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

1595. Have just had 50 minute meeting with Tshombe at residence. Told him I believed only frankness should exist between us and my principal objective here was keep him informed of my government’s thinking and ascertain at earliest possible moment his government’s thinking whenever there was possibility of misunderstanding. This having been said, I wanted read to him rather brutally from two telegrams I had received from top officials of Department of State. Then went through practically verbatim Deptel 1017 and 10302 omitting only some of strongest adjectives and fuzzing first paragraph of Deptel 1030. (FYIs of course omitted.) Tshombe took it well. In going through 1017, he read carefully letter to President ICRC and I emphasized that this was language prepared in Washington and not a word could be changed without further consultation with me. Tshombe said he understood. I drew his particular attention to phraseology concerning strikes against cities, pointing out I recognized this might cause him trouble, but this precise language had to be included. Tshombe said he understood. He said he would have messages typed up and would request that we forward them to Geneva and Nairobi. Only point I did not emphasize, although I said it, was that these letters must be published. I feel that this might well be rubbing his nose in it too much, although I think they can be published once they are issued. Re S African T–6 unit, I also hit hard on this point. Told him I personally understood pressure he under from Mobutu, but that now that I believed we were [Page 435] making major step forward, he would have to do likewise. As I have not yet received instructions through other channel, I had in all honesty fuzzed this point and he and I agreed that I would notify him minute I had instructions and that he would give orders to Mobutu to delay T–6 deployment COQ 24 hours. Concerning our personal relations and frankness that must exist between our 2 governments, Tshombe picked on words “continuous close and confidential basis” in Deptel 1030. He agreed that this must govern all our dealings and promised do so. I pointed out to him that such relationship would be mutually beneficial citing that Department had at my request given way on two of major items, i.e. OAU presence Stanleyville and specific reference article 3. Tshombe expressed gratitude and I believe got point. Early in our conversation he apologized profusely for not showing up yesterday blaming Kasavubu’s loquaciousness and fact that any conversation with Kasavubu lasts at least two to three hours. These conversations he said, exhaust him physically and emotionally and he claims he under medical care last evening. I do not think this absolute truth, but would hope that we will not once again experience communications breakdown.

Re Malila’s junket, I told him I did not think this necessary, but he said that he so impressed with Secretary’s recent message and President’s to Kasavubu that the President and he agreed it essential they be acknowledged by Special Emissary. He did not indicate that he expected either President or Secretary receive Malila. In mentioning Secretary’s message, he said it had been made helpful to him personally in his dealings with Mobutu and others, especially the last sentence (Deptel 982),3 which he had used with Mobutu in arguing over SAfrican Air Squadron. He said, however, that Mobutu challenged Secretary’s “wholeheartedly continue” by stating that U.S. furnished aircraft were on stand down. I cannot, of course, guarantee that all is now well. Believe, however, that at least for moment the boil has been lanced. (These were words used by Tshombe when he, Gov Williams and I had our first set-to. Tshombe and I used them this morning and we agreed that if we got at boil soon enough, we could solve any problems.)4

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL THE CONGO–US. Top Secret; Flash; Exdis. Passed to the White House, DOD, and CIA.
  2. Documents 295 and 297.
  3. Dated October 18. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 1 THE CONGO–US)
  4. In telegram 1597, October 23, Godley reported that he had received the guidance referred to in the first paragraph of telegram 1030. He then telephoned Tshombe that the Embassy had received authorization that U.S.-furnished aircraft might be used provided they did not fly within 25 miles of Stanleyville and they implemented his instructions to the Congolese air force not to threaten urban areas. (Ibid., POL 23–9 THE CONGO)