179. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Zaire 1
Washington, February 18, 1976, 0400Z.
38732. For Chargé Walker from Ambassador Schaufele. Subject: Message for President Mobutu from the Secretary.
- You are to seek an appointment with President Mobutu as soon as possible and drawing upon the following talking points, explain the Secretary’s position on Angola and assistance to Zaire.
- You are to inform him of (A) the firmness of U.S. policy, (B) our determination to continue to work for the withdrawal of the Cuban expeditionary force from Angola and the diminution of Soviet influence there, (C) our current efforts to delay Western European recognition of the MPLA, (D) our concurrent efforts to alert our friends in the European Community to the urgent need of Zambia and Zaire for economic and security assistance and (E) our policy to do everything feasible to increase our own level of assistance to Zaire in both the economic and security fields.
- Talking points:
- The USG still believes that the common policy we pursued in Angola these past several months in an effort to bolster the majority liberation movements in Angola was correct.
- The U.S. shares with President Mobutu the bitter disappointment we know he feels at the failure of our joint efforts.
- We sincerely regret that, in the end, we could not provide the support which we believe was needed. But we trust that many have learned from this experience lessons that will not be lost in the future.
- For our part we are determined to continue to oppose further Soviet/Cuban intervention in Africa wherever it may occur.
- Currently the U.S. is endeavoring to persuade its friends in the European Community to withhold recognition of MPLA in order not to appear to “reward” so readily this minority government imposed on Angola by Cuban troops and Soviet arms. Realizing that recognition by the European Community is inevitable, however, we are asking Community members to link their recognition to the withdrawal of the Cubans and the minimizing of Soviet influence and to an MPLA policy of reconciliation.
- In our approaches to the Europeans we have taken special pains to alert Community members to the serious economic and security problems faced now by Zaire and to urge that they provide all possible help to Zaire as it confronts potential threats by the MPLA regime in Angola. We are stressing with them the need for building up the strength of the Zairian economy at home to enable Zaire to withstand attempts to undermine its security.
- The United States has no early plans for the recognition of the MPLA regime; on the contrary it is prepared, in consultation with Angola’s neighbors, to continue to provide whatever assistance it can to UNITA as long as it is able to maintain a credible resistance to the MPLA.
- We would greatly value at this juncture the President’s assessment of how Zaire expects to pursue its connections with Angola in the short and mid-term.2
- Will he continue to aid FNLA and UNITA and support their resistance?
- The U.S. is prepared to take into account the special strains on the Zairian economy and security caused by events in Angola. The U.S. would be prepared to begin a dialogue to discuss Zaire’s needs.
- Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Africa, Box 7, Zaire—State Department Telegrams, From SecState—Nodis. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Mulcahy, cleared by Kissinger (per Secto 4013), and approved by Schaufele.↩
- In telegram 1512 from Kinshasa, February 20, the Embassy reported Mobutu’s response to Kissinger’s message. Mobutu pressed for more military and economic assistance to guard against a possible attack from Angola; intimated that he would continue to provide assistance to Roberto and Savimbi; and stated that he would not recognize the MPLA in the near future. (Ibid.)↩