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Cryptonym: SECAROB-1

Major Michael Hoare. A cable in August of 1964 described SECAROB-1 as a "ex-Katanga mercenary." Hoare died in February 2020, aged 100 years.
Hoare published a number of books on his mercenary activities from the 1960's onwards. In 1967, Congo Mercenary was released. CIA cables mention that SECAROB-1 was planning on publishing a book on his activities in the Congo. Other references to writing a book than the one below can be found in the file 104-10182-10073, Pages 34 and 37.

A cable in August of 1965 stated that SECAROB-1 was in contact with Donald F. Mazutis (probably CIA operative Mickey Kappes). Moreover, a cable in December of 1965 mentioned that SECAROB-1 believed his employment with the CIA began on January 1, 1965. The cable also stated that SECAROB-1 was warned not to get involved in Rhodesian affairs.

A cable in March, 1967, mentioned that SECAROB-1, in reference and relation to John Peters, was the commanding officer of "5 Commando", a mercenary force that was hired by Tshombe and Mobutu. This appears to be consistent with Michael Hoare being SECAROB-1.


08/12/64: Cable from Leopoldville to Director: Slugline INTEL WITHUNDER SECAROB: "SUPDATA: Phlegar from SECAROB. Defer (REDACTION) passage to SMOTH... Subject: Instructions from Tshomse and Mobutu for concentration of 15 mercenary pilots and 200 mercenary ground troops at Kamina; presumed plan of campaign; preparations...Source: Western businessman (B), from ex-Katanga mercenary (C)..." - - - Pages 103-106: Information Intelligence Cable: "1. On 11 August 64, European mercenary commander Michael Hoare said privately that...same morning, Premier Moise Tshombe had sent a car to pick up him and mercenary air commander Jeremiah Puren and wife...saw Tshombe for 'exactly four minutes'...The gist of what Tshombe said was, 'How soon can you bring your men in? This is very urgent, and we want you immediately'...3. Mobutu said that Hoare, the mercenary pilots and 300 additional mercenaries are to be flown to Kamina. Mobutu then told Puren he could have 15 pilots. Puren immediately produced a list of seven pilots who had been with him in Katanga in 1961 and are now waiting in London and Brussels...These seven, plus the three now in Leopoldville (James Hedges, Errol Kingman and Peter McIntosh), plus Puren, leave four still needed...4. Mobutu offered Hoare the rank of Major, which he accepted with the proviso that there should be no Belgian of superior rank in the chain of command. As agreed with Mobutu, the command line will run from Tshombe to Mobutu to Major-General Louis Bobozo to Hoare; and the whole force will be integrated into the ANC. Hoare said he has christened the operational unit 'Five Commando-ANC.' Bobozo, he added, is now waiting for him at Kamina; and there is a possibility that he and Alastair Wicks, his second-in-command, will be flown there on the night of 12 August..."


Circa 1965: Cable from Withheld to Director (Info: LEOP): Slugline SECAROB: ..."3. SECAROB-1 then expressed his satisfaction privately to Mazutis."


08/27/65: Cable from Withheld to Director (Info: LEOP): Slugline SECAROB: REF DIR 38395: "1. Ref message passed to SECAROB-1 (S1) by Mazutis at 1100Z, 27 August. S1 agreeable wait and take no final action until Guthman returns. 2. Major Wicks due (REDACTION) 1400Z, 27 August with report his LEOP mission concerning pay QOSOLVE (as RCVD). S1 intends report this word to troops immediately thereafter. Will advise immediate S1 and troop reaction."


