565. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State1
5919. Ref: Kinshasa 5899.2
1. I had long talk with Mobutu and Bomboko this morning about withdrawal of JTE. I explained JTE has long since accomplished its original mission in connection with mercenary revolt and had assisted in ferrying troops to put down Angolan invasion as well. These threats had been met and situation was back to normal now. Therefore we believe that time to withdraw JTF had now come.
2. Mobutu explained at great length his continued preoccupation with situation and especially with security situation in Kivu. He felt it was essential to move virtually all forces out of that area and he pleaded for C–130 to complete this task as well as bring first paras back from Katanga. I said C–130 was already vigorously engaged in this task and I was sure would complete it in few days.
3. Mobutu said it was difficult to set a date for departure of JTF but finally proposed December 15. I said I had thought in earlier terms perhaps of early next week. Mobutu then made firm suggestion of December in which he pointed out would round out five months of JTE response to his original appeal. I indicated that this seemed agreeable to me and that this would be acceptable unless he heard to the contrary.
4. Mobutu is obviously reluctant to see JTF go but I believe has accepted our reasoning. He has formally committed himself to date of December 10 for departure of final C–130. I strongly hope this date will be acceptable to Dept and to Defense. I would be most extremely reluctant to go back and ask for earlier departure date. Furthermore, I think actual task Mobutu has in mind can be accomplished in just about this time. It seems to be an entirely reasonable and amicable way of terminating a highly successful operation.
5. I explained to Mobutu that we would wish some publicity on occasion of departure JTF and that we would be in touch with Bomboko with draft release in few days.3
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 19 US–THE CONGO. Confidential; Immediate; Limdis. Repeated to CINCSTRIKE.↩
- Dated November 28. (Ibid.)↩
- Telegram 77170 to Kinshasa, November 30, said that the Department considered December 10 an acceptable date for final departure of the remaining C–130 and the last elements of the JTF from the Congo. (Ibid.)↩