270. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Williams) to the Under Secretary of State (Ball)1


  • Use of U.S.-supplied Aircraft for Attacks on Uvira or other Congolese towns

1. The ANC uses U.S.-supplied aircraft (T–28’s and B–26’s) piloted by contract personnel [less than 1 line not declassified] in connection with military operations in the Congo. These aircraft are loaned to the ANC and are under their operational control but the U.S. can take action to bar their use for missions of which we disapprove.

2. On September 15, ANC Commander in Bukavu, Colonel Mulamba, ordered T–28 pilots not to strike (i.e. strafe) the town of Uvira but to continue attacking concentrations of trucks and other equipment outside the town.

3. We have expressed to our Embassy in Leopoldville our strong concern at the possibility that air attacks on Uvira might result in reprisals [Page 391] against Europeans there and in other rebel held areas. However, we have left it to the Leopoldville Country Team to determine whether strikes within Uvira are essential from a military viewpoint. They are to try to limit air strikes in the area to road and lake traffic until such time as the ANC is prepared to launch a serious offensive against Uvira or the magnitude of the rebel build-up clearly necessitates defensive action involving air strikes on the town itself. Both conditions now prevail.

4. We are concerned over the possible consequences for Americans in Stanleyville if air strikes on Uvira or other towns are permitted at this time. The rebels put our Consular personnel under protective arrest when an earlier air attack on Uvira was reported. They, moreover considered that air attacks on Albertville occurred only after the evacuation of Europeans were evacuated and appear to be determined to hold Europeans in Stanleyville, particularly our Consular personnel, hostage to avoid air attacks on Stanleyville. On the other hand air attacks on truck concentrations, etc. outside of towns appears to have provoked no rebel retaliation against Europeans.

Recommendation: That new instructions be sent to our Embassy in Leopoldville that U.S.-supplied aircraft should not hit targets within Uvira or other towns during the current negotiations of the International Red Cross with the rebels for the evacuation of Americans and Europeans from Stanleyville. This restriction should remain in effect as long as the Americans in Stanleyville are in danger. There would, however, be no bar on air attacks on targets outside towns, including the road from Uvira to Bukavu, a strategic town currently threatened with rebel attack.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 THE CONGO. Secret. The memorandum does not indicate the drafter, but the memorandum was cleared in draft by Harriman.