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

420. We have carefully considered matters raised in your tels 615 and 616.2 We are in agreement with your analyses particularly that we should not become so committed to Tshombe personally that we become his captive as our political and military investment in him increases. While he is Prime Minister, he serves at least in theory at pleasure of Kasavubu whose commitment to Tshombe may not be complete and total. On other hand as long as he is Prime Minister, it is important we support him to extent necessary to achieve commonly held objectives.

Main thrust of our present efforts are to promote Africanization of problem. But we are not prepared to give up such present and potential [Page 343] assets as we have in the Congo to this end. We recognize there is a certain ambivalence in our willingness to see military technicians employed on contract by the GOC and our desire to try to insist that Africans themselves come up with an African solution.

We therefore propose that in giving specific aid for military technicians it should funnel through Van der Walle. This will have advantage not only of better accounting for funds but will also give us a higher level of security.

As for numbers of military technicians involved, we would be willing to accept levels (50 to 100) Belgians (Logiest and Van der Walle) have been talking about. Munongo’s scheme involving a thousand simply not practicable as numbers involved are too great to be effectively controlled and their great presence would be not only a very severe drawback in Africa but probably would be a burden if not a plague inside Congo. In any event, it most important to get initial program started immediately.

We see no objection to continuing aid, even slight increase to Nendaka and Sûreté. We would be willing to entertain reasonable projects involving use of Gombloma graduates but Nendaka should realize that to attempt immediately to double size of Sûreté would only involve him in administrative messes.

Overtly, we should have no connection with “technicians” or mercenaries. This must be responsibility of GOCL and Belgians.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Priority; Roger Channel. Drafted by O’Sullivan; cleared by Fredericks, Tasca, and Grant; and approved by H. Bartlett Wells in INR.
  2. Telegram 615 from Leopoldville, August 19, is not printed. (Ibid.) Telegram 616 is Document 227.