452. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State1

983. 1. 07:00 Devlin and I phoned Mobutu. He was very pleased with way things have occurred2 stating Presidents both houses, i.e. Kimpiobi and Mudingayi had already telephoned their congratulations. He had also received telegram from Bolikongo stating latter was praying for his success. Mobutu said he had spoken briefly with Tshombe but did not indicate details of conversation. When I told him of what Tshombe had told us (Embtel 968)3 he said “that is very good”. [Page 658] He is meeting with press at 10:00 A.M. local and Devlin is calling on him discreetly at 11:30 local.

2. I asked Mobutu what he was going to do with Kasavubu and he said absolutely nothing and Kasavubu was free to go wherever he wished. Also inquired whether among his congratulators was anyone from Abako and he said not yet. Further inquired if he had heard from Nendaka and he said “No, he may still be asleep”.

3. We following things closely but I have told CAS personnel, US military, and EmbOffs be extremely discreet. Believe we must avoid any impression we had anything to do with this coup.

4. Have just spoken to De Kerchove who had 09:00 A.M. appointment with Kasavubu. He is relaxed and says has heard of no troubles in Belgian community and confirms our view that all is quiet. In this connection should not aram [sic] passed Camp Kokolo and vicinity ANC HQs and could only observe clerical duty personnel going quietly to work.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Confidential; Immediate. Repeated to Brussels, CINCSTRIKE for POLAD, Bukavu, Elisabethville, DIA, DOD, CIA, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Bujumbura, London, Paris, Dakar, and Lagos. Passed to the White House and USIA.
  2. In telegram 981 from Leopoldville, November 25, Godley reported that the Congolese National Army had announced at 5 a.m. local time that it had assumed control of the government with General Mobutu in charge, and that Kasavubu had been deposed as President and Kimba as Prime Minister. The Ambassador said that Leopoldville and its suburbs were quiet with no extra police or military patrols in the streets. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 968 from Leopoldville, November 23, reported that Tshombe told Godley he had just had a long talk with Mobutu and the two were “in full agreement” about the grave dangers facing the Congo. (Ibid., POL 15 THE CONGO)