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

7251. If you have not yet seen Mobutu suggest you limit your comments to him to following:

(A) We have heard rumors of a plot that may take place within the next few days. These have come from sources of questionable reliability and we wonder what he may know about it.

(B) Our information is that Tshombe may be behind the plot and that it may involve both the mercenaries in the country and the new mercenaries from Rhodesia and South Africa who will arrive shortly at Elisabethville airport.

(C) It is possible these rumors are being spread simply to create mischief. Would be most harmful his image and our interests if he lashed out widely in all directions and initiated series of reprisals against Congolese or Europeans. We would not wish see repetition June 2 hangings. You should therefore avoid speculating with him on possible involvement certain Congolese within country.

In any event you should impress upon Mobutu that it is essential he react rationally and calmly if he learns any real evidence of a plot. Guidance contained paras 4, 5 and 6, Deptel 7084 remains valid.2

Report reaction, Flash.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Flash; Exdis. Drafted and approved by Ball.
  2. Paragraphs 4, 5, and 6 of telegram 7084 to Kinshasa, July 13, listed some possible concrete suggestions for Mobutu if requested. The Congolese Government should consider preventing the entry of the 75 additional South African mercenaries, seizing control of the craft on Lake Tanganyika, and ensuring the neutralization of the ex-Katanga forces in Kisangani (formerly Stanleyville). Mobutu should be told that air action involving use of U.S.-controlled aircraft should be reserved as a last resort. (Ibid.) On May 2, the major cities in the Congo had been renamed, and Leopoldville became Kinshasa.