137. Memorandum for the Record1


  • 40 Committee Meeting, 14 November 1975, 3:00 p.m.

Members Present: Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Brent Scowcroft;2 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General George Brown; Director of Central Intelligence William E. Colby.

Substitute Members Present: Deputy Secretary of State Robert S. Ingersoll vice Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Sisco; Deputy Secretary of Defense for Security Assistance Lt. General H. M. Fish vice Deputy Secretary of Defense Clements.

Also Present: Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt. General W. Y. Smith and Deputy Director for Operations, CIA, William Nelson, for all items. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Edward Mulcahy; Director of the Office of Central African Affairs Walter Cutler; Chief, Africa Division, CIA, James M. Potts; and NSC Senior Staff Officer for Africa Hal Horan for Item 1. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Arthur Hartman, Country Director Robert Barbour, and Chief, Europe Division, CIA, William Wells for Items 2–4.


Scowcroft: Bill—

Colby: (Briefed on Angola)3

Scowcroft: What about the South Africans?

Colby: It looks now as if they will stay in for awhile.

[Page 337]

Potts: They have been worried [1½ lines not declassified] has been pushing for them to pull out and use mercenaries. The South Africans have put their own units in with armor and done the actual fighting.

Nelson: They are worried about casualties.

Potts: They are also worried about air defense.

Fish: Are there reports that the South Africans did some bombing of Luanda?

Potts: That was on the 10th of November.

Fish: What did they do?

Potts: They were trying to disperse rocket units.

Fish: What did they use?

Potts: Eighteen 1,000-pound bombs.

Horan: But it didn’t work.

Potts: That was a one-time final gesture as they prepared to withdraw. They also provided two 25-pound guns.

Scowcroft: I gather you think the tide is going to turn back toward the MPLA with new Soviet equipment and Cubans.

Colby: The number of Cubans there is a new factor and the possibility of air support being introduced creates an entirely new picture. What we’d like to get the group’s approval of—subject to OMB scrubbing of the dollar amounts before it goes to the President—is for an additional [dollar amount not declassified] sending Redeye missiles; a crash effort on the political front; keep the South Africans involved; work on the Soviets to get out—a direct approach.

Scowcroft: That last is a dream, isn’t it?

Colby: Probably, but serious political efforts by us and other Africans to get them out might have some effect.

Scowcroft: Before we tackle the [dollar amount not declassified] what do we want to do? The paper by the working group4 says that we’ve accomplished our objective and should now work for a military disengagement.

Potts: The other side has got us to a level where we can’t cope.

Scowcroft: It is the same story as last year. We have done a successful job. Now, would dollars help? What ought we to do? And [dollar amount not declassified] won’t do it, will it, Bill?

Colby: Not really.

Scowcroft: What do we need?

Potts: First, what our allies are asking for. Mobutu wanted 15 aircraft by the end of the month. We’ve been fighting in small units and [Page 338] the side with the long-range weapons has dominated in every fight. MIGs will be a new factor and be a big psychological blow. The Redeye missiles would help there.

Scowcroft: Are MIGs there?

Colby: Possibly. We have reports.

Scowcroft: Do we know where they are based?

Colby: In the Congo.

Scowcroft: And will they be used from there?

Potts: No, Luanda. [less than 1 line not declassified] the MIGs but we have reports [less than 1 line not declassified]

Scowcroft: An alternative would be to send a team in and take them out on the ground. That would be effective and less expensive.

Fish: Yes, and they are only 15 miles from Kinshasa.

Potts: Well, the problem is that we have to deal with the local people. We can’t get them to go in and do anything. They talk about it, and they say they are willing but nothing has been done. So when we talk about a team, we would need something better than we have. The working group’s first consideration was to try to get the MIGs before they became operational.

Colby: We need to stir up the African countries and to get them involved.

Mulcahy: We might get Amin.

Ingersoll: He’s called an OAU meeting, but we don’t know what about yet.

