390. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Discussion with Governor Harriman

[Omitted here is discussion of an unrelated subject.]

2. With respect to the Congo, Harriman mentioned a recent set of recommendations made by General Adams which are now being held [Page 564] by the Joint Chiefs, and resulting in the Joint Chiefs directing an inquiry to State, a copy of which the Governor showed me.2 I said we had not seen the Adams’ recommendations.

Action: We should review the Adams’ recommendations and, at an appropriate time, prepare comments.

3. The Governor mentioned there were 500 mercenaries in Europe ready to go to the Congo but the U.S. was not ready to provide transport of their supplies nor to furnish uniforms, etc. I do not know what this problem is. The Governor was vague on details.3

Action: DDP should check immediately with State to determine what the problems are and see if we should, and can, help. If not, lend an effort to secure appropriate action by DoD or other Departments of the U.S. Government if action on our part is in order and desired.

4. Harriman showed me a long message from Spaak to Tshombe which he thought was most helpful and which in effect told Tshombe to come to Brussels and settle their problems at once if he were to look for any more help from Belgium. Also he showed me excerpts from a statement that Tshombe made to the African Ambassador in the Congo which he thought was both constructive and would be most useful.

[Omitted here is discussion of an unrelated subject.]

5. [1 paragraph (10½ lines) not declassified]

[1 paragraph (6 lines) not declassified]

6. During the discussion with Gov. Harriman I expressed grave misgivings concerning the outcome in the Congo. I referred to the various reports of training in Algeria, UAR, the Sudan, and, more particularly, [less than 1 line not declassified] the establishment of rebel training camps in Algeria. I said that it was very doubtful in my mind whether the Tshombe government could win the game unless there was a reversal of attitude of the neighboring States. It appeared to me that Tshombe himself could not bring about a revision of thought by the Heads of neighboring States; however, if Kasavubu stepped out in front, he might have some effect. Also, if we could publicize the reduction and final elimination of South African mercenaries and the presence [Page 565] of European mercenaries, this likewise might help. In summary my view was most pessimistic. I gave Harriman a copy of our January 19th weekly summary of the Congo. I told him that I thought it should be read by all of those in the Department who were testifying on the Congo prior to the time they made statements. I pointed out Rusk’s statement to the Leadership at the White House was quite in error because it was overly optimistic and this was due to the fact that he had not seen reports, or been briefed. (Note: In fact, he admitted afterwards he had received no briefing on the Congo for the past two weeks.)

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 80B01285A, DCI (McCone) Memo for the Record, 01 Jan.–28 Feb. 65. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. See Document 389.
  3. On January 25, Fields sent a memorandum to Helms commenting on Harriman’s information that some 500 mercenaries were in Europe ready to go to the Congo, but that the United States was not prepared to transport their supplies or furnish uniforms. Fields said that mercenaries were currently arriving in the Congo without supplies. He noted that supplies were normally provided by the Belgians and/or Mobutu, but the Belgians were apparently withholding such supplies in an effort to bring pressure on Tshombe to negotiate sensibly on economic and financial matters. Fields stated that up until now, it had not been U.S. policy to equip mercenaries, [text not declassified], he did not see where any Agency action was called for. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–03805R, DDO/IMS Files, Box 1, Area Activity—Africa)