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

393. We believe working-level talks on Congo2 served useful purpose in identifying problem area, imparting greater sense of urgency to GOB, accelerating latter’s planning timetable and indicating the magnitude of Belgian internal problems which we recognize.

We are sure Spaak and others will not arrive in US under impression USG satisfied with progress on joint planning on Congo. Believe nevertheless “special relationship” with GOB this subject gives us, in our opinion, responsibility to talk frankly.

Therefore, before Spaak departs request you see him to express tactfully our disappointment over meager results Brussels talks. We appreciate and respect confidence in Delperdange and welcome his authority to coordinate Belgian military effort in Congo. We also gratified about enlargement administrative teams and encouraged GOB considering easier terms for one billion BF credit. Believe, however, GOB should give greater weight and more urgent consideration to precarious Congolese balance of payments position.

On military side, with Congolese military cupboard practically bare, a decision in December about filling ANC requirements is woefully late, especially considering time it takes to get supplies in pipeline and delivered to combat units.

We particularly concerned by Belgian inability provide more personnel (1) for air transport which, other than initial provision aircraft, has been wholly Belgian operation vital to Congolese security; and (2) for increased training and encadrement of ANC.

You may wish voice above thoughts to other GOB officials who might be receptive and exercise salutary influence in right direction. Our hope is that in time remaining before his departure Spaak will be [Page 627] able do groundwork within GOB to establish beginnings of clearer, firmer and greater Belgian commitment in line with GOB interests.3

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Schaufele; cleared by Moffat and WE Deputy Director Robert Anderson, AID/AFR/CA Director Richard Cashin, Harriman, Colonel Kennedy, and AFC Director L. Dean Brown; and approved by Fredericks. Repeated to Leopoldville, CINCSTRIKE for POLAD Tampa, and USUN for the Secretary.
  2. U.S.-Belgian working-level talks on the Congo were held in Brussels September 30–October 2.
  3. Telegram 392 from Brussels, October 7, reported that because of Spaak’s absence due to illness, the Ambassador raised the matters contained in the Department’s telegram with Davignon. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO)