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

20184. Kinshasa 2502.2

1. Appreciate what you have already done but believe there might be additional effect if you called Mobutu, even at this hour, to tell him you under instructions to inform him of following:

A. Kind of demonstration reported reftel would be most difficult explain outside Congo. Arrest of diplomatic chiefs of mission would not only be violation diplomatic usage but would also demonstrate that GDRC unable differentiate between Governments concerned and acts of their citizens. To arrest chiefs of mission is very serious step.

B. Such action appears be contradictory to mission we understand Litho has just undertaken in Katanga. It could effectively nullify progress made in assuring European technicians that their presence and contribution desired in Congo.

C. We have not received message regarding Soviet offer but kind of action reported reftel is bound to alienate sources of assistance, including US, which have been most effective in past in helping Congo. Our considered opinion is that lashing out at Belgians and others does not serve help situation but only exacerbate it.3

D. Therefore we hope Mobutu will take necessary steps call off actions described reftel if they indeed planned.

2. Brussels requested inform GOB above instructions to Kinshasa.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–8 THE CONGO. Confidential; Flash. Drafted and approved by Schaufele. Also sent to Brussels and repeated to London and Paris.
  2. In telegram 2502 from Kinshasa, August 13, McBride reported that Belgian Ambassador Bihin informed him that loudspeakers in downtown Kinshasa were broadcasting that the British, French, and Belgian Ambassadors would be arrested the next day. Bihin later called to say that he had been informed that the sacking of the Belgian Embassy was planned for 7 a.m. on August 14. (Ibid., POL 12 THE CONGO)
  3. In telegram 2505 from Kinshasa, August 14, McBride reported that Bomboko informed him of his August 13 talk in Kinshasa with the Soviet Ambassador to the Congo (Brazzaville), who had said he was responding to the Congolese appeal at the United Nations and asked what kind of support the Congolese Government wanted. (Ibid., DEF 19–6 USSR–THE CONGO)