171. Paper Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1


  • Assistance to the Congolese Air Force (CAF)2

1. Problem:

To provide covert support to the CAF for manning and maintaining six U.S. provided T–28 aircraft and a minimal helicopter rescue [Page 244] capability for protection of CIA contract personnel in addition to continued operation of the present six T–6 aircraft.

2. Situation:

A. Since November 1962, CIA has been providing covert personnel and logistical support to the CAF. In February 1964, upon the outbreak of the Kwilu revolt in the Congo, the non-combat, psychological mission of the CIA unit was changed with State Department approval to one of active combat participation.

B. On 24 April 1964, President Johnson authorized the Department of Defense to provide to the CAF six T–28, ten C–47, and six H–21 aircraft, plus a six month supply of parts and ammunition. In the absence of Belgian crews to operate the T–28s, the Department of Defense and AF Bureau in State have informally requested CIA to provide the necessary personnel to operate and maintain the T–28s in addition to the T–6s.

C. Expansion of CIA’s present program to include operation of the T–28s doubles the potential of air support to the Congolese National Army. At the same time, however, this expansion means doubling the present size of the CIA unit and thus reduces the security of the operation.

3. Aim:

To provide the CAF with a combat air capability in order to support the Congolese Government’s efforts to quell the current as well as possible future insurgency.

4. Coordination:

This proposal has been discussed with the Bureau of African Affairs of the Department of State, with the U.S. Ambassador to Leopoldville, and with representatives in the Office of the Secretary of Defense/International Security Affairs.

5. Cost:

The total cost of this program for the recommended one year, to 15 June 1965, is [dollar amount not declassified]. For Fiscal Year 1964, funds are available within CIA. Funds for this activity for Fiscal Year 1965 have not been programmed in their entirety but can be made available within CIA through reprogramming.3

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 81–00966R, Congo, 1960–1964. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. This paper is a precis of an attached May 22 memorandum for the Special Group entitled “Covert Assistance to the Congolese Air Force.”
  3. A note attached to the original reads “Approved as presented by Special Group via telephone: 28 May 1964.”