411. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


On our first go-round Ball vetoed the idea of our contributing [dollar amount not declassified] to Tshombe’s campaign fund. He’s afraid of publicity. So I agreed to let the matter ride awhile.

But Tshombe has brought it up again with Godley,2 which makes it an issue of confidence. So we’re going back to Ball with following arguments for going ahead: (1) We’re already doing so much in the Congo that’s obvious (planes, military mission) that a few rumors about political meddling won’t add noticeably to the din; (2) This is the only handle we have for getting Tshombe not to angle for Kasavubu’s job. Africans are beginning to accept the KasavubuTshombe team; if Tshombe knocked off his mantle of legitimacy, it would cost us plenty; (3) Tshombe will surely read a turndown as a sign that we’re backing away from him.

After making sure we can handle the transfer without leaving visible tracks, I plan to argue the case again with Ball tomorrow. I’d like to use your proxy again.3

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Congo, Vol. XI, Memos & Miscellaneous, 1/65-9/65. Secret.
  2. On March 24, the Leopoldville Station transmitted a message from Godley to McIlvaine, reiterating Tshombe’s request for U.S. financial assistance and quoting Tshombe’s assurances that he was collaborating closely with Kasavubu who had no objection to such assistance. The Ambassador thus recommended that [text not declassified] be made available to CONACO. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, [text not declassified], Fiche 44, Row 4, Frames 2–5, [text not declassified])
  3. A handwritten notation in the margin of the original reads: “OK.”