227. Telegram From the Embassy in the Congo to the Department of State1
616. I have not discussed following with local CIA personnel for I am not clear as to our policy on this problem.
Am reporting separately conversation I have just had with Ndele, Governor National Bank and Roux, his technical advisor, concerning request they received this afternoon from Tshombe for immediate availability $4 million to pay 3 months salary and expenses for 1,000 mercenary officers and noncoms. Ndele also said Nendaka was seeking [dollar amount not declassified] Belgian francs to assist Sûreté and he anticipates further hard currency requests for 200 agents for Sûreté that he has been informed are about to be recruited in Europe. (We believe these are Pomploma graduates mentioned frequently by Tshombe.)
Devlin has just informed me of green light having been given by Washington for 10 million Congo franc fund for Mobutu with no accounting or indication where it may be used. Munongo, as Department already aware, seeking up to 35 million dollars create his own police force and I anticipate important shopping list from Nendaka for Sûreté.
Funds involved are, in my opinion, relatively small as compared to principle of [less than 1 line not declassified] covert financial support of Tshombe and his current team. I cannot help but have feeling that our aid to current team and its implication of our overall African policy must be given another hard look. If I am wrong, would appreciate urgent instructions.
We could give all-out back stopping to Tshombe. This would, I believe, eventually involve US personnel, for once we get on this slippery [Page 333] slope, we are more and more captive of the recipient as our political investment increases.
We may now be past point of no return due commitment aircraft of US origin, but am not too pessimistic on this score as of this time. Believe, however, that if Tshombe creates majority white army to retake rebel-held territories and if he and Kasavubu fail bring about effective Africanization of situation, we may well soon find ourselves in all-out support, alone or with Belgians, of minority regime being propped up by US financed foreign military technicians, US financed secret police, again with white encadrement, plus US matériel. This regime undoubtedly does not enjoy wide African support and could well be target of any African states seeking to attack us. With continued local brutal repression and attempts reconquest of rebel areas which would be carried out under banner of anti-Communist action, those rebels not now looking to East would soon turn their attention in that direction. We thus in brief time, I am convinced, would find ourselves aligned with Union of South Africa, Portugal and Tshombe against most, if not all of this vast continent.
Reiterate what I have already recommended [less than 1 line not declassified], i.e., that we maintain current, overt, limited support of this Government, but that we not go all out in covert support until we more certain as to longevity and effectiveness Tshombe team. To hold back will (except in limited area of mercenary support) not in my view, pose threat of hobbling war effort against rebels.
I, personally, am convinced that any course we now take involves serious risks but in weighing the risks, I believe that the establishment of a covert all-out support Tshombe is betting on weak reed and once again urge that we not go all out either in overt or covert political support.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret; Immediate; Roger Channel.↩