182. Memorandum for the Record1

SUBJECT

  • Operations Advisory Group Meeting, 12 March 1976, 10:00 a. m.

Members Present: Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Brent Scowcroft, Chairman; Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger; Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld; Director of Central Intelligence George Bush.

[Page 455]

Substitute Member Present: Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt. General W. Y. Smith vice Chairman of the JCS General George Brown.

Observer Present: Attorney General Edward H. Levi.

Substitute Observer Present: Deputy Director of Office of Management and Budget Paul O’Neill vice Director of OMB James Lynn.

Also Present: Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs William G. Hyland; Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert F. Ellsworth; Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs William Schaufele; Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs, OMB, Donald G. Ogilvie; Deputy Chief Africa Division, CIA, [name not declassified] NSC Senior Staff Officer for Africa Harold Horan.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Angola.]

Scowcroft: Okay. Angola. George.

Bush: We have a short report here, with recommendations.2 The Popular Movement has moved ahead and consolidated its control, and has now imposed its authority in most of the urban centers. Incidently, this is [name not declassified] from my office who is helping me. (Continued briefing.)

Scowcroft: Now what are your recommendations?

Bush: (Read recommendations from paper.)

Kissinger: How much is involved?

Bush: We still have about 90 tons of material—small arms, demolitions.

Smith: Recoilless rifles.

Rumsfeld: I read what you’ve written here, but what does it mean? Does this mean no more weapons?

Bush: No, not necessarily. Let me read through all these recommendations and you’ll see. Savimbi might be able to buy some using our funds. (Resumed reading.)

Rumsfeld: [1 line not declassified]

Bush: [1½ lines not declassified]

Rumsfeld: Now go through these again and tell me what they really mean. Go back to the first one.

Scowcroft: No additional arms shipments?

Bush: Not from the U.S. Isn’t that what that says?

[Page 456]

Rumsfeld: You said something awhile ago about buying arms elsewhere.

[name not declassified]: Savimbi could use our funds to purchase arms on the market.

Kissinger: Can we cool this room off?

Rumsfeld: They are trying to create a jungle atmosphere for us.

Bush: We can’t deliver anything from the U.S., so this money will enable him to buy anything he needs.

Smith: We had planned to deliver, but we can’t follow through.

Horan: DOD can’t use its aircraft because it would be spending FY–76 funds.

Rumsfeld: I understand all that. What you are saying is that we are not going to deliver any more arms. If he wants some he will have to go out and buy them.

Bush: Right. Savimbi can buy arms from elsewhere.

Schaufele: You could delete the words “from the U.S.” and that would take care of it.

Kissinger: What are we talking about? Are we saying we can’t do this because of the Tunney Amendment3 or because it is the right thing to do?

Bush: Both.

Kissinger: If the Tunney Amendment says we can’t do this, that’s the law and that’s one thing, but the money we are spending is not affected by that.

Scowcroft: We can’t get the things there via Defense aircraft.

Bush: Overflight problems.

Horan: If a charter aircraft is used it will have to land in Ascension or Monrovia and, as I understand it, it will have to file a bill of lading . . .

Schaufele: A manifest.

Horan: . . . a manifest which will list the destination and the cargo as arms.

[name not declassified]: There are political problems with that.

Kissinger: I know that we are most moral—to a degree not rivaled by anyone in history, but to tell me that the U.S. would declare in a bill of lading that we were delivering arms to Zaire! Now really! What are we going to do when we really want to ship arms to Zaire? And this is something that could come up in six months or so. If we allow something like this to stop us then we are going to have a monumental [Page 457]problem. What can we tell Zaire—that we have these arms but we can’t deliver them? Now are you trying to tell me that we can’t deliver arms?

Ellsworth: There are really two points here. First, if you are talking about using DOD aircraft to deliver arms to Zaire for Angola, then because of the Tunney Amendment the answer is “no”. Two, if you are asking could CIA charter an aircraft and deliver the arms, the answer is a qualified “no.” They propose to give them the money and let them go out and purchase arms from wherever they can—Spain or somewhere.

