208. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Belgium1

2180. Following based uncleared Memcon.2

During meeting with Under Secretary February 20, Spaak discussed African problems.

[Here follows discussion of Ruanda-Urundi.]

Congo. Ball remarked that US encouraged over Congo political developments but emphasized necessity make prompt progress forestall UN pressures for greater UN action in Katanga. Ball stressed that US most anxious that fighting be avoided. Ball noted that the UN desires to introduce its forces to Kipushi, Kolwezi and Jadotville. Spaak remarked that Tshombe opposes UN troops in these towns and according Belgian information tribal chiefs have announced their support Tshombe’s position. Spaak believes most important avoid incidents which could lead additional fighting, and urges speed achieve definitive agreement since Tshombe very changeable.

Ball suggested that tax payments by Union Miniere to Central Government could be turning point toward reintegration. Spaak replied that UM prepared deposit all Tshombe’s tax receipts in escrow pending division to be worked out by Adoula and Tshombe. He implied that deposits would not be made without Tshombe approval.

Spaak reported that during recent meeting with Adoula, he had urged Adoula start talking about Belgian-Congolese financial matters (portfolio and outstanding debt), but Adoula showed no disposition negotiate this matter, apparently intending to wait until Congo political situation more stable. Adoula also asked if Belgium could lend additional money, but Spaak indicated reluctance without having better idea future developments.

Ball expressed opinion that if UM would pay taxes directly to Adoula, latter would be prepared negotiate regarding claim for past taxes. Ball emphasized Adoula’s desire obtain tax revenues for Central Government and expressed view that Adoula and Tshombe should meet promptly and settle financial questions.

Concerning Tshombe’s attitude, Spaak noted that Tshombe lacks reliable political counselor to keep him moving right direction. Spaak [Page 394] had in November suggested a senior African statesman be found who might perform good office function and follow up decisions to assure implementation. When pressed suggest name, Spaak said he had no one to propose who might be effective under present circumstances. Spaak stated that influence Brazzaville on Tshombe most unfortunate and that Tshombe’s French advisers not helpful. In response query by Governor Williams whether there would be available Belgians in whom Tshombe might have confidence, Spaak recalled that he had removed his advisers who were much better than the French people now in Elizabethville. Spaak pointed out that the Frenchmen were acting as individuals, and their efforts did not reflect French Government policy. Spaak said he could not take any action Katanga which might trouble Belgian relations with Adoula Government.

Spaak mentioned that U Thant had urged Belgian cooperation with UN for long-range Congo rehabilitation program. Ball indicated approval such approach and asked if Spaak had any suggestions for US, Belgian, UN cooperation in Congo over long term. Spaak replied would think problem over and communicate with Ambassador MacArthur at early date.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.55/2–2162. Secret. Drafted by Beaudry; cleared by Tasca, Acting Director of the Office of Dependent Area Affairs R. Austin Acly, and Stanley Cleveland; and approved by Tyler. Repeated to USUN, Léopoldville, Usumbura, London, and Paris.
  2. Drafted by Beaudry and dated February 20. (Ibid., Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330)