179. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Nigeria1

2505. Lagos 2447 to Dept.2

For Lagos: Appreciate your efforts press GON take favorable decision on question of troops for Congo. Continued failure ANC assume its responsibilities in Kivu in our view makes presence of Nigerian troops in Congo increasingly imperative.3 We believe, inter alia, Adoula government will benefit considerably from presence Nigerian troops regardless of their terms of reference simply by being in Congo during this difficult transition period. We naturally leave question of tactics with GON to your discretion. Request however that you continue follow matter closely and urge GON on every appropriate occasion move quickly in response to GOC request.

We have no info substantiate Wachuku’s concern about possible British opposition. On contrary all our talks with British reps here have indicated British support for Nigerian troop contingent in Congo including likelihood HMG might be willing provide air transport from Nigeria if asked.

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For Leopoldville: Trust you will continue do what you can with Osakwe and GOC as appropriate obtain favorable GON response ASAP.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Tienken; cleared by Colonel Gall, Thomas A. Thoreson of AFW, and Thomas M. Judd of BNA; and approved by Tasca. Also sent to Leopoldville and repeated to Brussels, USUN, CINCMEAFSA, London, and Paris.
  2. In telegram 2447 from Lagos, June 18, Ambassador Matthews reported that he had discussed the Congolese request for Nigerian troops with Nigerian officials, urging the need to protect the investment Nigeria, the United States, and others had already made in the Congo and stressing that the United States was prepared to assist Nigeria in maintaining troops there. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 2511 to Lagos, June 22, transmitted a letter from President Johnson to Prime Minister Balewa in which the President said that he hoped it would be possible for the Nigerian Government to give Adoula an early, favorable reply because he believed that the presence of Nigerian troops in the Congo would greatly improve the situation. (Ibid.)