Kafka clients are not able to explicitly create topics without resorting to Kafka server-side libraries that require Zookeeper clients, and thus rely upon Kafka to auto-create them when needed or to have users explicitly pre-create them ahead of time. Auto-creation requires setting up the broker's default topic-settings.
Kafka 0.11.0.0 will have a new AdminClient (see KIP-117) that allows normal Kafka Clients to explicitly manage topics. The MySQL Connector should use this to create the database history topic.
Kafka Connect will be changing to automatically create topics that are needed for a source connector's SourceRecord objects (see KIP-158), so this is what we should rely upon for normal topics. It is currently scheduled to be in 0.11.1.0.