470. Telegram From the Station in the Congo to the Central Intelligence Agency1
5775 (In 26612). For Palmer from Chargé.
1. You have probably seen Embtel 22342 reporting proposed coup by senior ANC officers plus civilian faction headed by ex-finance minister Bamba. CAS has just found out that coup, which was scheduled for two weeks hence, now scheduled tentatively for Sunday or Monday. Reason: Fear of possible Tshombe coup of which we know nothing.
2. Whatever problems we have with Mobutu, coup at this time would be against US interests, just at time Congo beginning settle down. Strong possibility forces unfriendly to USG could take advantage this plot, although no sign coup group anti US. Also believe we have leverage to gain with Mobutu from having Devlin inform him of all we know about the coup. Therefore, propose send Devlin to see Mobutu this evening and share with him all information we have about coup. Devlin will not make contact until 1600 hours Zulu in case you have other thoughts on matter.
3. Meanwhile, Emboffs have strict instructions stay away from Bamba and his fellow conspirators.3
- Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–02502R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, [cryptonym not declassified] Operations, Jan.–Dec. 1966, [text not declassified]. Secret; [cryptonym not declassified]; Flash. Received at 1331Z.↩
- Not printed. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1964–1966, POL 23–9 THE CONGO)↩
- Telegram 5776 from Leopoldville to CIA, May 28, transmitted more details of the plot and stated that to avoid the risk of chaos, it was urgent that the Chief of Station brief Mobutu as soon as possible and obtain details of the information in his possession. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–02502R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, [cryptonym not declassified] Operations, Jan.–Dec. 1966, [text not declassified]) Telegram 5781 from Leopoldville to CIA, May 28, reported that the Chief of Station had met with Mobutu and briefed him on the information in the Station’s possession concerning the plot, explaining that his source was not directly involved but was close to Bamba. The Chief of Station said it now appeared that the coup might be imminent and he considered it imperative to ascertain if Mobutu was fully aware of and monitoring developments, and if in fact some military elements were really opposed to him. Mobutu indicated his full awareness of virtually all of the details of the plot and stated that all of the military officers involved were under his control and, under his instructions, playing a double game. (Ibid.)↩