367. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts1

1091. We have been informed that UAR has made formal request for Security Council meeting on Congo pursuant to written request submitted last week.2 Consultations in New York indicate Wednesday, December 9, as possible date. In connection with SC proceedings, we believe important that primary focus of debate be on outside assistance being provided rebels. We, therefore, believe it advantageous have separate complaint sent to SC by Congolese representative prior to Dec. 9 meeting. Our assumption is that both African and Congolese countercomplaint would be discussed in SC simultaneously. While evidence we possess is still fragmentary, we believe it sufficient to justify placing considerable focus on it during Council proceedings.

We request you see Tshombe immediately with view to getting him to instruct Congolese UN Representative to submit separate complaint to SC along lines described below.

You may tell Tshombe we do not envisage this initiative as a mere tactical device to counter African complaint against us. On contrary, we had been seriously considering suggesting this to him regardless of whether Africans pursued their request for meeting. We feel campaign should be waged, privately and publicly, in order to focus on problem of outside support of rebels and deter supporters of rebel regime from continuing such assistance. Believe it would be particularly useful for Congolese in separate SC complaint to stress that Communist and radical African intervention on side of rebels constitutes threat to sovereignty, stability and internal security of other African states.

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Following is suggested text of letter:

“Dear Mr. President:

A number of developments have recently occurred affecting the sovereignty and independence of DRC which, if continued, would threaten the maintenance of peace and stability not only in the Congo but throughout Africa.

Contrary to provisions of the UN Charter and SC Resolution S/4405 of July 22, 1960,3 which “requests all States to refrain from any action which might tend to impede the restoration of law and order and the exercise by the Government of the Republic of the Congo of its authority and also to refrain from any action which might undermine the territorial integrity and political independence of the Republic of the Congo,” a number of States have been giving assistance to rebel groups in the eastern part of the Congo.

The position of the Algerian Government is particularly disturbing in this regard. Not only has the Algerian President publicly announced his country is assisting the rebel movement with arms and men, but planes with Algerian markings have been observed in the Sudan near the Congo border. Moreover, the Government of the Sudan has admitted that certain shipments have been made to the rebels without the approval of the legitimate central Government of the Congo. There is also evidence that the Governments of Ghana and UAR are involved in providing assistance.

In addition to the known political support of the Chicom regime for the rebels, my Government has uncovered Chicom arms and ammunition in the Congo. Moreover, we are disturbed at press reports which indicate that the USSR has agreed to provide weapons and to help pay for airlift of arms to the Congolese rebels by the United Arab Republic and Algeria.

The violations of the sovereignty of a UN member in defiance of international law and the Charter of the United Nations are an inadmissible intervention in the internal affairs of my country and should be halted immediately.

Accordingly, I request you to convene an urgent meeting of the Security Council to consider the problem of outside interference in the internal affairs of the Congo which, if it is permitted to continue, will pose a serious threat for the peace of Africa.

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I am also sending this communication to the Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity and requesting that it be circulated for the specific information of the membership of the OAU.”4

We note that Tshombe planning to come to New York December 10. In the upcoming SC exercise, we intend to make effort to try to get a moderate African such as Nigerian to speak up on behalf of GDRC. Africans are already divided on Congo, but Tshombe’s presence in NY is likely to unite both radicals and moderates in opposition to him as an individual and therefore not be helpful to GDRC either in Council or in relationship to broader problem of getting African support against outside intervention.

Using whatever argumentation you believe most persuasive, you should seek to dissuade Tshombe from coming to NY at this time. It seems to us that continued uncertainty regarding success of military operation in eastern Congo is most convincing and acceptable rationale, but, if necessary, you should not hesitate to tell him frankly we believe Congolese case in SC will be harmed rather than helped by his presence.5

If these arguments not adequate you should put forward as your personal view on confidential and informal basis, the following: For Tshombe to come US at this time will stir up propaganda and trouble in Africa. Very likely that American Negro and other liberal groups here unsympathetic to Tshombe would engage in demonstrations and publicity adding further to adverse propaganda in Africa. For US most effectively to help Congo, therefore, and in our mutual interest, Tshombe should postpone visit. You should stress this is purely a matter of timing.

If in spite of these arguments Tshombe insists he is coming to New York you should say nothing re prospects of meeting with President, but should inform Dept urgently for further instructions.

We think Idzumbuir is a reasonably effective representative, but we leave to your discretion whether you feel you can suggest that Tshombe send Bomboko or Lengema to plead Congolese case.

Foregoing message prepared prior ticker report from Leo saying Tshombe was complaining to SC re outside assistance to rebels. However, [Page 531] as of early afternoon New York time, Congo UN Del had received no instructions from Leo. Accordingly, you will wish tailor your approach to Tshombe re initiative in SC in light of circumstances existing at time. We assume that even if he has already decided request SC meeting, foregoing draft letter may be of assistance.

For Brussels. You should inform GOB immediately of contents of this instruction.6

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Confidential; Flash. Drafted by Sisco and Buffum; cleared by Williams, Davis, Meeker, and Palmer; and approved by Harriman. Sent to Brussels and Leopoldville, and repeated to Abidjan, Algiers, Cairo, Congo (Brazzaville), Kigali, Khartoum, La Paz, London, Moscow, Oslo, Paris, Prague, Rabat, Rio de Janeiro, Taipei, Mogadiscio, Tunis, Addis Ababa, Lagos, Monrovia, Ouagadougou, Freetown, Tripoli, Tananarive, Libreville, Lome, and USUN.
  2. On December 1, the representatives of 22 U.N. member states sent a memorandum to the President of the Security Council calling the Belgian and U.S. actions a flagrant violation of the U.N. Charter and a threat to the peace and security of the African continent, and requesting an urgent meeting of the Security Council to discuss the situation in the Congo. It was endorsed by Afghanistan, Algeria, Burundi, Cambodia, the Central African Republic, Congo (Brazzaville), Dahomey, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, the United Arab Republic, Tanzania, Yugoslavia, and Zambia. (U.N. Doc. S/6076)
  3. For text of Security Council Resolution S/4405, July 22, 1960 (U.N. Doc. S/4405), see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1960, pp. 538–539.
  4. Tshombe’s December 9 letter to the President of the U.N. Security Council called for an urgent meeting of the Council on the basis of direct and indirect intervention in the Congo’s domestic affairs by external powers, including Algeria, Sudan, the United Arab Republic, Ghana, the Soviet Union, and Communist China. (U.N. Doc. S/6096)
  5. In telegram 2334 from Leopoldville, December 8, Godley reported that he told Tshombe the Department had doubts as to the advisability of his being in New York at the opening of the Security Council debate on the Congo, and that the Prime Minister said he would accommodate himself to whatever the Department suggested. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO)
  6. In telegraph 1166 from Brussels, December 8, MacArthur reported that the contents of telegram 1091 were conveyed to Spaak. (Ibid.)