181. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Spain1

3192. Tshombe. Re Madrid’s 2116.2 We appreciate suggestion contained reftel for contact with Tshombe. Unless Embassy Leo perceives objection we believe that contact should be made but, however, by DCM McBride. We hope that circumstances of meeting can be such as to attract no publicity. We recognize there exists risks that Tshombe will put out his version of why contact was made and what transpired [Page 258] either publicly or through political channels. This information probably will reach Adoula and others in GOC very quickly. Consequently important you flash report Washington and Leo results conversation.

Dept hopes that meeting can take place in friendly atmosphere. Principal purposes of meeting should be 1) to ascertain Tshombe views on Congo scene and his plans for future. Department would be particularly interested in Tshombe’s version of what transpired in recent Mali visit; 2) to inform him that US policy continues to strongly support a unified Congo. You should point out that GOC is moving to stabilize the political institutions through development of Constitution which issued from Constitutional Commission with participation his lieutenants at Luluabourg earlier this year; that GOC is planning submit Constitution to referendum; and that all patriotic Congolese should work toward greater stability in a unified Congo.

If Tshombe should sound you out on US views re his return to Congo, you should state that his return basically internal Congolese affair. We would strongly hope if he did return would be done legally and without use threat ex-Katanga gendarmes or Katanga secession.

You may also remind Tshombe that his anti-Communist views expressed US officials in past are in contrast with his apparent recent contacts leftist elements of CNL.3

For Leopoldville: You may in your discretion inform Adoula and/or other GOC officials of prospective meeting. You might wish to point out that purpose of meeting is to try to probe Tshombe’s intentions and to caution him against any moves on his part against Congolese territorial integrity. You may add if you so desire that we will inform PriMin of results.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 6 THE CONGO. Confidential; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by O’Sullivan; cleared by Williams, Harriman, and McKillop; and approved by Tyler. Repeated to Leopoldville and Brussels.
  2. In telegram 2116 from Madrid, June 18, the Embassy asked whether, in view of the unsettled Congo situation, it should take the initiative and attempt to discover Tshombe’s plans. (Ibid.)
  3. In telegram 1791 to Brussels, June 24, Harriman suggested that, in view of Tshombe’s travel plans, MacArthur should see Tshombe while he was in Brussels in order to make the points in telegram 3192. (Ibid.) In telegram 2100 from Brussels, June 25, MacArthur reported that he met that morning with Tshombe, who said that he was returning to Leopoldville at the request of Kasavubu and Adoula and that he was willing to play an important and constructive political role in the Congo if this was desired. (Ibid., POL 23–9 THE CONGO)