219. Paper Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1


1. Problem: How to restore order and some semblance of stability in the Congo (Leopoldville).

2. Situation: The so-called rebel forces of the CNL in the Congo have extended their control in a very brief period from Uvira on the Burundi border to Albertville on Lake Tanganyika west to Kabalo and up the Lualaba River and rail line to Stanleyville, the center of Lumumbist dissidence in the Congo. They have done this through the relatively simple tactic of exploiting whatever discontent there may be in each area by the use of advance agitation agents followed by a relatively small but active armed force. The rebel forces are currently in effective control of Stanleyville and are planning to move on momentarily further west to Coquilhatville. Their successes have been loudly broadcast by Stanleyville Radio and their indominability is becoming accepted by both Congolese and Europeans alike. A general attitude of defeatism has set in not only in the towns in their path but even in Leopoldville. As of this date the key city of Bukavu on Lake Kivu in the east is seriously threatened but has not yet fallen. In viewing the extraordinary progress made by the dissident forces it becomes ever more apparent that they are receiving both monetary and advisory support from outside and that there are evidences of the Chinese Communist trademark.

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3. Faced with the above situation and the continued disintegration of Central Government control in the Congo as well as the approaching evaporation of the Central Government itself, the Embassy in Leopoldville is anticipating in the near future the possible fall from within of Leopoldville itself. There has been some speculation among informed Congolese leaders that it could come as early as 15 August 1964. With this in mind the Embassy has urgently recommended the immediate dispatch of non-African troops to guarantee the security of Leopoldville and the port area at the mouth of the Congo River. With this area secured, planning could then proceed for the reacquisition by various means of the territory already in rebel hands. There is a growing feeling that even Mobutu’s 8–900 paracommandos cannot or will not hold even Leopoldville. Without first securing this critical area as a base from which to operate, it will be more difficult to carry out a realistic plan for reclaiming the rest of the Congo in the immediate future.

4. Therefore, in simplest terms, the alternatives seem clear and are in descending order or desirability:

A. Dispatch of at least one battalion of Belgian paracommandos to secure and garrison Leopoldville and the port area. These troops would be on the ground for the stated, and not too implausible, purpose of protecting what is left of the Congo from outside invasion. There is precedent for this in Congo (Brazzaville) where a French garrison is still located. Further, there is precedent for dispatch of metropole troops at the request of the government of a former colony, i.e., Tanganyika.

B. A second alternative is obtaining French willingness to provide troops for this purpose.

C. A third and probably unacceptable option is the dispatch of a U.S. force.

5. In order to obtain the military intervention of any foreign power the Congo Government must first make such a request and clearly on a most urgent basis. The three operative elements in the GOC today are Joseph Kasavubu, as President, Defense Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Congolese National Army (CNA), Moise Tshombe, the Prime Minister, who claims the support of at least 4,000 ex-Katangan gendarmes (Katgens), and General Joseph Mobutu, the Commander of the CNA. Unless these three leaders work together there is little prospect of accomplishing even the first step in a plan to reclaim the Congo, i.e., securing full Belgian assistance. Thus, it is imperative that the USG, presumably through its ambassador, establish a close and confidential relationship with all three of these leaders. To date this is not the case, but it must be developed without delay if we are to be able to provide the necessary assistance. Tshombe, being the most active of the three, is perhaps the key element and must be prepared to keep our Ambassador [Page 318] intimately informed in strictest confidence of his day to day plans and problems.

6. Assuming that the U.S. immediate objective in the Congo is as stated above to take all possible action to restore order in the Congo and establish some semblance of stability in the country after returning the disaffected areas to Central Government control, the following actions can be and in some areas are being undertaken by CIA:

A. Military Action:

(1) Air:

CIA is presently providing air support to the Congo Government. At present this support includes furnishing [less than 1 line not declassified] pilots and ground personnel for six T–28’s provided by MAP and six T–6 aircraft [less than 1 line not declassified]. There are at this moment four of six T–28’s flying. One is undergoing repairs, one is being replaced and is expected to be in operation within 14 days. The six T–6’s are in flying condition but are currently in the process of being armed. Six additional T–28’s provided by MAP have been promised for the Congo and all are expected to be combat operational within 31 days. Seven B–26 aircraft from CIA contingency force [less than 1 line not declassified] have been ordered to the Congo. The first two of these are to depart for the Congo within two days and will arrive within one week. These planes will be ferried to Leopoldville by U.S. contract personnel with USAF markings with stops at Takhli, Ganis, and Aden. The [less than 1 line not declassified] operational pilots and ground personnel will be provided by CIA ostensibly under contract with the GOC. Experienced B–26 pilots are already on the ground. More will be dispatched shortly. The longer-range B–26 as opposed to T–28’s or T–6 are considered necessary to provide greater flexibility of movement in the Congo where many alternate airfields are now in rebel hands. The remaining aircraft will arrive in the Congo within 2–3 weeks.

