61. Memorandum From the Ambassador to the North American Treaty Organization (Burgess) to Secretary of State Herter 1

SUBJECT

  • Message to Secretary of State from Ambassador Burgess concerning the Congo

On January 16, 1961 at the request of Mr. Frederick Nolting, Deputy Chief USRO, [less than 1 line not declassified] in Paris met with Ambassador Burgess, Mr. Nolting and Mr. Joseph Wolf to brief them on the general situation in the Congo as background for their deliberations concerning a Belgian proposal that NATO endorse Belgian direct military assistance to Mobutu.

[less than 1 line not declassified] conveyed the substance of available reports concerning the Congo and also advised them that [less than 1 line not declassified] was discussing contingency planning with the French although no policy decisions regarding any action program had yet been made in Washington. Mr. Nolting requested [less than 1 line not declassified] pass the following message to the Secretary of State from Ambassador Burgess:

“Further to Polto 9482 regarding Bomboko request to Belgians for direct aid, we have had discussions [less than 1 line not declassified] in which they gave us gist of recommendations already submitted to Washington for covert operation to bolster Mobutu’s forces. As we see [Page 81] the situation in the Congo, in relation to Western interests generally and in relation interests member countries of NATO in African developments, believe covert operation stands best chance of reversing present unsatisfactory situation while avoiding large, obvious dangers implicit in overt bilateral aid by Belgians or any other Western country. While we do not know details of proposed operation and are in no position to evaluate chances of success, we would favor prompt consideration, and fastest possible action if plan is approved. From NATO point of view, believe most member countries would expect U.S. to take action of this kind in present deteriorating situation in the Congo. They would expect us to use sufficient skill, determination and force to make it succeed, without traceable evidence of complicity on the part of any member country.”3

[pseudonym not declassified]4
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 6, [cryptonym not declassified] Ops. Secret. This memorandum was sent via backchannel.
  2. Not found.
  3. Transmitted in telegram [text not declassified] (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 6, [cryptonym not declassified] Ops.)
  4. Printed from a copy that bears Tweedy’s typed pseudonym.