209. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State1

2140. General. Made my first contacts with Gardiner2 since his arrival here. I am confident he will do his utmost to prevent recourse to force in Katanga. Under his administration (Khiary’s counsels are prominent) main preliminary effort will swing to proposing further meeting between Adoula and Tshombe probably on basis resolutions of so-called Katanga Assembly in what UNOC hopes will be much modified Stavropolized form.3


Round three. I described to Gardiner USG concern with respect to any reopening of hostilities. Gave my personal opinion that final settlement [Page 395] Katanga affair would require arrangements to ensure that border localities not being used for mercenary or troop buildup; to provide for collection of export taxes; and for security of UMHK installations. Had hoped these objectives to be secured as result of peaceful deployment along lines already being negotiated with Tshombe and Belgians during Linner’s time. I could not predict action my government, but if UNOC planned implantation of troops by force or if resistance encountered dubious it would support UN action as it had in December. Gardiner replied he would do everything possible to prevent any such action arising from local incidents. He had informed military unmistakably it could not even reply to provocation unless he had direct approval from New York. As to possibility that New York might opt for forceful action he would do everything he could to prevent Secretary General from taking that decision. He said he understood US reactions. He sketched a hypothetical “graph” of US attitudes to Katanga campaigns: on first day one approved; on second day one began to question wisdom; on third day action was blunder; by fourth it was considered crime.

If ever ONUC was compelled to take action and he were responsible it would only be done if he were absolutely certain it could be successful in 48 hours. He was sufficiently Ashanti to respect chief’s tradition that one came back with booty or not at all.

Gardiner had little comment to offer on possible effectiveness of proposed Belgian move to place tax proceeds in escrow as means of bringing Tshombe to honor his engagements. It may be he has not had time to familiarize himself with background of this matter but I am more inclined to believe UNOC under Gardiner has radically revised its approach.


Adoula-Tshombe meeting. Gardiner and Khiary are attempting to bring about another meeting. He believes Adoula will go along and was able to get Adoula to make speech in affirmative sense (Embassy telegram 2133).4 He expects question of venue will again present difficulties which may take about a month to resolve. Somewhat surprisingly, Gardiner has fixed upon obstreperous and provocative resolutions of so-called Katanga Assembly as basis of meeting. He, Khiary and Stavropoulos have been in correspondence with Elisabethville and Tshombe for this purpose and this initially angered Adoula who upbraided Gardiner for negotiating with Tshombe to exclusion of GOC. Nevertheless Gardiner believes Adoula is coming around. Gardiner is taking Katanga resolutions as basis negotiation although he recognizes they were not seriously intended as such. In fact, he believes Katangan [Page 396] “legislators” seriously expected their action to touch off round three. (He claims numbers of them evacuated city just after assembly meeting and after incident in which Tunisian sentry fired upon civilian who failed heed order to halt.) On basis UNOC’s analysis Gardiner believes resolutions when Stavropolized will provide basis for talks. He discerns five essential Katanga points: request for general amnesty in Katanga; provision for integrity of Katanga; organization of administration as between Katanga and Léopoldville; a formula for finances; and formula for army. Of these he thinks principal contentious points are disposition, command placement Katangan forces; Katangan participation in central cabinet; and arrangements with respect to Baluban part of Katanga and Baluba representation. He thinks other points can be more easily adjusted (on this point I think he is too sanguine).

Gardiner has been in close touch with UK Amb Riches. He says UK is supposed to have Linner’s confidence and therefore he is asking UK through Consul Dunnett in Elisabethville to suggest to him kind of formula with respect to amalgamation [garble] duties of armed forces which he thinks Tshombe would accept. To my observation that Dunnett likely to present merely a Tshombe plan in toto Gardiner replied we would at least then know where UK stood and would engage its responsibility.



Gardiner much concerned by report of alleged Katangan operations to take Kongolo, not so much because of renewal hostilities but because of anticipated request from Adoula for UN collaboration in movement of ANC. He says Adoula should have taken up UN offer when it was made. By this he refers to deal on eve of Kitona whereby UN accepted limited ANC participation under its command. This later scuttled by ANC/Mobutu insistence on concurrent operation in addition to ANC unit under UNOC. (Happily ANC intransigeance helped defer question UN airlift for ANC.) Gardiner hopes to stave off GOC request by use of army retraining plan, i.e., at some long range future date ANC might be used under UN command but only in form of retrained, fully disciplined units.

Comment: Evidently Gardiner placing chief emphasis on new Adoula-Tshombe palaver, this time without UNOC participation, though doubtless latter would have to ensure security. Although Gardiner not dropping possibilities pressure of military on Gbenye and economic persuasion by Societe Generale these approaches have apparently receded to secondary place. As Department aware, Gardiner-Khiary can be useful catalysts in these palavers vide Kitona and Lovanium (and this also face saver for Tshombe). On other hand process is endless, labyrinthine, Byzantine, Bantu. By no means certain lid can be kept on Adoula or that Adoula can keep lid on extremists indefinitely. [Page 397] Gardiner is aware of this and says he gives process until about June to work out whereupon he would be willing to consider more energetic means (unfortunately Gardiner himself may be withdrawn before June). I am inclined to hope all methods will be tried in parallel, i.e., that some UN redeployment concept in form of mixed commissions will continue under peaceful agreement, thus permitting restoration security in remainder of country and resumption economic productivity. Also that Belgian enterprises will continue to give concrete proof their switch to support of central government.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/2–2262. Confidential. Repeated to USUN, London, Paris, Brussels, Elisabethville, and Brazzaville.
  2. Gardiner replaced Linner as Officer-in-Charge of the U.N. Operation in the Congo on February 10.
  3. Reference is to U.N. Legal Counsel Constantin Stavropoulos, who had been assigned by U Thant at Tshombe’s request to assist the Katangan provincial assembly and the commission it had established to study the Kitona Declaration.
  4. Dated February 21. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/2–2162)