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

2110. Subject: Congo. Stevenson discussed our Congo plans with SYG at length this afternoon. He mentioned main objections which UK and French had found in it: that it would diminish Kasavubu’s prestige and that it would interfere with Mobutu’s operation against Gizenga at very time Mobutu’s forces gaining ground. SYG scoffed at both these objections, saying Kasavubu “has no prestige” and that he is “absolutely convinced” military solution is impossible. He said Charpentier, French Amb in Leo whom he praised highly, shared this opinion. He said Kasavubu’s legal position unassailable but that in present circumstances he is just as much in prison as Lumumba. He said he had recent report illustrating this: Kasavubu had talked for two one-half hours by telephone to Adoula. In this conversation, according to Hammarskjöld’s info, Kasavubu told Adoula he had been forced by Bomboko and Mobutu to sign two letters complaining against Dayal and that he had no freedom of action.

SYG said Bomboko and Mobutu are irrevocably tied to Belgians and that they have no future in Congo without Belgian presence but that Kasavubu [Page 58] was in different situation. He has future independent of Belgium.

Hammarskjöld felt what needs be done is to separate Kasavubu from Bomboko and Mobutu whereupon he could be persuaded proceed with formation of constitutional government under Ileo. Hammarskjöld said it is not Kasavubu who is opposed to Dayal but Bomboko and Mobutu.

Stevenson asked SYG if there was anything to CBS report that Dayal was preparing resign. SYG said “absolutely nothing at all.” He went on to say that CBS had not carried complete report of story which, according to SYG, ended up with comment that best qualified successor to Dayal would be Wachuku (Nigeria).2 SYG said with laugh that this was “as good as a signature” and that it was well known that Wachuku was after Dayal’s job. He said Wachuku’s opposition combined with that of Bomboko and Mobutu had forced him to conclusion that he could not permit Nehru to recall Dayal on date (around Mar 1) originally planned but instead would have persuade Nehru to let Dayal stay on little longer. (He was vague about how much longer.) He said this was necessary to prevent Dayal’s opponents from asserting that their influence had forced SYG get rid of Dayal. Hammarskjöld asserted that if this idea were to gain credence it would have disastrous effect on entire top level of ONUC which was solidly behind Dayal and would inhibit SYG from recruiting good people in future.

SYG said he thought promising development in Congo situation was report he had received on Feb 3 saying three of minor parties which had been supporting Lumumba (he mentioned PSA and Sendwe’s party and at least one other) had apparently agreed to take part in round-table conf which Kasavubu was organizing.

He was also encouraged by Nigeria’s support for our Congo plan but said one thing that worried him about Nigerians was their tendency to expect everything to work out according to plan. Things just do not happen that way in Congo, SYG said. He had tried caution them against expecting too much while at same time attempting not discourage them from supporting kind of program we have in mind. He hoped we could make same point with them.

When Stevenson mentioned that he planned inform Zorin (USSR) of our ideas,3 SYG countered with info he about see Loutfi (UAR) and that he could predict what both would say: “Lumumba, Lumumba, Lumumba.” [Page 59] He said he is trying counter preoccupation of “radical Africans” with Lumumba with argument that first essential step in Congo is to restore order, i.e., remove armed forces from politics. Until this done it impossible consider next step which is conciliation. Lumumba has no valid role to play until conciliation stage is reached. He felt that with help of Nigeria and other Africans it would be possible in time to bring radical Africans around to accepting this view. He said Soviet Union will not allow itself to get out in front of views held by radical Africans.

He said that one of difficulties was that so many Africans were disturbed by reports about mistreatment of Lumumba and by uncertainty as to his present condition. He said Conciliation Commission had been trying get see Lumumba for many weeks but had gotten nothing but run-around from Kasavubu and Tshombe.

In response to Stevenson’s question he said that he was certain UN could not and should not attempt to take Lumumba into protective custody. He said UN could not function as jailer. If UN got Lumumba they would have no choice but to release him.

In response to Stevenson’s request for his views as to SC tactics Hammarskjöld was emphatic in opinion that US should allow radical Africans speak first, then encourage responsible Africans, starting with Nigeria and including Tunisia, Cameroun, Liberia and Senegal, to speak next for kind of solution we favor.

He advised us not to press Indians to speak saying that he would be talking with Jha (India) and would let us know later if he thought there was any possibility of getting India to make helpful intervention.

He felt that with two meetings on Tues4 and possibly one on Wed, time should be about ripe for us to speak on Thurs.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/2–661. Confidential; Priority.
  2. Jaja Wachuku, a member of the Nigerian Delegation to the United Nations and Chairman of the U.N. Conciliation Commission for the Congo.
  3. Stevenson’s conversation that day with Valerian A. Zorin of the Soviet Delegation is summarized in telegram 2109 from USUN, February 6. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/2–661)
  4. February 7.