The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The General Editor and the staff of the Office of the Historian, plan, research, select, and edit the volumes in the series. Official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991. A new statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.). The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, Volume XXIII, Congo, 1960–1968

This volume is part of a Foreign Relations subseries that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of President Lyndon B. Johnson. However, this volume also includes documentation on U.S. foreign policy toward Congo-Léopoldville during the administrations of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. It is therefore a retrospective, composite volume, which covers U.S. policy in Congo-Léopoldville from March 1960 until December 1968. It should [Page IV] be read as a supplement to Foreign Relations, 1958–1960, Volume XIV, Africa, and Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, Volume XX, Congo Crisis. Both volumes provide thorough and detailed coverage of overt U.S. policy toward Congo-Léopoldville during the 1960–1963 period including: U.S. support for UN intervention; diplomatic efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution of the Katanga secessions; and U.S. efforts to promote stability, install a pro-Western regime and limit Soviet influence. The volumes did not, however, contain documentation of the U.S. covert political action program. There were also no records in the two volumes concerning U.S. planning and preparation for the possible assassination of Patrice Lumumba. At the time these volumes were published, Department of State historians had no access to sensitive records still in the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In 1991, however, Congressional legislation was passed and signed into law that affirmed the Foreign Relations series “shall be a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity” and required U.S. Government departments and agencies to provide Department of State historians with “full and complete access to the records pertinent to United States foreign policy decisions and actions.” Department of State historians were therefore able to conduct comprehensive research on the U.S. role in covertly shaping, influencing and implementing U.S. foreign policy for this volume.

Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, Volume XXIII, Congo, was originally conceived as a volume documenting U.S. policy during the Johnson administration. However, in March 1997 the Department of State Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation called into question the completeness and accuracy of the previously released Eisenhower and Kennedy volumes on this topic. At the Committee’s suggestion, the Office of the Historian delayed publication of this volume to incorporate all relevant material regarding U.S. covert actions missing in the earlier volumes. This volume consists of a selection of the most significant of those previously unavailable documents.

The first part of the volume, covering 1960 to 1963, contains numerous CIA cables to and from the Station in Léopoldville, which document the chaotic nature of the Congo crisis and the pervasive influence of U.S. Government covert actions in the newly independent nation. They also provide the analysis that is at the core of policy formulation with regard to covert action. A significant portion of this intelligence information is presented in editorial notes, in an effort to release as much of the pertinent information as possible given the extensive declassification challenges. Covert political action was only one part of U.S. policy during this period and must be viewed within the broader context. Thus, this portion of the volume is not intended to stand on its [Page V] own and should be used in conjunction with Foreign Relations, 1958–1960, Volume XIV, Africa, and Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, Volume XX, Congo Crisis, in order to gain a comprehensive picture of U.S. policy toward Congo-Léopoldville during this period.

The second part of the volume, covering 1964 to 1968, documents the continuation of the U.S. covert political action programs and their role in providing paramilitary and air support to the Congolese Government in an effort to quell provincial rebellions. While CIA cables are an important component of the documentation, other agency positions are represented in cables, memoranda, memoranda of conversation, and analytical papers. This documentation illustrates a gradual shift in policy to engage other nations in the stabilization of Congo-Léopoldville, including the joint U.S.-Belgian rescue of European and U.S. hostages during Operation Dragon Rouge and the efforts of the Department of State to convince other nations, including Belgium and members of the Organization of African Unity, to support the Congo-Léopoldville Government and condemn outside interference. Additionally, this portion documents efforts by the Department of State, National Security Council, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense, and CIA to abandon the ad hoc approach to U.S. relations that characterized the earlier period and develop a more strategic, long-term approach.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The documents are reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents within the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the original text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume. Spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and place names are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the documents are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type.

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Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). For this volume, where possible, the editors have used bracketed insertions to indicate names, titles, or agencies in place of cryptonyms that are not declassified. When this is not possible, the amount and nature of classified material is indicated by the number of lines or pages of text that were omitted. In some cases, when more than one individual whose name cannot be declassified is discussed in the body of a document, they have been designated by the editors as “[Identity 1],” [Identity 2],” etc. for clarity. The identity designation of a specific individual is valid for a single document only, and is not consistent throughout the volume. An individual designated as “[Identity1]” in Document 1, for example, may be referred to as “[Identity 2]” in subsequent documents. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed with headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the original text are so identified in footnotes.

The first footnote to each document indicates the source of the document, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. In addition, this volume also contains editorial notes that summarize extensively redacted documents in order to provide narrative cohesion. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. Although the Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of individual volumes in [Page VII] the series, it does monitor the overall process and makes recommendations on particular problems that come to its attention.

Because of the history and significance of this volume, the Advisory Committee offered advice throughout its lengthy preparation and took the unusual step of delegating a member to review the final manuscript. Although the committee appreciates that some documentation remains classified and does not appear in the volume, it assesses the volume as a reliable guide to the trajectory of U.S. policy toward the Congo from 1960 until 1968 and an exceptionally valuable addition to the historical record. Accordingly, the committee recommended its publication.

Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in 22 U.S.C. 4353, and Executive Orders 12356, 12958 and 13526 on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State and other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government. The declassification review of this volume began in 1994 and was finally completed in 2013. It resulted in the decision to withhold 4 documents in full, excise a paragraph or more in 12 documents, and make excisions of less than a paragraph in 222 documents.

As a result of the sui generis nature of this volume, it has undergone an extensive and prolonged declassification review and appeals process. The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the documentation, annotation, and editorial notes presented here provide a broadly accurate account of the main lines of U.S. policy toward Congo-Léopoldville from 1960 until 1968.


The editors would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Historical Staff of the Center for the Study of Intelligence who assisted Nina D. Howland and Harriet D. Schwar in the collection of materials for this volume. The editors extend sincere appreciation to the Foreign Relations Coordination Staff and the National Clandestine Service Declassification reviewer at the Central Intelligence Agency for providing assistance to the Office of the Historian and sustained collegial cooperation [Page VIII] for a period of years during the production of this volume. The editors would like to thank Cherie Andrews and Patricia Rosendale for their hard work and dedication to the composition and layout of Foreign Relations volumes for more than a decade. Nina D. Howland selected and annotated the documentation under the general supervision of Harriet D. Schwar and the then General Editors of the Foreign Relations series, Glen LaFantasie and, later, David S. Patterson. David C. Humphrey streamlined the volume, wrote editorial notes, and expanded footnotes. Edward C. Keefer, who succeeded Patterson as General Editor, worked extensively on negotiating declassification decisions. David Herschler, Kerry Hite, David Geyer, Susan C. Weetman and Carl E. Ashley coordinated the declassification review. Do Mi Stauber prepared the index.

Stephen P. Randolph, Ph.D.
The Historian

Bureau of Public Affairs
December 2013