301. Memorandum From the Chief of the Africa Division, Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Fields) to Director of Central Intelligence McCone1


  • Status Report on CIA Activities in the Congo

1. This memorandum is for the information of the Director of Central Intelligence and is provided as background for the 29 October Special Group (CI) meeting.

2. CIA activities in the Congo are concentrated on (a) conducting air operations against rebel forces, (b) creating a capability to rescue five U.S. officials [less than 1 line not declassified] and to support covertly a CINCSTRIKE plan to effect the release of all American personnel held by the rebel regime in Stanleyville (approximately 25) and (c) taking covert action to create a more stable political situation in the Congo.

3. U.S. Personnel in Stanleyville:

A. Nineteen [less than 1 line not declassified] have been positioned in the Congo with the contingency mission of conducting a clandestine rescue (by air, overland, or river) of the five Consulate personnel. It will not have the capability to rescue the American missionary personnel dispersed throughout the area.

B. The Chairman of the JCS and CINCSTRIKE have been briefed on the CIA covert planning for Stanleyville and have been advised that, should the CIA covert plan not be authorized by higher authority, CIA is prepared to permit its personnel and equipment to assist CINCSTRIKE in support of its larger effort. Leopoldville Station, including a CIA contingency planner, is working with four CINCSTRIKE planners on the possibility of meshing the overt and covert plans.

C. CIA is prepared to lend covert support to an effort by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Wayne Fredericks to contact Thomas Kansa, the rebel foreign minister, although a recent report indicates he may be in Stanleyville and in the bad graces of other rebel leaders. (State Department wants this held very closely.)

D. A high priority effort continues to obtain all possible intelligence on the status of Americans in Stanleyville and on the effective [Page 438] control which the Stanleyville regime has in the area. Numerous refugees from Stanleyville have been contacted and debriefed and efforts continue to introduce clandestine agents into Stanleyville.

4. The following actions continue in support of the Government of the Congo (GOC):

A. Air military: There are now [less than 1 line not declassified] pilots in the Congo operating from four bases (Lisala, Bukava, Kamina, and Leopoldville), and [less than 1 line not declassified] non-American ground maintenance personnel. The Congolese air force has been a major factor in halting the rebel advance and in supporting Congolese National Army operations. The support has been invaluable not only as a strike factor but also psychologically. From 15 October to 23 October all operational aircraft under U.S. control, including CIA controlled T–28’s and B–26’s were grounded on orders of the State Department. This order was given in reaction to intercepted rebel communications which indicated that American lives would be endangered if air strikes on non-military targets continued. Aircraft are now operating, but under certain new restrictions imposed by the State Department calculated to reduce the risk of retaliation against U.S. personnel held hostage in Stanleyville and to create a better atmosphere for political reconciliation. These restrictions confine air strikes to military targets in non-urban areas, prevent flying within 25 miles of Stanleyville, prevent B–26 strikes at intervals of less than 5 minutes after reconnaissance flights, and prevent reconnaissance over urban areas at less than 3,000 feet.

The grounding order which revealed to certain Congolese commanders for the first time that the combat aircraft was under U.S., not Congo, control created considerable ill feeling between the Congolese military and the U.S. and has greatly irritated Tshombe himself. One result of the grounding action may be that Tshombe will make a greater effort to prepare the mercenary operated “21st Air Squadron” for combat action. For example, an unconfirmed report stated that on 25 October, T–6’s of the “21st Squadron” attacked Boende city driving most of the populace into the bush.

B. Ground Military: Colonel Frederick Van der Walle, senior Belgian adviser to Prime Minister Tshombe, is aware that CIA is prepared to provide some assistance [less than 1 line not declassified] which would not otherwise be available, but so far Col. Van der Walle has presented no specific requests.

C. Political/Civic Action: CIA has given support to five leading political figures for the purpose of building up tribal loyalties in Government held areas against rebel incursion. This activity has been particularly successful in the [less than 1 line not declassified] Province at a time [Page 439] the rebel advances were threatening the provincial capital of [less than 1 line not declassified].

John H. Waller2
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–02502R, Box 1, [cryptonym not declassified]/Development & Plans, [text not declassified], Aug ’64 through Jan 1967. Secret. The memorandum was sent through Deputy Director for Plans Helms.
  2. A stamped signature on the memorandum indicates that John H. Waller signed for Fields above Fields’ typed signature.