20. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency to the Station in the Congo1

Dir 00369 (Out 69233). Re Leop 0941 (In 12092).2

1. Your and Station efforts past few days most impressive and very sympathetic your frustration at lack conclusive results view naivete human material you dealing with. Very difficult for us here make practical suggestions which must depend on hourly contact with the scene and cast of characters which only you know well. Lumumba talents and dynamism appear overriding factor in reestablishing his position each time it seems half lost. In other words each time Lumumba has opportunity have last word he can sway events to his advantage.3 Many Congolese, including Parliament, however appear vulnerable to almost any talented speaker, as long as Lumumba not there nullify his effect. Do you believe there is any opportunity for repeating an event like 12 Sept Lumumba arrest4, i.e. anything which will remove Lumumba temporarily from the scene, with sufficient coordinated preparation of such actions as strike demonstrations, radio speeches and, most important, a parliamentary quorum to which Kasavubu, Ileo, Bolikango etc. can talk and reverse latest info we have which is Lumumba’s new vote confidence.

2. Realize these not new thoughts to you but they do appear offer only semi-constitutional means achieve our ends.

End of message.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 79–00149A, DDO/IMS Files, Box 23, Folder 1, African Division, Senate Select Committee, Volume II. Secret; Priority; Rybat; [cryptonym not declassified]. Drafted in C/AF and released by Bronson Tweedy (C/AF).
  2. The footnote in the original describing this reference is illegible. In telegram 941 from Leopoldville to CIA, September 13, the Station reported that the Ambassador and Chief of Station believed that the Kasavubu forces had to act or be ousted, but could not get them to act. They were taking a “hope for the best” attitude, moving with the speed of a snail, and continuing to ignore advice. (Ibid., [text not declassified], Mobutu, Joseph Desire, Vol. I)
  3. These two sentences are quoted in Interim Report, p. 17.
  4. On September 12, Colonel Joseph Mobutu, Chief of Staff of the Congolese army, had Lumumba arrested, but he was released 3 hours later by other Congolese soldiers.