107. Central Intelligence Agency Intelligence Information Cable1

TDFIR DB–315/06549–75


  • Angola/Zaire


  • 28 May 1975


  • Private Meeting between UNITA President Savimbi and Zairian President Mobutu


  • [less than 1 line not declassified]


  • [1½ lines not declassified]


  • [less than 1 line not declassified]
Dr. Jonas Savimbi, President of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), met privately with Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko in Kinshasa on 28 May 1975 to discuss the situation in Angola. Mobutu said he had appreciated Savimbi’s assessment of the Angolan situation, presented during their joint meeting with Holden Roberto, leader of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), and that this assessment more closely corresponds to the independent reports which Mobutu receives. Mobutu said he believes that FNLA leaders inside Angola are not accurately reporting the situation to Roberto, and Mobutu no longer trusts these reports. He said he was aware that Savimbi regularly briefed Presidents Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and he, Mobutu, would like to be included on these briefings. Savimbi agreed.
Mobutu raised the subject of Roberto’s failure to return to Angola, saying that Roberto feared he would be assassinated. Savimbi replied that if there are elections in November, Roberto must return to Angola soon or face the accusation that he is a coward which will thwart any election chances of the FNLA. Mobutu said that Johnny Eduardo Pinnock, the FNLA Presidential Council representative, had [Page 250] tried to convince Roberto to return to Angola but without success. Mobutu asked for Savimbi’s assessment of Eduardo, and Savimbi praised Eduardo’s leadership abilities. (Source Comment: Savimbi believes that Mobutu may be looking for a replacement for Roberto as the FNLA leader and that Eduardo is a potential candidate if Roberto refuses to enter Angola.)
In discussing recent developments in Angola, Mobutu said he does not want a civil war there. He believes that the Soviet Union would heavily support the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in a civil war. Mobutu asserted that the Zairian economy cannot support an armed struggle against the supply capability of the USSR, nor does he believe that the West would support the moderates in a struggle of this type. Therefore, a civil war would probably bring to power a Communist government in Angola which would be against the national interests of Zaire.
Mobutu said that although he and Savimbi had had disagreements, he believes that Savimbi’s initiatives are the best alternative to civil war. He stated that Kaunda and Nyerere also believe in Savimbi as the only force which can save Angola. Mobutu said he wants regular contact with Savimbi and that, although the Zairian economy is in serious trouble, he would find some financial support for him. It was then that Savimbi agreed again to return to Kinshasa for regular meetings with Mobutu. Mobutu said he would soon be able to advise Savimbi more specifically of the support which the Zairian Government could provide. Mobutu claimed he had terminated his assistance to the FNLA; but said that FNLA forces had been well armed by the Chinese.
[less than 1 line not declassified] Savimbi was pleased with the turn of events in Kinshasa between himself and Mobutu; however, he does not fully understand nor trust Mobutu’s motives. He will probably again see Mobutu secretly during his 10 June visit to Kinshasa and believes that he will be in a better position to assess Mobutu’s new approach to him at that time. Savimbi suspects that there has been some kind of a breach between Mobutu and Roberto. Savimbi said he had, in strictest confidence, briefed the Zambian Prime Minister and the Secretary General of Zambia’s ruling party, UNIP, on the substance of his discussions with Mobutu.)
[1½ lines not declassified]
  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 102, Geopolitical File, Angola Chronological File. Secret; No Foreign Dissem; Controlled Dissem.