The Foreign Service Journal, December 2023

28 DECEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Dissent Channel June 2, 1978 Drafter Desires Distribution to P, AF and EA Subject: Recommendation for US Policy Towards Zaire SUMMARY: The degree of corruption and ineptitude of the Mobutu regime has reached the point where integral reform is for all practical purposes impossible—witness the lack of implementation of the reforms announced by Mobutu in July 1977 after the first Shaba War and related reforms promised on even earlier occasions. All available evidence indicates that Mobutu will find a way to sabotage externally imposed reforms which threaten to reduce his power and financial prerogatives. The inescapable conclusion is that Mobutu will not be able to reverse the decline of his political fortunes, and that his regime will, sooner or later, be overthrown. The longer Mobutu hangs on, the greater the danger of a revolutionary upheaval giving rise to a radical anti-US regime along Angolan, Ethiopian, or Cuban lines. There are only two realistic options available to the US to counter this growing threat to our interests in Zaire: (1) to concert with Belgium and France to remove Mobutu from power; (2) to reduce substantially our presence here, if Belgium and France refuse to cooperate, in order to increase the likelihood of our being able to establish good working relations with the successor regime. This dissent, prepared by political counselor XXXXX, argues that we should seek the first alternative, while being prepared to fall back on the second if the Belgians and French refuse to cooperate. END SUMMARY