195. Special National Intelligence Estimate1

SNIE 65–64


The Problem

To examine the prospects for the Tshombe government during the next six to nine months.2


A. In recent months, regional dissidence and violence have assumed serious proportions, even by Congolese standards, and produced the threat of a total breakdown in governmental authority. The difficulties confronting Prime Minister Tshombe are enormous. His greatest need is a military force which can handle the various rebellions. His political position will be threatened by other aspirants to [Page 279] power. We think the chances are about even that he will be able to remain Prime Minister over the next six to nine months. If Tshombe is able to avoid anarchy in the Congo, he will have scored a considerable achievement, but there is little prospect of establishing a central government which will have a substantial degree of authority throughout the country. (Paras. 1–6, 11–13, 15–16)

B. Should Tshombe fall, the prospects are dark. Extremists would be likely to gain increased influence in Leopoldville, secessionist regimes might break off and disorder would spread. (Paras. 14, 18)

C. We believe Tshombe will adopt a generally pro-West orientation within the confines of a pro forma non-aligned policy. He will probably remain close to the Belgians and susceptible to their influence; we believe he will cooperate with the US. Although still suspect by many African leaders, we believe Tshombe would become generally acceptable in Black Africa if he succeeded in providing a workable solution to the Congo’s problems. (Paras. 21–23)

[Omitted here is the Discussion section of the paper.]

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 79R01012A, ODDI Registry. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the cover sheet: “The following intelligence organizations participated in the preparation of this estimate: The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Defense, and NSA.” All members of the U.S. Intelligence Board concurred in this estimate on August 5, except the Atomic Energy Commission representative and the Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who abstained on the grounds that the subject was outside their jurisdiction.
  2. Under the newly approved constitution national elections are to be held during this period. [Footnote in the original.]