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

1571. Tshombe appeared at residence alone 1500 local. Although he had his usual smile, conversation got off to merry start with his opening words “You know my people are furious with what you have done with our aviation”. I replied that it unfortunate he and I had not been able meet since I requested urgent meeting with him last Friday morning2 for we were fully aware of difficulty we placing him in, but also wanted him be aware of difficulties presented my Government by detention our citizens in Stanleyville and fact that Opepe desires kill them. Told Prime Minister that everyone in Washington most concerned over Americans Stanleyville. Tshombe said he personally wished do everything he could to help. Told him that recommended message Struelens had sent him essential including modifications contained Department telegram 992. Tshombe understood modifications and said he would issue communiqué immediately but he could not mention OAU. I argued on this point, but he inquired how could we ask OAU send someone Stanleyville when they might select such a rascal (his word much stronger) as Diallo Telli whose capacity for mischief would be unlimited. I had previously read him FBIS R–192035 and told him I thought that his early issuance of communiqué would [Page 426] take winds out of Soumialot’s sails. He granted this point, but then said “his people” were categorically opposed to running such risk. I said I did not see how he could stop OAU acceding to Soumialot’s request and he said this specifically excluded by Addis terms of reference and subsequent discussions Nairobi.

We ended that I personally understood his position as far as OAU concerned and would recommend strongly that my Government not insist on its inclusion in communiqué. Asked if he prepared send letter to ICRC and he said of course. Tshombe excused himself shortly thereafter saying he wished rush back to office to send me immediately his draft. I gave him many copies French text Article 3 emphasizing last sentence. It is now 1830 local and I have just been informed that Embassy official enroute back from Tshombe’s office with text which will be telegraphed immediately.3

We have just received further information re 21st SQ. 1300 today Mobutu confirmed movement order to Coq. of all elements except S. African. At 1630 Mulamba came in to say that Mobutu insisted all elements 21st SQ move Coq. Believe this significant in that Mobutu for a while at least appreciated problems he creating. If text Tshombe’s communiqué satisfactory, would hope stand down can be withdrawn immediately in order that I can endeavor cancel movement 21st SQ.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Top Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Received at 4:57 p.m. Repeated to Brussels and Nairobi and passed to the White House, DOD, CIA, and CINCSTRIKE for Ramsey.
  2. October 16.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 295.