19. Paper Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1


  • Questions Regarding the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA)

1. How much communications do we have with Savimbi and his group?

a. We maintain discreet direct contact with Savimbi to acquire intelligence from him when he travels outside of Angola. We also have discreet contacts for the same purpose with his representatives abroad who are in touch with him. His representatives in Zaire maintain contact with Savimbi by radio and courier. They also occasionally travel to Angola.

b. [1 line not declassified]

c. We have trained two of Savimbi’s men to be radio operators and provided them with radio gear. They have accompanied him back to Angola, and we anticipate that they will be in communication [less than 1 line not declassified] in the near future to report intelligence. At the moment they are traveling overland with Savimbi to his base camp in southeastern Angola.

d. [4 lines not declassified]

e. Savimbi has recently acquired a DC–4 aircraft which has made one trip from Zaire to southern Angola. We could send messages to Savimbi by this route.

2. How much communications could we establish with Savimbi and his group if we do not have any? If we do have some, how could they be upgraded?

a. We have recently upgraded the communications by training the UNITA operators and providing them with [2 lines not declassified].

b. We could upgrade by:

—Stepping up our contacts with UNITA personnel outside Angola.

—Training more operators.2

—Providing additional gear to permit more of Savimbi’s regional bases to communicate securely with Savimbi as he moves from place [Page 38] to place. It would also provide him with better communications to his subordinate commands and [less than 1 line not declassified].3

—[3 lines not declassified]

—Provide Savimbi with a small jet transport aircraft to facilitate his movements and permit him to leave Angola more frequently for consultations. (In 1975–1976 [less than 1 line not declassified] commercial interests provided him with such a jet.)

c. Pros of upgrading:

—Improve our intelligence on the situation in Angola.

—Enhance the security of Savimbi’s forces.

—Strengthen the effectiveness of his organization.

—Make more difficult the Cuban and MPLA task of containing Savimbi’s forces.

—Boost morale of Savimbi.

d. Cons of upgrading:

—Moves our involvement in the direction of doing more than merely collecting intelligence.

—Risks some exposure of the hand of the United States Government.

—Could require funding from CIA [less than 1 line not declassified].

3. How much indirect help are we giving him?

a. To acquire intelligence we are providing him some help in the form of assistance in communications as listed in paragraph 1 above.

b. Our freedom of action has been limited by the Tunney-Javits amendment to the appropriations act for FY 1976 which reads: “205,600,000, none of which, nor any other funds appropriated in this Act may be used for any activities involving Angola other than intelligence gathering.”

c. This applied specifically to the appropriations for FY 1976 and has not been included in subsequent Acts. There is an open question as to whether or not the Tunney-Javits amendment reflects continuing intervention on the part of the Congress to restrict CIA support for the insurgency movement in Angola.

4. How much indirect help could we give him?

a. In increasing order of magnitude we could:

—Stop advising friendly governments through diplomatic channels against aid to Savimbi.4

[Page 39]

—Avoid recognizing the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) regime in Luanda as the Government of Angola.5

—Encourage third parties to provide further help. For example, we could supplement the aid Morocco is providing by giving them funds to act on our behalf. Other countries such as France, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Zaire could be similarly encouraged.6

—Give a signal to the Portuguese that we would like them to support Savimbi. We have reason to believe that they would be responsive to the degree it does not adversely affect their citizens and economic interests under MPLA control. For example, the Government of Portugal might turn a blind eye to the recruitment of mercenaries in Portugal.7

—Provide covertly assistance to Savimbi in making his case known on the world scene.8

—Use covert action resources to mobilize support for Savimbi among other nations.

—Provide third country nationals to assist in the training of Savimbi’s forces.9

—Provide third country nationals to perform technical functions such as:

—Communications and transportation (radio operators, technicians, aircrews, etc.).

—Ordnance and logistics.


—Field intelligence.

b. Pros of more indirect help. Assistance to UNITA would tend to:

—Tie up more Cuban troops and Cuban and Soviet resources in Angola.

—Raise the price of the Cuban intervention in terms of casualties, army morale.

—Hearten other governments who now support Savimbi.

—Reduce the popularity in Cuba for intervention in Africa.

—Hamper the use of Angola as a training and staging area for other guerrilla movements.

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—Maintain Savimbi’s movement to participate in a future national government which could expect to establish peace throughout Angola.

—Reduce capacity of Luanda regime to intervene elsewhere such as by support of Katangan infiltration of Zaire.

—Hasten the day when MPLA government in Luanda becomes realistic about need to compromise to form a national government.

c. Cons of more indirect help. More indirect help tends to:

—Introduce contentious issue of the interpretation of Tunney-Javits amendment.

—Raise level of fighting in Angola. (Savimbi will fight on, but with help he may fight much more intensively over a larger area.)

—Create tensions with those governments which support the MPLA by associating the United States Government more closely with governments which favor UNITA.

—Increase Neto’s present dependence on Soviet and Cuban military power and reduce whatever remaining tendency Neto may still have to adopt non-aligned foreign policy.

—Incite Soviets and Cubans to escalate their own involvement.

—Create additional obstacle to possible improvement in Cuban-United States relations.

—Associate United States more closely with present regime in Zaire and its protection.

—Complicate our relations with the Southwest African Peoples Organization (SWAPO).

In any event, indirect help is unlikely to reach a level which would permit Savimbi to win a clear-cut victory.10

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 2, Angola: 1977–1978. Secret; Sensitive. Turner forwarded the paper to Brzezinski under a February 17 covering memorandum.
  2. Brzezinski placed a checkmark in the left-hand margin next to this point.
  3. Brzezinski placed a checkmark in the left-hand margin next to this point.
  4. Brzezinski placed a checkmark in the left-hand margin next to this point and Carter placed a checkmark in the right-hand margin.
  5. Carter placed a checkmark in the right-hand margin next to this point.
  6. Carter placed a checkmark in the right-hand margin next to this point.
  7. Carter wrote in the right-hand margin: “Check with Carlucci.”
  8. Carter underlined “making his case known” and placed a checkmark in the right-hand margin next to this point. Brzezinski placed a checkmark in the left-hand margin.
  9. Brzezinski placed a checkmark in the left-hand margin next to this point.
  10. Carter placed a checkmark in the right-hand margin next to this point.