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

18571. Ref: Kinshasa 2283.2 Authorization contained Deptel 18800,3 being kept open pending receipt detailed reasons for judgment expressed reftel. Meanwhile it may be useful for you to have following elaboration reasons which led to decision give you this additional latitude. Complete withdrawal at time mercs threatening move south4 could produce following major dangers:

1. Encouragement of mercenaries in their resolve, including sweep south.

2. ANC morale would be even further weakened with loss airlift capability.

3. Others assisting GDRC, e.g., Ethiopia and Ghana, might be less willing remain and help. F–86s would be handicapped by lack air transport of fuel.

4. Stimulate Europeans to depart, thus disrupting economy and causing GDRC reprisals.

5. Anti-white campaign, leading to widespread racial violence.

6. Greater difficulty in obtaining GDRC cooperation in evacuating US nationals if that proves necessary.

7. GDRC might turn to radical African and/or communist sources of assistance thereby nullifying six years Free World effort.

8. With outside help mercenaries might set up new secessionist Katanga, with consequences similar to 7 above.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Flash; Limdis. Drafted by Palmer, cleared by Katzenbach, and approved by Palmer.
  2. Telegram 2283 from Kinshasa, August 9, suggested departure of the last C–130 after completion of a mission the following day. (Ibid.)
  3. Reference is presumably to telegram 18100, Document 533.
  4. In telegram 2349 from Kinshasa, August 10, McBride stated that he was pleased with the prospect that the last C–130 would remain in the Congo on a day-to-day basis, adding that the problem of suitable missions could be worked out locally. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–9 THE CONGO)