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

944.1. Conjunction of discouraging IMF view and Lelyfeld article raises question of outlook for Congo and Mobutu government over next few months.

2. Impression which emerges is that of rudderless administration furnishing even less guidance and authority than heretofore and lack of [Page 682] coherent and unified government direction. There seems to be little question that Mobutu well-intentioned and sincere but unable cope with problems or even decide where to start. On financial side IMF indicates utter despair over Litho and his deleterious influence and actions. Mission saw little likelihood that GDRC willing and able take necessary action put its house in order.

3. In conversation with Deptoff French counselor Dubois, presumably reflecting general GOF opinion, gave his impression that things going from bad to worse and that Mobutu could not continue present ineffectiveness and remain in power. He wondered about undesirable or at least unhelpful role of Belgian military advisers in non-military field.

4. Mobutu’s ineptness in public relations as evidenced in visits to Bukavu and Elisabethville also discouraging. Mulamba’s sharp, possibly justified reaction to attitudes toward Congo and Congolese shown by Belgian—and presumably other foreign—individuals adds another dimension to apparent malaise.

5. We realize magnitude of seemingly perennial Congo problem often leads, on part of some observers, to feeling of hopelessness which not necessarily justified. However on the basis information available we too have impression Mobutu government seems to have lost its headway and is operating from day to day avoiding the hard decisions and actions required of it.

6. Therefore would appreciate as soon as possible Embassy assessment of: (1) effectiveness present government; (2) prospects for economic stabilization; (3) overall efficiency provincial administration; (4) longevity MobutuMulamba government; (5) cohesiveness of senior army officers, including Mulamba; (6) plans which major potential opposition figures—Tshombe, Kasavubu, Nendaka etc.—may have to increase their influence or assume power, their strength, weakness and resources; and (7) other items which may affect future course of events.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 15–1 THE CONGO. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Schaufele and approved by Trimble. Repeated to Brussels.