Kissinger: But how will Spain get the arms there? If the great, powerful U.S. can’t deliver them, how can we expect Spain to do it?

[name not declassified]: They could go to an arms broker.

Kissinger: I think that this negative approach might have an adverse impact on Zaire. I just can’t accept that we are cowed by a small African nation like Liberia.

Ellsworth: If we got the arms over to Zaire, would Mobutu put them on into Angola?

Schaufele: Probably not.

Kissinger: That would depend a lot on what we told Zaire. It depends upon the general situation. Are we trying to stop further erosion? I can understand writing off Angola, but not Zaire and Zambia. We’ve got to do what we can to reassure them.

Rumsfeld: Does Savimbi need arms?

Bush: He needs money to buy arms and food.

Scowcroft: He’d probably prefer dollars to a shipment.

Bush: He wants dollars, but he also wants ammunition and arms.

Kissinger: If he gets money he still has the problem of getting arms.

Rumsfeld: It depends on what he wants money for.

Kissinger: Whether Zaire transships depends on what we tell Mobutu to a considerable extent. Zaire means something to us. I don’t necessarily favor shipping arms to Angola, I think we’ve had it with Angola, but I am concerned about Mobutu and what we do with him. We need to boost his morale. We must not permit things to slide any more in Africa. We have to show an interest in propping up Zaire and Zambia. We must not let them think that we are pulling out of Africa.

Rumsfeld: We’ve got to build up Mobutu’s confidence.

Bush: [1 line not declassified]

Kissinger: In dealing with Mobutu, we’ve got to reassure him. It is more important now than before.

Hyland: If you want to help Mobutu, why don’t you take the whole [dollar amount not declassified] and give it to him?

Bush: We can’t do that. That’s not what we got the money for. This money was given to us for Angola.

[Page 458]

Kissinger: What we do with Mobutu I think we should do overtly. There’s nothing that covert action should do here. The [dollar amount not declassified] won’t do the job. We must go to the Congress and defend what we ask for. Covert action would not meet the problem here. It is not the answer. I lean toward not shipping arms anymore, so my position here is strange—but I think we must make the decision for the right reason. We need to help Mobutu. We ought to talk to him.

Schaufele: Mobutu may say he wants out.

Kissinger: Fine, but at least we will get something out of it.

Bush: Our concern with giving money to Savimbi is that he not spend it all at once.

Kissinger: Well, my concern is that you give him [dollar amount not declassified] but he can’t do anything with it—he will still have to seek the help he needs. He’d have to talk to Mobutu or Kaunda, and then he’d have to shop in Spain or somewhere, and then get delivery.

Bush: [1 line not declassified]

Kissinger: How can he buy anything?

[name not declassified]: He’d go to an arms broker, an arms dealer. This would get CIA out of this.

Bush: Zaire is still in.

Scowcroft: Why are you so anxious to get CIA out of contact?

[name not declassified]: Not out of contact, but out of arms involvement. As a matter of fact, the financial aid given out in increments would help us stay in contact, collect intelligence, monitor and [less than 1 line not declassified]

Ogilvie: [3 lines not declassified]

Scowcroft: But what we are talking about here is money that is not from the FY–76 Defense appropriation. So to apply the Tunney rule ex post facto is not right.

O’Neill: Don’t the Congress and the general population expect that we have stopped our involvement in Angola? I think that there would a very negative reaction if it were to become known that we were still involved.

Kissinger: Can’t you give the [dollar amount not declassified] to Mobutu to dole out?

Rumsfeld: With [dollar amount not declassified] Savimbi could spend it on anything.

Scowcroft: The amount is proposed to keep him alive and to meet his immediate needs.

[name not declassified]: There are plenty of brokers who are in the arms business.

[Page 459]

Scowcroft: He’d have to do it all himself.

Schaufele: Hasn’t he bought things before?

[name not declassified]: Yes.

