117. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The President
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs


  • Frank Lindsay; Angola; Zaire; Middle East

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Angola.]

Kissinger: On Angola. I favor action. If the U.S. does nothing when the Soviet-supported group gains dominance, I think all the movements will draw the conclusions that they must accommodate to the [Page 285] Soviet Union and China. I think reluctantly we must do something. But you must know that we have massive problems within the State Department. They are passionately opposed and it will leak.

President: How about Davis?

Kissinger: He will resign and take some with him.

President: After what you and I did for him.

Kissinger: I also have a problem with the Ambassador to Tanzania.2 He participated in giving the ransom for the students. I would like to recall and retire him. But you have to know there would be a major blow-up—mostly blamed on me.

Has Colby gone to Kaunda?

Scowcroft: No. He felt that he should wait for approval.

Kissinger: That is a disgrace.

[Describes the State paper of objections.]3

There isn’t one African leader who doesn’t govern by physical domination, except maybe Nigeria.

President: Does the paper recommend arms?

Kissinger: We should send Vance with [dollar amount not declassified] Then we should have Mobutu and Kaunda get together and work it out.

Without us, Neto will win. And the argument is, it doesn’t matter.

President: What are the odds if we do it?

Kissinger: We will know better when we see the Mobutu plan.

I will send you the Nat Davis paper.4

You have a Zaire economic aid package from Lynn. We would like to give a $20 million economic package for Zaire. Lynn objects because there is no economic justification. He is right, but the political considerations override. This won’t hurt us, but the covert action will.

President: I am not sure if we are opposing the Soviets, we are not right.

Kissinger: But those who rant against the Soviets won’t follow through on it.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Angola.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 282, Memoranda of Conversations, Presidential File, July 1975. Secret; Nodis. The meeting took place in the Oval Office.
  2. W. Beverly Carter, Jr.
  3. See footnote 6, Document 115. Brackets are in the original.
  4. Presumably a reference to a briefing memorandum from Davis to Sisco, July 12, in which he argued there was no “irrevocable commitment of U.S. power and prestige in Angola.” However, should the United States decide to “go in,” he proposed the effort should be massive, quick, and decisive. (National Security Council, Ford Administration Intelligence Files, Angola)