273. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State1

1354. Re Department telegram 854.2

1. Last night as per reference telegram I told Tshombe we planned withdraw two C–130’s soon, suggesting he might wish get some political mileage out of this at Cairo. Tshombe did not react to this suggestion, but predictably expressed disappointment and concern over withdrawal. Since it seemed from his circuitous remarks that he feared we might be starting to pull plug on him militarily in response to OAU pressures, I paraphrased carefully for him Secretary’s remarks to OAU group (Department circular telegram 569)3 indicating that USG would [Page 396] still be needed for help in civil rehabilitation program. I reminded him GOC had 10 C–47’s we had given them and that he should not count on C–130’s for civil rehabilitation program. Comment: Despite foregoing, there is big psychological payoff for USG when first impact shipment of relief goods can be brought into newly liberated city by US planes, and we intend where priorities permit, continue accede to GOC, Belgian, and UN requests for this kind of lift.

2. Assume reference telegram 854 indicating our proposed C–130 withdrawal program supercedes STRIKE’s STRJ 3–OD10372 and that in line with flexibility re withdrawal last two C–130’s which we proposed, these will not be pulled out October 18.4

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Top Secret. Repeated to CINCMEAFSA, DOD, and ARMISH MAAG Tehran.
  2. Telegram 854 to Leopoldville, October 3, instructed Godley to see Tshombe prior to his departure for Cairo to inform him of the U.S. decision to withdraw one C–130 soon and a second C–130 at a subsequent date. (Ibid.)
  3. Document 271.
  4. Telegram 879 to Leopoldville, October 7, stated that the first C–130 would leave Leopoldville on October 8 and instructed Godley to make no public announcement concerning the withdrawal of the C–130s in order to prevent the impression that the United States was abandoning Tshombe. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO)