273. Minutes of the Secretary of State’s Staff Meeting1 2

In Attendance—Monday, June 16, 1975

  • Secretary of State Kissinger— Chairman
  • P Mr. Sisco
  • E Mr. Robinson
  • T Mr. Maw
  • M Mr. Eagleburger
  • C Mr. Sonnenfeldt
  • AF Mr. Mulcahy (Acting)
  • ARA Mr. Rogers
  • EA Mr. Habib
  • EUR Mr. Hartman
  • NEA Mr. Atherton
  • INR Mr. Hyland
  • S/P Mr. Lord
  • EB Mr. Boeker (Acting)
  • S/PRS Mr. Anderson
  • PM Mr. Stern (Acting)
  • IO Mr. Blake (Acting)
  • H Mr. McCloskey
  • L Mr. Leigh
  • S/S Mr. Springsteen
  • S Mr. Bremer
[Page 2]

[Omitted here are portions of the discussion unrelated to Zaire.]

MR. MULCAHY: The problem with Zaire that we were having last week has now become a public relations problem.


MR. MULCAHY: The problem about the Hinton-Mobutu relationship. And the alleged plot fostered by the U.S. Government means Mobutu relationship. And the alleged plot fostered by the U.S. Government means Mobutu has now been broadcast in the principal daily newspaper down there in Dima. It’s not owned by the government but more or less controlled by it. They allege pointedly that Deane Hinton was involved in a plot and—

SECRETARY KISSINGER: How did this relationship deteriorate to this point?

[Page 3]

MR. MULCAHY: It’s very difficult to say. Deane hasn’t had a meeting I think with the President for about the last three or four months. I’m surprised even to see how with the Foreign Minister these days—

MR. HARTMAN: When Deane was back here, I had a long conversation with him. And he said the situation is so traumatic you have to get permission to see anybody in the whole government. It has to go through the Foreign Office. And they’re all being followed and it’s just getting—he said at that time he thought his days were numbered there.

MR. MULCAHY: But we’ll—

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Will it wait for Nat to get there?

MR. MULCAHY: He won’t be there until the 29th of June, I think, which is a rather long time away. We’re probably going to get press questions in the course of today based on this. I’m sure the wire services will pick this up.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Say it’s total nonsense.

MR. MULCAHY: I think at the very least we better call in the Zairian Ambassador. He’s in town. He was out [Page 4] of the country I think last week. I think he had gone to Europe to meet his Foreign Minister.


MR. MULCAHY: Just tell them how shocked we are at this—that the newspaper under the control of the government should publish such allegations. If the government has them come to us, I think we ought to have Deane see the President on this.


MR. MULCAHY: You don’t want him to see him?

SECRETARY KISSINGER: No. It’s clear—call in the Ambassador. What do you want Deane to do—wring his hands, say he didn’t do it? He won’t see him anyway. He’ll just get kicked in the teeth.

MR. MULCAHY: Well, I think they owe us a chance to look at whatever—

SECRETARY KISSINGER: No. But not with Deane’s personality confronting them. They know damn well it isn’t true. They can’t have any evidence—or can they?


SECRETARY KISSINGER: Then they must know it isn’t true, and we know it isn’t true.

MR. MULCAHY: They could have documents that are [Page 5] forgeries. I think we want to consider whether we want to get our forgery experts, like Dr. Crown.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: But has it occurred to you they may just want to get rid of Hinton and have no evidence whatsoever?

MR. MULCAHY: That’s clear to us now; yes, sir.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: So if they want to get rid of him, they won’t have evidence. The more you press them for evidence, the worse you make it. I mean, I’m in favor of calling in the Ambassador. I don’t mind Hinton calling on the Foreign Minister. But to get into another confrontation with Mobutu seems to me a mistake.

MR. MULCAHY: Well, would you want Nat to try to change his itinerary?

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Well, you know, I could do without that leisurely pace; but I think, that would be a mistake. Let’s not flap so much. And the purpose is not to calm down the Congolese. This is outrageous. Just tell them we want to see the evidence. I don’t want a weeping, hand-wringing performance there with many protestations of goodwill. Just tell them we’d like to see the evidence. But from what I know Of Mobutu, it’s useless to [Page 6] have Hinton call on him. It will just produce an even worse confrontation.

MR. MULCAHY: Yes, sir.

[Omitted here are portions of the discussion unrelated to Zaire.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Transcripts of Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meetings, 1973–1977, Entry 5177, Box 7, Secretary’s Staff Meetings. Secret.
  2. Secretary Kissinger and Deputy Assistant Secretary Mulcahy discussed President Mobutu’s allegations that Ambassador Hinton was involved in the planned coup against him.