275. Memorandum of Conversation1 2


  • The Secretary
  • Deputy Secretary Ingersoll
  • Under Secretary Sisco
  • Acting Assistant Secretary Mullcahy, AF
  • Walt Culter, Country Director for Central AF
  • Jerry Bremer, Notetaker


  • Africa

The Secretary: I think, Bob, we should send you to Zaire before it blows up there’s a strong reason not to. This non-activism has got to stop.

Ingersoll: If we are thinking that way, it might be a good idea to send Vance too.

The Secretary: Yes, it is impossible to let our diplomatic relations break with a country adjoining Angola.

Mulcahy: There’s too much at stake.

The Secretary: Hinton has to leave.

Sisco: No question.

Ingersoll: We got the word a month ago or even six weeks ago.

The Secretary: Do you think this is directed at Hinton?

Mulcahy: It will help to move him?

Ingersoll: It certainly won’t solve Mobutu’s economic problems.

The Secretary: I think Mobutu has decided, at least according to the intelligence reports, that after Vietnam friends of the United Stares are in trouble. I don’t know how he assesses Angola.

[Page 2]

Mulcahy: He has agreed with the Portuguese to stop sending arms in there.

The Secretary: Why?

Mulcahy: It helps Roberto if the MPLA can be cut off of arms.

The Secretary: Yeah, but this is naive. Who will cut off the MPLA? The MPLA is going to cut itself off?

Mulcahy: The Portuguese might if they’re serious about stopping a civil war.

The Secretary: I don’t believe that. Is there any evidence at all? Why should the communist-influenced Portuguese military be reluctant for arms to go to the MPLA?

Mulcahy: The Portuguese governor of Angola seems to be against the MPLA.

Cutler: I think Mobutu may actually think we’ve abandoned or reassessed our relations with him. I think the idea percolates in his rather paranoiac mind that we are re-thinking our attitude. In his state of mind is such that he could also be mislead.

The Secretary: I think we have to send Ingersoll.

Cutler: We could ask Mobutu if he would receive him. [text not declassified] Hinton is no longer a channel.

The Secretary: We should ask Hinton back on consultations. We can’t have Hinton go in with Bob on the meeting. That is a fact of life. I respect the basic principle of the Foreign Service but we cannot ram an unacceptable ambassador down Mobutu’s throat. Either Hinton does not participate or he can come home.

Cutler: We could try the idea of Vance going to start out with. He’s an old friend and confident of Mobutu and Mobutu still speaks highly of him.

Mulcahy: Walt has just talked to Templeton who’s an industrialist and confident of Mobutu.

[Page 3]

Cutler: I saw him the weekend of June 6 which was the criticial weekend when the coup was supposed to have taken place. He said Hinton was seeing the wrong people.

The Secretary: Is there anything to it—these accusations?

Cutler: Not the accusation that Hinton’s seeing the wrong people, but he is a very direct person and may have been taken the wrong way. At that point Templeton was very much impressed by the strength of Mobutu’s feelings.

The Secretary: I had not focused on the fact that they had given us quite a long time to get rid of him.

Ingersoll: At least six weeks.

Cutler: No, it’s much longer. In January when Mobutu made a speech and Hinton went in on the Davis appointment—that was the subject of the speech—he mentioned it. That’s when the well poisioning started.

Mulcahy: Yesterday [text not declassified] talked with two of the top guys who said that Mobutu says the US is against him because of his opposition to the Davis appointment and on Angola.

The Secretary: We’re not helping on Angola and that’s what I figured was in his mind. It’s important to him. We see it as important for our missionary work.

Sisco: What will Mobutu’s reaction bo to the Deputy Secretary visiting instead of just Vance?

Cutler: The Zairian Ambassador’s luncheon here recently with Mr. Ingersoll I think was a chance to get the word on Hinton across to us. I’m just a little bit reluctant to thrust the Deputy Secretary into this situation.

The Secretary: I want some serious talk with Mobutu on Angola. [text not declassified] We are in the process of installing a communist regime by total default.