Hyland: This payment for logistics would be to help him get delivery?

[name not declassified]: Yes. For example, if we had a white elephant in McLean, this would provide the dollars necessary to hire the transportation to get it delivered.

Scowcroft (to Schaufele): I understand that you have some problem with the increments.

Schaufele: Well, we are saying on the one hand that we are shutting off the program, but on the other we will continue to dole out money. I just want to be able to report to the Congress that we are out of this, that it is over.

Bush: [5½ lines not declassified]

Schaufele: That might be satisfactory.

Kissinger: What if there is a last gasp?

Bush: Well, we don’t think that he can do anything with it to sustain anything.

[name not declassified]: We see payments over the next three months of [dollar amount not declassified] increments with the goal of paying it all out by the end of the Fiscal Year.

Horan: The latest indication is that Zaire sees a guerrilla war going on but that it will not go on for a long time.

Rumsfeld: What does the fourth recommendation mean? Two more months of logistical support?

Bush: This refers to arrangements they may make to get things shipped by air.

Rumsfeld: Transportation for their shipments.

[name not declassified]: Let me illustrate the derivation of that figure. We estimate [dollar amount not declassified] for each shipment of food and supplies. For example, Savimbi ordered some Rhodesian K-rations—some dry food packets to sustain his people in the field for a few days. He had a transportation problem. He had to pay out $111,000 to get them flown in. If he wants to buy rice or something he must have funds to pay for the transportation to get the material delivered.

Rumsfeld: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Scowcroft: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Bush: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Rumsfeld: Who coordinated on this proposal for Defense?

Smith: Packard and Colonel Fish for OSD.

[Page 460]

Bush: [3 lines not declassified]

Scowcroft: Why bring back six?

[name not declassified]: This is to satisfy a request for Defense researchers who are trying to develop a counter to it. They think they need more for testing purposes.

Hyland: Why don’t we give them to Mobutu?

[name not declassified]: [1 line not declassified]

Kissinger: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Scowcroft: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Smith: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Kissinger: Give maximum to Zaire, that’s where we have a foreign policy problem.

Bush: [2 lines not declassified]

Smith: I’m just not familiar with what they need.

Scowcroft: Well, that can be worked out, but with the maximum to Mobutu. Is there anything left in Zaire?

[name not declassified]: Yes. Our agreement was that we would replace anything that he forwarded to Angola, and we have yet to settle the account, but if we turn over what we have there I believe it will come out about even. We have some valuable communications equipment which will interest him. I think that we got more than we gave.

Scowcroft: Well, do we owe him?

[name not declassified]: I think it will be a draw. We haven’t closed the account yet, and the commo gear will be a big item.

Scowcroft: If we get into a bind, some of that [dollar amount not declassified]could be used.

Smith: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Kissinger: [less than 1 line not declassified]

[name not declassified]: There is some to go to Mobutu himself.

Kissinger: I think that should be handled so that the Ambassador can go to Mobutu [less than 1 line not declassified] He could explain that we have this material to turn over to him and use that to establish our continuing interest in his welfare. (To Schaufele) I want you to send him a cable covering three things: that the Ambassador should make this contact, that we want to deliver these materials to Mobutu, and that we are studying how we can help him in the future and that something will be decided soon.

Horan: The French left their helicopters for Mobutu.

Kissinger: Good.

[Page 461]

Scowcroft: Anything else to add to these recommendations? If not, okay. Then we approve them.4

  1. Source: National Security Council, Ford Administration Intelligence Files, 40 Committee Meetings. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. A March 5 paper entitled “Recommended Course of Action for Continued Disengagement from Covert Activities in Angola.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Scowcroft Daily Work Files, Box 13, Scowcroft Chronological File (A))
  3. See footnote 2, Document 151, and footnote 3, Document 157.
  4. A March 17 memorandum for the record on Angola by Ratliff noted the President’s approval of the recommendations. (National Security Council, Ford Administration Intelligence Files, 40 Committee Meetings)