274. Telegram 5398 From the Embassy in Zaire to the Department of State1 2


  • Meeting With FonMin Bula


  • State 142457

1. Foreign Minister Bula summoned me for 9 p.m. June 18. He received me with Director General Bagbeni. He said President Mobutu valued his friendship with the US as he had clearly said in his speech of January 21 to the African-American Institute in which speech he had also talked of the dangers of the American policy of destabilization. I was aware, he said, that a plot had been uncovered. The US had not heeded the President’s words but had, on the contrary, instigated and financed the plot against the President. The President had, however, intervened personally to prevent demonstrations against the Embassy. I interjected that we were grateful.

2. The Cabinet had decided that “in order to avoid poisoning American-Zairian relations”, I should be asked to leave the country no later than Saturday.

3. I said that if that were the decision of Zaire, I would of course leave. I denied that the US had anything to do with any plots and said thay my personal knowledge was essentially limited to what I had read in the press and what I had heard of the President’s speech today. I said that the charge of US complicity was a grave one and I asked what the evidence was. The Minister replied that there was the document written by a Zairian officer outlining how to carry out a coup and there were the confessions of the plotters which implicated the US. He also referred to the MAC flights and the probability that they had carried into Zaire the rifles with telescopic sites.

4. I asked that my government be allowed to examine this evidence, referring to the statement Mulcahy made to the Zairian charge. Bula replied that in good time the evidence would be made public and would be made available to the US. I asked if the principle of innocient until proven guilty did not exist in Zairian law as in American law. The Minister replied that the Cabinet had decided I should go. I replied I had already accepted that point and I asked if my wife and children could stay longer to pack up. Bula said they could but he advised against it and they would stay on their own responsibility. I said I was schocked by that reply; did he mean that the Government of Zaire would not provide protection for my family? He replied that they should leave with me and if they chose to stay, it was on their own responsibility. I said in that case they would leave with me.

5. I then asked if he thought it was worthy of a Zairian to write in a journal that no American would leave here alive if harm befell President Mobutu. He said in his opinion that was a reasonable statement. I said that on a personal basis I was again shocked and that that editorial had not been in keeping with my understanding either of Zairian philosophy or the wishes of the President. He said that was my opinion. He added, however, that Salongo said something different and I agreed with him that what Salongo said was reasonable except for the unjustified reference to Kissinger and his clique. I then took my leave saying that in my opinion the Government of Zaire was making a sad error and that it was in fact a tragic misunderstanding. We had been, we were and we wanted to be a good friend of Zaire. Despite my personal disappointment at leaving, I hoped that that would be accomplished. My own feelings were of no importance in comparison with that objective for which I had worked. He said he shared the wish, as did the President, and I left.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Policy Files, 1975. Confidential; Immediate; Limdis.
  2. Ambassador Hinton reported that he had been instructed by Zaire Foreign Minister Bula to leave Zaire.