264. Telegram 196820 From the Department of State to the Commander-in-Chief of United States Forces in Europe1 2


  • Sale of M–16s to Zaire


  • Kinshasa 7396

1. USG has authorized cash sale M–16s to Morocco in quantity and is now prepared to authorize cash sale of this weapon to Zaire. (Cable instructing Embassy Rabat to inform GOM sent Sept. 3.)

2. Since our past refusal to sell M–16s to GOZ has long been a sore point for Mobutu, believe you should inform him soonest of US willingness sell to Zaire before he learns of Moroccan sale independently—you might do this with reference to his recent discussion of military and economic aid ******** **************. Raised in this context, offer to sell M–16s would provide some counter-balance to our inability to be forthcoming on certain other GOZ requests.

3. WE recognize, of course, that although Mobutu in conversation reported reftel complained again about our M–16 policy, arrangements may have already been made to equip FAZ with comparable weapon from other sources. (Likelihood of this is increased by reported agreement to have new division armed by North Koreans.) Even if this is the case, however, believe it would be better to make an offer now and have it refused than to have to answer Mobutu’s questions once the Morocco authorization becomes known.

4. Re your 7585, just received, agree offer of M–16s should help create more favorable atmosphere for subsequent approach to Mobutu on Khmer representation. Instructions on this follow.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Policy Files, 1974. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Strand (AF/C), cleared by Cutler (AF/C), and approved by John W. Foley, Jr. (AF). This telegram is a repeat of a cable of the same number sent September 7 to Kinshasa. The original was not found. Kinshasa 7585, mentioned in para. 4, discusses the possibility of persuading Mobutu to oppose a UN vote on accepting Khmer Rouge as Camobdia’s representatives to the UN. (Ibid.)
  2. Washington informed the Embassy that the U.S. Government had authorized the sale of M–16s to Morocco and was now prepared to authorize a cash sale to Zaire.