424. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson 1
Congo Troubles. We are busting a gut to prevent a split between our two Congolese prima donnas—Tshombe and Kasavubu. Tshombe wants Kasavubu’s job as President and Kasavubu is talking of sacking Tshombe.
Our policy is crystal clear. We’ve been providing all-out support to both in an effort to finally close out the rebellion. Our line is that they must stick together till the war is won, or they’ll hang separately. A Kasavubu–Tshombe split just now might easily cause the whole rebellion to flare up again.
But Tshombe is bidding desperately for our favor. He got hold of Senator Dodd in Europe and gave him an earful about how at least our people in the Congo are anti-Tshombe. Dodd says he intends to see you as soon as possible. This is an old story and sheerest nonsense—[less than 1 line not declassified]. The fact is Tshombe wants us to back him against Kasavubu, and we say we insist they pull together, not against each other. I hope you’ll say so to Dodd, if he calls you first. If we can catch him first, we will.2