66. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Telephone Conversation with James Penfield,2 $(PS,80$)31 Jan 61

At noon on 31 January Jim Penfield called to say that they were having an internal meeting on the policy paper on the Congo.3 He asked whether we had any further comments on it. I said that there were some bothersome aspects to it. These were the facts that on the one hand we would be taming Mobutu and on the other releasing Lumumba. In essence we were generating a sequence of events which would lead to a political being in the Congo the ultimate orientation of which could not be assured. He said that these risks had been taken into account and believed to be acceptable. I said that I felt that if the UN in fact did neutralize in a strong way the political and military elements in the Congo and did take control in a neutral way, then this, combined with the administrative structure outlined in the third element of the proposal, would indeed make the risk of a pro-Lumumbist takeover more remote. I emphasized that strong neutral UN action would be the key to it. I asked him what he thought Timberlake’s reaction would be. He didn’t know, but suggested that it would appear that Timberlake had no concrete alternative proposals.4

Glenn Fields
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 6, [cryptonym not declassified] Ops. Secret.
  2. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs James K. Penfield.
  3. See Document 17, Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, volume XX, Congo Crisis.
  4. At the 475th meeting of the National Security Council on February 1, Rusk summarized the policy proposals sent to the President. NSC Record of Action No. 2397-d stated that the Department of State’s proposal, which was subsequently reviewed and approved by the President, was being submitted after coordination with the Department of Defense and CIA. Dulles subsequently took issue with the record, saying that the recently adopted course of action dealing with Congo problems had not been coordinated with CIA. (Ibid., p. 46)