52. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency to the Station in the Congo1

Dir 18908 (Out 58521). Re Leop 0552 (In 23752).2

1. We have been discussing ref recommendations with State at African bureau level and will be discussing further at Undersecretary level at 1100 local time 31 December. In discussion with Penfield, latter brought up recent embtels from Ambassador which have emphasized political settlement rather than military action. As result has asked following be passed Ambassador from him:

“We are having some difficulty reconciling your recommendations re encouragement and assistance to military campaign against Gizenga with your apparent reliance on political settlement as reflected your recent reporting e.g. Embtels 1419, 1432, 1436.3 We assume you regard military action as essentially show of force to support political settlement but on basis info here one would appear prejudicial to the other. Our principal hesitations re military action are (1) possibility Mobutu forces would find themselves in situation where conflict with UN forces unavoidable, thus forcing UN in effect fight on Gizenga’s side and (2) Belgian involvement could turn entire Afro Asian world violently against KasavubuMobutu. Please comment urgently.”

[Page 71]

2. A reply prior our meeting tomorrow would obviously be most helpful.4

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]; Operational Immediate. Drafted and released by Tweedy.
  2. Station and Ambassador believed it urgent to support operation against Stanleyville. [Footnote in the original.] In telegram 0552 to CIA, December 29, the Station in Leopoldville reported that it had been unable to obtain hard intelligence on the Congolese Government’s plans to mount a military operation against Stanleyville. (On December 12, Antoine Gizenga had declared an independent Free Republic of the Congo with Stanleyville as its capital.) Congo Sûreté member [name not declassified] said that the details were still not firm, but that the Belgian Government had agreed to support such an operation. He and Bomboko warned that a Stanleyville operation could not be mounted unless U.S. funds were forthcoming. The cable stressed that the Station and Ambassador believed it was urgent that the United States support the Congolese Government in mounting an operation against Stanleyville, and recommended that the Chief of Station be authorized to advise Mobutu or Bomboko that he had been authorized “in principle” to provide aid. (Ibid.)
  3. See footnotes 1, 2, and 3 to Document 292 in Foreign Relations, 1958–1960, volume XIV, Africa.
  4. Telegram 0564 from Leopoldville to CIA, December 31, transmitted Ambassador Timberlake’s reply, which stated that military action would be a show of force to support efforts toward a political settlement. He recognized the possibility of a clash between Mobutu’s forces and UN forces, but believed the likelihood of such a clash was slight unless the United Nations ordered them to intervene. The Ambassador also believed that Belgium intended to exercise maximum discretion in providing support. Therefore, he believed that this operation should be supported as suggested. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 4, [cryptonym not declassified] Ops)