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

23. Brussels tel 2108.2 Department shares Spaak’s analysis of general situation and what our relations with Tshombe should be if he becomes Prime Minister or member cabinet. Would be advantageous for GOB take lead in this respect since it has retained closer contact with Tshombe than we have and because of support for him in non-official Belgian circles.

Our ability to work closely with Tshombe if he becomes PriMin will depend in large measure on Tshombe himself, what commitments he makes to become PriMin and how he and his Cabinet conduct themselves thereafter. It would give us particular concern if GOC under Tshombe were to withdraw recognition of GRC and subsequently recognize Chicoms, which could be condition CNL agreement to support or join Tshombe govt.

Secondly, we would expect Tshombe to show his good faith in working toward a territorially intact, economically viable Congo by ensuring that ex-Katangese gendarmes including mercenaries in Katanga and Angola were effectively eliminated as threat to Congo unity.

Finally we believe it essential that Tshombe or any other prime minister continue economic stabilization and fiscal austerity programs and resist any policy which could lead to inflationary pressure or reverse economic progress made over past eight months.

For Brussels: Suggest that Embassy express foregoing views to Spaak and should occasion arise to Belgian business and financial interests. In talks with Spaak you should draw on forthcoming Leopoldville reply to Deptel 16 to Leopoldville3 concerning relative acceptability various leftists in Tshombe cabinet. We continue to be concerned over potential danger from leftists who may be included in government and desire Spaak’s continuing appraisal of personalities involved, and their objectives.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted on July 6 by O’Sullivan and Schaufele; cleared by Appling, Tasca, and EA Director Robert A. Fearey; and approved by Harriman. Also sent to Leopoldville and repeated to London and Paris.
  2. In telegram 2108 from Brussels, June 25, MacArthur reported a conversation with Spaak, who pointed to Tshombe’s mounting popularity in the Congo and advised that the United States try to work with him so that he would play “Belgo-American cards” and work with Congolese moderates. (Ibid.)
  3. Dated July 6. (Ibid., POL 1 US–THE CONGO)