147. Memorandum for the Record1


  • 40 Committee Meeting, 11 December 1975, 11:00 a.m.

Members Present: Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Brent Scowcroft; Deputy Secretary of Defense William P. Clements; Director of Central Intelligence William E. Colby.

[Page 369]

Substitute Members Present: Deputy Secretary of State Robert S. Ingersoll vice Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Joseph Sisco; Assistant to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt. General W. Y. Smith vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff General George Brown.

Also Present: Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs William G. Hyland and Deputy Director, INR, Ambassador Roger Kirk for the entire meeting. Deputy Director for Operations, CIA, William Nelson for Items 1–5. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Edward W. Mulcahy; Chief, Africa Division, CIA, James M. Potts; and NSC Senior Staff Officer for Africa Harold Horan, for Items 1–3. Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asia Robert Miller for Items 4 and 5. [less than 1 line not declassified]

Angola—Item 1

Scowcroft: Bill, what do you have for us?

Colby: (Briefed)2

Scowcroft: Have the Cubans used Soviet transport?

Potts: Yes. About 2,000 Cubans flew in Cuban aircraft to Conakry and then by Soviet aircraft into Angola.

Colby: (Continued briefing).

Scowcroft: What’s behind the Nigerian thing?

Colby: South African involvement.

Ingersoll: They interfered in the Nigerian war, and they’ve never forgotten it.

Colby: We have a few specific items to get your reactions on.

Scowcroft: First, are you into the [dollar amount not declassified] now?

Colby: Yes, we are spending it now—mainly on ammunition.

Scowcroft: On the [dollar amount not declassified] are we in “G” now on this?

Colby: Bill (Clements) was quite properly wondering about who was trying to reprogram his funds. I went to the House Appropriations Committee—it is the only one really involved—and told them that I was checking in advance, that we were spending funds and were contemplating more and wanted to test their reaction. I expected to be ridden out on a rail. I must say that I was surprised at their reactions—how mild they were. And this committee is not known for its hawks.

Clements: Who did you brief?

Colby: (Named names.)

[Page 370]

Clements: That was the full Defense subcommittee.

Colby: Yes. You know them better than I.

Clements: Well, I hadn’t known this before. Now what I need to do is to go forward from here. Also, I will have to talk to the Armed Services Committees. We’ll get right on this.

Colby: Briefly, I’m going before the six committees telling them of the steps we are taking on Angola [less than 1 line not declassified] I’ve briefed House Foreign Affairs, Appropriations, Senate Foreign Affairs, and I talk to House Armed Services tomorrow.

Scowcroft: Okay, good. The President is anxious on the [dollar amount not declassified]

Colby: This came up before the House Select Committee on Intelligence, too. Dellums was strongly against our doing anything in Angola. He thought we would generate a racist problem.

Ingersoll: Clark is against it, too.

Colby: Clark’s bill is not well drafted. He says there should be no aid except under the Foreign Assistance Act and this falls there.

Scowcroft: In general, the opposition has been much less than I expected. Mostly it has been in the press.

Ingersoll: Secretary Kissinger has said that some of the aid we give Zaire might be going on to Angola.

Mulcahy: I briefed seven congressmen last night at about the “Confidential” level and there was no strong objection.

Clements: Are you telling them that we are supplying help directly or indirectly through Zaire?

Mulcahy: Well, I fuzz that over.

Clements: I can’t fuzz it.

Colby: No, in our congressional briefings we tell them the facts—that it is indirect.

Clements: We have to tell them.

Hyland: Are Americans flying?

Colby: No.

Potts: Well, we found that one man hired by one of the airlines is a naturalized American citizen.

Nelson: There are some free lancing, but we are not behind any movement to hire Americans.

Clements: Where do our supply planes go?

Colby: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Clements: Staged?

Colby: Yes, off-loaded and put on private aircraft to go on into Angola.

[Page 371]

Smith: Commercial aircraft?

