266. Telegram 258756 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Zaire1 2


  • Military Technical Advisory Team


  • A) ZAMISH 0033, dtd 291100Z Oct 74;
  • B) Kinshasa 09033 and previous;
  • C) State 236117;
  • D) USCINCEUR—ECJ4/7 SAOCD 18177, dtd 221401Z Oct 74;
  • —E) Kinshasa A-180;
  • F) State 224847

For Embassy and ZAMISH

1. Dept and DOD concur in Embassy/ZAMISH judgment that, to protect our favorable economic and political position in Zaire at time of nascent military cooperation between Zaire and communist countries, we should tell GOZ that we are willing to send requested military technical advisory team subject to agreement on terms of reference. Agree also that in addition to providing technical advice on equipment and training and providing information about what might be procured in US, team might be able to induce greater rationality, cost consciousness and awareness of military/non-military tradeoffs on part of GOZ in planning its military modernization.

2. At same time team’s composition, mission, and work program must rpt must be carefully designed to avoid implication that US is assuming responsibility for assessing Zaire’s military situation or planning its force modernization or that any increase in US military assistance will follow as consequence of team’s visit.

3. In view above conclusions and cautions, propose that Embassy/ZAMISH, if they perceive no objection, inform GOZ/DDN that USG is prepared send team which we propose would be constituted and would operate in accordance with following general terms of reference:

A. Name: “Military Technical Advisory Team.” (Comment: Idea is to connote limited role. End comment.)

B. Mission: Provide appropriate technical advice on types and quantities of military equipment and related training required for units within the military force structure projected by the GOZ and order-of-magnitude estimates of their prices and possible availability from US sources. Advice provided during team’s presence in Zaire would be preliminary and tentative; final views would be transmitted in report prepared following team’s return to Washington and consultation with appropriate USG defense agencies and specialists. (Comment: Introduction of greater rationality, cost consciousness and awareness of military/non-military tradeoffs into GOZ military planning would be secondary unstated aim and would be pursued, as opportunity arises, by low-key questioning and probing and by broadening of discussion beyond strictly military focus. Team’s final report, which would show cost of various options and perhaps suggest staged procurement possibilities, would contribute to this. Also believe discussion with key economic decision-makers, which we would envisage being handled by the Ambassador, would be important element in broadening discussion to include economic considerations. End comment.)

C. Scope: Team will be guided by GOZ Threat assessments and the force capabilities upon which the GOZ wishes to base its materiel and training requirements. within this context:

Team will be prepared essentially to listen to GOZ and Dept of National Defense views of Zaire’s military needs and projected expenditure levels and then offer technical advice as to the efficacy of the conventional weapons systems, equipment and training normally required for comparable forces elsewhere. (Comment: Description of normal U.S. units and related organization and equipment lists will be sanitized to avoid automatic suggestion of inclusion of sophisticated weapons elements where such are normal parts of U.S. unit equipment. End comment.)
Team will be prepared to describe and give general estimates of the types and quantities of ancillary items (i.e., vehicles, prime movers, ammunition, maintenance items) usually required in conjunction with primary weapons and/or equipment, and their estimated cost or percentage relationship to the cost of the primary items.

Team will be prepared to indicate the normal us sources of military materiel and training. (Comment: Team will emphasize US readiness to assist the GOZ in making expeditious contacts for direct commercial purchases, or for FMS cash purchases in exceptional cases where delivery/quality of materiel or quality of training might be enhanced. Note that reftel F demonstrates quicker commercial delivery on M–16s. End comment).

Team will not be able to project availabilities of US financial resources beyond current year because of unpredictable variables involved, e.g., congressional actions, budgetary limitations and competing worldwide priorities, and attitudes of private banks. (Comment: In informing GOZ of our willingness send team, Embassy/ZAMISH should reiterate that this cannot be taken to imply any subsequent increase in US military aid to Zaire and that, without action by Congress to provide relief from 40 million dollars Africa arms-aid ceiling, no increase over present aid levels will be possible. End comment).
Team will likewise not be able, before final report, to give firm estimates of prices or delivery lead-times.
Team will not be authorized to prejudge USG decision on sale of any item which requires special authorization. Any such item included in final report will be so identified. (Comment: team will generally attempt to discourage interest in highly sophisticated item which if purchased with FMS credit would require presidential determination or if purchased for cash would require determination by Secretary of State. End comment).
Team will not undertake to develop for the GOZ any kind of independent survey of Zairian defense needs or assessment of external threats.

D. Composition: Total eight. 1. Team Chief: Unless Embassy/ZAMISH believe general officer essential to achieve political aim of exercise and ensure desired access to decision making level of GOZ/DDN, DOD recommends senior Colonel. This would facilitate selection of qualified candidate fluent in French and would contribute to image of limited technical advisory role for team we wish to project; 2. Deputy: Ch ZAMISH; 3. Army reps: two (one LTC armor/recon qualified and one air defense arty/arty qualified); 4. USAF reps: two (Dept Ch ZAMISH and one air defense/command control); 5. U.S. Navy: CDR—deep water and inland water qualified; 6. USCINCEUR rep (FYI: LTC simpson, USA).

E. Duration: three weeks. (Comment: Consider that by limiting team’s activity largely to work with GOZ/DDN and Embassy and ZAMISH in Kinshasa, so as to avoid implications of broader responsibility that could be drawn from extensive field and terrain study, mission could probably be accomplished in three weeks. Limit would not be inflexible, but establishing it as target in advance should facilitate delimiting scope of work. End comment).

F. Travel: With probable exception of visit by air defense expert to principal targets which GOZ cites need to protect from low-level air attacks, team would not need to make field visits or terrain studies but would rely upon GOZ’s own evaluations as to threats and reasons for vulnerability. (Comment: Air defense survey might well be accomplished as separate or second-stage action. End comment).

G. Timing: Envisage selection of team and travel to Zaire by or before mid-January. If this schedule is achieved, team’s report should be ready by end February or early March.

H. Cooperation: You should seek commitment from GOZ that responsible GOZ officers will be readily available throughout short team visit and will provide all necessary cooperation.

4. When above general terms of reference have been presented to GOZ and agreement reached, we will proceed with selection of team and preparation of detailed guidance for its members.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Policy Files, 1974. Confidential. Repeated to USCINCEUR, CINCUSAFE, CINCUSAREUR, and CINCUSNAVEUR. Drafted by Mullen (OASD/ISA) and Strand (AF/C); cleared in ISA/SA, DSAA/FMS, JS/J-5, USAF/XOXX-EN, OASD/ISA(AF), PM, and Navy, approved by Mulcahy (AF).
  2. The Embassy was instructed to tell the Government of Zaire of U.S. willingness to send a military technical advisory team.