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

490. Following represents our tentative thinking and guidance on present Congolese situation. Kimba government was successfully and rather speedily formed, it is functioning, apparently with public acquiescence, and may gain parliamentary approval. We will want to maintain influence with government in accordance our legitimate interests and scope our assistance. We should therefore be prepared to do business as before on basis our past policy of support for unity of Congo and legitimate national government in power.

So far Kimba has given series of satisfactory policy assurances; performance is yet to be measured. He has indicated mercenaries are still necessary, he desires improved relations with other Africans, he welcomes African assistance but not intervention in Congo and he believes European technicians will be essential for considerable time. These statements are in accord with our general policies. Kimba appears realistic concerning both internal and external problems, with his greatest merit residing in his understanding of and attitude toward rebellion and necessary rehabilitation afterward.

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This analysis adds up to policy of cooperation with Kimba so long as he retains confidence Kasavubu on one hand and can resist parliamentary encroachments his power on other. While we want Belgians to continue to take lead in Congo and, in fact, to step up their assumption of responsibilities, we would not want necessarily to follow lead they have taken vis-à-vis Kimba because their discouragement with Kasavubu.

With regard to Tshombe, given unknown magnitude his parliamentary and popular support at present, as well as possibility he may someday return to power, we should continue our contact with him and urge him to play game within “role provided for in framework constitutional system.”

As to foreign advisers, we cannot deplore departure of some. It would seem advisable for us not to take attitude GDRC cannot expel Belgian technicians per se but rather to use our potential influence in cases of individuals (such as possibly Brassine) whose continued presence of great importance to GDRC.

Our attitude toward Kimba government and Kasavubu subject to evolution imposed by circumstances, but, bearing in mind that Kimba’s fortunes can fluctuate momentarily, we see no objection (or alternative) to dealing with him frankly and confidently on assumption GDRC’s past policies will not change radically to detriment our goals or interests. It includes impressing on him and other Congo leaders necessity of continued vigorous action against rebels and of financial and economic measures essential to Congo progress. It also includes efforts to associate Kasavubu as closely as possible with GDRC decisions and policies.

Good working relationship with Kimba would also, we hope, help dampen efforts by others to engage in nonproductive, devious politics with various African factions. Mobutu still appears to provide strongest continuity for stability in Congolese foreign and domestic policies.

Pleased to have Embassy comments on above.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 15–1 THE CONGO. Secret. Drafted by Canup; cleared by Brown, Moffat, Harriman, and Merriam of S/S; and approved by Williams. Repeated to Brussels, CINCSTRIKE for POLAD Honolulu, and Paris.