64. Dispatch From the Station in the Congo to the Central Intelligence Agency1

[Dispatch number not declassified]


  • Special Letter from Leopoldville Station


  • None, for your information

1. I regret that the force of circumstances has prevented me from writing the usual [cryptonym not declassified] letters to you during the Congo crisis. However, from personal meetings with [Tweedy] and [Bissell], I understand you have received regular and detailed briefings on the operational developments in this area. I am taking the liberty of writing this special letter to you because I wish to call to your attention a matter which I believe is of direct concern to KUBARK.

2. Many rumors have come to the attention of the Embassy and the Station to the effect that, with the change in administration, our policy in the Congo will be reversed and that we will favor a return of Lumumba in some capacity to the Congolese Government. Persons relating these rumors almost invariably add that Ambassador Timberlake will be replaced by a person who favors the establishment of close relations with Lumumba and his supporters. These rumors have been brought to my attention by many Congolese political figures (some of them clandestine contacts of this Station), journalists and representatives of other governments, as well as press reports of which you are undoubtedly aware. Needless to say, these rumors are beginning to have an adverse effect upon our operational efforts, for some assets are afraid the Station will reverse its current policy and that, as a result of their confidential cooperation with us, they will be abandoned to suffer the consequences of their acts. This situation has not reached the state at which Station efforts are hampered appreciably, but in view of the pessimism and defeatism which is so prevalent in Leopoldville at this time, the continued spread of such rumors could undermine the Station’s position rather rapidly, should they become accepted by the local population. Thus, any steps which can be taken by the appropriate authorities [Page 84] to nip these rumors in the bud would be of considerable aid to the Leopoldville Station. In this respect, the inaugural address was well received in the Congo and raised the hopes of many Congolese.

3. The rumors concerning the possible replacement of Ambassador Timberlake also have a direct effect upon Station operations. As I have reported in numerous communications, Ambassador Timberlake has proved to be a strong supporter of KUBARK in general, and, specifically, he has provided the aid, guidance, and support necessary for the implementation of our clandestine operations. Without his strong support, it would not have been possible for the Station to accomplish many of the operational objectives assigned by Headquarters to support ODYOKE policy in the Congo. As a result of Timberlake’s dynamic and effective brand of diplomacy, he has been personally attacked by [less than 1 line not declassified]. According to journalistic contacts of the Station and the Embassy, [less than 1 line not declassified] has launched a campaign against Ambassador Timberlake, accusing him of undermining the objectives and work of the [less than 1 line not declassified]. It would appear that [less than 1 line not declassified] objective in this campaign is to bring about the recall of the Ambassador and the appointment of a replacement more amenable to his personal influence and policies, policies which do not seem to be in accord with the policy directives received by this Station.

4. While I realize that major policy decisions and the selection of senior government officials are not, and should not be, the responsibility of KUBARK field personnel, I believe this is a situation which warrants your personal attention. Insofar as our Congo policy is concerned, I firmly believe that a drastic change at this time would be both disastrous and ineffectual. A change would not only alienate those persons and assets who support our present policy, but it is my opinion that it would also not be possible to win the support or friendship of the opposition leaders. While they might be willing to accept our financial and technical aid, they also would turn to the UAR and the Soviet Bloc with requests for aid and technical assistance. As their appetites would be insatiable, we would soon reach a point beyond which we would not be prepared to fulfill their requests. At that point, I believe they would turn more and more to the Soviet Bloc for aid and that in a very short time the Congo would fall under the influence, if not the control, of the Soviet Bloc. The opinions which I have expressed herein relative to a possible Bloc take over in the Congo are shared, to the best of my knowledge, by all Embassy personnel and many other qualified observers who have had an opportunity to observe the Congo crisis at first hand. I thus submit these views to you for your personal consideration.

5. Although I am reluctant to raise matters which are not within my field of competence, I feel it incumbent upon me to draw to your attention [Page 85] the unfailing support and cooperation this Station has received from Ambassador Timberlake and to note that one reason he is being attacked by [less than 1 line not declassified] is that ODYOKE policy, which is supported by clandestine KUBARK operations, often has appeared to be in conflict with [less than 1 line not declassified] personal policy for the Congo. Most of the allegations made against Timberlake by [less than 1 line not declassified] are false, but [less than 1 line not declassified] obviously suspects some of the political activities of Lumumba’s opponents are inspired by covert ODYOKE operations and he blames Timberlake for this. In short, one of the reasons for which Timberlake is under fire is that he has firmly advocated ODYOKE policy in the Congo, including KUBARK operations designed to support such ODYOKE policy. Thus, should it be decided to recall Ambassador Timberlake, as is rumored in Leopoldville, I believe it would be only logical that I, too, be transferred to another post of duty, should the reason for his recall be related to his support of ODYOKE policy and KUBARK operations. In this respect, I should note that my usefulness in this area in the near future would probably be limited, should ODYOKE policy toward the Congo undergo a complete reversal. Many Station assets would almost certainly believe that I had betrayed them and hold me personally responsible for encouraging them to take positions which, with a reversal of ODYOKE policy, would become extremely dangerous. In all probability many would refuse to cooperate with KUBARK or any other ODYOKE agency, in the future, and some might attempt to buy their personal safety by denouncing me or other ODYOKE personnel.

[pseudonym not declassified]2
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 82–00450R, Box 6, Folder 6, Leopoldville, 3 Feb 54–Dec 65, [cryptonym not declassified]. Secret; Rybat.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears Devlin’s typed pseudonym.