16. Paper Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1


In the period immediately preceding Congo independence, CIA efforts in the Belgian Congo concentrated on establishing direct contact with as many responsible political figures as possible and influencing their actions. This task was made difficult by the emergence of many new figures and political parties. However, by virtue of having prior [Page 25] contact with certain of the important educated Congolese, [less than 1 line not declassified] a precedent had been established which facilitated these efforts. In this period, as it was apparent that no one single political figure or tribe was in a position effectively to lead a unified Congolese state, we encouraged formation of a moderate coalition which adopted a generally pro-Western posture and which rejected Congo separatism. The aggressiveness of Lumumba and the extremist political heat generated at the time prevented this coalition from winning the elections. However, it did emerge as a significant political force with its leader, Joseph Ileo, not only becoming President of the Senate but the only Congolese figure who dared publicly to challenge many of Lumumba’s dictatorial actions. [1½ lines not declassified]

In the immediate post-independence period, CIA continued to maintain contact with the assets it had been developing and to be on the lookout for new ones for whatever contingencies might arise. [1 line not declassified] There followed the mutiny of the Force Publique and the breakdown of public order and government administration. From this time on, CIA concentrated on developing contact with [less than 1 line not declassified] assets who were in active opposition to Lumumba or appeared to have that potential. These were developed with the long-range view of possible active use against Lumumba and on a day to day basis in tactical opposition to increasing signs of Soviet Bloc influence in the Lumumba Government and such organs as Leopoldville Radio and the Soviet-inspired line which Kashamura was broadcasting over it. [3 lines not declassified]

[2½ lines not declassified] To accomplish this and to implement operations to this end, CIA has been steadily reinforcing the Leopoldville station with additional personnel and funds, and the Director of Central Intelligence has given the station authority to take decisions on the spot, in consultation with Ambassador Timberlake, whenever time considerations prevent consultation with Washington. [2 lines not declassified]

CIA has been coordinating an effort to have the Senate assemble and pass a vote of no confidence in the Lumumba Government. After the required 48 hours of consideration had intervened, the no confidence vote would have left the way clear for a successor, probably Ileo himself, to be named as Prime Minister. Preparations have been in the making to support this by radio, propaganda and various types of demonstrations. (An example of this was the preplanned demonstration which took place on the day of the recent Congress of African States convened in Leopoldville.) Kasavubu, the President and Chief of State and considered by reason of his primacy in the Abako movement Lumumba’s most powerful opponent, was involved peripherally [1 line not declassified]. Unfortunately, and for reasons which are not yet [Page 26] fully clear to us, Kasavubu jumped the gun on this operation two days too early and (illegally) declared Lumumba out of office and failed further to implement his action. [5 lines not declassified] The key to the power situation in the Congo is the Force Publique, elements of which Lumumba currently controls and which are not subject to U.N. direction. The Secretary General is awaiting a suitable opportunity to disarm or control this group and in connection with Kasavubu’s actions of 5 September, Cordier has made an appeal to the Secretary General to meet the Force Publique payroll with a million dollars to be paid directly by the U.N. to the Force Publique. The U.N. has for the time being put the Leopoldville radio station out of operation and has blocked the airfield there.

On the basis of what information we have so far received it would appear that Kasavubu’s precipitate action has at least seriously jeopardized the plan for ousting Lumumba by constitutional means. These aspects are currently being examined by our station in Leopoldville and Ileo and Adoula are already attempting to pick up the pieces. Further anti-Lumumba demonstrations are planned. It is still possible that the plan for the Senate to oust Lumumba may be carried out but we are not yet in possession of sufficient facts to state what these possibilities are.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 3, [cryptonym not declassified] Ops. Secret. A handwritten notation on the paper reads: “Prepared for Nixon 7 Sept 1960.”