285. Briefing Memorandum From the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Mulcahy) to Secretary of State Kissinger1 2

AID Loan for Zaire: Congressional Consultations

In accordance with your decision, Mr. Ingersoll and others in the Department have contacted key Congressional leaders to try to dissuade them from holding hearings on the $20 million AID program loan or, if they insist on hearings, that these be held by October 15. Our consultations to date have clearly indicated that some hearings will have to be held: Senators Clark and Humphrey, who had written you requesting that we follow the normal authorization and appropriations procedures, have continued to insist on hearings but have agreed to consider the Zaire request separately on an expedited basis. Consequently, at their request, Don Brown (AID), Sheldon Vance and I plan to meet with the Foreign Relations Committee in executive session on Friday, October 10. Senator Inouye and Congressman Passman have so far reserved their positions, although we believe one or both may decide to hold hearings folllowing the end of the Congressional recess October 20. Thus we are succeeding in moving ahead with the AID loan but at the cost of expedited hearings and the focus these hearings may place on our other programs in Zaire.

In this connection, at Friday’s executive hearing before the SFRC we anticipate some searching questions designed to link our proposal for a $20 million supporting assistance loan to other US programs, such as military assistance to Zaire [text not declassified]. For example: “Isn’t the purpose, or at least the practical effect, of this loan to facilitate Mobutu’s efforts in Angola?” Vance and I plan to argue for the loan on its own merits: i.e., it is part of an urgent effort to help Zaire overcome a serious short-term financial crisis—an effort justified by US interests in a stable, viable Zaire and one we would be making regardless of Zaire’s military needs developments in Angola.

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We would still expect to be pressed on the military questions. If asked about our plans for military assistance to Zaire, we would state frankly that the Administration is proposing to increase US FMS credits from $3.5 million in FY–75 to $19 million in FY–76 in response to the GOZ’s force modernization needs and the increased security threat to Zaire posed by instability in Angola. If asked whether Zairian military forces have been sent into Angola, as reported in the press, we would state our understanding that some elements have been sent to support and advise FNLA forces. If asked whether these Zairian elements in Angola have US military equipment, we would reply that to the best of our knowledge they do not. Moreover, the GOZ is fully aware of US legal controls and restrictions regarding use of US equipment supplied under our MAP and FMS programs. [text not declassified]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 257, Geopolitical Files, Zaire, August-November 1975. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Cutler, cleared by Vance.
  2. Mulcahy offered a strategy for discussing U.S. assistance to Zaire at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on October 10.