381. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Congo1

1729. Fredericks and Komer saw Struelens again separately today and once more stressed our belief GDRC must take more active steps improve its diplomatic and public relations. Fredericks briefed him on attitudes East African leaders to illustrate kind of efforts needed in that quarter. In sum, it was pointed out Tshombe’s survival potential, indeed our ability to continue assist him effectively dictate that he do all he reasonably can to enhance acceptability of his regime to as many other African states as possible.

Struelens expressed complete agreement on need GDRC diplomatic efforts in East Africa and Zambia and promised he would attempt influence Tshombe this subject. Added he not leaving today as expected and planned phone Tshombe to make plans.

Dept aware of difficulties convincing Tshombe himself of facts of international life but expects you and country team to continue to exploit every opportunity to get word around in areas where it could be played back to him. In addition to political initiative it seems to us important [Page 552] pay more attention day to day propaganda—for example play down to extent possible role mercenaries, US and Belgian military aid.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 15–1 THE CONGO. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by McIlvaine; cleared by Fredericks, Komer, Harriman’s Staff Assistant John D. Rendahl, and Judd; and approved by McIlvaine. Repeated to Brussels and to London for Harriman.