447. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


Crisis in Congo. What we feared seems to be happening—instead of hanging together Tshombe and Kasavubu are moving toward a showdown. If Belgians and we can’t help patch up a compromise we face a painful choice.

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Tshombe, with all his flaws, is probably the better from our standpoint. All Kasavubu has ever really wanted is to stay in power. So now Kas is playing with the radicals.

The hell of it is that if we backed Tshombe now we’d be going—for the first time—against our principle of legitimacy. We’d be backing the outs against the ins. This might please Dodd, but few others (especially in AF).

Mobutu is the key; perhaps he can force a compromise. You’ll probably have a new plea at 303 for baksheesh to this end.

Am going over the jumps with Soapy tomorrow (and playing devil’s advocate—it’s the only way to move State).

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security Files, Country File, Congo, Vol. XII, 10/65–10/66. Secret.