- Mobutu’s Speech to AAI Conference—Davis Appointment
1. Mobutu speech to opening of African/American Institute conference morning January 21 apparently aimed to please both US congressional delegates and African leaders present from some 17 countries. From Embassy point of view, speech contained both positive and negative elements. In former category were statements thanking us for past assistance and welcoming private investment which would be protected under investment code. In latter category was criticism of US policy toward Africa, of Secretary for never meeting African liberation leader, and expressed concern over replacement Easum whom he warmly praised by Davis, identified as US Ambassador to Chile at time of Allende’s death.
2. Embassy urgently seeking full text and will send his verbatim quotes as soon as available, probably tomorrow.
3. During reception immediately after speech, I indicated to both Bisengemana and Mokolo of presidency that I thought comments of internal USG shifts were unfortunate, observing laughingly that were U.S. President to comment publicly on recent government changes here it would be viewed as interference in internal affairs.
4. Both Representative Diggs and Young indicate they opposed Davis nomination and apparently view Mobutu’s remarks as helpful, although Young purported understand my concern.
5. Recommend Department withhold comment, at least pending receipt full report, and even then down playing matter may be best tactic to dampen domestic rumpus.