400. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Belgium1

1754. SpaakHarriman breakfast conversation this morning served to continue consultations and re-affirm identity of views on importance Tshombe’s African image and desirability him playing conciliatory OAU game to the finish; need to get friendly African troops into the northeast as deterrent to rebel operation from neighboring sanctuary; desirability US–GOB meeting Brussels mid-March coordinate military supply and technical assistance roles. He had not heard the napalm rumor but was most positive about the need for us both to do whatever necessary to prevent the use of this weapon.2 Gov Harriman told him that we would have to withdraw our operational planes even if napalm used on T–6s.

Spaak clearly had more optimistic view of the potential of new OCAM Nouakchott grouping than we. He and Davignon also believe French now inclined encourage OCAM members cooperate with GDRC and would at least not oppose their sending troops.

Gov Harriman pressed Spaak for views on Burundi and what need be done to capitalize on present situations. Spaak, who appeared tired and without sense of urgency on this or Congo matters, said he thought we should wait several weeks before making up mind. Later Davignon was asked to have situation in mind and let us know their thinking.

Spaak also admitted Van der WalleMobutu difficulties but thought they would be ironed out when Tshombe returned.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Confidential. Drafted by McIlvaine, cleared by O’Sullivan and McKillop, and approved by Harriman. Also sent to Leopoldville, and repeated to Paris, London, Bujumbura, and CINCSTRIKE for POLAD Tampa.
  2. Telegram 1637 from Brussels, February 19, reported that the Belgian Defense Ministry was sending instructions to the Belgian military in the Congo not to have any connection with any napalm project, and that Spaak had instructed De Kerchove to tell Tshombe of Spaak’s unalterable opposition to using napalm in the Congo. (Ibid.) In telegram 3017 from Leopoldville, February 20, Godley reported that he had told Tshombe that the U.S. Government was unalterably opposed to the use of napalm in the Congo and that any military advantage would be more than overcome by the political risks. (Ibid.)