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

1922. Septel contains text our reply to Gbenye re his proposal discussions between US and Kanza with Kenyatta present.2 Our purpose in agreeing to these discussions is (1) to avoid public stance of rebuffing offer negotiate; (2) to buy time which might permit VDW to take Stan without requirement use Belgian-US force; and (3) explore every possible means of peaceful resolution of hostage problem. Embassy will note these objectives far more limited than those set forth Deptel 1077 to Brussels to which Belgians have objected.

In discussions with Kanza, Attwood should be guided by following:

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1. Objective of discussion is safety civilian population Stan, including all foreigners. We cannot discuss our current problems under threats of executions. If any foreign resident of Stan is killed for political reasons, we shall terminate discussions at once and resort to such other measures as may be necessary.

2. We can not entertain any proposals whatsoever for cease fire, which is in fact completely in control of Congo Government.

3. If Kanza raises matter of “bombings” by US aircraft, you should make clear to him no bombs in Congo, aircraft are responsibility GDRC, and that at our instigation on humanitarian grounds, Tshombe has given undertakings which are being respected not to attack cities and towns which would endanger civilian populations.

4. You should make clear to Kanza hopelessness rebel position. It is everywhere on defensive and cause is lost. Moreover he should be aware there no split between Tshombe and Kasavubu and he therefore cannot bank on this development. Under circumstances he should grasp realities of situation and persuade his colleagues give up and salvage what they can. If he has proposals or suggestions which fall short of cease fire or removal foreign military assistance and which would result in peaceful resolution of conflict and safety foreign population Stan, we prepared to examine them and if feasible take them up with GDRC and GOB to obtain their compliance. Obviously, we not in position guarantee anything, but you should make clear that USG would make strongest efforts obtain GDRC and GOB agreement to reasonable and realistic proposals which result in restoration GDRC sovereignty over northeast Congo, liquidation rebellion and safety civilian population.

5. In event Kanza responds affirmatively and makes any specific proposals, you should immediate inform Dept repeating Leo and Brussels. While you should not take any initiative in proposing political amnesty, right participate political life of Congo, national reconciliation, etc., you should indicate willingness inform Dept such possibilities if Kanza proposes them.

6. In any event you must not break off talks but insure that at end of meeting you have agreement to meet following day for further discussion.

For Brussels: You should immediately inform Davignon and Spaak of foregoing. You should make clear that this effort primarily to exhaust all possibilities no matter how remote and to gain time, adding that we accept completely that VDW columns should not be held up but should proceed with assault on Stan with all possible speed. In off [Page 493] chance discussion with Kanza should yield anything promising, we would of course wish consult again.3

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Flash; Exdis. Drafted by Palmer; cleared by Ball, Harriman, Williams, Creel in EUR, and Brubeck; and approved by Palmer. Also sent to Brussels and repeated to Leopoldville, Dar es Salaam, Addis Ababa, Bujumbura, Bangui, and Kampala.
  2. Document 338.
  3. Attwood met with Kenyatta and Telli at the appointed time on November 21, but Kanza did not appear for the meeting.