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The Secretary: Will Mobutu get off our back if we help?
Vance: I don't know. He hopes we'll send a new one back out soon. I must say he never treated me in a more friendly manner. When I arrived he was convinced that we were involved in the coup and yet by the time I left he was pretty much off it.
The Secretary: How was he in general?
Vance: He's as rational as ever and, as a matter of fact, even less imperious.
The Secretary: How is his style of life? I imagine he's suffering no pain.
Vance: No, he's in no pain but he is slightly less imperial.
Vance: We have to help them via the IMF to get over his short-term cash flow problem. Our people think this is reasonable. Second, we need to increase the cash to the two Angola groups and put together a plan to propose to Mobutu of arms. It's not a huge amount of arms.
The Secretary: How are we going to get it done?
Mulcahy: When we discussed the implementation of Option 33 before, we found the CIA already has on pallets in warehouses a lot of arms and can get them moving in a matter of hours.
The Secretary: What's the procedure for starting it?
Vance: One, we need the decision. Two, who can run it? I think it would be disastrous to have it run by the military. It should be the Agency. Then we need to get the right guy—somebody like Devlin. Conceivably we can take him back.
The Secretary: Would he do it?
The Secretary: That's more than me! But anyway, someone like him.
Vance: I think he might be talked into it.
Mulcahy: We talked to Carter who thought it would take place today.
(Secretary is interrupted for a phone call)
The Secretary: Colby doesn't want to ship arms but he'll be talked to. I tell you this is a heroic phase in US foreign policy. He just wants to give money because it will give him less trouble with the Hill.
Cutler: Of course they can purchase arms in Europe, fast, anywhere.
Mulcahy: And we could ship European weapons. They have warehouses in Europe.
The Secretary: Well, it's nonsense. You're not going to be fooling anyone. He thinks (less than 1 line not declassified] could handle it. Can he do it?
Cutler: With help from headquarters he could.
Vance: He's a good man but he's not a Devlin (1 line not declassified]
Ingersoll: Devlin still has Mobutu's confidence doesn't he?
All right, next week I want you to work with the Agency and defer the decision until I come back. You should plan to go back to the Congo with an integrated plan.
Ingersoll: That should also include economic aid for Zaire.
Vance: You mentioned the possibility of giving some C-130's when
you met with Nat Davis.
Cutler: If you're going to get three C-130's you might as well get six. I gather priority has also already been given to the East Asian countries and I don't think they could handle more than six of them.
Mulcahy: These are older models too so they're not a real favor.
Vance: Back in the old days of the rebellions you could go anywhere in that country.
4 In May two Americans and a Dutch student were kidnapped in Tanzania and held hostage by leftist rebels from Zaire. They were released in July after their families paid their ransom.
Ambassador W. Beverly Carter, Jr.
Cutler: Three Soviet armored personnel carriers are not a lot. We're not talking about squadrons.
Vance: He wants M-16's—things like that. A dozen APC's, trucks, bazookas.
Cutler: You know with just cash you can rent a lot of trucks.
The Secretary: But then we'd have to try to help them find the trucks.
Vance: We could do an awful lot just making money available.
The Secretary: If we're going to do it we should do it. I don't understand the difference in virginity between giving money and giving
Mulcahy: They do need some money for uniforms, food, etc.
113. Minutes of a National Security Council Meeting
Washington, June 27, 1975, 2:30–3:20 p.m.
State: Deputy Secretary of State Robert S. Ingersoll
The President: Bill (to Colby), will you brief us on Angola and related problems.
1 Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, NSC Meetings File, Box 2, NSC Meeting, June 27, 1975. Top Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the Cabinet Room of the White House. All brackets, except those indicating material not declassified, are in the original.
Mr. Colby: Yes, sir. [Briefed -as attached.)
The President: Cabinda was a part of the Portuguese territories? (This was in reference to a point in Mr. Colby's brief as he described Cabinda.)
Mr. Colby: Yes, sir.
The President: What are the white areas within the borders of Angola?
Mr. Colby: These are essentially tribal, not military areas. These are additional tribes and I just chose (pointing on the chart] to mention those three. They have different languages and are different socially.
The President: Did the Portuguese do much in combatting illiteracy? Are there many educated blacks?
Mr. Colby: The Portuguese were not forceful in this area. The literacy rate is between 10–15 percent.
Secretary Kissinger: Mr. President, until the coup, the Portuguese had no intention of leaving their territories in Africa and didn't organize them for independence.
Secretary Schlesinger: Most of the educated classes are in Luanda and support the MPLA.
The President: What is the white population?
Secretary Kissinger: Mr. President, I will be reasonably brief. This is an area where no one can be sure of the judgments. I do question the judgment that control of the capital is not of importance. The history of Africa has shown that a nation's only focal point is the capital, and whoever has the capital has a claim on international support. In the Congo civil war, the reason we came out on top is because we never lost Leopoldville. If Neto can get Luanda, and drive the others out, he will have a power base, and gradually gain support of other Africans.
Mr. Colby: I agree, except to note the importance of the (Benguella) railway and Zaire and Zambia's need for it.
The President: What is the name of the city at the end of the railway?
Mr. Colby: Lobito. There is, of course, always the possibility for fragmentation.
Secretary Kissinger: Soviet arms shipments have reversed the situation. Sheldon Vance has just come back from talking with Mobutu, who has stressed the change in the balance of power. Portugal is tilting toward Neto, and the Soviets are putting important equipment, such as armed personnel carriers, into Neto's hands.
Our understanding from Vance is that this is one reason Mobutu is moving away from Roberto and wants a coalition.
An interagency effort has developed options, none of which I am in wild agreement with. The first is neutrality-stay out and let nature take its course. This would enable us to avoid a costly involvement in a situation that may be beyond our control; protect us from some international criticism; avoid tying us to any group; and avoid further antagonizing the MPLA. The probable outcome would be that Neto would establish a dominant position. Mobutu might try to go with Savimbi, or
a adjust to reality; Angola would go in a leftward direction; and Zaire would conclude we have disinterested ourselves in that part of the world and move towards anti-Americanism.
As for the second course, my Department agrees, but I don't. It is recommended that we launch a diplomatic offensive to get the Soviets, the Yugoslavs, and others, to lessen arms shipments to the MPLA, get Portugal to exert its authority, and encourage cooperation among the groups. We could have direct dealings with the Soviets or get African states to do it. If we appeal to the Soviets not to be active, it will be a sign of weakness; for us to police it is next to impossible, and we would be bound to do nothing.
If we try to affect events, we could support Roberto and Savimbi with arms and money. If we move to arms supplies, it would be best to do so through Mobutu, but we could give some money directly to Roberto and Savimbi.
Mr. Colby: We have had a relationship with Roberto (112 lines not declassified]
The President: Is this for him, or for him and his activities?
Mr. Colby: For him and his activities. Savimbi has had a (less than 1 line not declassified) and we could up that.
See Document 112.
At the Senior Review Group meeting, June 19, it was agreed that an NSC meeting would be held on Angola, and “a paper would be prepared on the implications of U.S. neutrality and the implications of the U.S. taking a hand through a third party." (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Paper, Box TS 71, National Security Council, Senior Review Group, August 1973-October 1975) The undated paper, “Addendum to Response to NSSM 224, U.S. Policy Toward Angola," was prepared by the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Africa. (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Africa, Latin America, Inter-Agency Intelligence Committee Files, Angola NSSM 224 Papers) The response to NSSM 224 is Document 109.