15. Telegram From the Station in the Congo to the Central Intelligence Agency1

0888 (In 48185). Ref: Leop 0858 (In 46633).2

1. Following joint KUBARK ODACID message. Eyes only for Ascham and for transmittal to chief ODACID.

2. An unimpeachable source (identity) advised [Embassy] that Kasavubu plans to oust Lumumba and name Joseph Ileo premier. As soon as this step taken, he plans to broadcast a message to Congolese people from Radio Congo requesting them to remain calm and accept the new government. Presumably he also will explain his reasons for ousting Lumumba. Concurrently, Kasavubu will order the Force Publique lay down its arms and place itself under the order of the UN.

3. Kasavubu plan includes following steps:

A. For the UN Operation Congo (UNOC) to guarantee his personal safety with UN troops.

B. Request UNOC to guard the radio station, thus guaranteeing his personal safety when he speaks and insuring that Lumumba forces will not be able take control of the radio and mount a propaganda campaign in support of Lumumba.

C. Airports Congo would be closed to all departures.

4. Kasavubu’s plan has been coordinated with UNOC at highest levels here. He already has taken the first step, to demand protection by UN troops. The rest of the plan was to be implemented 5 September but timing may well be changed.

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5. Lumumba suddenly left for Stanleyville 5 September. Not known whether his departure motivated by knowledge plan and desire escape Leopoldville and possible arrest. If so, it entirely possible he plans take position in area where his popularity is greatest to resist overthrow and attempt regain control of Congo. If lost, using troops in Orientale, Equateur and, possibly, Kasai provinces.

6. If he unaware plan, quite possible he intends carry out attack on Katanga, using troops just brought from northern Orientale to Stanleyville and Soviet planes now there or arriving, which he promised during visit last week.

7. Utmost importance this be given maximum protection.3

End of message.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 3, [cryptonym not declassified] Ops. Secret; Rybat; [cryptonym not declassified]; Emergency. Received at 2357Z.
  2. Reported the content of a meeting between Mobutu and [name not declassified] on 31 August. [Footnote in the original.] This CIA telegram has not been found.
  3. On September 5, President Kasavubu announced (on the radio) that he was dismissing Lumumba and appointing Ileo as Prime Minister. He asked the army to lay down its weapons and called on the United Nations to maintain law and order. Lumumba subsequently declared (also on the radio) that Kasavubu was a traitor and no longer head of state. Lumumba’s Council of Ministers, called into emergency session, accused Kasavubu of high treason and declared him deprived of all presidential functions. U.N. forces proceeded to take control of the airports and radio station, denying their use to both factions. Telegram 901 from Leopoldville to the CIA, September 6, transmitted a message from the Ambassador to Herter and Dulles, saying that he believed that only the most vigorous support of Kasavubu by the United Nations could save the situation. He noted that Kasavubu had apparently jumped the gun, not coordinating his plan with his supporters and not having the radio station secured. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, Box 1, Folder 3)