119. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Zaire1

172996. Subject: Zaire Aid Package. References: (A) Kinshasa 6755, (B) Kinshasa 6798.2 For Vance from the Secretary.

We will provide you with the information you asked for regarding transportation and other costs within 24 hours if possible.
I would suggest that you proceed as follows: first, put together a package based on the highest priority items which is in the dols 6 million range. Bear in mind that political action and other programs come out of that total, and CIA estimates transportation can add 25–50 percent to cost. (Your figure of dols 1,200,000 for 5000 M–16s is about half the cost our preliminary estimates show. You should also consider cost of spare parts, etc.)
Secondly, put together a package based essentially on Mobutu program as reported in Kinshasa’s 6798 and bring that back as well. In the meantime, we will be costing it out. In any event, we will have to look quickly at both programs and assess the impact.
Mobutu has been given a [dollar amount not declassified] dollar starter; he knows there are dols [dollar amount not declassified] additionally available if we consider the program realistic. You should tell Mobutu, that if he has some other program in mind which is realistic and offers prospect of success, we will consider it. You should avoid getting into specific figures.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P840178–1901. Secret; Cherokee; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Sisco and approved by Kissinger.
  2. In telegram 6755 from Kinshasa, July 22, Vance recounted his meeting with Mobutu and listed the President’s requests for military hardware. A note on the telegram reads: “General Scowcroft has seen.” In telegram 6798 from Kinshasa, July 22, Vance stated, “What Mobutu wants is for us to replace with U.S. equipment the equipment for all ten battalions which he is sending to Angola from his own reserve and regular forces.” A note on the telegram reads: “General Scowcroft has seen.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Africa, Box 7, Zaire)