31. Editorial Note

Responding to rumors that President Kasavubu was thinking of replacing or curtailing the authority of Colonel Mobutu, on October 7, 1960, the Central Intelligence Agency asked the Station in Leopoldville to inform the Ambassador that the Department of State’s reaction, which the Agency shared, was to attempt to persuade Kasavubu not to replace Mobutu, since obvious legal chaos would follow. (Telegram 04785; Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 4, [cryptonym not declassified] Ops) In telegram 0092 to the Central Intelligence Agency, October 8, the Station noted that the rumors had come from many sources and in each case it had reacted strongly, pointing out the facts of political life and indicating that such [Page 43] action would torpedo the [cryptonym not declassified] effort in support of moderate anti-Lumumba leaders. The Station also reported that, in response to telegram 04785, meetings had been held with the Ambassador and with Georges Denis, Kasavubu’s Belgian advisor, who admitted there had been some talk recently in Kasavubu circles of removing or reducing Mobutu’s authority but insisted such action was no longer under consideration. Denis agreed such action could be most dangerous and he would do his best to convince Kasavubu of that fact. (Ibid.)

The Station also informed the CIA in telegram 0092 that there was a report that Mobutu had told the College of Commissioners the previous evening that he agreed to the arrest of Patrice Lumumba. Three days later, on October 11, the Station reported in telegram 0107 that the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the Congo, Rajeshwar Dayal, had four times refused to allow Congolese authorities to serve an arrest warrant on Lumumba, stating that the arrest was just a trick to assassinate Lumumba. Bomoboko had told the Embassy that Mobutu was prepared to attack UN guards if necessary to take Lumumba. The Station noted that although it had consistently urged [cryptonym not declassified] leaders to arrest Lumumba, the Embassy and Station had been trying to prevent a Mobutu attack, fearing that it would not succeed and would jeopardize the position of the moderate [cryptonym not declassified] leaders. (Ibid.)

On October 13, Allen Dulles informed the National Security Council that the UN position was that it would surrender Lumumba only if his parliamentary immunity were lifted by the Congolese Parliament, and there was some talk of convening Parliament to get his immunity withdrawn. He said that there were a thousand Congolese troops around Lumumba’s house, while the UN guard force was not nearly so strong. Dillon noted that conflict between UN and Congolese forces would create a very bad situation, and said the U.S. Government had suggested that Lumumba be moved from the prime minister’s mansion. ( Foreign Relations, 1958–1960, volume XIV, Africa, Document 242)