263. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Kenya1

1020. For Attwood from the Secretary. Embtel 721.2 We must reiterate in strongest terms we do not want OAU Mission come to Washington and you should make every effort prevent it. Moreover we do not believe it useful to explain position to Kenyatta, Dialo or others in terms domestic politics. Points we must stand on are (1) that we cannot discuss these matters without GOC for reasons stated Deptel 1001;3 and (2) that we are not refusing to talk but do not think it unreasonable we should have something to say re time, place, subject matter and level of representation. We leave it to you to put best face possible on this position with Kenyatta and Commission and to put President’s unavailability in best possible light.

You should also be aware that, as emphasized Deptel 1007,4 we are deeply disturbed at present tendencies within Commission. Until Commission may get on more constructive track, we are most anxious not become this much involved with it and certainly not on its terms or in Washington.

We repeat your objective must be to prevent mission coming here.5

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 3 OAU. Secret; Flash; Exdis. Drafted by Palmer, cleared by Williams, and approved by Rusk.
  2. In telegram 721 from Nairobi, Attwood suggested that the fact that Africans wanted the President to win the U.S. election offered the opportunity to exercise leverage in order to make OAU actions look like a victory for responsible African leadership and not an anti-U.S. move. He argued that a categorical refusal to meet with the OAU delegation would destroy U.S. leverage, enabling OAU extremists to attack the United States and thereby giving Senator Goldwater the chance to say that the Johnson administration had lost Africa. (Ibid., POL 23–9 THE CONGO)
  3. Document 261.
  4. Telegram 1007 to Nairobi, September 22, warned that the OAU Commission seemed to be departing from the letter and spirit of the OAU resolution at Addis Ababa, and that it appeared that certain states, such as Ghana and the United Arab Republic, had seized the initiative and embarked on a dangerous course of action that could result in a divided Congo. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO)
  5. Telegram 1021 to Nairobi, September 23, instructed Attwood to urge Kenyatta “in the strongest terms” to intercept the OAU delegation, which had already left Nairobi, and instruct it not to proceed. (Ibid., POL 3 OAU) In telegram 738 from Nairobi, September 24, Attwood reported that Kenyatta was adamant about sending the delegation but had agreed under pressure to send a message to Murumbi instructing him to say in public statements that his visit was as the personal representative of the Prime Minister and designed to pave the way for a meeting with U.S. and Congolese representatives, and that he hoped to call on the Secretary and other high officials, if possible. (Ibid., POL 23–9 THE CONGO)