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

181618. Ref Kinshasa 5104; 5105 Notal.2

1. If you agree you should find suitable occasion deliver over your signature following written reply to Bomboko’s letter to you of January 26 (reftels). Any changes, however, should be cleared with Department. “Dear Mr. Minister: Your letter of January 26 expressing the concern of the Congolese Govt over rumors that forces have been gathering in adjacent territory to launch an aggression against the Congo, has been carefully considered by my Govt.

2. I have been instructed to assure you that, while my Govt cannot confirm reliability of these rumors, it nevertheless hopes that the efforts and accomplishments of the GDRC to achieve stability and security [Page 724] and assure political, economic and social development will not be thwarted by renewed threats of violence in the Congo.

3. You further expressed a desire to ascertain the attitude of the USG in case the Congo should become the object of external aggression organized by foreigners or Congolese. As you know it has been the policy of the USG, through the UN and in consultation with the GDRC and its friends and supporters, to support the maintenance of the territorial integrity and political independence of the Congo against external aggression. This policy is fully consistent with the U.N. Charter. Actions taken in the U.N. were the basis for the consultation and cooperation by the USG with your Govt in its efforts to maintain the territorial integrity and unity of the Congo after, as well as before, the departure of UN forces. You may recall I have made this attitude of my Govt unmistakably clear in earlier conversations. It was reaffirmed most recently in the statement issued by the Embassy on February 24 of this year. I wish to take this occasion to reiterate in this same context that the USG remains ready to consult with the GDRC on all such questions of common interest.

4. The Congolese Govt’s appreciation of the value of US assistance, also noted in your letter, has been warmly received by my Govt and interpreted as a reflection of the traditionally close and friendly relations existing between our two countries.”3

5. French translation follows.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Haverkamp; cleared by Runyon, Deputy Legal Adviser Carl F. Salans, Beigel in EUR/FBX, Portugal Country Director George W. Landau, Palmer, L. Dean Brown, Schaufele, UNP Director Elizabeth Ann Brown and, Lang; and approved by Acting Secretary Katzenbach. Repeated to Brussels, Lisbon, and Kigali.
  2. Telegram 5104 from Kinshasa, February 10, transmitted a translation of a confidential letter from Bomboko to the Chargé requesting information on the U.S. attitude toward rumors of the formation of a mercenary group for attack on the Congo as well as its attitude if the Congo became the object of an external attack. (Ibid.) Telegram 5105 from Kinshasa, February 10, is also ibid.
  3. In telegram 6878 from Kinshasa, May 2, Blake reported that he presented the text of the letter to Bomboko that day. He told the Foreign Minister that the U.S. Government believed on the basis of present information that the threat to the Congo from Tshombist mercenaries was limited, and that such reports appeared to be a psychological warfare campaign on the part of Tshombe. (Ibid.)