Scowcroft: Maybe we should send Moynihan to talk with him.

Colby: We’ve got to get the Africans involved.

Ingersoll: We’ve done this on the recognition issue.

Colby: We ought to send someone to talk with them.

Brown: Bill, aren’t there any Portuguese we can use as a force?

Potts: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Colby: Even if we take the planes out, we are in a no-win position—just buying time.

Brown: If MIGs are there, they will have a dramatic effect. If we tried to take them out air-to-air it could take a couple of years.

Colby: [1½ lines not declassified]

Potts: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Fish: Isn’t he expecting some Mirages?

Potts: Mobutu wants them for a parade, but they are in Bordeaux, so he may not get them soon.

Nelson: If you are talking about a ground raid, you are talking about a lot of work. Lots of planning and training has to be done, and we don’t have the assets to conduct such an operation now.

[Page 339]

Scowcroft: Well, what is feasible—something more feasible than sending 15 aircraft to Zaire? The Redeye would make a difference.

Colby: Even that would really be short term. We might knock one or two down and it would have an effect.

Brown: Is the U.S. label on this equipment still a problem?

Fish: You know, the British Blowpipe is about the same as our Redeye. We could buy some from them.

Potts: [1 line not declassified]

Fish: South Africans?

Potts: Political dynamite.

Fish: The Israelis have the Strellas. They have about 100 to 200. We wouldn’t need more than 50 or so.

Ingersoll: Can they handle those?

Fish: Yes. They can be fired by two-man teams, easy to use.

Potts: Well, we don’t need to get the Israelis in. We are trying to maintain our influence, and if we get the Israelis in, too, it would make more trouble.

Brown: The Israelis don’t need to go in. We can just buy them from them and ship them in.

Fish: We can fly them down.

Colby: What is the advantage over the Redeye?

Fish: Non-U.S.

Brown: Do we care?

Fish: We have agreements about not spreading them around.

Ingersoll: But we haven’t agreed not to put them in Africa.

Colby: [1½ lines not declassified]

Scowcroft: [1 line not declassified] We have the momentum now and the question is, how do we keep it up?

Colby: I think we’ve not yet seen the Cuban effect.

Scowcroft: What can we do?

Colby: It is a big African problem, and we ought to get them to take action. Another [dollar amount not declassified] won’t solve the problem.

Scowcroft: I’m not sure that an African political effort will work either.

Colby: It might do some good to get them to try to get out the Soviets and Cubans.

Ingersoll: What’s the lever?

Colby: Africa for Africa—no foreigners.

Fish: Self interest.

Nelson: The Africans haven’t said much about U.S. or South African intervention.

[Page 340]

Scowcroft: Any political power over the Soviet Union must be limited.

Ingersoll: We’re not in a good position.

Colby: It may be our best.

Scowcroft: Why would the USSR walk away now?

Colby: Because all of Africa wants them out.

Scowcroft: I don’t see that being worth much.

Colby: I can’t contest that.

Ingersoll: Eight states have already recognized the MPLA.

Horan: There’s the report of Nigeria’s refusal to allow the Soviet Union landing rights. Nyerere would want to know what was going on; Amin has broken with the USSR—so it is not all hopeless.

Scowcroft: That’s right. State should push, but that should not be the only string in the bow.

Ingersoll: We should go ahead with the [dollar amount not declassified]

Colby: On page 5 (referring to a working group paper which had not been distributed to the Committee principals—a report: “Working Group on Angola,” 13 November 1975, Working Group Paper No. 92)5 we are talking about what would be needed—[less than 1 line of text not declassified]

Scowcroft: Most of this deals with response to the MIGs.

Colby: Here’s what you’ve got to counter (pointing to chart)—$81 million from the USSR and the presence of Cuban troops.

Scowcroft: But we’ve been countering that, and successfully.

Colby: We’ve not had the impact of the Cubans yet. I think that will come at the end of the month.