Colby: Yes.

Clements: What about this list of items for the [dollar amount not declassified]

Scowcroft: We have not focused on the list.

Horan: The list changes with the situation.

Colby: Yes. For example, the SA–7’s [less than 1 line not declassified] We don’t want to give those away unless we have to.

Scowcroft: Can’t anyone find any MIGs?

Colby: You want my guess? There aren’t any.

Potts: We’ve had pictures taken of several airfields and they are not there. There are still one or two places where they might be that we have yet to cover.

Ingersoll: There were reports that two were delivered in crates.

Smith: Yes, but they are reported there today but not there tomorrow. There are lots of reports. But the main thing is, none are flying.

Scowcroft: We’re about to start a study on Angola stemming from an expression of JCS concern.3 The President wanted to act quickly, and we needed the [dollar amount not declassified] to stay in the ball game. Without reference to what we might do after the [dollar amount not declassified] the study will give us a better base to move from. You should know that the President called in Dobrynin and talked to him sternly on Angola.4 Whether this will lead to anything remains to be seen.

Colby: I think we must move hard on the diplomatic front. There are a number of things coming up: OAU, other African nations, Europe, UN. We will offer all the covert help we can, but the major thrust should be on the diplomatic front.

Ingersoll: We are doing a lot of things.

Scowcroft: Can we get the [dollar amount not declassified] by the time Congress adjourns?

Clements: Yes, no question. We’ll go right at it today. I won’t brief the Foreign Affairs committees.

Colby: No. Don’t go near them.

Scowcroft: Go ahead, Bill.

Colby: There are several Angola items on the agenda: [2 lines not declassified]

Scowcroft: I think [less than 1 line not declassified] helicopters would be great. But I am confused about how you keep getting all this from [Page 372] that [dollar amount not declassified] We could probably buy a C–130 for what you say it will cost.

Colby: It takes a lot of money.

Scowcroft: [less than 1 line not declassified] Why do we have to rent it?

Colby: We have to cover the cost.

Smith: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Colby: The deal is we provide the C–130, and they provide the helicopters.

Scowcroft: We’re not providing it if we bill them. We provide it by parking it on their runway and say here it is. The crew, fuel, etc. is up to them. Why should it cost us money?

Colby: We have to pay the Air Force.

Smith: I don’t have the details, but we have to show some payment for the use of Government equipment.

Scowcroft: You mean we have to do all this work to reprogram DOD money, just to pay the Air Force?

Clements: We can’t send it for free.

Colby: The accounting gets all fouled up.

Scowcroft: Can’t we rent it for a dollar a year or something?

Colby: [1½ lines not declassified]

Smith: I’ll check this out.

Hyland: How much would it cost to buy one?

Scowcroft: What does it cost to run one?

Colby: [less than 1 line not declassified] plus the cost to operate. Everything—fuel, crews. Look, let us work out the dollars. You don’t care about that . . .

Scowcroft: I do care. We’re strapped. Look at the percentage of the [dollar amount not declassified] this would take.

Colby: Put it on us to do this and we will work on the Pentagon to draw this figure down to the smallest amount possible.

Scowcroft: Will one C–130 do it?

Potts: [less than 1 line not declassified] have been talking about three helicopters.

Scowcroft: That’s two flights right there.

Potts: We’ve been talking one to [less than 1 line not declassified] and they have not dropped out. They would use the C–130 for continuing support to the helicopters.

Colby: You put this task on us, and we’ll get the Air Force down and push this.

[Page 373]

Hyland: What is there in any of this that will be militarily significant?

Colby: Nothing.

Scowcroft: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Smith: How long would it take to get the helicopters there?

Nelson: [less than 1 line not declassified] are not really decided on this.

Smith: If they don’t get there soon there won’t be any impact.

Potts: We are working hard on the Portuguese technicians—400 or 500.

Scowcroft: Can you [less than 1 line not declassified] right away and get something moving?

