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

428. At opening meeting joint US-Belgian discussions Congo attention primarily directed to political situation resulting from dismissal Tshombe.

Spaak said Kasavubu Parliamentary speech causes concern for several reasons. First was brutal manner Tshombe dismissed. Second is absence any mention rebellion at all coupled with no mention job ANC doing. Third was willingness go to Accra while entirely omitting any mention OCAM. He thought Tshombe had reacted well. Surprised at choice Kimba and considers it form of defiance to Tshombe. Foreign affairs seems to have played little part in Kasavubu action; basically it has been struggle for power with astute Kasavubu once again getting rid of PriMin who threatened take on more power. But one result may have been some deflection foreign policy; this needs careful assessment.

Spaak referred to just-received press reports of Kimba cabinet. Was surprised to see names close Tshombe associates, especially Kibwi and Litho. Wondered if their presence means KasavubuTshombe split is as wide as we had all assumed or whether some long-term deal in offing. As for reaction, suggested we wait a bit to see what develops as there no guarantee Kimba govt will receive Parliamentary approval. Said Belgium concerned by several points in addition to those raised by Kasavubu speech. First is manner Kasavubu action and fact he had misinformed GOB of his plans. Second is question Belgian technicians. Already some of Tshombe advisers being thrown out of Congo. If this extends to men like Cordy, in whom GOB has much trust, situation would become difficult. GOB already reacting against these expulsions and will take firm line. In this case what happens to Delperdange mission and administrative teams? There has been economic stagnation in past 3–4 months, and situation worsening. Concluded with statement we can make no firm decisions now on aid for the future. Must involve IMF but more important make point to Congolese that aid is not a right but given as assistance to serious govt.

Gov. Harriman agreed with general lines Spaak analysis, saying we must study situation closely and be prepared to continue joint efforts in Congo. Military situation has improved and border control more effective with East Africa leaders, such as Nyerere, more aware of [Page 634] real nature rebellion. New govt is puzzle. Essential we cope with budgetary and foreign exchange problems, probably through IMF, and in response to request of new GDRC govt. We cannot allow economic or military situation to collapse. Spaak agreed our assessment that Mobutu continues to be important stabilizing factor.

Accra meeting discussed. It decided GOB would instruct De Kerchove see Kasavubu before his departure (separate cable).2 Consideration will also be given passing on to certain key African countries our views of new GDRC govt with suggestion they make approaches to Kasavubu at Accra.

Afternoon meeting will concern itself with financial/economic problems and military assistance.3

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Confidential. Drafted by Brown, cleared by Harriman and Moffat, and approved by Williams. Also sent to Brussels and repeated to CINCMEAFSA/CINCSTRIKE.
  2. Telegram 424 to Leopoldville, October 18, reported that Spaak agreed to instruct De Kerchove to see Kasavubu before the latter’s departure for Accra in order to tell him that the Belgian Government was unhappy with the events of the previous week but was prepared to continue its current programs if Kasavubu gave assurances that all previous agreements with Belgium, including those concluded by Tshombe, would be respected. (Ibid., POL 15–1 THE CONGO)
  3. Telegram 470 to Leopoldville, October 26, reported that during the SpaakHarriman talks the United States and Belgium agreed that in the immediate future their major objectives in the Congo should be to maintain the momentum of the Congolese Government’s military campaign to suppress rebellion and to get that government to develop and follow sound financial and economic policy under IMF guidance. (Ibid.)