450. Memorandum for the 303 Committee1


  • Request for Increased Contingency Fund Authority to Meet Continuing Political Crisis in the Congo


  • 24 September 1965 Request for Contingency Authority for a Program of Action to Maintain an Equilibrium between Congo President Kasavubu and Premier Tshombe

1. On 7 October 1965 the 303 Committee considered reference request for a [dollar amount not declassified] contingency fund to maintain a political balance between President Kasavubu and the then Premier Tshombe. At this meeting the 303 Committee authorized a reduced contingency fund of [dollar amount not declassified] with the understanding that additional funds could be obtained at a later date should the need arise.

2. Events moved quickly in the Congo and on 12 October 1965 Tshombe was dismissed from his post as Premier by President Kasavubu. However, a payment of [dollar amount not declassified] was made to General Mobutu on 26 October in recognition of his efforts in support of the U.S. aim of maintaining the KasavubuTshombe team even though his efforts had not been successful. This payment was considered desirable and necessary by the CIA and the U.S. Ambassador to the Congo since Mobutu had used his own official funds in his attempts to stop the break between Kasavubu and Tshombe.

3. The political situation in the Congo remains critical even though Tshombe is no longer Premier and the basic conflicts between Kasavubu and his group and Tshombe continue to threaten to throw the Congo into chaos if some solution to the problem is not soon found. General Mobutu has emerged as perhaps the one man, by virtue of his position as Commander of the Army and his understanding of the realities of the Congolese internal and political situation, who can possibly take steps toward assuring a balance between the opposing political leaders. Further, Mobutu remains the best man to head the military forces in the Congo and to act as a balance wheel between the contending political leaders.

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4. Mobutu is presently concerned by reactions of his senior military area commanders to the state of political unrest in the Congo. The recent dealings of the Kasavubu government with radical African countries such as Ghana and Congo (Brazzaville) together with their requests to Mobutu that Tshombe be placed under arrest for unconstitutional activities while he was Premier, have created a situation wherein the senior officers believe that military rule might be preferable to continued political strife. On 21 November 1965 he made a request to CIA for $100,000 to enable him to make payments to these officers to assure their loyalty to him and keep them from taking any unilateral action in connection with the political situation. CIA and the Bureau of African Affairs with the Ambassador’s recommendation supported this request and approval has been granted to the CIA field representative to make an immediate covert payment of [dollar amount not declassified] to Mobutu under authority previously granted by the 303 Committee. This amount will exhaust the [dollar amount not declassified] contingency fund approved on 7 October 1965.

5. Since the political balance in the Congo is even graver now than in September and October of 1965, it is requested that the 303 Committee approve an expanded program at an additional cost of [dollar amount not declassified]. This amount would allow for the passage of an additional [dollar amount not declassified] to Mobutu as he requested and also make available funds to meet probable future political funding requirements considered by the Ambassador and the Department of State as necessary to maintain stability in the Congo.

6. The proposal has the concurrence of the Bureau of African Affairs of the Department of State.

7. It is recommended that the 303 Committee approve this proposal.2

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 81–00966R, Box 1, Folder 12, Congo, 1965. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. On November 26, the proposal was approved by the 303 Committee by telephonic vote. The emergence of General Mobutu as head of the current regime was not deemed to alter the need for the program. (Ibid., Job 82–00450R, 40 Committee, Congo (K), 1965)