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

1625. Kinshasa 152 and 154.2

1. All evidence points to conclusion that GDRC is mesmerized by supposed mercenary invulnerability. We see little indication that GDRC taking any steps in its own defense but is largely engaged in closing airports, imposing curfew, arresting FAC pilots and making statements about imperialist aggression. Even if aid were forthcoming there no evidence that GDRC has any idea of how to use it.

2. Although we have no illusion about capabilities of ANC we nevertheless believe it could be doing more than it is. Therefore you should on appropriate occasions try to instill sense of confidence in Congolese leaders that numerically superior, better-equipped ANC can handle situation.

3. You should strongly discourage any mention of US troops. In view our commitments elsewhere and US policy not to engage its own [Page 739] forces in Africa it most unlikely that they would be forthcoming under any circumstances.

4. As you have correctly pointed out major military problem, as usual, is logistical. We are urgently considering recommendations of your 154. You should suggest to GDRC that its military reps consult with US and Belgian military to make best and most effective use of significant amount of air transport it already has.

5. We realize that this provisional response to Mobutu appeal will probably not be considered very forthcoming but at this stage suspect hand-holding operation is in order. In some manner idea must be got-ten across that Congolese in first instance must depend on themselves.

6. We doubt GOB disposed send combat troops to Congo which Mobutu says he would not request in any case. But we see no reason that GDRC should not ask GOB for equipment and supplies. Eventual US response could also depend on other sources of supply.3

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Schaufele, cleared by Brown and Walt Rostow, and approved by Trimble. Repeated to Brussels and CINCSTRIKE for POLAD Tampa.
  2. Telegram 152 is Document 505. Telegram 154 from Kinshasa, July 6, is in National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 19 US–THE CONGO.
  3. In telegram 252 from Kinshasa, July 7, McBride reported that he discussed the points in this telegram at some length with Bomboko that morning. (Ibid., POL 23–9 THE CONGO)