57. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Political Situation in the Congo (Consideration of payment to CNA Troops)

Based on cable traffic from Leopoldville concerning the possible need to supply additional funds to [name not declassified] and Mobutu to cover a proposed increase in pay to CNA troops, Mr. Tweedy had discussions with Department of State on Friday2 last. On Saturday morning an [CIA/Department of State] note was handed to Mr. Philip Clock.3 This memo reflected recommendations from COS, Leopoldville and concurred in by the Ambassador that an undetermined amount of money be pledged in principle to [name not declassified] or Mobutu for troop payment. Certain provisions and demands would accompany the pledge.

On Saturday, Mr. Clock handed the memo to Mr. Merchant. I had advised Mr. Clock that according to our information the Congo Government had openly pledged an increase in payment to the troops at Thysville and planned to advise all of its commands that a similar increase in payments would be forthcoming. Mr. Clock had wanted to know what CIA thought of the proposal. After discussions in the Division and with Mr. Helms, I told Mr. Clock that in view of the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Congo4 that anything which could be done to hold it together to give us additional time for planning and action would appear to be worthwhile. Later in the morning (Saturday) Mr. Clock telephoned to say that his office had been in consultation with Mr. Merchant.

Mr. Merchant had stated that the open and public action taken by the Government of the Congo to promise increased payment to the CNA had put the earlier Congelese request for money on an entirely different basis. He said that the matter was now in the open and must be handled that way. He said the question was should the United Nations assume this additional payment or failing this, should the United [Page 77] States offer to handle the increased payments in a bi-lateral way. If the latter were to be the case, this would be overt and official. The question of a bi-lateral approach for this purpose is one of high policy and is one which Mr. Merchant said that he would not recommend to the President “in the next five days.” Mr. Merchant made it clear that the incoming Secretary of State should be given the opportunity to decide whether or not a bilateral approach should be used in this matter.

I told Mr. Clock that I could understand perfectly their rationale in this decision but wondered if it took into account the urgency and time element involved. Mr. Clock said he felt that although the commitment by GOC had been immediate that perhaps there would be a lag period between now and the time additional funds were actually needed on hand.

I asked Mr. Clock how much of the above we were at liberty to cable to COS, Leopoldville. He preferred that we not forward all of the elements in Mr. Merchant’s decision but suggested that we tell our man to take no initiative in raising this with either [name not declassified] or Mobutu. Should they take the initiative then the COS would take that opportunity to find the answers to such answers as:

a. How many troops are involved?

b. Total sum involved?

c. When is pay day?

d. How long can the Congolese continue payments without outside help?

Mr. Clock said that the Department would be sending the Ambassador instructions on the whole question.

Glenn Fields 5
Deputy Chief
African Division
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 6, [cryptonym not declassified] Ops. Secret.
  2. January 13.
  3. See Document 55.
  4. Telegram 0636 from Leopoldville to CIA, January 15, transmitted a report of mutiny developing at Camp Nkoklo (the main CNA camp at Leopoldville), with soldiers saying they had orders to arrest all officers and other troops departing for Thysville with plans to liberate Lumumba. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 6, [cryptonym not declassified] Ops)
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.