271. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts1

569. Ref: Deptel 747 to Lagos; Depcirtel 563.2 Secretary’s remarks are FYI and Noforn, based on uncleared and subject to review.

Secretary received OAU delegation at working lunch today.3 Composition of delegation as contained Deptel 747 to Lagos and in general ground covered conformed to substance of joint communiqué. Atmosphere of talks was relaxed and friendly with Murumbi and other delegates going out of their way to emphasize that there had been no intention embarrass US Government or President and that OAU regarded US as friend whose cooperation essential to success their mission re Congo. Secretary pointed out US has no important interests in Congo but has consistently supported unity and integrity of country. We however consider Congo an African problem and were therefore glad to see OAU take it up. One reason we welcome efforts OAU to solve Congo problem in African context was that we do not want to see injection Cold War into Congo or elsewhere in Africa. At same time, we would not shrink from our responsibilities if others chose inject it. Best way avoid Cold War confrontation is for African states prevent Chicom intrusion and to assist GOC to solve problem in manner which will make outside military help unnecessary. He pointed out that while there was some hope for peaceful accommodation between Soviet bloc and NATO powers, Chicoms committed to violence in pursuit their national aims. Not in interest Africa and world that their influence take hold in Africa.

In summary we hope Africans will come to assistance of Congo so Congolese will not need assistance from elsewhere.

African reps welcomed Secretary’s remarks re keeping Cold War out of Africa and his assurance of cooperation with OAU.

Effort was made by Botsio to inject question of our military assistance to Congo into discussion. He took line grounding of US-supplied [Page 393] planes used for combat operations essential to success OAU Commission’s efforts bring about national reconciliation. He was supported by Kamel (UAR) and others appeared acquiesce his views. Secretary said US-supplied combat planes were under operational control of GOC and Commission should address itself in first instance to GOC on this matter. US would be happy to cooperate with any arrangements worked out between OAU and GOC in this connection.

Both Secretary and Murumbi said meeting had been most useful and expressed hope that it would provide basis for further fruitful cooperation between OAU Commission and the US. Murumbi said that Commission’s real work will begin when it arrives Leo early October and he hoped that if Commission runs into difficulties there it may call upon US for assistance.

Several members of delegation expressed appreciation for efforts made by Dept officials to salvage mission to US by arranging meeting thereby avoiding rebuff to OAU while at same time permitting US position of principle. There was a good deal of mutual congratulation that efforts to resolve embarrassing impasse had been successful.

For Nairobi: You may inform Kenyatta our pleasure at successful outcome of mission and our strong hope it will lead continued close cooperation.

For Lagos: You may inform GON we have kept Embassy here closely informed. While we regret Nigeria not present, we entirely understand reasons and wholeheartedly appreciate GON efforts get Commission back on track. We hopeful our talks with delegation and our insistence on principle may help contribute to same objective.

For Leopoldville: You may assure Tshombe and Kasavubu that we have maintained principles our press statement, Sept. 23,4 steered away from any tripartite meetings, and averted any meeting involving President—all points to which we understand GOC attaches importance. We have kept Congo Embassy fully informed and Murumbi planned to see Cardoso after lunch.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 3 OAU. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by Strong; cleared by Fredericks, James Ozzello in EUR, Williams, and Nathan Pelcovits in UNP; and approved by Palmer. Sent to Nairobi, Lagos, and Leopoldville, and repeated to Accra, Addis Ababa, Bonn, Brussels, Cairo, Conakry, Lisbon, London, Mogadiscio, New Delhi, Ouagadougou, Paris, Rome, Tunis, Yaounde, and USUN.
  2. Telegram 747 to Lagos, September 30, transmitted the text of a joint press communiqué worked out between Palmer and the OAU delegation. (Ibid.) Circular telegram 563, September 29, is not printed. (Ibid.)
  3. A memorandum of conversation is ibid.
  4. Telegram 748 to Leopoldville, September 23, transmitted the text of the September 23 press statement issued by the Department concerning the proposed visit of the OAU delegation to the United States. (Ibid., POL 23–9 THE CONGO)