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

1075. Embassy Nairobi should hold until further instructions following possible message from Secretary to Kenyatta. Other addressees should be prepared pass copies host govts only when and if so instructed:

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

Your letter to the President2 has been received and will be brought promptly to his attention on his return to Washington next week. I know you are aware through Ambassador Attwood of the importance my government attaches to the efforts of the Organization of African Unity to contribute to a solution of the Congo problem. I wish to assure you personally that we are, as we have made clear, anxious to cooperate with the Organization of African Unity in every appropriate way. In particular, we desire to work in a friendly way with the OAU Commission over which you preside to achieve results beneficial to all concerned.

As you are also aware, our efforts to assist in a solution of the Congo problem have consistently been directed at helping the sovereign government of the Congo in response to its requests. This has been the case ever since Congo independence irrespective of personalities, both in our support of the UN and subsequently. The principle involved is one which animates us in our assistance to countries throughout the world, including many in Africa, and I am sure you will appreciate that we cannot depart from it in this case. It would therefore be most improper for us to discuss changes in our present limited assistance to the Congo without the Congolese Government’s concurrence and participation. I am sure you would agree that every other African nation would expect to be treated with the same consideration.

We sincerely regret, as I am sure you do, the difficulties that have arisen in connection with the proposed delegation from the OAU Commission. [Page 386] I wish to assure you that my Government wholeheartedly and unreservedly shares the objective set forth in the OAU resolution, i.e., “to support and encourage the efforts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the restoration of national reconciliation.” We are, in this connection, pleased indeed that you have sent us your personal representative and distinguished Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Murumbi. We hope that his visit will make it possible for our two Governments constructively to direct our energies toward the earliest possible attainment of a unified, peaceful and genuinely independent Congo which will be able to play its full part with other African states in realizing the potential of your great continent.

I appreciate very much the good will which has animated your own efforts in these vital matters and I continue to hope for your success in bringing about an African solution of the Congo problem.3

Begin FYI: In course your discussion with Kenyatta you should let him know that reaction our people to these problems is greatly complicated by fact that five of our officials are being held incommunicado by the rebels in Stanleyville.4

Also, you should not hesitate to indicate to Kenyatta that objective US policy in Congo since 1960 has been to support the unity and security of the country and in this process we have worked with solidarity and unity of purpose with overwhelming majority African nations. This remains our policy and we are distressed when differences arise because elements foreign to Africa and hostile to freedom attempt subvert unity and independence of Congo. End FYI.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Confidential; Immediate; Limdis. Drafted by Palmer and Strong in AF/CWG on September 25; cleared by Williams, Brubeck, and Rusk; and approved by Palmer. Repeated to Accra, Addis Ababa, Brussels, Cairo, Conakry, Lagos, Leopoldville, Mogadiscio, Ouagadougou, Tunis, and Yaounde.
  2. Telegram 760 from Nairobi, September 24, transmitted a message from Kenyatta to Johnson stating that he hoped the President would find a suitable opportunity, at his convenience, to meet with the OAU delegation, and enclosing a copy of his instructions to Murumbi. (Ibid.) Attwood reported on Kenyatta’s instructions to Murumbi in telegram 738; see footnote 5, Document 263.
  3. Telegram 1078 to Nairobi, September 26, instructed the Embassy to deliver the Secretary’s message to Kenyatta as soon as possible, but to delete the first sentence and convey this information orally. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO) In telegram 788 from Nairobi, September 27, Attwood reported that Kenyatta could not be reached, but that he had delivered the Secretary’s message to Cabinet Secretary Ndegwa. (Ibid., POL 3 OAU)
  4. Telegram 1118 to Nairobi, September 29, instructed the Embassy to take no action on this sentence until further instructed. (Ibid., POL 23–9 THE CONGO)