51. National Security Council Briefing1


I. Efforts by Gizenga’s dissident regime in Stanleyville to secure foreign aid may result in greater Bloc or African intervention in the already explosive situation.

A. The UAR presently providing material assistance through its UN battalion in Equateur province.

B. USSR is probably also preparing to supply dissidents in Orientale Soviet UN delegate Zorin told [less than 1 line not declassified] December that “US is making preparations now, and we are making preparations too.”

C. Although Sudan on 15 December advised [less than 1 line not declassified] that it could not permit transshipping of supplies to dissidents through Sudan, [less than 1 line not declassified] subsequently advised [less than 1 line not declassified] that there was at least “50 per cent chance” this position will be reversed.

II. Pro-Lumumba African countries, though vague as to how to return Lumumba to power, are now thinking in terms of a joint military command independent of UN to support dissidents. Such a command apparently would consist of military contingents “withdrawn” from UN command but not from Congo.

A. Morocco reportedly plans to delay pullout of its UN contingent until a decision is reached among African states concerning means of aiding dissidents.

B. Similarly, the UAR has made no move to carry out withdrawal of its UN contingent.

C. Hammarskjold has appealed to nations threatening withdrawal to reconsider their decision.

III. Mobutu, meanwhile, is considering military moves against dissidents.

A. Mobutu, under pressure from commissioners to move against dissidents, held council of war with subordinate commanders 14–15 December.

B. Congo Army units loyal to Mobutu scattered throughout Orientale and Equateur provinces evidently outnumber Gizenga’s dissident forces.

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C. UN official in Leopoldville has stated that Gizenga and followers are doubtful of their ability to repel attack by Mobutu, and have made plans to flee in case of attack.

IV. The UN command in Leopoldville, threatened with departure of perhaps third of its 20,000-man force, maintains an anti-Mobutu posture.

A. UN representative Dayal increasingly anti-West. Continues to advocate disarming of Congo Army, blames current crisis on “those who build up Mobutu.”

B. Sporadic tribal warfare in northern Katanga not yet controlled by UN forces.

V. Various Congolese political factions continue to work at cross purposes.

A. Mobutu, who earlier indicated he would extend his interim government indefinitely, reportedly is now willing to reconvene parliament in January. Has stated, however, that he will allow restoration of civil government only if its composition to his liking.

B. Kasavubu reportedly plans to call round table conference of Congolese parties in late December. He desires restoration of powers to the Ileo cabinet, and admits to being at odds with Mobutu, who desires to continue commissioners in office under some guise.

VI. We have just received an unconfirmed report that Lumumba had died in prison. I am taking this with a grain of salt until we have confirmation.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 79R00890A, Box 13, Folder 3, NSC Briefings December 1960. Top Secret; [codeword not declassified].