121. Letter From President Carter to Zairian President Mobutu1

Dear Mr. President:

I want to take the opportunity provided by your kind letter of April 282 and the recent visit of Foreign Minister Nguza3 to review with you key elements of the relations between our two countries. I last wrote you on June 11, 1978.4 Since then, much has occurred and important tasks have begun.

The sustained momentum of the economic and other reforms you have set in motion continues to be an important factor in our relations. As we explained to Foreign Minister Nguza, the conclusion of the pending stabilization agreement with the International Monetary Fund will mark a major milestone in your efforts to revitalize the Zairian economy. Once this agreement is in place, we should be able to proceed rapidly with implementation of a new agricultural commodity program and with disbursements on the Inga-Shaba transmission line cost overrun loan.

Equally important is continued progress on the full range of other reforms which you have set in motion, including those expanding political and civil liberties. In this regard, I welcome your recent decision to reshape your cabinet as a commitment on your part to place increasing responsibility in the First Commissioner and his colleagues for carrying out reform programs in all sectors of national life.

We both recognize, however, that there is still far to go in achieving all that you have established as Zaire’s primary objectives. In particular, we are convinced that the Zairian armed forces must earn the trust and support of the people in all regions of Zaire if they are to carry out their mission of preserving national security. The pace of military reform will assume larger importance as Zairian troops begin to replace the African forces in Shaba. We want to help in this process and, as we informed your Foreign Minister, we are prepared to participate in a combined effort to withdraw the African forces from Shaba according to the timetable you have established.

We want to continue to support you as you pursue the rigorous program you have articulated as the sound basis for reform and [Page 322] national renewal. As a means of cooperating on this important program you have undertaken, our staffs should remain in close and frank dialogue on all aspects of the program implementation, and perhaps at some appropriate point it could be useful and productive for us to get together for a talk under circumstances mutually convenient.


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders, Box 22, Zaire: Mobutu. No classification marking.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 118.
  3. See Documents 117 and 118.
  4. See Document 112.