448. Telegram From the Station in the Congo to the Central Intelligence Agency1

2436 (In 99421). Ref Leop 2429 (In 99075).2

1. [Mobutu] visited [COS] briefly 21 Nov. During brief conversation he made following points:

A. He calling two day meeting beginning 24 Nov of six group commanders plus senior staff officers and commanders Thysville camp, paratrooper instruction center and Kitona base. Purpose of meeting is to obtain general consensus of army opinion concerning present political impasse.

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B. He extremely upset over absence GDRC rep during ChiRep vote in UNGA. He repeatedly remarked that there something rotten in Denmark and that he could not understand how Congo had failed support its friends, as well as to defend its own natural position, during this vote.

C. He repeated his concern re [Identity 1] lack of initiative and commented that latter’s popularity has diminished sharply. However he again stressed his lack of trust in [Identity 2].

D. He repeated statements previously made concerning his distrust of the Brazza govt (GOCB) and expressed worry concerning probability that GOCB will endeavor to subvert GDRC.3 Needless to say Leop encouraged him in his view.

2. In reply [COS] questions concerning steps, if any, [Mobutu] plans take at upcoming meeting in effort achieve solution to present political crisis, [Mobutu] stressed that much will depend upon outcome of his talks. He made it clear that he must use this meeting to try ensure loyal army support. (Unfortunately [Mobutu] had only few minutes and thus [COS] was unable review alternatives with him as outlined para 3 ref.)

[Mobutu] said he believes it imperative that he have funds at his disposition for passage to senior officers. Said these funds would be used to ensure their personal loyalty and for distribution to officers and key enlisted men at all army commands. Also funds would be used to purchase certain personal items for troops in combat areas such as soap, razor blades, etc. Specifically he asked for CF thirty nine million, explaining that he would give CF five million to each group commander and CF three million to Thysville, Kitona and paratrooper training center commands.

3. Leop discussed above request with [Godley] who concurs that [Mobutu] remains key element in our effort to achieve a peaceful and workable solution in present crisis. Both Leop and [Godley] believe ODYOKE should accede to [Mobutu] request with caveat that none of [Page 651] these funds be employed to fund specific candidates, politicians or parties. While both [Godley] and Leop believe it would not be advisable for [Mobutu] to pay out such a large sum in one payment, request authority expend equivalent of up to USD one hundred thousand for this purpose. Tentatively, Leop plans recommend that [Mobutu] give CF two or possibly two and one half million to each group and one million to three other separate commands, but to advise him that additional funds would be available if and when necessary. View fact events moving rapidly and could move even more rapidly here, [Godley] and Leop desire have sufficient flexibility to meet emergency funding needs for [Mobutu]. If funds approved, will naturally consult HQS in advance making any additional expenditures beyond CF 18 million if time and events permit, but wish stress importance we attach to having this funding authority for [Mobutu].

4. [Embassy] and Station convinced that [Mobutu’s] continued control over army is essential to implementation ODYOKE’s Congo policy. Also wish stress importance we attach to finding an early solution to present impasse. At present no one is devoting any time or attention to even the most serious counter-insurgency, military, economic or social problems. In short, the country is going to hell in a hand basket. All efforts are devoted to political in-fighting. Thus an eventual solution to long term Congo problems depends upon resolving immediate political problem. Leop and [Embassy] believe [Mobutu] is best, and possibly only, person on whom ODYOKE can depend to find satisfactory solution. Failure answer his request for funds would obviously weaken his position and could result in his inability to achieve a solution. This, in turn, could leave way open for extremists who appear to be moving even more rapidly than expected. In this respect, Leop wishes note that in its opinion over past year ODYOKE influence has diminished proportionately to ODYOKE refusal to take positive position supplemented by active covert support in seeking solutions to the admittedly tiresome and frustrating Congo problem. Leop convinced that, had we earlier entered arena in covert capacity, current crisis might have been avoided or at very least would have been greatly attenuated. Also submit [Mobutu’s] requests for funds may well be our last opportunity to influence outcome of events in Congo.

5. View above, request HQS approval expend up to [less than 1 line not declassified] view fact [Mobutu’s] meeting begins morning 24 Nov, request reply if at all feasible by COB 23 Nov.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, [text not declassified], Vol. III, Mobutu. Secret; Rybat; [cryptonym not declassified]; Immediate. Received at 0905Z.
  2. Resume of current political situation. [Footnote in the original.] In telegram 2429 from Leopoldville to CIA, November 21, the Station reported that the political crisis was coming to a head rapidly. Tshombe appeared to be the most popular political figure in the Congo, while Kasavubu’s popularity had diminished sharply since his open break with Tshombe in mid-October. Within parliament, the two major groups, CONACO and the FDC, were nearly equal in strength so it was unlikely that either could elect a president with a strong majority, and compromise would be difficult because so few of the Congolese leaders trusted each other. The Station also expressed concern because, in the absence of U.S. financing, which the [cryptonym not declassified] confidently expected after the Chief of Station’s return, the Kasavubu–FDC group had been gradually drifting left. (Ibid.)
  3. In telegram 2444 from Leopoldville, November 22, the Chief of Station reported that Mobutu told him that morning that Nendaka and Anany had received a payment of 2.5 million BCF when they first visited Brazzaville to reestablish relations and had been promised an equivalent sum every month for political expenses involved in defeating Tshombe. Mobutu said that he considered this a subversive movement by the Brazzaville government against the Congolese Government. The Chief of Station emphasized the danger of the present situation, pointing out that although the payments were relatively small now, eventually many Congolese ministers and political leaders could be on the Brazzaville payroll. Mobutu recognized that such payments must come from the Chinese Communists or Soviets. He also stated that Kasavubu would almost certainly be a loser in his political conflict with Tshombe, but, the Chief of Station noted, Mobutu was still not ready to accept the fact that he should reach a political understanding with Tshombe and drop Kasavubu. (Ibid.)