483. Memorandum for Director of Central Intelligence Helms1
- Status Report—Air Program in the Congo
1. Operational Summary: The attached memorandum2 informs the 303 Committee of the establishment of a State–Defense–CIA working group to draw up plans for the phase-out of the [less than 1 line not declassified] air program from the Congo, and sets forth the major factors to be considered. Following oral instructions from the Department of State for an early phase-out, the Ambassador at Kinshasa has recommended that the program end by 15 February 1967. This date cannot be met if a condition of the phase-out is to be prior establishment by the GDRC of an adequate replacement program.
2. Previous 303 Committee Approvals: On 17 February 1966, the 303 Committee requested that [less than 1 line not declassified] air program in the Congo be substantially reduced. On 28 March 1966, the Committee reconsidered its decision pending the results of a study by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On 8 July, the Committee agreed to await the results of impending talks between the U.S. Ambassador at Kinshasa and President [Page 708] Mobutu before reaching a decision on the future of the air program.
3. Cover and Personnel: Pilots in the air program are ostensibly on direct hire to the GDRC. The T–28’s and B–26K’s are MAP loan to the GDRC. The [less than 1 line not declassified] aircraft maintenance company [less than 1 line not declassified] under contract to the GDRC. [less than 1 line not declassified].
4. Coordination: The attached memorandum has been brought to the attention of the Bureau of African Affairs, Department of State.
5. Security: The widespread knowledge that the United States Government is responsible for the tactical air program presents a continuing potential for embarrassment.
6. Cost: The program is currently operating at an annual cost of about [dollar amount not declassified]. The cost of the phase-out will depend on the findings of the working group.
Chief, Africa Division3
Deputy Director for Plans Date
Release of the attached item to the members of the 303 Committee is authorized:
Director of Central Intelligence
- Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 82–00450R, DDO/AF, AF/DIV Historical Files, Box 6, 40 Committee, Congo (K), 1965-. Secret; Eyes Only.↩
- Attached to the original is an October 10 memorandum for the 303 Committee, “Status Report—Air Program in the Congo.”↩
- The original is printed from a copy of the memorandum that is unsigned.↩