127. Paper Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1


  • Assistance to the Congolese Air Force (CAF)2

1. Problem

To determine the advisability of the U.S. Government’s furnishing additional personnel and logistical support to the CAF.3

2. Situation

A. In early November 1962 the Katanga Air Force began bombing Congolese National Army troops in North Katanga. The United Nations has been either unwilling or unable to furnish air protection.

B. General Mobutu has requested that his five Harvard trainer aircraft now being flown by [less than 1 line not declassified] pilots supplied by CIA, be augmented by more pilots and ground crews, plus spare parts and armament for planes.

C. Unconfirmed reports indicate that Yugoslavia has offered jet aircraft with pilots to the CAF, and that the Soviets are preparing an offer of other military equipment.

3. Aims

A. Provide the CAF with the capability to undertake combat missions anywhere in the Congo using on-hand aircraft.

B. Restore morale of Congolese Army troops in North Katanga.

C. Prevent the Adoula Government from turning from the US/UN to undesirable sources for military assistance.

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4. Coordination

A. Ambassador Gullion concurred in the original recommendation. On 27 November 1962 the Department of State requested CIA to “prepare a memorandum which will provide a basis for the Special Group to address itself to the policy and financial consideration inherent in the suggested activity.” Mr. Joseph Scott concurs in the submission of this memorandum.

B. The Office of the Secretary of Defense has been consulted. The feasibility of USAF logistical support has not been determined.

5. Cost—The total cost of this undertaking for the recommended three months is [dollar amount not declassified]. CIA can provide [dollar amount not declassified] from programmed funds. The remaining sum of [dollar amount not declassified] has not been programmed within CIA. (Note: The attached memorandum makes no special plea for approval of the proposal but recommends means of implementing it should the SG approve.)

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 81–00966R, Box 1, Folder 1. Secret; Eyes Only. There is no drafting information on the original.
  2. The original is a precis of a 10-page, December 7 memorandum to the Special Group, attached to the memorandum but not printed. A note attached to the December 7 memorandum states that the paper was approved at the Special Group meeting on December 13, subject to decisions reached after discussions with the President on overall U.S. policy toward the Congo, and provided the President had no objection. The minutes of the Special Group meeting on December 13 state that it was later ascertained that the President had no objection to this proposal, provided that the Department of State determined that it would be compatible with the overall plan for the Congo. (Department of State Files, INR/IL Historical Files, Congo, Sept. 1962–Dec. 1963)
  3. On December 12, Assistant Secretary of State Williams sent a memorandum to Deputy Under Secretary Johnson recommending that he authorize the CIA to accede to the request set forth in the CIA memorandum of December 7, emphasizing that rapid strengthening of the Congolese air force capability was extremely important if a moderate government and pro-Western chief of staff were to remain in power in Leopoldville. (Ibid.)