Colby: We’ll go ahead this afternoon and get this going.

Clements: No U.S. personnel, no people, no markings.

Scowcroft: Now you’ll want another [dollar amount not declassified] to repaint.

Clements: Are you speaking with the authority of three stars, or just kibitzing?

Scowcroft: Which is more advantageous?

Hyland: Why in that [dollar amount not declassified] list is there only [dollar amount not declassified] for weapons?

Colby: Most of the weapons were in an earlier package.

Hyland: Are there no other weapons we can give them?

Colby: We have TOWs [less than 1 line not declassified]

Hyland: That’s in the [dollar amount not declassified] package. If we could get some 8mm artillery in one or two places, wouldn’t that make a big bang? And then the other side would break and run.

Potts: Artillery without artillerymen is not much good.

Nelson: We’ve wrecked three or four [less than 1 line not declassified] 130 guns.

Horan: The first two blew up, didn’t they?

Clements: They forgot to pull the plug out.

Hyland: If we don’t have something soon, things will happen. If a tank comes through the bush, they’ll break and run and it will roll right along.

Colby: There’s a problem with TOWs.

Scowcroft: Any disagreement on the C–130?

Colby: That’s the policy then and we will work out the dollars.

Smith: That’s a C–130 [less than 1 line not declassified]

Colby: Right, bailed, no U.S. pilots or markings.

[Page 374]

Smith: If you want to go to two . . .

Colby: We’ll come back here.

Ingersoll: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Nelson: Not very.

Scowcroft: Be as positive as possible. Let’s push this. Henry plans to talk to them at NATO.5

Colby: On the [less than 1 line not declassified] request, I regret to say that we recommend a cold shoulder. I’ve told the Congress that [less than 1 line not declassified] are doing things and that we know about them, but that we are not collaborating.

Clements: What do they want?

Colby: (Reading from paper) Fuel, C–130, steel planking for an airport, etc.

Scowcroft: We can get the fuel to Mobuto, will that help them?

Colby: Yes, that would help.

Potts: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Clements: Tankers? You know they come in different sizes.

Colby: I forgot I was talking to an expert.

Scowcroft: Any views on this?

Ingersoll: We go along with CIA. Any evidence of a direct approach would be terrible. The political problems are hurting us now.

Colby: There is another element of contention here. [1½ lines not declassified]

Clements: I agree.

Colby: But how do we do this?

Scowcroft: If we don’t do it they will pull the plug and leave.

Smith: Yes, we want them to think they’re appreciated.

Scowcroft: I’m sure they would like to suck us in.

Clements: It goes beyond that. We say we want to encourage them. But what does that mean? Does it mean only lip service? We want to implement things that will help. There are lots of ways to skin a cat. That’s what we’ve got CIA for. They don’t need our dollars, just what we can make available to them.

[Page 375]

Scowcroft: We could help indirectly—like with fuel.

Colby: We are helping by our continued support of UNITA.

Mulcahy: I saw Roberto the week before last. He was complaining that we are splitting our aid 50–50 with Savimbi and since the South Africans are helping only UNITA, he’s on the short end.

Potts: But he also has Zaire troops helping him.

Mulcahy: That’s his view.

Colby: As we tell them that we are continuing to do things, the South Africans will be encouraged to stay in.

Nelson: They are well informed on our delicate political situation.

Clements: If we could get a load of fuel, we ought to go ahead and do it.

Scowcroft: Any other items?

Ingersoll: We concur in the aid to UNITA.

Colby: Right.

Scowcroft: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Colby: We’ll go ahead.

Scowcroft: Absolutely.

Nelson: One problem there that we ought to surface. [1½ lines not declassified]

Scowcroft: Better get them into Angola soon.

Potts: [1½ lines not declassified]

Ingersoll: We are talking about a three-month period?

Potts: Yes, it will cost about [dollar amount not declassified] per month. [1½ lines not declassified]

Scowcroft: We definitely ought to do this.

