191. Draft Paper Prepared in the Department of State1


Description of Operations

Generally speaking, Africa has been a relatively new area for CIA covert action operations. Although the Agency has been in some African countries for quite some time, the expansion of CAS capabilities corresponds roughly with State expansion on the continent—the buildup has occurred largely since 1960. Moreover the Agency started from scratch in most countries, laboring under the handicap of the visibility of the white man, few natural cover opportunities [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], and language and cultural differences. [4 lines of source text not declassified]

The Agency’s AF Division has operated under a philosophy of building carefully and solidly. It has been conservative rather than aggressive as regards political action. Its development of assets has been hampered by the relatively unsophisticated character of many of the African bureaucracies and political leaders with whom it has had to deal. The maintenance of security in particular has posed a considerable problem. However, it is to be noted that the Agency’s experience with a number of Africans with whom it has maintained a clandestine relationship appears to be excellent.

[1 paragraph (11 lines of source text) not declassified]

Developments in Africa have forced the pace of covert operations. [2 lines of source text not declassified] The instability of other African states, notably in East Africa, and the evidence of Soviet bloc and Chinese Communist inroads also argued for covert measures on our part. The Agency has been responsive to these requirements. However, there have been indications from time to time that it has done so under forced draft. This is to say that the Agency is not, as some might believe, overflowing with resources and raring to go. On several occasions Agency representatives have alluded to the difficulty of finding the right man for the job. Priorities and limitation of resources have been cited as precluding the opening of new stations.

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In general the maintenance of security is closely related to the type and size of the operation. [1 line of source text not declassified] This was recognized but nevertheless agreed to because of the needs of the situation. So long as the Agency must engage in paramilitary operations there is a significant element of visibility. The Agency is also wary of crash operations because of the high security risk.

Principal Operations in 1964

[Heading and 5 paragraphs (18 lines of source text) not declassified]


Covert support for non violent activities of the Angolan Nationalist Movement.

[1 paragraph (1 line of source text) not declassified]

Purpose: To provide covert support to selected individuals and activities of the Angolan nationalist movement in order to develop checks to extremist/communist elements within the movement and to exercise some control over the movement’s programs and planning.

[1 paragraph (5 lines of source text) not declassified]

Problems: The program of support to the Angolan Nationalist was a controversial one within the Department, AF strongly supporting the proposal and EUR opposing it. Other considerations bearing on the proposal was the factionalism and in fighting within the Provisional Angolan Government (GRAE).

Accomplishments: [1-½ lines of source text not declassified] The proposed $20,000 of covert support to moderate leaders was deferred for further justification. In fact it was never approved. In August 1964 another proposal for covert support to Angolan nationalist leaders, [1 line of source text not declassified] came before the 303 Committee after having been the subject of protracted discussion on the “Seventh Floor.” At the request of Mr. McCone consideration of the proposal was deferred pending clarification of the Congo situation. It was never revived.

The sums provided to LGTA and UNEA probably served to reassure Holden Roberto of the U.S. favorable attitude. However, his ebbing fortunes since that time and his pressing problems as a result of Tshombe’s attitude toward him have tended to put GRAE in the shadows.


Support of Congolese Government

[1 paragraph (5 lines of source text) not declassified]

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Purpose: To support the legitimate Congolese Government in the hopes of bringing stability to the Congo and frustrating Communist efforts.

[8 paragraphs (11 lines of source text) not declassified]

Accomplishments: Covert assistance enabled Adoula [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to buy the support of political and military leaders.

Efforts to develop a national party never got very far. Tshombe has also used covert funds to buy the support of political leaders and tribal chiefs. He has not drawn down funds to pay mercenaries, however.

Problems: From the outset the Congo operation has had to cope with successive crises on a crash basis. The very nature of the problem has meant that great reliance had to be placed on close coordination between the Ambassador and the Station Chief in the expenditure of funds. Both Ambassadors Gullion and Godley appear to have had confidence in the CIA Station Chief and in his conduct of operations. Although courses of action have frequently been discussed between representatives of the Department and CIA, the bulk of the day to day operational decisions were taken in the field without reference to the Department. A legitimate question is whether the wholesale buying of political [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] leaders is a sound basis for establishing a stable government. In the Congo there appears to have been no feasible alternative.

[9 headings and 49 paragraphs (8 pages of source text) not declassified]

Bureaucratic Process of Formulating and Approving Operations

Proposals for covert operations arise from consultations in the field between CAS and the Ambassador, CIA and the Department, generally in the context of discussions between representatives of CIA and representatives of AF and INR/DDC, or from an initiative of CIA. The larger number of proposals are spawned in the field. The fewest from CIA initiative. In the latter category are proposals for an airline, for instance, or other operations which derive from a requirement more particular to the Agency.

Consonant with the responsibility placed by NSC 5412 on the Director of Central Intelligence to carry out covert operations and the operational know how which reposes in CIA/DDP it is the Agency which formulates and drafts the proposal for consideration by the 303 Committee. It is the responsibility of the Agency to get political guidance from the Department. As a practical matter informal guidance is obtained by the Agency during the consultations with the geographic bureaus and INR/DDC and, in the field, with the Chief of Mission. In the case of major projects a formal proposal is submitted to the 303 Committee, with INR/DDC staffing out the proposal with the bureaus concerned before presentation [Page 293] to the Deputy Under Secretary of State, the Department’s representative on the 303 Committee.

Following the approval of a proposal by the 303 Committee there is frequent supplementary guidance provided by the Department or the chief of mission in regard to policy questions which may arise during the course of implementation of the operation. In Washington, guidance requests are addressed to INR/DDC or come up during the course of meetings between representatives of CIA and of the geographic bureau. The guidance is generally formalized by a memorandum to the Agency prepared by INR/DDC. In fast moving situations, however, as in the acute states of successive crises in the Congo, guidance may flow from meetings chaired by the Under Secretary for Political Affairs or from the head of a task force or working group organized to handle the crisis. These are exceptions to the general rule, however, resulting from the need for rapid action.

The Defense Department is represented on the 303 Committee and, therefore, votes on proposals submitted to that group. Should proposals involve a Defense interest, Defense would be consulted in the formulation stage. In the African area Defense considerations have generally involved technical and operational matters. Therefore the coordination has been done by the Agency directly with Defense. It has occurred, however, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] that Defense has sat in on meetings where the use of military force was discussed.

One final word might be said regarding the discussions carried on by AF and INR/DDC with representatives of CIA/DDP. Although the regular weekly meetings at the Deputy Assistant Secretary level are held primarily to consider covert action, they frequently turn to discussions of other matters, for example, estimates of situations, exchange of information on developments, expressions of interest by the bureau in obtaining more intelligence about a particular problem, and CAS personnel and administration. These contacts provide an excellent forum for CIA to get the feel of the Bureau’s thinking on policy matters and for the Department’s representatives to get CIA appreciation of developments.

  1. Source: Department of State, INR Historical Files, Africa General, 1967–1968. Secret; Sensitive. No drafting information appears on the source text. The source text contains minor handwritten revisions and corrections, but there is no indication who made them. The most important of them is the title, to which was added: “IN THE AF AREA.” All the changes have been incorporated into the text printed here.
  2. Documentation on Congo is in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XXIII.