28. Editorial Note

In telegram 0026 to the Central Intelligence Agency, September 28, 1960, sent “eyes only” for Bronson Tweedy, the Chief of Station in Leopoldville reported that [name not declassified] “contacted 26 September. We on same wave length. [COS] afraid [Mobutu] weakening under Afro-Arab pressure. Hence believe most rapid action consistent with security indicated. Basis 2 talks considering possibilities.” The telegram then briefly outlined seven “possibilities,” the first of which involved having an agent “take refuge with big brother [Lumumba]. Would thus act as inside man to brush up details to razor edge. Also would provide info on food and agricultural problem.” The second possibility involved an unidentified individual who “said he planned action within 8 days. Date passed and no action but if price right might get show on road.” The Chief of Station indicated to CIA that he planned to proceed “on basis priorities as listed” unless instructed to contrary. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 79–00149A, DDO/IMS Files, Box 23, Folder 1, African Division, Senate Select Committee, Volume II) In CIA telegram 03094 to Leopoldville, September 28, Tweedy commented briefly on each of the seven possibilities and warned that where the PROP operation [Page 40] (i.e., elimination of Lumumba) was concerned, their primary concern must be concealment of the U.S. role, unless an outstanding opportunity emerged which made a calculated risk a first class bet. Headquarters was ready to entertain any serious proposals the Station made. (Ibid.)

On August 21, 1975, the Chief of Station testified before the Church Committee that Scheider had told him that his instructions were to “eliminate” Lumumba, and that he had received “rubber gloves, a mask and a syringe” along with lethal biological materials from Scheider, who also instructed him in their use. (Scheider testified on October 7, 1975, that the toxic material was to be injected into some substance that Lumumba would ingest, i.e., food or a toothbrush, so that some of it would get into his mouth.) The means of assassination had not been restricted to use of this toxic material, but the Chief of Station emphasized that although selection of a mode of assassination was left to his judgment, it had been essential that it be carried out in a way that could not be traced back either to an American or the U.S. Government. He also recalled he had reacted with great surprise when he realized that Scheider had come to discuss an assassination plan, and said that Scheider had indicated this had been authorized by the President. Both Scheider and the Chief of Station confirmed to the Church Committee that the top priority possibility listed in telegram 0026 involved instructing an agent to infiltrate Lumumba’s entourage to explore means of poisoning him. (Interim Report, pages. 24–27)