231. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Ethiopia1

165. Please deliver following message from President to Emperor:

“Your Majesty:

Ambassador Korry has reported to me your deep concern over events in the Congo.2 We share that concern.

I was personally gratified to learn that Your Majesty was considering a possible initiative in this problem. I believe that an initiative by [Page 337] Your Majesty would be particularly effective at this time. I recall the dramatic results of your most helpful assistance in the Algerian-Moroccan crisis last fall. Ambassador Korry has, perhaps, already informed you that we would consider most favorably any move which Your Majesty might feel appropriate to strengthen the authority of the central government of the Congo under President Kasavubu and to help establish peace and order under that government.

The events in the Congo are moving rapidly and posing a most serious problem to President Kasavubu and his government. The sacking of Baudouinville by the rebels who destroyed hundreds of dwellings and news of rebel entry into Bukavu highlight the threat of anarchy in the Congo and increase the need for quick and effective action.

The United States has, from the beginning, sought to preserve the unity of the Congo under the central government. To this end, we joined with the African nations, as Your Majesty well knows, in the massive effort of the United Nations. The preservation of the unity of the Congo and the restoration of peace and order remain our basic objectives. We have strongly supported a solution within an African framework and the principal reliance on African security forces. I can assure you that our own efforts in response to requests for assistance from the Government of the Congo are part of our continuing effort to support the unity of this important nation and are designed only to undergird and supplement efforts in the same direction by the nations of Africa.

I wish Your Majesty every success as you deal with this, as well as other, critical problems in the great continent of Africa.

Lyndon B. Johnson.”

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Drafted by Newsom; cleared by Brubeck, Fredericks, and the Congo Task Force; and approved by Harriman. Repeated to Leopoldville.
  2. Telegram 200 from Addis Ababa, August 18, reported that Emperor Haile Selassie was considering taking the initiative in consulting with other African states on how to assist the Congolese Government in restoring order. (Ibid.)