396. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson 1

About ten days ago you called my attention to a bad story in the Herald Tribune about the White House and Tshombe.2 We traced this sharply and clearly to Senator Dodd, and still more to his assistant, David Martin. (Martin admits that both Dodd and he spoke to Freidin in London.)

Nevertheless, I think you will want to know that in fact Dodd’s meeting with Tshombe worked out very much to our advantage. We have our own transcript from Dodd, and the Senator said all the things we asked him to say about how Tshombe should widen his circle of friends, play ball with the OAU, broaden his Cabinet, and be responsive to the Belgians. Dodd even told Tshombe that the State Department—and of course the White House—were his friends.

At least partly as a result, Tshombe has paid some real attention to these matters in recent days, and the mess in the Congo looks less discouraging than at any time during recent months. (Cross your fingers.)

Nevertheless, Bob Komer has had a good time beating up Dodd’s assistant, who has made all sorts of apologetic noises. As a result I think we got some considerable net help from Dodd, and at the same time have left his people feeling that they owe us something.

McG. B.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Congo, Vol. XI, Memos & Miscellaneous, 1/65–9/65. Secret.
  2. On February 2, the Herald Tribune printed a critical story about U.S. Congo policy alleging that the Department of State was opposed to Tshombe, although the White House supported him. That same day, Komer and Bundy sent a memorandum to the President stating that these allegations, which reiterated previous complaints by Dodd, could be traced to the Senator’s assistant, David Martin. They also reported that Dodd had agreed to urge Tshombe to be more conciliatory toward his African colleagues when the Senator met with him in London at Churchill’s funeral. (Ibid., Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. 8)