371. Telegram From the Station in the Congo to the Central Intelligence Agency1

5435 (In 41884). Ref ODACID tel 1507, 1 Dec.2

1. In aftermath of Stan recapture, and with ref as backdrop, mtg was held 2 Dec to discuss question of elections and support to pol parties. Present were [Godley], his deputy, [Embassy] pol section chief, [COS], [name not declassified]. [Godley] asked [COS] to summarize discussions and consensus arrived at. Foll is draft which [COS] prepared. [Embassy] still pondering draft but eventually presumably will send it or revised version in through its own channels:

A. National elections are scheduled to be held during the first half of February 1965. However, Tshombe’s enemies and even some of his warmest supporters have often suggested that Tshombe does not intend to have elections at all. In discussing the importance of holding elections on schedule, [Embassy] officers pointed out that the institution of parliament has in the past served as a valuable safety valve for radical and eccentric politicians, and that it would be particularly important now, when the main military effort of the rebels seems to be crushed, to further take the wind out of their sails by offering to the electorate a means whereby they might peacefully change their leaders rather than be obliged to risk their lives for this purpose.

B. It will probably not be possible to have elections in some areas of the Congo by mid-February because local pockets of rebels will still not have been mopped up yet. (This holds true for the Kwilu area as well as for the Northeast Congo). However, it is thought that the very fact of [Page 536] offering an opportunity for elections in liberated areas might hasten the collapse of these pockets.

C. We believe that the [Embassy] should use its influence with Congolese authorities to see that elections in fact are held at about the time they have been scheduled. At the same time, we believe that no material support should be provided to the competing political parties for election purposes, and that we should concert with our German and Belgian friends to pursue a like policy. One reason for refraining from such support is that we still do not know what political constellation is favored by Tshombe, nor which by Kasavubu, the leading contenders for the two top jobs under the new constitution. We do have a collection of moderate provincial party groupings, such as PSA/Kamitatu, Unimo (also Azimo)/Bomboko, Puna/Bolikango, Abako/Kasavubu, Conakat/Tshombe, Luka/Delvaux, etc, which have already begun to solicit large sums of money for use in holding party congresses and in dispensing election propaganda.

D. With little more than two months to go before elections, it seems unlikely that any new national party will be able to make an impact on the electorate, and the results of the elections will probably be favorable to the regionally-based groupings. At least this appears to be the way Kasavubu is betting, and Tshombe too, to judge from his lack of effort to organize a national party. It would appear that both Kasavubu and Tshombe believe they will be able to dominate the electoral college sufficiently to ensure their election to the two top jobs. We believe that both these gentlemen are astute enough politicians that they will probably be able in fact to dominate the college.

2. No index.3

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 1, [cryptonym not declassified] Development & Plans. Secret. No time of receipt appears on the message.
  2. Not found.
  3. In his monthly dispatch to CIA, December 31, the Chief of Station commented that one major problem with which the Station would have to come to grips in the next few months was the solution of the political problem posed by the rebellion. The U.S. Government should insist insofar as it was in its power that elections should be held on schedule in February 1965, and the Station should stand ready to assist a broad, national, moderate, pro-Western coalition at election time. But for the time being the Station was refraining from dealing with individual elements which might eventually make up such a coalition in the hope that the several elements may recognize the necessity of rallying around an acceptable national leader. The Station wanted to avoid enabling regional political figures to hold out against such a coalition since the urgent need at the time was for unity. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 82–00450R, DDO/AF, AF/DIV Historical Files, Box 6, Folder 6, Leopoldville, 3 Feb 64–Dec 65, [cryptonym not declassified])