67. Paper Prepared in the Embassy in the Congo1


I. Support Continuation of the United Nations Effort on Essentially Its Present Basis.

Action Required

1. Keep the Belgians from intervening, on larger scale, and lower the boom on them if they do.

2. Allow the Katanga and South Kasai “situation of fact” to continue essentially unchanged.

3. Be prepared to continue to pay the bulk of the bill while leaving the policy control with Hammarskjold.

Probable Consequences

1. Faint possibility Mobutu might bring off his present offensive with short term favorable results but no guarantee increased stability.

2. Probability Gizenga forces will take over through breakdown Mobutu forces in Leopoldville without actual fighting in face of ruthlessness and forward motion of Gizenga forces.

3. Belgians will either—

a) heed our request not to intervene, but hold us bitterly responsible for unfavorable outcome; or

b) intervene in half-baked way, which is unlikely to stem the tide more likely.

4. If Gizenga takes over, will put himself increasingly under Communist wing, though probably Soviets will be more discreet this time and work throught Czechs, UAR and Guinea. Probable rapid increase of Chicom influence through Mulele in particular.

5. Flight of whites (as in Province Orientale) and consequent economic breakdown, which will assist Communist penetration. Also flight of moderate Congolese.

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6. Probable center of Gizenga policy would be military action against South Kasai and Katanga (as Lumumba tried), eventually also Angola, etc.

7. UN would be pushed out gradually as it ceased to serve Gizenga’s purposes. Disastrous consequences for UN would only be deferred.


None we can think of.


1. Introduction of more virulent form of Communist satellite in heart of Central Africa, with constant threat to peace and security of all of Black Africa (see above).

2. Serious blow to Belgo-American relations (see point 3 above) and to NATO unity (c.f. Suez crisis).

3. Serious blow to future of UN.

II. Redirect and Beef up UN Effort

A. Minimum solution: Seal off Congo frontiers and airfields in order to isolate Congo from outside intervention, but without further UN intervention in internal affairs.

Action Required

1. Make real effort to obtain Soviet agreement to mutual non-intervention, if this proves feasible.

2. If not, we will need effective support of moderate (non-Casablanca) group in UNGA to outvote Soviets and Casablanca group, as on Kasavubu credentials.

3. UN forces and mixed control groups must be stationed at all significant frontier points and airfields and be willing to use force to prevent inflow of military aid.

4. This will require substantial reinforcement of UNOC forces, and in addition more trustworthy ones (Australian, South American, etc., not just African).

5. This will also require full commitment by Hammarskjold to an active policy, which in turn will require Security Council or UNGA resolution (depending on whether Soviets cooperate or not).

6. Dayal must be replaced by an objective, honest and energetic man prepared to use his mandate to the full. Cdr. Jackson, a good Nigerian, etc.

7. Outside aid to Katanga and South Kasai will also have to be stopped, which means

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a) Obtain full Belgian cooperation, which will be difficult until mid-April.

b) Scuttling Tshombe’s would automatically be seriously weakened.

8. UN must at least help to train Congo Army.


1. Reduce chances of hot war involving US and Soviet Union in Congo.

2. Cut ground out from under Gizenga, assuming he is largely dependent on outside help.

3. Make possible at least limited success of UN.


1. There is real doubt this will work.

2. Makes no provision for longer-term settlement of Congo’s problems, which will continue to plague us for a long time.

3. Will require a remarkable degree of continuing support from Europeans and Africans to work.

4. May well cause instability and chaos to spread to Katanga.

5. The major burden of economic support for Congo will fall even more heavily on the US.

B. Intermediate solution: Seal off borders, etc., as in A. but put UN forces in position to help Congolese Central Government to maintain order.

