82. Memorandum for the Special Group1


  • Covert Action in the Congo

1. Problem: To strengthen the Central Government of the Congo (GOC) under President Kasavubu by assisting members of the present government to obtain a working majority in the Congolese Parliament which the GOC is planning to reconvene at an early date.

2. Assumptions: It is assumed that it is in our interest to insure the parliamentary victory of individuals in the present government of the Congo to prevent the Lumumba/Gizenga forces of the Stanleyville regime from gaining power in the Congo through legal means.

3. Facts and Discussion: The GOC has announced that Parliament will be reconvened at an early date to consider the resolutions of the Round Table Conference which has been meeting at Coquilhatville. The GOC has also announced publicly that a government headed by Joseph Ileo will be submitted for parliamentary approval at that time.

While a parliamentary victory of individuals in the present GOC will not eliminate all the major problems facing the country, the victory of certain members of the government will be essential to permit an approach to the long-term solutions of these problems. More vigorous action by members of the GOC in this regard is required to offset an active program of the Gizenga regime in Stanleyville to dominate Parliament when reconvened. Most recent estimates indicate that Ileo could probably muster 51 votes out of a total of 136 in the Chamber, and probably 31 votes out of a total of 83 in the Senate. Taking into consideration [Page 110] current trends, it appears that Ileo will have difficulty in obtaining a vote of confidence if the Gizenga forces attend.

4. Conclusions: It is concluded that steps should be taken to support key individuals in the GOC in their efforts to obtain a working majority in the Congolese Parliament. If these individuals fail to obtain parliamentary control, there is a real danger that the country will fall under domination of the Gizenga/Stanleyville regime.

5. Action Recommended: It is recommended that the following actions, which have been proposed by our Leopoldville representative with the concurrence of the Chief of Mission, be authorized to support key, friendly elements of the Congo government in their efforts to obtain a parliamentary majority:

a. Attempt to convince leaders of the GOC coalition to agree in advance on candidates for key ministerial positions and on a platform for action that will hold Congo-wide appeal.

b. Urge the GOC leaders to select 10 to 15 Parliamentarians to serve as whips to swing certain selected deputies into line behind the GOC coalition. If pressure is not sufficient, these whips or other reliable contacts will be directed to utilize other methods, such as outright payments of money, promises of foreign travel, scholarships, etc. as required for particular deputies. Funds will also be provided to GOC coalition leaders themselves to enable them to invite selected Parliamentarians to their houses for political discussions.

c. Reliable contacts will be used to influence youth groups, trade unions and tribal organizations to contact and persuade Parliamentary deputies, over whom they may have some measure of control, to line up with the GOC coalition. In this regard, funds may be used to induce regional political, labor union, or other leaders not in Leopoldville to put pressure on deputies from their respective regions. Funds can also be expended to bring key regional leaders to Leopoldville from the provinces to influence deputies from their area or tribe.

d. Demonstrations by youth groups can be organized to support personalities and policies of the developing GOC coalition.

e. Funds may be utilized to discourage the possible shift of allegiances to the Gizenga forces. [3½ lines not declassified]

6. No action is to be taken, prior to the opening of Parliament, which could reveal to Gizenga that his attendance and negotiations for reintegration of his areas would be fruitless. The program under discussion should be envisaged as aid [less than 1 line not declassified] in organizing a government which will have the allegiance of all areas of the Congo and be controlled by the moderates. If Gizenga does not attend Parliament and maintains his present separate position, no special program such as outlined above is needed and none should be launched. [Page 111] In this contingency it is expected that highly discreet actions on a much reduced basis would be considered on their merits as opportunities arise. If he attends, the program should be limited day to day to those actions which are required to achieve the above goals. It is not assumed that an all-out effort will be needed; it may be, but activity should rise by escalation, on a strict need-for basis. Extreme care should be taken to avoid prejudicing the future effectiveness of the politicians to be aided.

7. It is recommended that a maximum of [dollar amount not declassified] be authorized for this program if Gizenga attends and it appears this amount can be usefully spent. If expenditures of this magnitude are required in FY 1961, it will be necessary to draw on [less than 1 line not declassified]. If the large-scale program is delayed until FY 1962, or a limited program is possible, funds are available within existing allocations.2

  1. Source: National Security Council, Intelligence Files, Congo, 1960–1965. Secret; Eyes Only. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. The political action program outlined in the memorandum was developed by the Station in Leopoldville at the CIA’s request and then presented to the Department of State in a memorandum drafted in CIA on May 29. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 76–00366R, DDO/ISG Files, Box 1, Folder 10, [text not declassified], 1961–62) Following talks between CIA and the Department of State, the latter submitted its views on the proposed program to CIA in writing. The views were incorporated into the June 5 memorandum to the Special Group and were transmitted to Leopoldville by CIA in telegram 43140, June 2. (Ibid., Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 7, [cryptonym not declassified] Ops) Both the CIA in its May 29 memorandum and the Department of State in its written comments indicated that they favored Cyrille Adoula for the position of prime minister. Regarding Antoine Gizenga, the Department of State commented that given the choice between his continuing to control a separated Orientale and gaining admission to the central government, the latter appeared to be the lesser evil, but neither he nor his radical lieutenants should obtain a politically sensitive ministry.
  2. On June 6, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Wayne Fredericks sent a memorandum to Under Secretary of State Bowles recommending that he support the covert action program proposed by the Agency, subject to the following conditions: 1) Gizenga’s faction should be represented in the government, although not with any sensitive position; 2) no effort should be spared to protect the security of this extremely delicate operation; and 3) the Department had to be kept currently informed of the development of the program. (National Security Council, Intelligence Files, Special Group, Minutes and Approvals, 1961)