Potts: They put the best Cubans and armor up North and we’ve seen the effect in Cabinda.

Scowcroft: Before you said it was hopeless . . .

Colby: We said before we’d try to get a stalemate.

Scowcroft: You said it would cost [dollar amount not declassified] to win. Well, you’ve spent [dollar amount not declassified] so if we gave you another [dollar amount not declassified] you ought to be able to bring it off. Now what would it take?

Cutler: As I look at your list, you have here the 15 fighter aircraft which we won’t give, so maybe the total is more than you really need.

Colby: Matching the USSR is the real problem.

[Page 341]

Scowcroft: But what you show they’ve put in has been done over the last 18 months.

Potts: It does not include ammunition, while our figures do.

Mulcahy: And we have to spend [dollar amount not declassified] for transport, too.

Potts: A problem is the South African requests for help, they want help to pay some mercenaries and they will need some help for air defense.

Ingersoll: Now is not the time to let down; get the dollars and move ahead.

Scowcroft: Can we agree to work up something that will keep us in the ball game?

Colby: Yes, we can draw up something beyond the [dollar amount not declassified] We need the [dollar amount not declassified] right now, but let us come back with estimates about additional needs to keep us in the ball game.

Fish: In the long run, you say [dollar amount not declassified] but can they absorb that much?

Ingersoll: We need to maintain our position.

Colby: Just to stay alive—to stay in the game.

Scowcroft: We are really talking about time—the work on the political option ought to go full out.

Fish: Are we willing to put in 50 CIA officers for leadership?

Brown: General, did you ever hear of Laos?

Scowcroft: Are there any good mercenaries?

Potts: [4 lines not declassified]

Fish: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Colby: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Scowcroft: Can’t we counter the Cubans?

Brown: Aren’t there some Portuguese mercenaries we could recruit? There must be some who have a heart for Angola and want to help out, who know the language, and work well with the Angolans.

Potts: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Mulcahy: The South Africans came in with their armored cars.

Colby: The problem is, if we get more South Africans we get more political trouble.

Ingersoll: Their being there is not out yet?

Colby: It has been mentioned.

Scowcroft: But they’re not the same problem with the Portuguese.

Colby: Right.

[Page 342]

Scowcroft: You’ll work up options; we okay the SA–7’s; the [dollar amount not declassified] subject to OMB scrubbing, okay? Prepare two or three levels—enough to stay alive with options on how to get the dollars.

Colby: An option to put CIA into an action role, and can we turn to State for the political program?

Ingersoll: Yes.

Colby: We’re running out of time on the political problem.

Potts: We want to try to keep South Africans in the game, [less than 1 line not declassified]

Scowcroft: The President has decided to give the South Africans an ocean surveillance system, and this is a departure from our posture.6

Ingersoll: Sonobuoys, not the other system?

Scowcroft: We are not going to advertise it as a change, but the South Africans will see it as a new position.

Colby: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Scowcroft: Let us see a proposal.

Colby: I’ll make it a part of the options.

Scowcroft: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Horan: The South Africans have an interest in this themselves; they asked for help but when we didn’t give it they stayed because of their own interests. I believe we should approach this very cautiously.

Mulcahy: Forty-five other countries would be up in arms.

Scowcroft: Let’s have that ready for a meeting next week.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Angola.]

  1. Source: National Security Council, Ford Administration Intelligence Files, 40 Committee Meetings. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared on November 15. Ingersoll’s handwritten notes from the meeting are in the National Archives, RG 59, Records of Robert S. Ingersoll, 1972–1976, Lot 76D329, 40 Committee/HAK Meetings.
  2. Scowcroft took the oath of office as Assistant to the President on 20 November 1975; however, a subsequent announcement by Press Secretary Ron Nessen said that Scowcroft had held the post since 10 November, and that his commission, signed on the 20th was dated 10 November. [Footnote is in the original.]
  3. Briefing is not attached.
  4. Not found.
  5. Not found.
  6. See Document 79.