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

600. Re Leo 955.2 Dept strongly opposed planned air strike on Stanleyville radio which would both jeopardize Americans and other foreigners Stanleyville and result severe damage U.S. position at Addis Ababa as well as worldwide.

For Leo: Under circumstances, U.S. interests necessitate your using every available means prevent strike. You will receive through other channels urgent instructions re measures to be taken to keep planes grounded. Unless you are confident these measures are sufficient assure strike does not take place, you should demand see Kasavubu and Mobutu immediately, inform them we are aware planned strike and that we insist it be cancelled. (As subsidiary argument you should also point out difficulty effectively destroying towers from air and proximity hospitals which, if hit, would further revulse world opinion.) If this does not have desired effect, you should tell them we will withdraw all B–26s unless they countermand order.

For Addis: If Kasavubu and Mobutu unwilling take necessary steps, Godley should flash Addis and Korry should see Tshombe soonest and make same points, using plane withdrawal only as final card.

Although we would hope it would not be necessary reveal source our info, both Leopoldville and Addis should regard this as acceptable risk if necessary to accomplishment our purposes.

Brussels should immediately inform Spaak this development and urge immediate Belgian action in support our position on this matter. Leopoldville should take parallel action key Belgians. Foregoing guidance and instructions should guide Leo with respect any air strikes Stanleyville until further notice.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Top Secret; Flash. Drafted by Palmer; cleared by Fredericks, Brubeck, and Ball; and approved by Harriman. Also sent to Addis Ababa and Brussels and repeated to CINCSTRIKE for Ramsey.
  2. Telegram 955 from Leopoldville, September 4, reported that Tshombe ordered an air strike against Stanleyville radio for Sunday, September 6. (Ibid.)