10. Editorial Note

In telegram 0772 to the Central Intelligence Agency, August 18, 1960, the Station in Leopoldville reported the following: “Embassy and Station believe Congo experiencing classic Communist effort take over government. Many forces at work here: Soviets, Czechs, Guineans, Ghanians, Communist Party, etc. Although difficult determine major influencing factors to predict outcome struggle for power, decisive period not far off. Whether or not Lumumba actually Commie or just playing Commie game to assist his solidifying power, anti-West forces rapidly increasing power Congo and there may be little time left in which take action to avoid another Cuba or Guinea.” The telegram then outlined a proposal to assist a Congolese effort to organize opposition to Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba with the aim of replacing him with a more moderate and pro-Western government. In addition to propaganda efforts and coordinating the activities of youth groups and trade unions, [text not declassified]. The Station emphasized that the plan would go forward whether or not the United States supported it, but without U.S. money and advice it might well fall short of its goal and be shattered by Lumumba’s police state response. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 3, [cryptonym not declassified] Ops) In a follow-up telegram, the Station reported that it had discussed the plan in general terms with Ambassador Timberlake, who had expressed his approval. (Telegram 0775, August 18; ibid.)

In telegram 46115, August 19, the CIA authorized the Station to proceed with the operation proposed in telegram 0772 provided the Ambassador still agreed. The Ambassador was also to be told that CIA was informing the Department of State of its authorization and would make every effort to get final policy clearance to continue the operation provided the initial steps proved fruitful. The Station responded in telegram 0782, August 24, that the operation had been discussed again with the Ambassador, who concurred. (Ibid.)