115. Memorandum for the Record1


  • 40 Committee Meeting, 14 July 1975, 10:30 AM

Members Present: Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Henry A. Kissinger; Deputy Secretary of Defense William P. Clements; Under Secretary of State Joseph Sisco; Assistant to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt. General John W. Pauly; Director of Central Intelligence William E. Colby.

Also Present: Director of INR William Hyland; Deputy Director of CIA William Nelson; Chief, Africa Division, CIA, James M. Potts. Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Lt. General Brent Scowcroft arrived late and was in and out during the meeting.

Kissinger: Is Nat Davis going to be here?

Sisco: I don’t know. Was he invited?

Ratliff: Mr. McAfee told me he might attend.

Sisco: I don’t invite people.

Kissinger: Well, he’s not here. I just wanted to be sure that he was invited.

Sisco: It’s his area and he should have been.

Colby: (Briefed on current situation in Angola, using maps and charts.)2 [less than 1 line not declassified] Mobutu [less than 1 line not declassified]complained that in spite of Vance’s promises, no substantial aid had been forthcoming.

Kissinger: What is our Consul General doing? Just going around wringing his hands?

Hyland: He is following the overt line; he can’t talk about covert action because he doesn’t know about it.

Kissinger: I don’t want our people giving Africans any lectures on non-violence, on love and brotherhood—lectures which to them will be nonsensical, which will sound insane to them.

Is there any question that Neto is trying to knock off the others?

Colby: None, although his main thrust now is against Roberto.

[Page 277]

What is the estimate of the outcome?

Colby: The options are outlined on these charts.

Kissinger: We don’t have time for Option Two.3 How much time do we have?

Colby: Some. Neto is on the offensive, but we’ve not yet seen Mobuto’s full reaction.

Kissinger: How much time to get something in?

Colby: Dollars won’t take much time; arms from Mobutu likewise. If we are talking about the physical shipment of arms from elsewhere we are talking about weeks to months. The key is the arrival of Phase One dollar aid which would have immediate impact.

Kissinger: How long would it take to ship arms?

Nelson: Two to three months.

Colby: It would take less time if we use arms from Mobutu.

Clements: Will he release arms?

Nelson: Yes, if we agree to replace them.

Clements: Where would they come in?

Nelson: At this port (pointing to map) which is really in Zaire.

Kissinger: Will the Soviets match our effort quickly?

Colby: They can respond, yes.

Clements: I’ve been away. What did Mobutu say to the man4 we sent to talk to him?

Kissinger: He expressed his extreme concern, and an eagerness for cooperative action.

Clements: If we channel aid through him is it going to go where we want?

Kissinger/Colby: 80%.

Kissinger: It is strategically important to him.

Clements: If Mobutu is willing to help, I am in complete accord with the [dollar amount not declassified] package which would include small arms.

Colby: We should do Phase One immediately to show that we are serious.

Clements: Time is important.

[Page 278]

Kissinger: You cite 69 C–141 flights, but what could we do intelligently?

Colby: Send five or six plane loads.

Kissinger: That plus two a week thereafter?

Colby: Yes, we could keep something going that way.

Kissinger: I would like to see a schedule on that.

(To Sisco) Do you agree?

Sisco: No. I do not think that our interests in Angola are significant enough to warrant covert action. It is simply not important enough.

Kissinger: You’re willing to let it go Communist?

Sisco: Yes.

Kissinger: And Zaire?

Sisco: I’m not so sure that would happen. I’m just not sure that covert action would help.

Kissinger: Well, we will never know if we don’t try.

Sisco: (To Hyland) You have views on this; say your piece, Bill.

Hyland: We have played around with Roberto . . .

Kissinger: Well, State is committed to see that nothing happens in Angola.

Hyland: Roberto has constantly lost strength, he is weak.

Kissinger: Why? Because we’ve not supported him.

Hyland: Roberto won’t go out into the country; he’s weak, he’s had every opportunity but has lost ground. Savimbi is stronger. Mobutu could do more if he wanted to. Roberto has only a rag-tag army.

Kissinger: How can he defeat anyone with a rag-tag army?

Hyland: He has had every opportunity to win over the years and hasn’t.

Colby: Savimbi may be better; let’s support Savimbi but don’t throw Roberto over.

Hyland: If Mobutu is so sold on him, why doesn’t he help? He could pass him $1 million.

Nelson: He is sending North Korean arms now, so he is doing something.

Kissinger: What you are saying is that the Soviets and Chinese should take action, but the U.S. should not. That’s what it comes down to.

Hyland: Our biggest asset is that we are not involved militarily. We can go and say to Africans that we are staying out and Africans can face up to the fact that it is the Communists who are sending arms.

Sisco: We are considering an aid package to Mobutu, and he can do something with that.

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Hyland: We must get Kaunda to help with arms, but it is doubtful that he will go along.

Potts: Kaunda has gone back and forth. Savimbi saw him recently and said that Kaunda said he would let arms go through.

Kissinger: How can we find out?

Colby: Ask him.