Action Required

1. All action mentioned under A above.

2. Installation of a Central Government which UN can recognize.

3. More troops required, and probably a stronger UN mandate.


1. As above, Section A.

2. Speedier elimination of Gizenga and other harmful elements.

3. Better chance of creating long-term stability in Congo.


1. Difficulty of obtaining a clearly legal government.

2. More difficult to obtain UN mandate and perhaps less support from Afro-Asians.

3. Probability of continued friction between GOC and UN.

C. Maximum solutions: Seal off frontiers, disarm all CNA forces and UN takes over responsibility for creation and maintenance of order.

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Action Required

1. All of above, plus.

2. Even more troops.

3. Agreement of Congolese Government or decision to override their wishes.

4. The UN would have to have a real political policy-making body or delegate that power to its Representative.


1. If it worked, there might be some real chance of having law and order in the Congo.

2. Hence there might be better chance for longer-term solution.


1. Difficult to believe Congolese Government would ever accept this “trusteeship”. Cannot make it work without or against them.

2. Probably impossible to obtain UN majority because of the precedent involved.

3. UN structure not strong enough to do the political decision-making necessary in fact to govern the Congo.

4. Even more troops and money required.

5. Some difficulties with the Belgians, only worse.

General Comments on Alternative II

1. If we are determined to play the UN card, we must be prepared to throw our assets into the balance, and also to make clear that if the necessary things are not done, we will withdraw our support of the UN effort, which means its termination.

2. Effective action along any of above lines will require several months at least. But within a month or a bit more, if things continue as they are, Gizenga may be in power. This is a fundamental and urgent problem.

III. Active and Direct Western Intervention Outside the UN.

A. Minimum effort: Combined US-Belgian military assistance on quasi-clandestine basis designed to permit Mobutu’s forces to stop the advance of Gizenga’s troops and if possible to take Stanleyville (essentially what Bomboko has requested).

Action Required

1. Most important, Belgians must provide 100-odd officers to Mobutu on as clandestine a basis as possible.

2. US must provide financial and material support.

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3. Belgian-US effort must be closely coordinated in the field.

4. US must give Belgium at least tacit support and cover in UN for their part of the operation.

5. A strong propaganda barrage against UAR and USSR intervention to cover and justify our own action.


1. Such action could save situation from complete breakdown in next one-or two-month period.


1. Harmful effects on our posture in UN and with Afro-Asians.

2. Could call forth an intensification of Soviet and UAR intervention, on their side, which might require our proceeding to next sub-alternative.

B. Intermediate effort: More overtbilateral Western military assistance to Kasavubu, but short of direct involvement of American personnel. Purpose would be to defeat Gizenga forces and help Kasavubu Government to establish its authority in entire Congo.

Action Required

1. Same as above, but will require equipment and training officers who can reorganize CNA over a longer period.

2. US must take leading role in cooperative Western endeavor.


1. If it worked, could put our friends solidly in power in Congo.


1. Would put us in clear opposition to UN and probably require abandonment of UN effort.

2. Could create long-term difficulties in our relations with Africans including our friends there.

3. Pro-Western Congolese leaders are weak reeds, and might not be able to exploit even a clear military advantage. Hence no guarantee of permanent political solution.

C. Direct intervention by US and Western forces. (This is clearly only a last resort possibility in answer to massive Soviet intervention.)

General Comments on Alternative III

1. Difficulty of keeping things really clandestine, especially if Belgians involved.

2. Need for effective coordination of Western efforts in all cases.

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3. Need for a strong attack on Soviet and UAR intervention for its own sake and as a cover for our activities.

4. Once we start on the road of military intervention, we may inevitably be led on to the next step.

Conclusion: Because of the time factor, we should be prepared to take at least saving action on military lines—i.e. Alternative IIIA. This can be combined with an effort to beef up the UN effort along the lines of Alternative IIA or IIB. Among the many unpleasant possibilities, this combination seems on balance the best.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 6, [cryptonym not declassified]. Ops. Secret. The original is attached to a February 2 memorandum from Acting Chief of the Africa Division Glenn Fields to Deputy Director of Plans Richard Bissell, stating that the paper was drafted by Ambassador Timberlake with the assistance of Ambassador to Belgium William Burden and the Chief of Station in Leopoldville.