564. Memorandum for Director of Central Intelligence Helms 1

SUBJECT

  • State Department Recommendation that 303 Committee Approve Extension of Contracts of CIA-supplied Pilots Flying for the Congolese (Kinshasa) Government

1. This memorandum contains a recommendation for the approval of the Director. The recommendation is contained in paragraph five.

2. Transmitted herewith is a proposal to Ambassador Kohler prepared by the African Bureau of the Department of State recommending that he approve a telephonic request to the 303 principals for extension through 31 December 1967 of the contracts of five pilots hired by the CIA to fly for the Congolese Government.2

3. When recruited on 4 September 1967, these pilots signed contracts effective through 4 December 1967 but agreed orally to extend for an extra month if requested to do so. Preliminary indications are that some of the pilots may not wish to extend their contracts for personal reasons. The African Bureau believes that if as many as three pilots remain they would be sufficient. But if less than three remain, replacement pilots will be required.

4. President Mobutu was recently upset by the Department of State decision that the U.S. would not supply aircraft for evacuating the Katangese rebels from Rwanda. Since then Ambassador McBride has been asked to undertake a very difficult démarche with Mobutu in connection with the return of these rebels. The African Bureau believes and we agree that the withdrawal of the U.S.-supplied pilots at the 30 November 1967 termination of their contracts would tend only to further alienate Mobutu, especially since these pilots are presently the only ones in the Congo capable of flying combat and support missions.

5. For the reasons outlined in paragraph four, we recommend that the proposed extension be approved.3

Archibald B. Roosevelt, Jr.
Chief, Africa Division
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 81–00966R, Box 1, Folder 12, Congo, 1967–68. Secret.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. The memorandum indicates the DDP approved on Nov. 21 and Helms approved Nov. 22. A handwritten notation on the attachment indicates that the 303 Committee approved the proposal telephonically on November 22.