12/22/65: Cable from Withheld to Director (Info: LEOP): "1. Saw SECAROB/1 and 2 on Dec 17 and 18...He recalled that employment with KUBARK (CIA) began 1 January 1965. He apparently is basing this on PRET 3749 in which he pointed out had intended quit on 31 Dec, had been requested by KUBARK LEOP to return which he agreed to do. Actual agreement on terms of pay was 10 January 1965. Unless advised to contrary plan to pay him $9,500 less $150 as total settlement of all claims. 2. S agreed for Pugh to review any publication by him. We discussed his book which must be submitted to publishers by 31 March. It will not involve CONG politics and he will not have 'one mean thing to say about anyone.' We will do preliminary review of outline and progress of book in about three weeks to be sure that he does not get into final stages with something objectionable requiring total re-write. We will do final review prior submission manuscript. 3. His personal plans other than writing a book are to sail to Lourenco Macques for week then later to Mauritius, and after storm season is over in 1966 to sail across Atlantic to West Indies and Florida. 4. We warned him that under no circumstances was he to get involved in Rhodesian affairs and this included any recruitments, training or anything else...7. SECAROB was high in his praise of his case officer whom he regarded as very helpful and regretted not being able to bid farewell to COS LEOP..."


03/09/67: Cable to Director: Slugline SECAROB: "1. On 3 March 1967 SECAROB/1 had meeting with Haslanger and reported following about his meeting with WISTATIC/1. A. SECAROB/1 tried unsuccessfully to get WISTATIC/1 to focus on what GDRC was going to give him for phasing out the 5 Commando and for recruiting new men in England...C. SECAROB/1 advised WISTATIC/1 that Peters could be a difficult man to handle if disbandment of 5 Commando not properly handled...(SECAROB/1 later stated he did not fear Peters because the latter still had a sergeant's attitude towards his commanding officer, SECAROB/1...2. Concerning the OAU meeting in September, SECAROB/1 emphasized that Mobutu told him that it his intention to get permanent headquarters of OAU transferred to the Congo...3. While confirming his willingness to disband the 5 Commando if LNHARP (U.S. Government) wants him to do so, SECAROB/1 emotionally told Haslanger that he had great respect for LNHARP and WOTACT; he was our man and would be ever loyal to LNHARP which he believes must exercise more influence in Africa; LNHARP has always been fair to him; and that without WOTACT the 5 Commando could never have done its job...SECAROB/1 stated that if Guthman and Haslanger were to leave the Congo he would be reluctant to take on his new job since personal relationships mean a great deal to him and were important in implementing his new program. 4. Finally SECAROB/1 stated that he going London about 12 March to check on the Yemen deal...5. Instructed SECAROB/1 to check with Pretoria on his return South Africa 4 March."


03/05/70: Dispatch from COS, Withheld to Chief, Africa Division: Subject: OPERATIONAL/SECAROB - Letter re Mercenary Affairs: "1. Forwarded herewith is the substance of the latest letter received by SECAROB/1 from subject of 201-801702 re mercenary affairs and Zanzibar. 2. During ref trip, Philbrook will discuss this letter with SECAROB/1 for further clarification and forward the results to Headquarters. Kenneth H. Philbrook." - - - Page 7: Attachment: "We are still held up in one business and I have had to call in my own supplies to give an estimate as the previous one, who was virtually unknown to me, did not seem to understand the importance of security in the industrial field today. This in fact should suit us better as I am sure I can do a better deal for us with our own man. I have had to put off my departure for one week as a result of this as it was important to keep my fingers on the pulse at this moment...I mentioned to the partners that you had some novel ideas to solve the delivery problem ...I think a letter to the Club Nautico will reach me safely though it would obviously be inadvisable to mention the Spice Islands. I hear there is much afoot in your part of the world and both Brazzaville and the Sudan have been mentioned, also another operation. I hope you will not return to that sort of thing - at least until we have fully explored the possibilities of the new company." (dated 25 February 1970)

