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

30. Embtel 46.2 Department commends your efforts keep KasavubuTshombe relationship from falling apart at this particular time.

Considerable thought has been given here to method and timing of use in this exercise of threat to cut aid suggested last sentence para 3 reftel. On negative side is question credibility due to our well-known concerns about re-establishment of stability and Kasavubu’s sensitivity to interference. On other hand while not always successful, on occasion properly applied pressure has worked. Furthermore it certainly a fact of life that constant Congolese infighting—even among those sharing same aims—is having a bad effect on US public and congressional opinion. Thus further serious upheavals could very credibly affect [Page 606] levels and kinds of US aid. It also should be noted that rebels and their supporters making as much hay as they can over KasavubuTshombe infighting.

Department concerned to leave no stone unturned and concurs that this useful chord to play. Leave to your judgment how it should be handled.3

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 15–1 THE CONGO. Secret; Limdis. Drafted by McIlvaine and approved by Williams. Repeated to Brussels, London, and CINCSTRIKE.
  2. In telegram 46 from Leopoldville, July 7, Godley reported that he and De Kerchove conferred about the sharply deteriorating relations between Kasavubu and Tshombe, and agreed it would be useful to take a very strong line with Kasavubu and Tshombe, and with other political leaders as well. The Ambassador recommended emphasizing that internecine warfare could only work to the advantage of the Congolese rebels and the Congo’s enemies, and would cause a crisis of confidence that could hurt the Congo’s ability to mobilize external assistance. (Ibid.)
  3. In telegram 153 from Leopoldville, July 21, Godley reported that he told Kasavubu he was extremely worried over the tension between him and Tshombe and was convinced that if this developed into an open break, everything they had worked for in the Congo would fail. Godley added that although much progress had been made in quelling the rebellion, the United States had hard information concerning continuing rebel activity and possible forceful intervention. (Ibid.)