269. Telegram 641 From the Embassy in Zaire to the Department of State1 2

For Secretary from Hinton


  • Mobutu’s Speech to AAI Conference

1. Few things would give me greater personal gratification than conveying your views directly to President Mobutu. However, there are other considerations, including, but not limited to selfish one that this place is just nutty enough that I would like to stay here a bit longer.

2. I’m convinced word of my reaction has gotten to Mobutu, as I had meant it to. Bisengimana and Mokolo are two of President’s closest collaborators and, given way this place works, Mobutu would almost instantly be advised. Moreover, I thought it likely offensive paragraph was drafted by Foreign Minister Bula and I know that Mokolo, at least, would like nothing better know that Mokolo, at least, would like nothing better than to spike Bula. In addition, hard evidence message got through is that when Foreign Minister Bula arrived at closed Afro-American meeting late afternoon January 22, having inexplicably been absent from morning and early afternoon sessions, he took chair and began remarks with defense of Mobutu’s speech as “not question of meddling in US internal affairs”—a charge no one had publicly made.

3. This gratuitous explanation was doubtless made on Mobutu’s instructions, since according Frank Ferrari of AAI, Foreign Minister Bula was uptight, furious with me, and muttering about “my threat to break relations.”

4. You should also know that after Chairman Diggs reaffirmed his decision to go public, I met privately with Maurice Tempelsman, who this morining is having breakfast with Mobutu, and briefed him on situation as I saw it. He shares view that Mobutu bungled and was used by others in going along with bad advice. He thought subject might come up with President and agreed use opportunity in his own way to make clear to Mobutu why I was and US Government would be rightly upset.

5. In light of above, and possible consequences for US resource investment interests here is USG, on your personal instructions, slaps down chief of state, I urge reconsideration. I’ll try supply read-out on Tempelsman-Mobutu conversation tomorrow, January 24.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Policy Files, 1975. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis. Maurice Tempelsman was a diamond merchant with business interests in Zaire. In telegram 683 from Kinshasa, January 24, the Embassy reported that Tempelsman concluded from his meeting with Mobutu that the latter knew he had made a mistake in criticizing the Davis appointment. (Ibid.)
  2. Ambassador Hinton explained that were he to carry out instructions in telegram 15843 (Document 268, he might face expulsion from Zaire. He added that his reaction had most likely reached President Mobutu through his aides.