Clements: Are we working on this [dollar amount not declassified] list?

Scowcroft: We’ll work on the specifics later. The working group will get that in shape and bring it back to us.

Ingersoll: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Potts: [less than 1 line not declassified]

U–2—Angola—Item 2

Scowcroft: Let’s look at the U–2 coverage of Angola. Are we talking about one flight?

Colby: This started with the MIGs—we wanted to see if they were there. We would also get some good battle information.

Smith: We could not determine about the MIGs at the time.

Colby: I have some reservations now. We have gotten some photography, although the U–2 would get us a lot more on a clear day.

[Page 376]

Scowcroft: Is there ever really a clear day?

Smith: No.

Scowcroft: If we are talking about one flight, we could stage it from Florida. We did that in the Middle East.

Clements: Yes, that looked good in the White House, but it was not very well received in the Pentagon. It cost a bundle.

Colby: I’m concerned about the reactions on the Hill. They would throw fits.

Scowcroft: Over what?

Colby: Use of the U–2, U.S. involvement.

Scowcroft: Oh, come on!

Colby: I’m telling you how they would react; I’m not saying whether it is right. I think the real question is, is it worth it?

Ingersoll: Yes, is it worth the risk?

Clements: I think if there are no MIGs, this has lost its glamour.

Ingersoll: Are there MIGs at Brazzaville?

Potts: No. We got one satellite picture, but it doesn’t show anything.

Ingersoll: You’ve got a satellite over there?

Colby: Yes, but it can’t do much because the weather is always bad.

Hyland: Anything up now?

Colby: Yes.

Ingersoll: What could the U–2 do that the satellite couldn’t?

Scowcroft: It can go with the weather—when there is a break in the weather. I don’t feel that strongly about it now—if there are no MIGs. Can’t we get someone to go take a look?

Hyland: But you can’t see all the fields from Zaire.

Potts: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Scowcroft: Over Brazzaville?

Potts: No, along the river.

Horan: What information does Mobutu have?

Colby: He has the same as we do.

Potts: His people saw the same crates, but when we sent them back they weren’t there.

Clements: It is not worth it now.

Ingersoll: Let’s defer any decision. Henry expects to raise this with Callaghan.

Scowcroft: It wouldn’t hurt to get agreement from the British, but don’t twist their arm too hard. Especially since there are no MIGs now.

[Page 377]

Hyland: But the one place where we can’t look is the logical place for them to put them.

Colby: The key thing is that they have not been used if they are there—they have not shot at us yet.

Scowcroft: But if they do shoot, [less than 1 line not declassified]

Colby: We can move them down there in a day.

Hyland: But who will shoot them?

Colby: It doesn’t take long to train someone.

Scowcroft: Doesn’t Mobutu have some people he could send across the river to take a look?

Hyland: Do the French have diplomatic representation in the Congo? Why can’t they send their military attaché to have a look?

Potts: He wouldn’t be allowed into a military airfield to look.

Hyland: Can’t he hire someone for 500 francs who could do it?

Potts: We’ve paid out 500 francs for similar reports but they are of no value.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Angola.]

  1. Source: National Security Council, Ford Administration Intelligence Files, 40 Committee Meetings. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. Briefing is not attached.
  3. See Document 148.
  4. See Document 145.
  5. The NATO Ministerial meeting was held December 11–12 in Brussels, Belgium. During a meeting at Ambassador Firestone’s residence December 12, Kissinger provided an assessment of the situation in Angola. He predicted: “In two months, if the present rate of reinforcement continues, our people think the MPLA can take over.” Callaghan offered to work with France and Germany to persuade the South Africans to leave Angola, and to meet with African leaders to postpone or prevent recognition of the MPLA as the legitimate government of Angola. (Memorandum of conversation; National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–1977, Lot 91D414, Nodis memoranda of conversation of Secretary Kissinger and related documents, September 1973–January 1977)