200. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Congo1

174. We fully share your concern expressed in recent messages re possible catastrophe in Congo. See septel which conveying our views of situation to Spaak.

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You should talk to Kasavubu and Tshombe as soon as possible. With all the muscle you can put into it, you should press upon them necessity of maintaining government control where it now exists and particular necessity of preventing rebels from capturing Kamina (which covers approaches to Elisabethville) as well as Bukavu and Luluabourg. To this end you should urge them to use resources immediately available, such as getting into operational units Belgian officers whom they now have in Congo serving as military advisors and using available technicians for this purpose.

Tshombe and GOC should proceed soonest to establish effective gendarmerie-mercenary unit. To minimize training and logistic difficulties, equipment (small arms) should be from Belgian sources. Spaak indicated receptivity this idea (Brussels 172).2 US prepared assist with transport, communications and other reasonable requirements needed such a force.

You should make clear to them our belief that government should be as representative as possible all responsible, moderate political elements in order to gain widest possible internal support and African sympathy. At same time you should also urge them to begin immediately explaining their problems frankly to and asking help from other African leaders such as but not limited to Kaunda, Balewa, Bourguiba and Emperor of Ethiopia. For this purpose it necessary he and Kasavubu choose Congolese leaders most acceptable other friendly African countries.

You should also ask what plans they have for bringing into Congo military resources other than those now available for it seems clear that situation can become catastrophic unless they immediately are prepared to call for outside assistance. US is prepared to assist in helping with transport and other needed support foreign troops from friendly countries agreeing to Congolese requests.3

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by O’Sullivan and Tasca, cleared by Williams and Lang in DOD, and approved by Harriman. Repeated to Brussels, USUN, and CINCSTRIKE for POLAD Tampa.
  2. Dated August 5. (Ibid.)
  3. In telegram 394 from Leopoldville, August 7, Godley said that in view of his recent conversations with Tshombe, he believed that it was Kasavubu, whom he had been trying to see without success since August 1, with whom he needed to discuss telegram 174. (Ibid.) In telegram 409 from Leopoldville, August 8, the Ambassador reported that he had made every point set forth in the Department’s telegram during his meeting with Kasavubu that morning. (Ibid., POL 15–1 THE CONGO)