191. Memorandum From the Chief of the Africa Division, Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Fields) to the Deputy Director for Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Helms)1

SUBJECT

  • Personal Communication From Congolese Officials to Director and Africa Division Officer

1. The attached three letters with translations are from [1 line not declassified], to DCI; from [less than 1 line not declassified] to Mr. Lawrence Devlin, AF Division officer; and from General Joseph Mobutu, Commanding General of the Congolese National Army, to Mr. Devlin.2

2. These letters were carried by [less than 1 line not declassified] and close confidant of [name not declassified] and delivered to Mr. Devlin in New York on the evening of 17 July 1964. [name not declassified] instructions are to deliver the original of the letter addressed to the DCI personally to the DCI.

3. While it is not entirely clear what is the exact Congolese purpose in undertaking this action, it seems likely that the letter addressed to the DCI [1 line not declassified]. It should be noted that both [name not declassified] and Mobutu have been key movers in arranging the return of Tshombe. Further it has been reported recently that Tshombe is sending emissaries to London, Paris, and Brussels possibly to determine what support his government can expect in those countries.

4. [4 lines not declassified] Recent reporting shows further that Tshombe is concerned at the lack of support which he has both in the Congo and outside. In the Congo it is confined to Katanga and Leopoldville. On the international scene it is confined to Belgium, France and to a lesser extent Great Britain. Reportedly Tshombe believes that without US public support the British will soon withdraw theirs.

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5. Given the uncertainties of the situation in the Congo at the moment, it is difficult for the Department of State to reach a policy decision regarding public backing of Tshombe in the immediate future. For this reason, I recommend against [name not declassified] being given an appointment with the Director. On the other hand, in the coming period while the Department is determining what commitment it should make in the Congo it is important that some channel to Tshombe be established and maintained. [name not declassified] appears to provide this channel. I, therefore, recommend that [name not declassified] letter be accepted by a designated representative of the Director. It can be implied that the Director is absent from Washington at this time. I believe further that the [name not declassified] proposal that Mr. Devlin meet with him, Mobutu and possibly others be accepted and [name not declassified] be told that the Director will give the matter his consideration.

6. The division would like to consider with the Department of State the desirability of such a meeting and work out with them the timing and location. [2½ lines not declassified] Tshombe’s isolation from African leaders, the Soviet Bloc, and at the same time the United States places him in a rather weak position and in my opinion he is acutely aware of this. We can conjecture that what [name not declassified] and Tshombe may be seeking is a public statement by the USG endorsing the Tshombe government. Alternatively, if such a statement is not forthcoming, it may be that [name not declassified] will want some indication from CIA as to whom he should back to obtain US endorsement.3

Glenn Fields 4
Chief, Africa Division
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, [text not declassified], [folder title not declassified], Vol. III. Secret.
  2. In his letter to McCone, [name not declassified] asked that he send someone enjoying his confidence to spend “about 24 hours” in Leopoldville, and suggested that Devlin was well-qualified for this mission because he had their fullest confidence. In his letter to Devlin, [name not declassified] said that he insisted that he return immediately to Leopoldville “before it is too late.” Mobutu’s letter asked “his old friend” Devlin to tell his Chiefs that the situation as it pertained to relations between their two countries was very serious, and that the U.S. Embassy in its present attitude was endangering everything. Mobutu said that before it was too late, it would be most desirable that he and [name not declassified] explain the situation very clearly to Devlin and that this would only take 24 hours. (Ibid.)
  3. On July 24, McCone wrote [name not declassified] that he had met with [name not declassified] and discussed his message. In accordance with his request, the bearer of McCone’s letter (Devlin) would consult with him and others he might suggest concerning the questions which lay within the Director’s province. McCone assured [name not declassified] that Devlin had his full confidence and would be as helpful as possible, adding that he also had complete confidence in his representative in Leopoldville. (Ibid.) In telegram 2071 from Leopoldville to CIA, July 25, the Chief of Station reported that he had informed [name not declassified] that Devlin would arrive in Leopoldville on July 28, and that [name not declassified] suggested that he, the Chief of Station, Devlin, and [name not declassified] spend the afternoon of July 29 at his farm outside Leopoldville to permit full uninterrupted conversation. (Ibid., Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 2, Folder 10, [cryptonym not declassified] Operations)
  4. Waller signed for Fields above Fields’ typed signature.