41. Memorandum for the Special Group1


  • Contingency Planning for the Congo

1. Problem:

To prevent a Communist-oriented government from gaining control of the Congo.

2. Assumptions:

It is assumed that Lumumba, with Communist support, will make every effort to regain control of the Congo and will, if possible, employ force against his political opponents to achieve this end.

In the event that Lumumba regains control of the Congolese National Army (CNA), or obtains paramilitary support from tribal elements, there will be open resistance by opposition political elements to his attempt to establish control.

3. Facts and Discussion:

At present Colonel Mobutu, the CNA commander, is in de facto control of the Congolese government. He has established a group of general commissioners to run the country pending the eventual formation of a moderate civilian government.

An unpredictable factor in the situation is the extent to which Mobutu can retain control of the CNA and utilize it as a force to check Lumumba. There is also the possibility that Lumumba, with support by Ghana, Guinea, the UAR, and the Communist bloc, will be able to raise forces to attempt an open seizure of power.

If there is a split in the CNA, or a weakening in Mobutu’s position combined with a resurgence of Lumumba forces, it may be possible to prevent Communist consolidation of power by providing paramilitary support to anti-Communist opposition elements. Our contingency planning is directed toward this end.

Under these conditions, selected opposition elements would be provided with support consisting of arms, ammunition, sabotage materials and training. The establishment of a controlled clandestine radio is also envisaged.

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The immediate problem is to obtain necessary political clearances to facilitate shipment and the secure storage of radio equipment and an initial stock of arms and ammunition in adjacent areas, and to discuss plans for their covert introduction into the Congo.

[Omitted here is further discussion of the issue.]

  1. Source: National Security Council, Intelligence Files, Subject Files, Congo, 1960–1965. Secret. This memorandum was prepared for the Special Group meeting on November 10, 1960.