497. Editorial Note

In anticipation of the 303 Committee meeting the following day, Department of State and Central Intelligence Agency officials met at the Department of State on May 11, 1967, to discuss termination of the U.S. Government air program in the Congo. Dean Brown of the Bureau of African Affairs indicated that the bureau’s position would be that the U.S. Government could not afford to lose air capability in the Congo through the loss of effective maintenance organization. Both Brown and John MacDonald of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research proposed that CIA provide funds for [less than 1 line not declassified] to get it started if the Congolese Government failed to do so and that such a recommendation be made to Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Kohler for use at the 303 Committee meeting. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 82–00450R, DDO/AF, AF/DIV Historical Files, Box 6, 40 Committee, Congo (K), 1965–)

At their meeting on May 12, members of the 303 Committee had the following discussion of the air program in the Congo, according to the minutes of the meeting:

“The progress report dated 10 May 1967 on the phaseout of the air program in the Congo (Kinshasa) was noted. Mr. Vance had several questions regarding the role of [text not declassified]. Admiral Taylor stated that Senator Russell had reiterated his concern to avoid a total loss of capability in that area. Ambassador Kohler repeated his plea that no one lose sight of the ultimate objective of transferring in toto the air program to the GDRC.” (Peter Jessup, Memorandum for the Record, May 18, 1967; National Security Council, Intelligence Files, 303 Committee, Minutes—1967)

Earlier, in telegram 1557 to the Central Intelligence Agency, April 26, the Station in Kinshasa had reported that operational control of all [text not declassified] T–28 aircraft had been turned over to the Congolese Government in a low-key ceremony on April 24. The cable noted that with this turnover, CIA was no longer involved in the Congo’s combat air program. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 81–00966R, Box 1, Folder 12, Congo, 1967–68)