504. Telegram From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson, in Texas1

CAP 67671. Herewith a message and request for aid from Mobutu. We will be developing a draft response tomorrow morning.

Kinshasa 1352

Foreign Minister Bomboko just delivered to me (Ambassador McBride) the following message from Mobutu to President Johnson.

“Mr. President, we must unhappily inform Your Excellency that Democratic Republic Congo today was object of aggression from group of foreign mercenaries in service of groups hostile to peace and security of our country.3

This morning at 6:30 local time two unidentified airplanes parachuted group of commandos on Kisangani Airfield. Simultaneously, mercenaries in employ of Army Nationale Congo launched hostilities at Bukavu. Just prior to this peace and tranquility existing throughout [Page 736] Democratic Republic Congo for nineteen months were disturbed by acts of economic sabotage in Katanga Province.

You will easily understand that this situation can compromise not only tranquility of Congo but also peace of all central Africa.

In view of gravity of situation we, like all people devoted to peace and liberty, hasten to appeal to friendly people of US, champions of international solidarity.

We, therefore, ask Your Excellency to make available to us as quickly as possible necessary men and material to permit us to rid ourselves once and for all of this group of brigands.

We know that we can count on aid of your government and of American people as well as upon that of governments of friendly countries.

With deep gratitude in advance for consideration which you will give to our request, we renew to you, Mr. President, our high and friendly consideration. Signed J.D. Mobutu, President of Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt W. Rostow, Vol. 33. Confidential. Received at the LBJ Ranch at 3:13 a.m.
  2. A copy of telegram 135 from Kinshasa, July 5, is in National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–9 THE CONGO.
  3. On July 5, mercenary units in Kisangani and Bukavu mutinied and took over the two towns.