373. Memorandum for the Record1
- Minutes of the Meeting of the Special Group (CI) 3 p.m., Friday, December 18, 1964
- Governor Harriman, Mr. Rowan, Mr. McCone, Mr. Komer, Mr. Gaud vice Mr. Bell, Mr. McNaughton vice Mr. Vance, Colonel Loberg vice General Wheeler
- Mr. Fields was present for Item 2
- Mr. Montenegro and Mr. Meyer were present for Item 3
- Mr. Maechling was present for the meeting
[Omitted here is discussion of an unrelated subject.]
Mr. McCone began by saying that the estimate of the situation in the Congo is a dreary one; that the government forces have a very tenuous hold on Stanleyville, that the main mercenary force is surrounded at Paulis, and that other government forces are under heavy attack in Uvira and Albertville. He informed the Group that the amount of arms and ammunition to the rebels thus far has been 25 plane loads, or about 175 tons plus “volunteers.” He stated that these arms alone may not be sufficient to swing the military balance, but that the arrival of trained ground forces could and that the government position would deteriorate rapidly unless additional military assistance is provided to the Congolese forces. Mr. McCone suggested that we should investigate ways to interdict these supplies.
Mr. McCone said that he had just come from a meeting with Ambassador Godley, who is of the opinion that Tshombe’s broadening his government at this time would not accomplish much, but that additional programs to provide services to liberated areas are desperately needed.
The Group generally discussed the pros and cons of using aid in other countries as a lever to obtain more support for the Tshombe government and to stop the flow of arms to the rebels. Mr. Gaud informed the Group that AID continually reviews existing programs and reminded the Group that there are other issues in Africa which must be considered. The Group expressed its appreciation of the fine job that [Page 539] USIA has done and is still doing to counteract the violent statements of the radical nations and to present the true picture of brutality and atrocities.
Governor Harriman noted that Tshombe is unpopular even with our best friends in Africa and that the job now is to get Tshombe to work with other political parties, indicating that he is prepared to hold elections. He expressed the hope that additional assistance would provide Tshombe with time to work out a solution. Mr. McCone warned that to lose the Congo to the Communists would be like a “cancerous growth which would soon spread.” He suggested that we provide additional B–26’s of a later model to replace the poorly maintained B–26’s presently in the Congo. The Group strongly supported Mr. McCone’s recommendation for additional B–26’s.
Mr. Rowan agreed that we must take steps to prevent the fall of the Congo into Communist hands and asked what we are prepared to do if the “volunteers” do appear in sizeable numbers. He warned that if the presence of the “volunteers” threatens the legitimate Government of the Congo, Tshombe might well ask for US military assistance.
[Omitted here is discussion of unrelated subjects.]
Special Group (CI)
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 68 D 451, Special Group (CI) Minutes of Meetings, July–Dec. 1964. Secret. Prepared on December 21.↩