With the greatly augmented CIA Air Operations in the Congo it will be necessary to procure two C–47’s for logistic support and two helicopters for a rescue capability.

Wherever possible qualified [less than 1 line not declassified] personnel will be used. However, it may be necessary to have a minimum number of ground U.S. contract technicians where no [less than 1 line not declassified] are available. In addition, there will be a total of at least three U.S. contract or staff officers [less than 1 line not declassified]. The total number of personnel in this program will reach a total of approximately 120 foreign and U.S. personnel.

(2) Ground:

Since it has now been graphically displayed that the Congolese Army is totally ineffective and unreliable without leadership and it is [Page 319] clear that the army does not have qualified officers to lead the troops, it is apparent that only with Belgian or other white officers can an effective striking force be put in the field. Thus the Belgian Government has been requested by State to assist and has agreed to provide Belgian officers to lead these troops. Fifty such officers have or are being dispatched to the Congo for this purpose. In addition the French Government has been requested similar assistance. However, to date the French have not been forthcoming with direct support. Nigerian troops have also been requested for garrison duty but the response to this request has not yet been received. It is further understood that Tshombe has asked the Government of the Central African Republic (CAR) to provide troop units. The army of the CAR is largely officered by former French Foreign Legionnaires. As of this date it is not known whether an agreement has been signed. At the same time Tshombe has made efforts to obtain the services of white mercenaries from South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. According to Michel Struelens, Belgian Publicist for Tshombe, there are 100 such mercenaries ready to go. It is believed, however, that Tshombe is unable to pay their salaries and has accordingly asked for financial assistance in this matter from both the Belgian and U.S. Governments. In the interest of creating at the earliest possible time an effective strike force it has been agreed that the USG will support the immediate development of a 3000 man force with 200 white mercenaries. In order to avoid official USG involvement with these mercenaries (Military Technicians) CIA has been called upon to [1½ lines not declassified] determine what Tshombe needs to establish a force with the least possible delay and to offer to help finance the salaries of these Military Technicians if payment is causing the delay. (A paper has been submitted to the 303 Committee requesting policy approval for this action.)2

[Omitted here is further discussion of military actions.]

B. Political and Psychological:

(1) Political:

Recognizing that the tribal allegiances can be the final controlling factor in stabilizing the Congo, it has been proposed that CIA provide [less than 1 line not declassified] selected key leaders financial support to reinforce tribal loyalties.

In the Swahili speaking section of the Congo, Tshombe has in the past maintained the support of tribal leaders through periodic application of funds, gifts, and various items such as “Black Powder” for their muskets (which is extremely hard for them to procure on their own). Other political leaders in critical areas who would need support to [Page 320] maintain or reestablish control over specific regions would include: (See map attached)3

a) [name not declassified] in the Bakongo area in the west. [less than 1 line not declassified]

b) [name not declassified] in the Moyen Congo along the Northern reaches of the Congo River. [less than 1 line not declassified]

c) [name not declassified] in the Mongo Tribal region of Cuvette Centrale (just south of Moyen Congo). [name not declassified] who has in the past shown ability as an organizer is a close friend of Bomboko with whom the State keeps close contact.

d) General Joseph Mobutu in Ubangi, the northernmost province on the border of the Central African Republic. [less than 1 line not declassified]

e) [name not declassified] has support of the Bakongo who make up approximately half of the native population in the Cite in Leopoldville. [1 line not declassified]

f) [name not declassified], a CNL leftist presently in the Tshombe government who has good support in Luluabourg in Central Kasai as well as Lualaba in the south and Kwilu Province to the west. Station would establish contact.

g) [name not declassified], former Defense Minister, from Lisala in Moyen Congo also has some support in the Kivu area.

h) [1½ lines not declassified]

i) [1 line not declassified] Kibali-Ituri Province on the Uganda border.

j) [1 line not declassified]

k) [1 line not declassified]

l) [1 line not declassified]

(3) [sic] Psychological:

CIA plans certain specific initiatives in the psywar field which can supplement other U.S. action programs. The basic, immediate, and overriding objectives of these activities would be:

(a) To counter and neutralize the highly effective rebel psychological offensive which has succeeded to date in demoralizing the Congolese Army and population.

(b) To create a more favorable climate of opinion toward the Congolese Government throughout Africa.

[Omitted here is further discussion of psychological actions.]

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 82–00450R, Box 6, Folder 3, Willis’ Notes, Working Papers—Congo. Secret. There is no drafting information on the original. A handwritten notation on the paper reads: “Prepared for DCI.”
  2. Not found.
  3. Not reproduced.