492. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Minutes of the Meeting of the 303 Committee, 8 March 1967


  • Mr. Rostow, Ambassador Kohler, and Admiral Taylor
  • Mr. Vance, absent in hospital, registered his views by telephone
  • General Ralph D. Steakley was present for Item 1
  • Mr. Glenn Fields was present for Item 3
  • Mr. [name not declassified] and Mr. [name not declassified] were present for Item 4
  • Mr. William Broe was present for Item 5

[Omitted here is discussion of other subjects.]

3. Progress Report on Phaseout of Air Program in Congo.

a. The committee approved the proposal of JCS to turn over two C–46’s to the GDRC but with the Agency requested modification that the C–46’s be leased to [less than 1 line not declassified] on behalf of the GDRC since the Congolese have no facility themselves for adequate maintenance. Ambassador Kohler emphasized that the Agency should move with all convenient speed to transfer the responsibility and costs of [less than 1 line not declassified] to the Mobutu government. He urged [Page 720] that the committee live up to its commitment and get out by no later than the end of the fiscal year. Mr. Glenn Fields indicated that the Agency was in no way trying to hold on but only to ensure an efficacious turnover.2 He said that Mobutu had been unable to address himself to the “air force” problem because of his total involvement with the Belgian holding companies. He had not yet made any final agreement with the retired Turkish air force general who would hold the position of “air manager”. Mobutu had not yet held talks with [less than 1 line not declassified] representatives on payment of salaries to pilots and mechanics. There was more than a possibility that he would not be able to meet this payroll with hard currency. In such a case, the embassy would have to pick up the tab to prevent a total incapacity for flight operations.

b. Despite these clouds, the committee felt that the transfer should proceed as rapidly as possible. Should difficulties emerge they could be referred back to the committee. In any event, a progress report was called for by mid-May 1967.

[Omitted here is discussion of other subjects.]

Peter Jessup
  1. Source: National Security Council, Intelligence Files, 303 Committee, Minutes 1967. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared on March 10.
  2. A March 3 CIA progress report to Helms on the phaseout of the air program in the Congo noted that the report was being submitted in time to alert the 303 Committee to the fact that the pace of the phaseout had been delayed somewhat by circumstances beyond the Agency’s control and thus might require underwriting beyond the originally estimated date of June 30, 1967. Since it was impossible to say with any degree of certainty how long the CIA subsidy would have to be continued, the report proposed that it be extended on a month-to-month basis, but estimated that it seemed likely that the extension period would not exceed 3 months. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 81–00966R, Congo, 1967–68)