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

249. From the Secretary. I am convinced that requests to Governments from Kasavubu and Tshombe for African troops constitutes key to present Congo impasse. Without such requests from GOC, problem of trying assist Congo becomes much more complicated. It is essential US exert every pressure now to this end.

You are therefore instructed to request an immediate audience with Kasavubu and Tshombe to get them to despatch today requests to other African countries, particularly Ethiopia and Sudan. In this connection might be useful to have ready draft text of letter of request. In case of Nigerians letter should be follow up to earlier request. Indicate US will support strongly GOC efforts. For obvious reasons Kasavubu should figure prominently in request to other African governments. Should also follow up if possible with expressions of support from Adoula, Bomboko et cetera (perhaps as special ambassadors).

You should inform Kasavubu that it is essential to our cooperation that he put his cards on table and explain his political objectives, tactics and problems. I believe you should also tell Kasavubu and Tshombe that more evidence of realism and cooperation must be forthcoming from them if our collaboration is to be fruitful.

You should also tell ambassadors of countries receiving requests that US prepared provide necessary airlift and support costs above normal salary, allowances and maintenance.

To maximize chance of African help terms of request should be limited and precise, e.g. that mission is to garrison and secure two or three key cities, not to act as assault troops.

US and Belgian efforts will be frustrated unless you persuade Kasavubu and Tshombe soonest to act with energy in area of African assistance and create image of Congolese Government representative of Congolese people struggling to maintain unity and independence in face of great difficulties and external attempts at subversion.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by Tasca and O’Sullivan; cleared by Harriman, Brubeck, and Rusk; and approved by Williams. Repeated to Brussels and CINCSTRIKE for Ramsey.