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

0452 (In 15279).

[4 paragraphs (30 lines) not declassified]

[Page 64]

5. During course meeting with [Mobutu] on 7 Dec, [COS] asked him if it not possible in near future establish legal govt replace college of commissioners and asked about [Mobutu] statement he plans retain commissioners as interim govt after 1 Jan. [Mobutu] expressed contempt for majority political leaders, noting they did little to oppose [Lumumba] when going was rough and that now [Lumumba] out of way they want reap benefits of his work. Expressed view most want benefits of office but few are willing accept responsibilities. Although [COS] could not but concur, he pointed out need to form legal government in near future to satisfy world opinion and to obtain backing of political leaders. After much talk, [Mobutu] agreed to compromise suggested by [COS] ([less than 1 line not declassified]) in which [Mobutu] would permit parliament to open 10 Jan 61 providing political leaders can guarantee majority parliamentarians will be present and majority will support government satisfactory to [less than 1 line not declassified] forces. ([COS] suggested and [Mobutu] agreed many commissioners should remain in govt as secretaries of state.) As new govt must be acceptable to [Mobutu], [COS] raised possibility of [Identity 1] as premier. [Mobutu] reacted favorably but [COS] did not try push point other than noting that [Identity 1] good man and now trying line up workable coalition.

6. [COS] reported above to Ambassador 7 Dec and obtained latter’s okay to try organize new coalition govt. Ambassador agreed help and will see [Identity 1] with [COS] 10 Dec and will also try see [Mobutu] and [Identity 2] same day, [less than 1 line not declassified]. However, [Mobutu] called [COS] morning 9 Dec saying he “most disappointed” statements by [Identity 3] and Albert Delvaux criticizing his efforts govern Congo. [Mobutu] was very angry. Said he plans call meeting Leop of all CNA senior officers, to offer his resignation as chief of staff to Kasavubu and let latter try find someone who able control CNA. [Mobutu] made it clear he does not believe such person can be found. [COS] commiserated with [Mobutu] and arranged meet him later in morning. However, [Mobutu] did not call and although [COS] tried reach him many times no contact made. Will continue try see him soonest, as fear statements by [Identity 3] and Delvaux may upset [Mobutu’s] agreement to reach compromise per para five. If [cryptonym not declassified] forces continue fight over spoils, [Mobutu] might be tempted dump them all and resort to another coup. Trying best to avoid this. Also will try convince him not submit resignation.

7. Ambassador under pressure from ODACID achieve interim solution government situation here to obtain legal facade for regime. Station and [Embassy] doubt interim government will provide more acceptable facade than commissioners govt unless it approved by parliament but we trying. ODACID appears believe we dealing with [less than 1 line not declassified] persons with some understanding [Page 65] niceties parliamentary system. This not the case. [cryptonym not declassified] leaders [1 line not declassified] have little understanding of meaning world opinion or need for political compromise. Although Station understands pressure now heavy USUN, wish emphasize KUBARK not in position reach an immediate solution. Effort force through interim solution not acceptable key [cryptonym not declassified] leaders might result in formation govt which would not be able obtain parliamentary majority when parliament finally opened. Alternative danger might be angry [Mobutu] going for broke with another coup.

8. View political nature this operation, Station working closely with Ambassador and coordinating every step. We trying move as fast as possible and to implement ODYOKE policy but Station does not believe it advisable risk stirring up intramural [cryptonym not declassified] fight to try accomplish in week what we hope can be done in one month. We have come long way [less than 1 line not declassified] when one considers situation only three months ago. Our position strong with [Mobutu] as we give him help and guidance in early days when his chances were slim indeed. Some [cryptonym not declassified] leaders realize they would be occupying [Lumumba’s] current quarters today had we not helped them. However, it is their country and they want make final decisions. Also politics is new game which they have not learned to play by our rules. Thus, we can go only so far as they willing go. Station believes we should not risk long term relationship with leaders for possible immediate gain in world opinion. However, will provide regular reports on efforts comply with Dir 15739 (Out 51379)2 and ODACID cable 1551.3

End of message.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 5, [cryptonym not declassified] Ops. Secret; Rybat; [cryptonym not declassified]; Priority. Received at 1704Z.
  2. Requested Leop see ODACID cable 1551 of 8 Dec. and support fully. [Footnote in the original.] CIA telegram 15739 to Leopoldville, December 9, is ibid.
  3. OCR/CB notified of reference. [Footnote in the original.] Regarding this cable, see footnote 1 to Document 280 in Foreign Relations, 1958–1960, volume XIV, Africa.