157-10014-10185: THE CONGO

08/22/75: SSCIA Interview and Meeting Summary of Victor S. Hedgeman (Lawrence Devlin): Page 4: "Hedgeman stressed that in this period, 1960-1961, the Congo was fraught with utter confusion; he said that what they were running was a Scotch tape and baling-wire operation. As for paramilitary operations, Hedgeman said they began seriously in the end of 1962 with the arrival of a number of T-6's that he and Ed Gullion had asked for. He said that these aircraft were not intended to be used in combat, but only to reassure the Congolese that the United States was with them and provide them with a bit of black magic. Hedgeman professed that the paramilitary combat missions of 1963, in support of anti-rebel activities, were really quite minor affairs. Some specifics. Hedgeman contended that he had no knowledge of the approval of funding of South African mercenaries and tribal leaders capable of resistance as approved by the 303 Committee. He also said, though, that he had important contact with Mike Hoare mercenaries, they gave no direct or indirect support to them. He also said there was no, repeat no, complicity or support on the part of the CIA in the ouster of Kasavubu by Mobutu in November of 1965. Throughout the conversation, Hedgeman interspersed the most hair-raising tales of his and his daughter's brushes with death in their dealings with unruly mutinous Congolese, ranging from being placed before two different firing squads during one day and his evening as the selected victim of a hit contract given by the Union Miniere. As for CIA employees who might testify well, should the Committee handle the Congo issue in executive session, Hedgeman recommended Edward Korn-Patterson, Bronson Tweedy, and Glen Fields."


"Thomas Michael Hoare (17 March 1919 – 2 February 2020 [1]), known as Mad Mike Hoare, was a British mercenary leader and adventurer known for his military activities in Africa and attempt to conduct a coup d'état in the Seychelles. [2] Early life and military career... Aged 20 he joined the London Irish Rifles at the outbreak of Second World War, later he then joined the 2nd Reconnaissance Regiment of the Royal Armoured Corps as a 2nd lieutenant... He was promoted to the rank of major. In 1945, he married Elizabeth Stott in New Delhi, by whom he had three children.[7]...After the war, he completed his training as a chartered accountant, qualifying in 1948. [8] Hoare found life in London boring and decided to move to South Africa. [7] He subsequently emigrated to Durban...By the early 1960s, Hoare was extremely bored with his life as an accountant, and yearned to return to the life of a soldier, leading to his interest in becoming a mercenary. [5] Congo Crisis (1961–65): Hoare led two separate mercenary groups during the Congo Crisis. [10] Katanga: Hoare's first mercenary action was in 1961 in Katanga, a province trying to break away from the newly independent Republic of the Congo. His unit was called "4 Commando". [10]...During this time he married Phyllis Sims, an airline stewardess. [12] Simba rebellion: In 1964, Congolese Prime Minister Moïse Tshombe, his employer in Katanga, hired Major Hoare to lead a military unit called 5 Commando, Armée Nationale CongCongolaise (5 Commando ANC) (later led by John Peters; [13] not to be confused with No.5 Commando, the British Second World War commando force) made up of about 300 men most of whom were from South Africa. His second-in-command was a fellow ex-British Army officer, Commandant Alistair Wicks." (CONTINUED BELOW)


"The unit's mission was to fight a revolt known as the Simba rebellion. [14] Tshombe distrusted General Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, the commander of the Armée Nationale Congolaise who had already carried two coups, and preferred to keep the Congolese Army weak even in the face of the Simba rebellion. [15] Hence, Tshmobe turned to mercenaries who already fought for him in Katanga to provide a professional military force. [15]...Later Hoare and his mercenaries worked in concert with Belgian paratroopers, Cuban exile pilots, and CIA-hired mercenaries who attempted to save 1,600 civilians (mostly Europeans and missionaries) in Stanleyville (modern Kisangani, Congo) from the Simba rebels in Operation Dragon Rouge...Hoare died of natural causes on 2 February 2020 in a care facility in Durban at the age of 100. [1] [2] Works by Mike Hoare: Congo Mercenary, London: Hale (1967)...Congo Warriors, London: Hale (1991)...The Road to Kalamata: a Congo mercenary's personal memoir, Lexington, Mass...(1989)... Mike Hoare′s Adventures in Africa, Boulder,...(2010)..."

Gavin McDonald

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