129. Memorandum From Alfred T. Wellborn of the Office of the Deputy Director for Coordination, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State, to the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hilsman)1


  • Meeting with Agency Representatives on Congo


  • Governor Williams, Messrs. Fredericks and Tasca (present part of the time) and Mr. Godley, AF; Mr. Wallner, IO; Messrs. Tweedy and [name not declassified], CIA and Mr. Wellborn, INR/DDC

Mr. [name not declassified] observed that one of the possibilities in the fast moving Congo situation is that the so-called Adoula Group (including Mobutu, Ndaka and Ndele), would stage a coup i.e. prorogue Parliament and carry on without it. If this should happen the leaders would probably come knocking on the Station chief’s door for U.S. covert support. The policy question therefore arises whether assistance should be provided to them under the authorization of the program, approved by the Special Group, for political support of the Adoula Government.

Mr. Godley, who had just come from a meeting in Mr. McGhee’s office said that, at this point, he could not express an opinion. The McGhee meeting had considered possible courses of action in the Congo, including the pros and cons of the desirability of a coup by the Adoula group. There was a question in his mind as a result of the discussion at the meeting, as to how much further the Department would [Page 183] be willing to go in assisting the Central Congolese Government without some evidence that it would be more forthcoming in trying to solve the Katanga problem. After some discussion of the critical situation in the Congo, Mr. Tasca suggested that we consult Governor Williams. The meeting then continued in Governor Williams’ office where it was joined by Mr. Wallner.

Mr. Godley summarized the situation in the Congo as follows: Because of the personal dangers which the fall of the Adoula Government would pose for them, such leaders of the Adoula group as Mobutu, Ndaka and Ndele were considering a coup. Undoubtedly they would seek to find out what help they could expect from the U.S. We must therefore face up to this question. In the event the Adoula Government falls the alternatives before us in broad terms are to support the Adoula group or face up to the fact that any other group which would come to power would take an even harder position regarding Katangan reintegration and probably would turn to the Soviet bloc for help. It was not realistic to expect that any successor government could take a more conciliatory line on Katanga. If the Adoula group stages a coup we must expect that they will press for solution of the Katanga problem. In all probability they would seek an air force and continuing pressure for action on Katanga. It would be shortsighted to expect less than continuing and very substantial demands. While this is a disagreeable prospect the alternative is even worse; entry of the Soviet bloc into the Congo in a big way.

There followed an extensive discussion of the probable consequences of our looking favorably upon a coup, Governor Williams posing a series of questions designed to explore various aspects. The Agency representatives and Mr. Godley tended to advocate continued assistance to Mobutu, Ndaka et al. emphasizing the need to give the Congolese Government an air capability and pursuing the Thant plan.

At the end, Governor Williams asked Messrs. Wallner and Godley jointly to draft a paper which would serve as a basis for discussion with Mr. McGhee and Mr. Ball.2

  1. Source: Department of State Files, INR/IL Historical Files, Congo, Sept. 1962–Dec. 1963. Secret. Sent through the Deputy Director for Coordination, Joseph W. Scott, in the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research.
  2. Telegram 5440 from Leopoldville to CIA, December 13, reported that the [cryptonym not declassified], disturbed by Adoula’s failure to make advance preparations for a possible coup, had called on the Chief of Station for advice as to what preliminary steps would be necessary. The Chief of Station, with Ambassador Gullion’s approval, outlined such steps for them, but emphasized that neither he nor the United States Government was specifically recommending this course of action. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 12, [cryptonym not declassified] Operations)