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

152. 1. Mobutu made urgent appeal to me this morning in presence Bomboko and Blake that USG immediately make available to DGRC three C–130s for up to one month. Said purpose these planes would be carry troops and material to ANC units throughout country and to get in position launch early counter-offensive against rebels. Made clear that receipt early American military assistance also vital psychologically and politically, if his pro-Western policy to be continued.

2. Mobutu emphasized that he as pro-Western Congolese leader with particularly close relations to us, in very difficult situation. Most of troubles which Congo has had since independence have come from West, and particularly from Belgium. Right now Belgian, French, Spanish and English mercenaries, backed by Belgian financial interests, [Page 737] are engaged in all-out effort to overthrow Mobutu govt. These groups will spare no efforts to overthrow DGRC. On July 4, DGRC found out through its intelligence sources in Belgium that 200 Belgian mercenaries in pay of Tshombe about to depart from Belgium for Congo. When this info brought to attention Belgian Govt, latter prohibited group from leaving. Mobutu said he not accusing Belgian Govt of being responsible for this latest mercenary rebellion, but fact is that two plane loads of Belgian mercenaries arrived in Kisangani on morning July 5 from someplace.

3. Mobutu said there tendency his own entourage but more strongly throughout Congo to blame these latest difficulties not only on Belgians but on all whites. Gen Basongo in Luluabourg had requested permission arrest all Belgians which permission was denied. He, Mobutu, making every effort calm down situation, but he under strong pressure. MPR had wished to hold rally against Belgians and West, but he, Mobutu, denied requests as he did trade union request hold anti-Belgian general strike and Louvanium students request hold major demonstration in front Belgian Emb. Bomboko chimed in to say anti-white feelings running so strong that he feared unless something done to redress balance and show that at least USG stands squarely with DGRC against rebels, there is distinct possibility that security situation in various parts of Congo could get out of hand and many whites might be massacred.

4. Mobutu said he also under pressure, “and not only from young radical intellectuals,” to reverse pro-Western foreign policy and move to align Congo with African countries who have close relations with Communists. Said it often pointed out to him that countries like Congo (Brazza), Guinea and Tanzania have no problems with mercenaries; only Western-oriented country like Congo faces these troubles. Said if he could not get immediate aid from West, he will be faced with strong pressures to re-orient his policies. In this respect, time is of essence.

5. In response to my question as to whether other countries and particularly Belgium had been asked for aid, Mobutu replied in negative. Said it would be politically impossible for him under present conditions to request help from Belgian paratroopers or to otherwise use Belgian soldiers. He has asked for and received assurances of Belgian political support plus Belgian assurances they will deny use Belgian territory by pro-Tshombe Belgian groups. However, only real military aid on which he could count was from USG.

6. On political side, Mobutu said he hopes SC will meet soonest to consider what steps UN can take to deny support to mercenaries. Also said he has requested total African support from every African state through OAU channel. Finally, he has also kept Chiefs of State of 13 countries which had participated in Kinshasa summit conference fully [Page 738] informed and has asked them take urgent measures deny use their territories, airfields, etc. to allies of mercenaries.

7. Mobutu said military situation in East remains nearly static but he must very quickly show that he is able to take counteroffensive against rebel mercenaries. For this he particularly needs immediate help from USG. I said I would transmit this request urgently to Washington. I had started meeting by reading him message contained State 1291;2 Mobutu very pleased but said it was American matériel assistance which now of utmost importance.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Flash; Limdis. Received at 8:55 a.m. and repeated to CINCSTRIKE, DOD, CIA, Kigali, Brussels, Kampala, Bujumbura, Nairobi, USUN, Bukavu, and Lubumbashi. Passed to the White House, NSA, USIA, COMAC, and CINCLANT.
  2. Dated July 5. (Ibid.)