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

18561. Ref Bukavu 29.2

1. Believe you should do everything possible discourage Bontemps, Shyns or any others from thinking US could be channel for any Schramme proposals to Mobutu or GDRC.

2. Not only is this unacceptable political risk for US position in Congo but also, we believe, unrealistic to expect Mobutu show any receptivity to such proposal at this time.

3. We assume that it equally impossible for GOB to be channel for proposal. If Kinshasa believes there is some value in getting these proposals to GDRC we would welcome any suggestions it may have. Our initial impression is that only present possibility might be private person who has access to Mobutu.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Schaufele, cleared by Brown, and approved by Palmer. Also sent to Bukavu.
  2. Telegram 29 from Bukavu, August 9, reported that Bontemps, a friend of mercenary leader Major Jean Schramme, warned that the mercenaries had the capability to wreak havoc in the eastern Congo indefinitely if Mobutu refused to negotiate. Bontemps said that he knew the mercenaries’ demands: safe departure via Rwanda to Europe and the guaranteed safety of the North Katangan troops who had joined the rebellion, either abroad or in Katanga. He offered to put these on a paper for Schramme’s signature. The Consulate asked permission to accept Schramme’s demands and pass them to the Embassy in Kinshasa for transmission to Mobutu. (Ibid.)