118. Telegram From the Station in the Congo to the Central Intelligence Agency1
4382 (In 34960). 1. In two separate sessions 24 July [Identity 1] expounded [Identity 2] proposal for creation political party to support [cryptonym not declassified] and requested 1.8 million BCF toward this effort.
2. Core of proposed party would be 40 tribal chiefs who members parliament and with whom [Identity 2] feels he on excellent terms. ([COS] knows background.) FYI: Chiefs and [Identity 2] participated formal ceremony 23 June at [Identity 3] residence during which chiefs pledged “everlasting loyalty” to [Identity 3] and [Identity 2]. [Identity 2] thus believes this best psychological moment to launch proposed party.
3. [Identity 1] states [Identity 2] convinced that to weather parliamentary impetuosities, erratic political behavior which bound continue, party must have broadest possible base and be as completely interwoven as possible in fabric of lives of Congolese masses. [Identity 2] equally convinced that essentially moderate, traditionalist, tribally-oriented party is only one which can fill this bill. Thus to him party of tribal chiefs is only feasible approach.
4. In response query whether proposed party—which would probably become known as “traditionalist”—could withstand strains such current issues as leftist-oppositionist maneuvering and creation new provinces, [Identity 1] stated [Identity 2] believes only party such as one proposed would have sufficiently solid footing avoid being swept away by political caprices and crises of moment. [Identity 1] said that among majority non-urbanized masses extremists-oppositionists can make significant headway only by railing against tribal chiefs—a tactic which for considerable time to come cannot possibly succeed. [Identity 1] added that majority those parliamentarians who now afraid return to home districts (see [less than 1 line not declassified])2 are oppositionist, or at least non-tribal politicos. On new provinces question, [Identity 1] said [Identity 2] readily admits such issue bound create certain tribal frictions, but believes these disputes can be far more easily resolved within same party than among number of factions.[Page 165]
5. [Identity 1] added [Identity 2] argument that in extreme event parliament ever became “ineffective”, proposed party could “stand in” as representative body reflecting will of people. He emphasized this only last resort to be considered when all else fails.
6. Proposed sum would be spent to establish national party HQS Leop and small offices in each chief’s home town, and to enable chiefs to conduct membership drives in their respective areas.
7. In answer request, Leop said only that idea sounded sensible, but would of course have to consider it before making decision. [Identity 1] then requested answer ASAP since [Identity 2] wishes get machinery in motion before chiefs begin returning home at impending close parliamentary session. Also stated that if total sum not immediately available, would welcome half now, half shortly thereafter.
8. In further discussion proposed party and its place in context ODYOKE/GOC objectives, [Identity 1] stated [Identity 2] fed up with parliamentary bribing as method remaining in power, particularly since many parliamentarians appear create trouble whenever they need money. [Identity 2] convinced proposed party can reduce or eliminate need continuance this practice. Leop said ODYOKE agreed completely on futility continued bribing and therefore welcomed proposals for creation sound [cryptonym not declassified] base. At same time, Leop creation [Identity 2] political party only one of many problems facing Congo, and no party however strong can support indefinitely govt which people feel is insufficiently active. [Identity 1] said [cryptonym not declassified] agreed completely, and hoped creation [Identity 2] party would remove GOC handicap of having operate in perpetual aura of compromise.
9. While Leop under no illusions proposed party will become greatest political org since Tammany, must admit essential soundness [Identity 2] ideas convincing and prospect of solid action attractive. Experience here seems have shown futility attempting mould and hold together any purely political grouping (i.e. not based on tribal lines) over any appreciable time span. Thus [Identity 2] party to be founded on other than somewhat abstract (to Congolese) politico-social ideals would seem have considerably better chance success than previous attempts. Two hindrances to success proposed party appear possible: trend of rural to urban migration, and fact that cities often centers of political effervescence. Impact of such migration however usually long range, not immediate and Congolese would-be politicos continue attempt draw support from countryside—even in Stey—thus acknowledging importance rural political sentiment. Chances probably less than even that urban politicos would attempt fly in face chiefs in surrounding countryside, particularly if these chiefs enjoyed support GOC.[Page 166]
10. Thus after careful consideration all factors here, Leop recommends approval pass [monetary amount not declassified] to [Identity 1] for establishment proposed party. Party may not be final solution to political stabilization [cryptonym not declassified] but to Leop it appears decided step forward with very good chance making significant contribution to achievement ODYOKE objectives Congo.
11. Still believe eventual [cryptonym not declassified] success dependent on ability combine tribal and urban (labor) support for maximum mass action. In this line, see Leop 4380 (In 33687).3 [Godley] concurs above proposal while emphasizing (as did Leop to [cryptonym not declassified] that proposed party must be part of overall diversified effort generate mass support for [cryptonym not declassified].
12. As [Identity 2] considers matter of extreme urgency (due imminent departure chiefs) request reply by 1600Z 25 July.4
End of message.
- Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 11, [cryptonym not declassified]; Operations. Secret; Rybat; [cryptonym not declassified]; Priority; Immediate Action. Received at 1530Z.↩
- Not found.↩
- Not found.↩
- CIA telegram 25790 to Leopoldville, July 26, approved an initial funding, noting that the plan struck Headquarters and the Leopoldville Chief of Station (who was then in Washington) as a feasible segment of an overall political effort. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 11, [cryptonym not declassified] Operations)↩