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

1618. Ref: Addis’ 652 to Dept; Nairobi’s 1126 to Dept.2 Dept concerned over mounting evidence that, by pushing line Tshombe’s removal is pre-requisite for national reconciliation in Congo, Diallo Telli and more militant members of OAU Commission may be embarked on course that will lead to open break between OAU and GDRC. In our view any effort by OAU to split Kasavubu and Tshombe at this stage (Nairobi’s 1101 and 1102 to Dept)3 would have this effect. We are particularly [Page 445] concerned about Telli’s presumably anti-Tshombe letter to Kasavubu (Addis 652).4

For Addis: Subject advice from Nairobi, you should in manner you deem most effective, follow up with Mammo Tedessa or other appropriate Ethiopian official with view to getting IEG instruct Getachew warn Kenyatta against course of action that could lead to collapse of OAU efforts, particularly sending of anti-Tshombe letter. We believe Getachew is already on right track in taking line (Nairobi’s 1126) that proper next step for OAU Commission is to send “feeler mission” he describes to Leo and in opposing possible OAU efforts split Kasavubu and Tshombe. Since next OAU task is to establish satisfactory working relations between Commission and GDRC, letter such as that proposed by Telli would be even more undesirable from this point of view.

There is an immediate additional task which would be highly appropriate for OAU “feeler mission” to Leo. This is to work out with GDRC measures for getting ICRC personnel into Congo, including rebel-held areas, in order carry out Red Cross traditional humanitarian function. In fact, need to establish ICRC presence is strong reason for earliest possible despatch of “feeler mission” to Leo and, in addition to importance this consideration per se, would have advantage of helping get OAU Commission off on relatively non-political footing with Tshombe.

We understand Tedessa’s doubts about wisdom of reviving Commission at this time but believe he would agree that in view of forces seeking to push it along wrong track, best tactic would be to concentrate efforts on getting it on right track rather than (probably fruitlessly) resisting its reactivation. (Begin FYI: In any case, despite risks in OAU reactivation we are most anxious to have OAU facilitate ICRC return to Stan and believe on balance advantage still accrues from Africanization of Congo problem through OAU involvement. End FYI)

For Lagos: Recognize there is limit to extent you can press GON re OAU Commission, in view GON lack of enthusiasm for it, but believe much of above argumentation might usefully be presented to GON. It would be most helpful if you could persuade GON to instruct its rep in Nairobi to support Getachew’s approach to Kenyatta; however, you should await advice from Addis (which Addis please repeat to Nairobi) as to whether IEG prepared send suggested instructions to Getachew [Page 446] and extent to which you at liberty make use of information given Ambassador Korry by Ambassador Igwe.

For Nairobi: Inform Addis soonest whether appropriate for US Emb Addis to suggest IEG instructions to Getachew. On receipt of advice from Addis you may wish to consult further with Getachew re his approach to Kenyatta, drawing on material in this tel.

For Nairobi and Leo: While most important elements in getting OAU Commission on right track are to avoid anti-Tshombe letter to Kasavubu or OAU mission to Leo charged with splitting Kasavubu and Tshombe, there is also question of composition any “feeler mission” to Leo. While Getachew’s comments on this point (Nairobi’s 1120)5 interesting, some aspects not entirely clear to us. Difficult judge best composition from this distance but we somewhat surprised at Getachew’s judgment that Koinange–Mathu mission could be “disastrous” and that Kenyatta should send Murumbi. We note in last sentence Nairobi’s 1126 that Murumbi’s present position is that “Tshombe must go” so, despite his ability and background, he may not be improvement from point of view attitude towards Tshombe. In view of Kenyatta’s apparently deepseated prejudice against Tshombe, seems likely any Kenyan sent by Kenyatta might well go Leo with at least informal instructions work in direction of trying drive wedge between Kasavubu and Tshombe. We can see difficulty in sending Mathu in view of his past clashes with Tshombe in Katanga but we not clear why Koinange significantly worse than others. If feasible we can see advantage of formula including non-Kenyan like Getachew along with intelligent trusted Kenyan, like Mungai or Njonjo. Most important other element, of course, is that member or members of “feeler mission” be acceptable to Tshombe. We question desirability of including African Ambs Leo in mission as this would bring in unacceptable elements (e.g. Ghana). Recognize we will have limited influence on composition of mission but would appreciate comments both Nairobi and Leo.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Strong in AF/CWG, cleared by O’Neil and McElhiney in AF/CWG, and approved by Tasca. Also sent to Leopoldville, Addis Ababa, and Lagos and repeated to Mogadiscio, Cairo, Yaounde, Conakry, Accra, Ouagadougou, Tunis, Brussels, London, Bujumbura, and Geneva.
  2. Dated October 30 and October 31, respectively. (Ibid.)
  3. Both dated October 28. (Ibid.) Telegram 1102 reported Murumbi’s statement that, following the meeting of the OAU Ad Hoc Commission in Nairobi during the first week of November, Kenyatta was planning to send two Kenyan Ministers to the Congo as his emissaries to see Kasavubu alone in order to discuss the “Tshombe problem.” Murumbi also warned that U.S. support of Tshombe was turning Africa against the United States.
  4. Telegram 652 (see footnote 2 above) reported a statement by Diallo Telli that the OAU Commission was planning to deliver a letter from Kenyatta to Kasavubu directed against Tshombe, which he himself had authored.
  5. Dated October 30. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO)