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

2797. Congo. Gullion, Wallner and Yost called on SYG this afternoon. Bunche, Narasimhan and Linner were present. Fol matters were explored or touched on.

Bunche showed message just in from Rolz-Bennett indicating Tshombe has proposed to Adoula to meet him shortly at Kamina. Linner’s impression was that Adoula would accept. However, Bunche had some doubts in view tenor Tshombe’s speech yesterday.2

US reps raised question of proposed UN troop movements to Jadotville, Kolwezi and Kipushi and pointed out obvious damaging effects on bond issue and on US opinion generally if “third round” of hostilities should break out. They urged Tshombe be persuaded publicly to agree to movement before it takes place.

SYG replied that UN must eventually comply with SC mandate against secession and against mercenaries by stationing troops in these towns. Brief visits by mixed commissions are good beginning but far from sufficient. Tshombe had definitely in last conversation with Linner agreed to troop movement. If, through influence local UMHK die-hards or otherwise he goes back on agreement, it might become necessary for UN to use force. SYG expects to transmit to SC Monday3 report on latest developments in Elisabethville4 and consult CAC at end of week.

He had told UK he would take no action without letting CAC know in advance and of course he much prefers proceed by agreement if possible. He expressed his intention of consulting with US next week in regard to air transport assistance in connection with this movement. Even if accomplished peaceably and by agreement, movement will require air transport to Elisabethville of large number of additional vehicles, possibly as many as 300. SYG asked specifically what would be US attitude if Tshombe welshes on his agreement to UN troop movement to three above-mentioned towns.

[Page 389]

US reps said they could not give definitive answer to this question at this time but that, having in mind very grave disadvantages of military action to which they had earlier referred, they strongly urged UN show greatest patience on this point and allow time for other pressures, financial and political, which are being exerted on Tshombe, to take effect. They pointed out that objective is to reintegrate Katanga into Congo, that whole series of steps are being taken with this end in view and that no single step should be viewed in isolation or considered sine qua non.

Bunche pointed out that as more and more time passes it becomes more difficult for UN to carry out its mandate and that Tshombe is undoubtedly playing on this fact. SYG emphasized relevance of UN financial crisis. He expressed view that for this reason present military strength UNOC cannot be maintained after June. Even if full $200 million obtained through bond issue, which he seriously doubts, present level of expenditure cannot be maintained after end this year. He pointed out new additional financial burden likely to be imposed by pending Ruanda Urundi res.5

Gullion expressed strong hope UN phasing down would not begin so early as June as he felt that it would be clearly premature. Criterion, he felt, should be ability of Congolese to maintain order. SYG emphasized he did not contemplate total UN military evacuation but reduction to about 5,000 by end of year.

Narasimhan expressed view that financial pressure would sooner or later be decisive on this point, whether or not action were premature in terms of situation in Congo.

There was brief discussion of US proposal to send joint civilian-military survey team to investigate program for demobilizing, resettling and providing vocational training for large part of ANC. SYG asked he be given paper describing exactly what was proposed and it was agreed he would be given such paper next week. Bunche expressed fear there might be some criticism in CAC of military component this mission. Gullion explained military component would be very small and in civilian clothes.

Gullion expressed regret at shortness tenure of Gardiner in particular and UN officials in Congo in general. UN reps showed some sensitivity at discussion of UN personnel matters but SYG said assignment Gardiner would be reviewed at end of March. Bunche emphasized importance of ECA position in connection with emerging problems in Africa as a whole.

[Page 390]

Wallner reported we intend endeavor disabuse Tshombe of whatever impression he may have Rolz-Bennett is Communist oriented, and urged UN to support our explanations in whatever way seemed most appropriate to them. SYG seemed to attribute stories of this character to Brinton rather than to Tshombe and supported Bunche’s position that it would be improper to have UN reps even refer to such accusations unless made directly to them, which had not been the case.

After mtg, [5 lines of source text not declassified].

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/2–1662. Confidential. Repeated to Léopoldville and Brussels.
  2. Telegram 1186 from Elisabethville, February 16, transmitted the official text of Tshombe’s speech to the Katangan Assembly the previous day. It charged, inter alia, that the Department of State was “under thumb of voracious financiers who will not rest as long as Congo not colony under their economic domination and as long as Katanga copper not eliminated from world competition.” (Ibid.)
  3. February 19.
  4. U.N. doc. S/5053/Add. 8.
  5. On February 23, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 1743 (XVI), which established a U.N. Commission for Ruanda-Urundi.