombe come unless he can come on a Congo passport under circumstances that would cause Prime Minister Adoula to be willing to grant him one. Under present circumstances he thought it would not be in our interest for him to come.

I mentioned that we are not required by law to insist that Tshombe travel on a Congo passport, that we can give a visa on a piece of paper. I added that we had, for example, done something like this for people like Holden Roberto4 and that there might well be public criticism and senatorial criticism if in the light of these precedents and our open door policy of freedom of travel we refuse to do so for Tshombe.

The President said that when it was not in our interest to give a visa at a particular time we had declined to do so and he cited the Formosan nationalist as a case in point. He said he took it that we could keep someone out for a desired period of time until circumstances changed sufficiently to make a visit constructive, that this is what we were doing with the Formosan. He added, laughingly, with regard to the public relations and senatorial impact, that he would put me out in front on this one.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.70G11/2–762. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Vance.
  2. On January 19, Tshombe had requested a visa for the purpose of visiting the United States to participate in a March 7 Katanga Freedom Rally at Madison Square Garden. (Telegram 1024 from Elisabethville, January 19; ibid., 770G.00/1–1962) Telegram 1319 to Léopoldville, January 26, stated that while Tshombe would not be given a visa in a Katangan passport, refusal of a visa could seriously prejudice the Department’s ability to retain public support for U.S. policy in the Congo. Hoffacker was instructed to try to dissuade Tshombe from visiting the United States under the auspices of the rally organizers and instructed Gullion to try to persuade Adoula to offer a Congolese passport to Tshombe. (Ibid., 770G.00/1–2662) Further documentation on this subject is ibid., 770G.00.
  3. Telegram 1106 from Elisabethville, February 5. (Ibid., 770G.00/2–562)
  4. Head of the Uniao das Populacoes de Angola.
  5. Telegram 532 to Elisabethville, February 5, stated that if Tshombe continued to show interest in a trip to the United States, the Consulate should advise him that the situation in the Congo was “too disturbed” for a visit by Tshombe to be “fruitful” and should urge him to postpone consideration of a visit until implementation of the Kitona agreement was well underway. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/2–562) Telegram 1127 from Elisabethville, February 6, reported that Hoffacker had so informed Tshombe and that he had accepted it calmly. (Ibid., 770G.00/2–662)