350. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)0

We must take immediate steps to cut off any relationship with Holden Roberto which would interfere with or discredit an official denial that the US Government is giving aid and support to the terrorists in Angola.

This would mean, as a minimum, two steps: (1) to stop any regular monthly payments from any official agency to Roberto; (2) to cease direct contacts between him and any members of our Embassy staff in Leopoldville.

I am not suggesting any attempt to interrupt any aid which the American Committee for Africa might give him as a private matter. Nor do I exclude the possibility of discreet and indirect bribes for specific information. I do exclude assistance with arms or any funds which could purchase arms.

I recognize certain risks but the present arrangement is not sufficient to overcome such risks but is enough to involve the US Government in the charge that we are supporting terrorism aimed at men, women and children in Angola.

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As a matter of utterly fundamental policy, a country like the United States must use its influence to moderate oppressive regimes on the one side and terrorist movements on the other. We cannot do the former unless our hands are clean with respect to the latter. Nor can the Secretary of State or the President be put in the position of lying on such matters; the answer is not that we two need not just be informed; there are too many situations where such activities can be surfaced and the lie be proved.

I leave it to my colleagues to find the operational answers on this one, but I expect them to be found promptly.

Dean Rusk1
  1. Source: Department of State,INR/IL Historical Files. Top Secret; Limited Distribution. The source text is attached to a June 19 memorandum from Johnson to Rusk stating that he had discussed the Secretary’s June 18 memorandum on CIA support of Holden Roberto with Williams, who had said that he felt he had not yet been able to present the full AF point of view regarding this matter to Rusk and had asked for an opportunity to do so.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.