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


Unless the President is already up to date, attached might be a useful weekend summary.

[Omitted here is discussion of Cyprus.]

Rusk did a beautiful job of letting Soapy down easy by vetoing a direct US payoff to Tshombe (we didn’t intend this anyway), but then agreeing with us that if some private [less than 1 line not declassified] supporters wanted to help Tshombe out (at no cost to them), this was OK.

State is becoming quite leery of Struelens, who talks too much. They tend to forget that he’s the one who has produced for us at least twice in a pinch, when regular channel had failed. At least we know he talks directly to Tshombe, and the fact that he blows up to twice normal size everything we tell him, doesn’t bother me too much (as long as you know I’m not really saying what he claims). Rest assured I’m watching myself, and am prepared to disengage when necessary. If you hear any grumbles, do let me know.2




Progress Report on Congo and Cyprus. Though it hasn’t gotten much press play, things are looking up in the Congo. Tshombe’s mercenary columns finally took all of the key towns along the northeast border through which the rebels were getting outside supplies. This should have a considerable damping effect, even though there are still several pockets of rebel strength. Moreover, the Northeast Congo was retaken by less than 200 mercenaries, and 200 well-trained “enemy” mercenaries could conceivably take it all back again. Meanwhile Tshombe’s elections are proceeding well, despite a snafu in Leopoldville because the ballots for 50-odd different parties simply couldn’t be printed fast [Page 598] enough. Finally, the moderate African states are coming out more and more in Tshombe’s favor. It’s not too much to hope that the active phase of the Congo rebellion may be down to manageable proportions in a few months. We continue to work hard behind the scenes rallying support for our Congo friends, and embarrassing those states still backing the rebels.

[Omitted here is discussion of Cyprus.]

R.W. Komer
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Name File, Komer Memos, Vol. I (2). Secret.
  2. A handwritten notation in the margin of the original reads: “I’m not worried. He’s a plus, net, when well used. McGB.”