186. Report Prepared by the Working Group on Angola1

No. 162

At a meeting of the Working Group on 24 March 1976, the following topics were discussed:

1. Military

A MIG–21 rocket attack destroyed an Air Zaire Fokker-27 at Gago Coutinho, Angola. The aircraft was offloading foodstuffs for UNITA. The airport at Ninda was also attacked. Savimbi is believed to be currently in the area of Sessa.

The Zambian Government has released a previously impounded UNITA Fokker-27 aircraft, but the Pearl Air Viscount is still being held and the crew is under arrest.

The FNLA is conducting practically no military activities in northern Angola. There are some FNLA troops still in the vicinity of Fort Republica. The FNLA office in Kinshasa has been closed. Its major concern is the refugee problem.

Chipenda’s force has been broken up: About 2,800 are now with UNITA; about 700 are with the MPLA; and about 3,000 remaining loyal to Chipenda are under the protection of the South African military in Namibia.

There are reports of pockets of guerrilla activity throughout Angola. About 100 UNITA troops turned themselves over to the MPLA at Luso.

The Effect of Angolan Involvement on South Africa

The South African involvement in Angola cost South Africa 31 dead and about 200 wounded. The South African troops appear to have left Angola with little respect for the Cubans as fighters, and with the belief that they could have won militarily had they used heavier ground arms and air power.

Cuban Involvement and Soviet and Cuban Shipments to Angola

The combined Cuban and Soviet material sent to Angola in February 1976 is estimated to be $125 million (U.S. equivalent costs), bringing the total Soviet and Cuban aid to $400 million (including matériel, maintenance and transportation). The total of February deliveries is higher than January with less emphasis on ammunition and [Page 468]more on food. The first photographic confirmation of MIG–21’s to Angola was made in mid-February 1976—satellite photographs of MIG–21 crates on board a Soviet ship.

One thousand five hundred (1,500) Cuban troops arrived in February bringing their presence to 13,500. Flights from Cuba continued every other day during the month of February. Some Cuban families have arrived in Angola. Only one flight from the USSR was reported during the same period. Of sixteen ship arrivals, twelve were Soviet and four Cuban.

Cuban Presence Elsewhere in Africa

An undetermined number of Cubans are serving in Mozambique as military advisors; there is, however, no evidence of Cuban combat troops. The Prime Minister of Mozambique admitted the presence of Cubans to the British Ambassador. Cuban technicians have been reported to be assembling MIGs in Mozambique. Rhodesian air and group raids against guerrilla camps in Mozambique might lead Mozambique to request Cuban troops to aid in air defense, including both anti-aircraft weapons and fighter aircraft.

There are different views concerning the number of Cuban troops in Somalia from 30 to 2,000. The Christian Science Monitor quoted State Department sources that 500 Cuban troops were being transferred from Angola to Somalia. (Efforts are being made to get more precise information through various means of collection.)

2. Disengagement

Mobutu progressively decreased the level of his demands for indemnification of a Fokker-27 aircraft on charter from Air Zaire. He first asked for a replacement in the form of a Boeing 737 aircraft, then for $2 million and, more recently, seems amenable to $600,000, which would be a fair indemnification. In view of the amount and its implications for disengagement process, the DCI requested that the House Appropriations Committee be consulted.

The House Appropriations Committee staff was briefed on 23 March. Chairman Mahon of the Committee expressed great concern that CIA was expending funds on Angola so long after the Tunney Amendment had passed and requested an explanation. Chairman Mahon appeared to hold the view that any expenditures after 9 February 1976 were illegal. He also stated that all expenditures should have ceased immediately upon House passage on 27 January 1976 of an amendment similar to the Tunney Amendment.

All further expenditures have been suspended pending clarification of the funding problem with the House Appropriations Com[Page 469]mittee. The Surveys and Investigation Staff of the House Appropriations Committee is now investigating the issue.

The position of the CIA Legal Counsel is that under the Tunney Amendment expenditure of the full $31.7 million approved from earlier appropriations is legal and that the disengagement plan as approved by the Operations Advisory Group is also legal. No new programs have been undertaken, but funds within the existing program were shifted to facilitate disengagement.

