106. Memorandum for the Record1


  • 40 Committee Meeting, 5 June 1975, 10:00 a.m.

Members Present: Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Henry A. Kissinger, Chairman; Deputy Secretary of Defense William P. Clements; Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Joseph J. Sisco; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General George S. Brown; and Director of Central Intelligence William E. Colby.

Also Present: Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Lt. General John Pauly, William G. Hyland, Captain Joseph Gleason (USN), and Carl Duckett

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Angola.]

Item 3—Angola

Mr. Colby explained that there were three independence movements—one supported by Mobutu and headed by Roberto, to whom we are already giving support; one headed by Savimbi, with whom we have had some contact in the past but to whom we are giving no support now; and a third, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola headed by Neto, who is receiving Soviet support. The latter also has Chipenda, who has broken with Neto. What CIA’s paper2 suggests is that we give [dollar amount not declassified] support to the second group—to Savimbi—to strengthen it.

[Page 247]

Dr. Kissinger said we don’t want to make the same mistake we did in Chile—to give money to everybody and then lose to the Communists.

Mr. Colby said that the hope was to get Roberto and Savimbi to work together.

Dr. Kissinger asked who was best for us.

Messrs. Colby, Sisco and Hyland responded: Roberto.

Mr. Colby added that his main shortcoming was that he was not in the country.

Mr. Sisco said he went along with help to Roberto, but he was concerned about the “spray tactics” in CIA’s paper, proposing to give aid to several individuals. We should realize that the [dollar amount not declassified] would not be the end, that Savimbi would be back for more and want arms. We are for Roberto and believe that he will come out on top.

Dr. Kissinger asked if all were for Roberto. He explained that he had asked for papers from State, and instead of policy statements or recommendations he only got a weeping response.3

Mr. Sisco acknowledged that there was some division within the African Bureau, but that he and Mr. Hyland had gone over this recently and there was agreement that Roberto was likely to come out on top.

Dr. Kissinger said that if we wanted Roberto to win, why didn’t we work with Mobutu—he’s ruthless and will get the job done.

Mr. Colby said that it was the Agency’s belief that he was erratic lately.

Dr. Kissinger asked what our policy was. He explained that he had asked State for policy papers but that they would not give him an opinion. He was of the impression that they were saying not to do anything.

Mr. Sisco said he thought that might be the best course—that everything is going our way so we don’t need to do anything.

Dr. Kissinger said they don’t say anything. We have Kaunda telling us that Savimbi is going to win; the Portuguese Left is backing Neto; Mobutu wants Roberto. We can concede; not do anything and let nature take its course.

Mr. Sisco said that was close to his view. Angola is not of great importance.

Dr. Kissinger said we can’t let the Communists win there.

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Mr. Hyland said we were supporting Roberto and that Mobutu would not allow the Communists to take over.

Dr. Kissinger asked if we did not care what happened in Angola. If we do, is [dollar amount not declassified] enough for Roberto? And what else can we do?

Mr. Hyland said we could give arms.

Mr. Clements asked how.

Mr. Hyland said through Mobutu.

Mr. Sisco said that our diplomatic involvement is not to recommend help for Roberto. Our diplomatic posture is hands off.

Dr. Kissinger says that stands to reason, but what does Roberto need and are we doing enough? Does he need our organizational help?

Mr. Colby said that if you are talking about people, he would have to get them through Mobutu—that we should not try to use Americans.

Dr. Kissinger asked if Mobutu would know how to do it.

Mr. Colby replied that he had done it before and would be able to do it again.

Mr. Hyland said that what we have now is a civil war.

Dr. Kissinger said we would have to take a position. What is going to happen in Angola?

Mr. Hyland said that this fall someone will be dominant, but that Mobutu would not allow Neto to take over.

Dr. Kissinger said we needed to complete the NSSM.4

Mr. Colby said the issue was whether we helped Savimbi.

Dr. Kissinger said we were involved here. Didn’t someone tell him he would be welcome to visit the U.S.?

Mr. Hyland said that he walked into the Embassy and said he would like to come to the U.S. and asked for arms.

Dr. Kissinger said yes, but didn’t someone tell him he would be well received here?

Mr. Sisco said he doubted it. The judgment is Roberto versus Savimbi.

Dr. Kissinger said the proposal is to give money to Savimbi in order to get into contact with him and to support Roberto if we don’t want Neto to win. We need to finish the NSSM. If they took six weeks they wouldn’t come up with anything different. Let’s get it in next week. Then we can determine what our interest is. By early July we will have a position.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Angola.]

  1. Source: National Security Council, Ford Administration Intelligence Files, 40 Committee Meetings. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. Not found.
  3. An apparent reference to a May 7 briefing memorandum in which the Department advised against direct involvement. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 102, Geopolitical File, Angola Chronological File)
  4. Reference is to NSSM 224 and its response, Documents 105 and 109.