Clements: I don’t believe we should walk away from this. I don’t have the long-term background that the rest of you do, but I’ve visited this area and we can’t let the Communists just do what they want. We have Mobutu there, and we should try to help him implement his policy. Let’s get going. If we can depend upon him with a degree of reasonable expectation, then by God we should help him do it.

Kissinger: It is a question of his perception of who is behind him.

(To Hyland) You’re sophisticated enough to understand that. What he wants to know is if the U.S. is politically interested.

Hyland: He must know about the [dollar amount not declassified] to Roberto.

Kissinger: Oh, come on!

Potts: The Yugoslavs have given $1 million; the Swedes large amounts. We don’t know what amounts the Soviets have spent, but they have people there, armored personnel carriers, etc.

Colby: Let’s give dollars and let them decide what to do with it—if they want to buy arms—and this will keep Congress off our backs.

Kissinger: I’m surprised at you, Bill (Hyland). They can get involved but we can’t.

Hyland: If you do go in, you can’t use a program that will fail. That means massive intervention, and I do not think we can stand the heat in Africa.

Colby: Not if we just give money. Let’s go the funding route first. I’m scared of the Congress on this.

Kissinger: I’m scared of losing. Is anyone else? Why would Zaire break with the USSR and Yugoslavs if the U.S. will not give political support? And don’t tell me that political support is an aid package. Where do we stand?

Sisco: Disapprove.

Colby: Funds, but not arms.

Clements: Do as quickly as possible. They can use money to get their own arms. They only want small arms. We can guide them, if necessary.

Kissinger: Some of my staff argue that Mobutu is not long for this world.

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Colby: He shows signs of instability, but we can still work with him.

Kissinger: That’s no bar.

Clements: What would you get in his place? Probably something worse.

Colby: He has money problems, and the aid package could help him there.

Kissinger: If we don’t do something we are going to have a string of countries dependent upon the USSR.

Colby: The big issue is the black/white one.

Sisco: Yes.

Colby: The extremists will exacerbate this situation. We need to work with the moderate leaders.

Kissinger: Can you tactfully ask Kaunda what he will do?

Colby: He is basically sympathetic to Savimbi.

Potts: We’ll get an answer on the basis of financial support. If we promise support to Savimbi, he will agree.

Kissinger: If all the surrounding countries see Angola go Communist, they will assume that the U.S. has no will. Coming on top of Vietnam and Indochina their perception of what the U.S. can and will do will be negative. If the USSR can do something in a place so far away, what is the U.S. going to do?

Clements: We ought to do something. We’ve already taken too much time.

Kissinger: Not because of me. I tried to get something going six weeks ago.5 The President is going to do something anyway. The President noticed an item in his daily intelligence brief this morning on Angola and asked why we weren’t doing something. Brent said the bureaucracy was against it, and the President responded that he wanted to do something.

Colby: Let’s give [dollar amount not declassified] right away and maybe the full [dollar amount not declassified]over a month. We can come back to the Committee before doing anything about arms.

Kissinger: I think Vance should go to Mobutu.

Colby: I’m afraid of Congress on arms.

Clements: If we give money then they can buy arms and we won’t have to send any. We can help him a bit.

Nelson: We need to talk to Kaunda, too—he has the arms.

Kissinger: How soon could you do this?

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Colby: Right away.

Kissinger: Tell Kaunda that if he cooperates he will get money. I am sure the President will approve.

Hyland: For Roberto and Savimbi?

Colby: Yes, agree on [dollar amount not declassified] and we’ll come back if we need more.

Kissinger: The President favored [dollar amount not declassified]

Colby: I would be wary of trying that now while the House is marking up our budget. This could work against us.

Kissinger: How many committees must be briefed?

Colby: Six.

Kissinger/Sisco/Colby: Incredible!

Colby: All six know we’re giving peanuts to Roberto.

Kissinger: (To Sisco) Do me a two-page summary of why State does not approve.6 (To Colby) Reduce that chart to something I can hand to the President; add the impact issue under Unfavorable. (To Sisco) Tell Vance to be ready to go Friday.7

Hyland: The first phase of Option Three?

Potts: The [dollar amount not declassified] and we will come back for more if arms involved?

Kissinger: We need to hear from Mobutu. Must give substantial aid. Do it fast.

Clements: We want to ask him how he is going to spend it.

Kissinger: Send someone with Vance.

Colby: Certainly. [less than 1 line not declassified]

Kissinger: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Potts: We ought to deal directly with Savimbi.

Hyland: How would you do that?

Potts: We can send him a message and he will meet us outside.

Kissinger: We need a program in detail other than the funds. The working group should have this ready by Thursday—who contacts whom, when and what for. Someone will go with Vance before we send arms.

  1. Source: National Security Council, Ford Administration Intelligence Files, 40 Committee Meetings. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. Not attached.
  3. See footnote 6, Document 113.
  4. Not further identified; possibly a reference to Sheldon Vance.
  5. See Document 106.
  6. In a memorandum to Scowcroft, July 15, Sisco explained the Department of State’s opposition: “In sum: (1) we have no vital interests; (2) the risks of exposure are extreme; (3) our clients will be discredited; and (4) the results will be indecisive.” (National Security Council, Ford Administration Intelligence Files, Angola)
  7. July 18.