The disengagement plan as approved by the Operations Advisory Group provides for the following termination payments:

To UNITA [dollar amount not declassified]
To FNLA [dollar amount not declassified]
To satisfy final claims of air carriers [dollar amount not declassified]
To wind up administrative expenses [dollar amount not declassified]
Returned to Agency reserve fund [dollar amount not declassified]

The plan also provides that the eighteen SA–7 missiles are to be turned over to Zaire. This has been done.

French Technicians

Of the twenty French military technicians, two may have been killed (names and details are not yet known). Eighteen were evacuated to Runtu along with some stray mercenaries including an American named Perez. Four of the French have since left Runtu. [2 lines not declassified] The technicians expressed dissatisfaction with the UNITA troops for fleeing under attack by MIG aircraft. Savimbi is unhappy with the technicians for departing Angola.

3. Political Developments

Position of Zambia

The UNITA Fokker-27 has been released. The UNITA Viscount will probably be released. The Fokker-27, formerly a TAAG aircraft, could be impounded by Zambia for turnover to the MPLA if it continues to fly to Zambia. In his talks with the MPLA, President Kaunda stated that the presence of Cubans makes Zambian recognition of the MPLA difficult; discussions ended on friendly terms. Zambia continues to be discreetly friendly and sympathetic to Savimbi, but closed down the UNITA office in Lusaka. UNITA claims that it is still able to operate resupply trucks from Zambia to Angola.

Position of Zaire

Both UNITA and FNLA offices have been closed. Gendarmes broke into the FNLA office and damaged equipment. Mobutu con[Page 470]tinues to provide some discreet support to the FNLA and UNITA. Mobutu is concerned about the political implications of the bombing of the Air Zaire F–27 at Gago Coutinho after he had given his word to Neto that he had stopped support to UNITA and FNLA. While the plane and its identification have been completely destroyed, the plane will likely be noticed as missing from Kinshasa.

Position of South Africa

South Africa is negotiating the pull out of its forces from the Cunene area of Angola by 27 March. The Soviets appear to be advising the MPLA not to push hard on the issue. Plans are underway at the United Nations to have the MPLA appear for “consultation” about Angola rather than a more formal action. Runtu continues to receive UNITA and other refugees from Angola.

MPLA Overtures to USG

The MPLA expects Gulf Oil to resume operations in Cabinda. It will take four months for Gulf to reactivate its operations. Gulf has set aside about $101 million in royalties for the government of Angola, through the efforts of Nigeria as an intermediary. Another payment of $31 million for taxes but not royalties, is due on 31 March.

The TAAG Boeing 737 aircraft have been released for export. Boeing technicians expect to be in Angola for a year to work on an air traffic control system being installed in Cabinda, Luanda and Nova Lisboa.

The MPLA is applying for membership to various international and UN agencies. The USG will probably oppose such applications until it recognizes an MPLA government. The MPLA application to join the UN is expected to be presented to the Security Council in August 1976.

4. Status of Political Action

The propaganda campaign against the Soviets and the Cubans has been temporarily suspended, because of the Congressional action (Tunney Amendment).

5. Intelligence

A report has been prepared on the poor overall performance of the SA–7 missiles. Apparently nearly 30 SA–7’s were expended without success. Further information is needed on any transfer of MIG aircraft to Mozambique from Angola and on the wave of Cuban trainers, pilots and troops to Mozambique for use in the conflict with Rhodesia. ZANU is currently being supported by the PRC and ZAPU by the USSR.

6. Recommendations

The Working Group discussed the various methods to provide UNITA with the funds totalling [dollar amount not declassified] as author[Page 471]ized by the Operations Advisory Group. The Working Group recommended that consideration be given to passing funds for UNITA through President Kaunda. Thus, our moral obligation to UNITA could be fulfilled without entailing a possibly longer term involvement in direct payments to UNITA.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 104, Geopolitical File, Angola Chronological File. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only.