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

521. Re: Urtel 830; Addis 268.2 Pleased that Gardiner’s good advice apparently went down well with Tshombe. There follows additional Dept thinking which you may be able to use in helping inspire realistic planning and scenario for GOC use at Addis.


As respected African leader and embodiment Congolese Government legitimacy, seems indispensable Kasavubu as well as Tshombe attend. Although this technical Foreign Minister session there is precedent in that Nyerere presented Tanganyikan case to similar meeting and Ben Bella represented Algeria at Dakar meeting.

GOC delegation should be strong one designed appeal varying shades African opinion. Bomboko and Lengema would seem be minimum this respect and Idzumbuir and Cardoso might also be useful especially for technical advice and corridor politicking. If Kasavubu wished Adoula along, he might go also preferably as Presidential advisor, but Department cognizant of danger that he may thus be “tarred” by association with Tshombe. There might be some merit in including Midiburo as quasi-representative last legislature if he would not be disturbing factor.


Department assumes that, following normal international conference procedure, IEG as host, will as matter of courtesy chair opening session. Suggest that HIM actually open session to give reasonable, moderate tone to proceedings and then Kasavubu give basic presentation GOC position. If necessary achieve this chronology either IEG or GOC request should be used as basis for meeting rather than Mali’s or Ghana’s which could be interpreted to give them right make initial presentation.

GOC Presentation:

Appears GOC could usefully emphasize following points:

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(1) In accordance OAU principles, action should be based on acknowledgment of Congo sovereignty and designed protect independence and territorial integrity its members.

(2) It is assumed GOC will not raise question its own legitimacy. But if question raised privately or publicly it should be prepared reply succinctly and matter-of-factly on constitutional grounds. GOC should also be careful that no conference document throws any doubt on its legitimacy.

(3) Resort to force by opposition elements to overthrow legitimate democratic GOC cannot be condoned by other African states which themselves may be faced with similar problem.

(4) OAU should reaffirm in positive, forceful way its basic principle that interference in internal affairs in one state by others is inadmissible. Although GOC must obviously be prepared make specific bill of particulars against Congo (B) and Burundi, it appears best that this be minimal in formal meetings if pre-conference and corridor diplomacy assures adoption satisfactory resolution. In any case such indictment these two countries should be done in factual, unemotional manner. Neither Tshombe nor Kasavubu should engage in shouting match with Congo (B). (FYI: Department tends to believe Chicom involvement can be more effectively discussed in selected, private talks than in open debate. End FYI.

(5) GOC should draw on precedent of Tanganyika formula which specifically recognized Tanganyika right to conclude bilateral agreements with African countries of own choice for troops. However, we hope that discussion, or, at least, position on other, non-African sources for material and equipment assistance can be avoided.

(6) GOC could point out that UNGA and SC in numerous resolutions affirmed importance maintaining territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Congo. UN military operations in Congo were conducted to achieve these goals. Members OAU supported and voted for these resolutions and principles. Several resolutions, which UNSYG, in terminal report on UNOC June 29, recognized as still valid, can be cited. (See analysis Deptel 1525 to Leo repeated Addis info 1048.)3 SC and GA called on “all states to refrain from any action which might tend to impede the restoration of law and order and the exercise by the GOC of its authority and also to refrain from any action which might undermine the territorial integrity and political independence of the GOC.” SC also called for “all member states to lend their support according to their national procedures to the GOC in conformity with the Charter and the decisions of the UN.”

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(7) Moderate Africans should also be convinced that care must be exercised that actions and procedures this OAU meeting do not accord any special stature or status to Congolese rebels. Moderates should recognize peaceful solution and Africanization Congo problem could be unduly delayed and seriously prejudiced if any other premise adopted. Other African states with their unlawful internal opposition should be aware that at some future meeting such elements could be heard based on such a precedent. Future political solutions in African context and tradition require restoration lawful authority and peaceful condition throughout country soonest.

Although Gbenye, Soumialot, or others may be present during conference, OAU Charter and rules procedure (Nos. 4 and 5) clearly limit participation Council meetings to representatives lawful government. (Forum for discussions involving rebel leaders could appropriately be provided in commission of inquiry suggested in Deptcirctel 390.)4 Nor is there provision in OAU rules for hearing witnesses, petitioners, etc.

Any suggestion such hearings should be strongly resisted in advance and in corridors especially to prevent GOC from risking a probably futile floor fight if it finds self in lonely opposition to majority in Council meeting deciding hear such witnesses. In last resort preferable to meet and refute rebel arguments giving first hand demonstrations GOC higher sense of responsibility. We must, however, be prepared for some conciliatory attitudes toward rebels. Moderate Africans should realize dangers in OAU investigation involving rebels, but believe there may be minimum of mischief if such investigations are kept out of hands of radicals, as was done e.g., re OAU investigation of Roberto and rival Angolan organizations in 1963.

(8) Although it doubtful meeting could undertake it, most desirable action which could emerge from meeting would be resolution on Tanganyika formula provided it does not specifically place limit on numbers African troops or a time limit on their stay. GOC could press for such a resolution if climate appeared favorable to it. At same time, GOC should not run risk trying for such resolution and failing, since this would adversely affect GOC political maneuverability.

GOC Bargaining Points:

GOC must obviously be willing make moves to meet African sensibilities, mitigate criticisms and maximize effective support. Following appear to be possible areas in which this can be done:

(1) Assurances that elections will be held within a specified time limit, perhaps January or February, 1965 if security situation permits.

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(2) GOC will continue make every effort include widest possible spectrum in Government without, however, making unacceptable concessions to rebellious elements which may weaken basic Congolese unity. Tshombe might come to Addis with changes which he able to make in order broaden his government. He could easily therefore “concede” on this point if pressed or in order sweeten atmosphere of Conference.

(3) GOC willing in principle accept OAU-sponsored commissions appropriately charged with mediating international differences between it and its neighbors. (Depcirctel 390)

(4) GOC could state that USG aircraft would no longer be needed when GOC convinced that adequate substitute for purposes served by such planes is forthcoming or internal security situation permits.

(5) Important part of GOC image in Africa closely tied to its attitude toward Angolan nationalists. Without modifying Adoula’s policy this subject Tshombe could reap advantage of reiterating it.

(6) As suggested urtel 813,5 procedure for notification to OAU of agreements reached on military assistance may be important to solution sought. Since forthcoming meeting might not wish establish permanent generalized procedure all future contingencies, which could be difficult and possibly dangerous, resolution might cover all arrangements of African states (with other Africans and non-Africans) for military assistance in support of objectives of present OAU resolution. As emphasized urtel, implication must be avoided OAU permission required for such assistance. Premise is rather that authoritative reporting clears air and meets legitimate OAU interest in developments.

(7) Perhaps biggest obstacle to favorable African attitude is presence of mercenaries in Congo. GOC should be willing state that:

(a) Foreign mercenaries will no longer be sought or permitted enter Congo provided OAU willing take action which will result in satisfactory military support;

(b) Those presently in Congo will be gradually removed as Africans are able to provide capability for maintaining unity, security and independence of Congo.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Schaufele and Operations Center Director Lewis Hoffacker; cleared by Palmer, Brubeck, O’Sullivan, Fredericks, and Helman; and approved by Harriman. Repeated to Addis Ababa, Conakry, Accra, Lagos, London, Brussels, and Paris.
  2. Dated August 28 and August 27, respectively. (Both ibid.)
  3. Dated June 21. (Ibid.)
  4. Dated August 28. (Ibid.)
  5. Dated August 28. (Ibid., DEF 19 AFR)