386. Memorandum From the Chief of the Africa Division, Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Fields) to the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Williams)1


  • Limitations of [CIA] Tactical Air Capability in the Congo (Leopoldville)

1. [CIA] has noted with increasing concern the potential for expansion of the military situation in the Northeast Congo. The radical African states have not only made public declarations of their support for the Congolese rebels, but there are also detailed classified reports delineating the plans and intentions of these states. There are recurring reports of “volunteers” or of specific troop support for the rebels from several African states, notably Kenya, Algeria, and Mali, as well as the UAR, and possibly from Belgium. The radical African states also have the capability of providing high-speed tactical air support to the Congolese rebels. The UAR and Algeria, for instance, both have MIGs of various categories at their disposal.

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2. [CIA] does not have the capability in the Congo to conduct covert operations of a scope and nature commensurate with opposing high-speed tactical aircraft or concerted military troop support to the rebels.

3. Present tactical air support forces in the Congo under the control of [CIA] cannot stand up to high-speed jet aircraft, and if such aircraft are introduced into the Congo, [CIA] would have to withdraw the air support forces under [CIA] control since their continued operations under such conditions would not be feasible.

4. [CIA] considers that if such high speed aircraft or extensive troop support are introduced into the Congo conflict, the alternative to withdrawal will be to call upon extensive Belgian support.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 76–00366R, DDO/ISO Files, Box 1, Folder 8, Congo, 1960–1969, Part II. Secret. This memorandum was sent via backchannel.