The concept of free elections in Angola boggles my mind. It is going to be settled, and is being settled, by force with Mobutu seeing us as talking total nonsense. If we want to stay out, it should be a deliberate decision. [Page 4] I want to hear what he wants us to do there. He must think we are out of our damn minds to have Cabinda go and to have the whole country go communist without doing anything. It will end up in Angola as it did in the Congo. Someone will get on top by force.

Cutler: Some of us in the bureau share your activist view.

Mulcahy: Though the present and past Assistant Secretaries perhaps do not.

The Secretary: He will do as I ask. Doing nothing means that the best armed side will win.

Sisco: We should definitely talk to Mobutu.

The Secretary: I want Mobutu to have a sense he’s talking to adults.

Sisco: Then your disposition is to go with Vance (to Cutler).

Cutler: Yes.

Mulcahy: The merit in his going is there’s no formality. They’re very close friends and his french is perfect.

The Secretary: [text not declassified]

Sisco: [text not declassified]

The Secretary: What are Vance’s views on Angola? I know the AF view. I want to hear Mobutu’s view. I want to get an unvarnished view and I want him to convey to Mobutu that we are not milktoasts. I want Mobutu to have an adult conversation with us.

Ingersoll: What about scndint Walt and Vance?

Cutler: I could convoy a view on Angola, I think.

The Secretary: My concern is Mobutu rust think that a country which permit a country as rich as Angola to go communist has written off the area. He has to be drawing his conclusions for himself. On top of which Hinton is not the most winning personality. Well, let’s send them a message saying that either this is a misunderstanding [Page 5] or a deliberate policy. We had nothing to do with it. I want Ingersoll to discuss it with you and to discuss Angola and what joint policies we might have Angola. I do not want that cleared all over AF.

Cutler: On Angola, I sat with you when you met with the Congalese Foreign Minister last year and we talkd about Angola and they asked our help for Roberto. I think he carried back a very exaggerated view of what we would deliver. If we now talk Angola, Mobutu may see a change. He thinks we have expressed a sympathy without doing anything.

The Secretary: He’s right.

Cutler: Talking Angola now may stimulate expectations.

The Secretary: I wanted to give him the message. I want to mention Angola. I want a frank discussion of the Angolan situation. You can tell him we’re not sure what we can do, but we want to know what his views are.

Cutler: It’s a valid question since we really don’t know what he’s up to in Angola.

Indications are he’s no longer backinb Roberto wholeheartedly.

The Secretary: Why? What if he’s concluded that the MPLA is going to win?

Mulcahy: He had talks very recently with Savimbi; maybe he’s changing his policy.

Sisco: We should certainly find out.

The Secretary: At a minimum I want an option for decision.

Mulcahy: We’re prepared for you to make a decision at the 11:00 SRG meeting tomorrow.

The Secretary: Yeah, but that NSSM is so phrased that if anything is done won’t be any agency’s fault.

Mulcahy: We also gave you a paper last week.

The Secretary: That was a good paper and at least after three months, we got an option. Money is not the problem but the degree of commitment. I’m not sure. Perhaps we can push Mobutu out front. It simply cannot be in our interest to have Angola go communist. It is next to the largest country in Africa and it’s next to South Africa.

[Page 6]

Cutler: Pushing Zaire out front is the most feasbible alternative.

The Secretary: I don’t want us to get in directly.

Mulcahy: [text not declassified]

The Secretary: Are you guys now pushing Savimbi?

Mulcahy: We’d like to bring him into our confidence.

The Secretary: Why?

Mulcahy: He leans more in our direction ideologically. He needs some help and it’s best given to him on a cash basis.

The Secretary: I have to talk to you before you go. Let’s get a message off this afternoon.

Sisco: Shall we show you the talking points?

The Secretary: I know Mobutu and I want him to come away with a sense that he’s dealt with a man and not with a church representative.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Policy Files, 1975, P770089–0492. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the Secretary’s office
  2. Secreretary Kissinger and his staff discussed deteriorating U.S. relations with Zaire and its impact on developments in Angola, as well as the need to send a high-level representative to talk directly to President Mobutu.