With Congress in its busy season, Washington is swarming with savvy petitioners who could teach a course on how the town works. They usually keep the tricks of the trade to themselves, charging big bucks for their expertise, but every once in a while a syllabus becomes available.

Such is the case with the briefing papers for Jonas Savimbi, longtime president of the Angolan rebel movement known as the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Savimbi spent last week here trying to make sure that the Central Intelligence Agency's covert aid -- about $60 million a year -- keeps flowing to his organization despite efforts by the government in Luanda and critics here to shut it off.

Publicly, Savimbi called his presence here when the House was about to take up the bill containing the CIA money "just a coincidence." But briefing papers and memos for Savimbi from his $600,000-a-year lobbying firm, Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, show a meticulous concern about congressional attitudes and the forthcoming "showdown on the House floor."

Copies of the documents were made available to The Washington Post by an anti-UNITA source who asked not to be named.

K. Riva Levinson, a spokeswoman for Black, Manafort, said: "The information provided is no different than a briefing the White House staff would provide for President Bush or that congressional staff would prepare for their members. Whoever supplied this information is obviously trying to take the focus away from the real issue, which is the right to free and fair elections in Angola."

The briefing papers for Savimbi are full of inside details, from the results of a secret session of the House intelligence committee to the influential support of a prominent Cuban exile and his efforts to enlist the help of the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

For Savimbi, who arrived last weekend, the memos began with an 11-page summary reminding him of all the "major issues" preoccupying Washington in this "very busy and hectic time" and warning him that congressional attention to UNITA's cause is impossible to predict. By contrast, Black, Manafort informed him, the administration, which is pro-UNITA, was so enthusiastic about his visit that "the first meetings to be locked in" were the meetings he had with Bush and Secretary of State James A. Baker III.

Within Congress, the lobbyists added, "UNITA continues to enjoy a majority of support in both Houses . . . and within the two sensitive {House and Senate intelligence} committees," despite "aggressive" lobbying by the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which is backed by the Soviet Union.

But UNITA's support in the House committee has dwindled to an 11-to-8 ratio, according to another memo, largely due to the insistence of the chairman, Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Calif.), who opposes aid to UNITA, on making the issue a party-line matter. Beilenson, according to Black, Manafort, demanded that the 11 other Democrats on the panel vote with him, but Rep. Dave McCurdy (D-Okla.) came to UNITA's rescue.

McCurdy, "the most important member of Congress for UNITA," this memo said, "helps UNITA although it is politically dangerous to do so. He knows that over one-half of the Democratic party in the House opposes aiding UNITA." At the Sept. 13 meeting of the House intelligence committee, he "was our champion once again and convinced three other Democrats to abandon their committee chairman and vote with the {seven} Republicans on aiding UNITA. This was the margin of victory."

Committee members and aides refused to comment on such meetings, insisting they must be kept secret in the interests of national security.

Looking ahead to a vote on the House floor, Savimbi's lobbyists said McCurdy has persuaded House Speaker Thomas S. Foley (D-Wash.) not to make aid to UNITA a party-line issue. This, a memo said, "will give us the best chance for defeating" an anti-UNITA amendment expected from Rep. Stephen J. Solarz (D-N.Y.).

Another memo to Savimbi briefed him on the help that could be expected from Jorge Mas, "one of UNITA's most influential allies" and a man "viewed by many as 'the President of Cuba in exile.' "

Mas, whose Cuban-American National Foundation is led by 40 "self-made millionaires," worked with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Dante B. Fascell (D-Fla.) and others in securing repeal in 1985 of a statutory ban on CIA aid to Angolan rebels, the memo said.

This year, Black, Manafort said in preparing Savimbi for a "confidential discussion" with Mas last week, Mas has "urged his close friend . . . Fascell to challenge Solarz on the House floor."

Fascell, described in the briefing papers as a UNITA supporter "in part out of sympathy to the large Cuban-American community in his district," said Mas urged him to continue to support Savimbi but said nothing about challenging Solarz on the floor. In fact, Fascell said he might side with Solarz if Solarz can come up with a satisfactory compromise.

"I don't know but what that may be the way to go," Fascell said Friday.

According to a memo preparing Savimbi for a meeting with Fascell's committee last Tuesday, "several of UNITA's best friends" sit on the committee and "thus, every word you say may reappear in the floor debate the following week." Black, Manafort also cautioned that out of the foreign affairs panel's 46 members, only 23 were likely to "back us in the upcoming floor fight." Fascell's position could change that calculation drastically.

Savimbi's schedule included a private meeting with the House Republican leadership, a chat with the Senate Angola Task Force {"our core of support in the Senate"} and an "unofficial meeting" with the House intelligence panel where "committee staff friendly to UNITA" had suggested several topics for discussion.

Black, Manafort noted that the Senate has been "a bastion of UNITA strength in recent years" thanks to its "twin pillars" -- GOP support generated by Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) and Democratic backing organized by Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.). But some opposition was anticipated and, as another memo to Savimbi put it, DeConcini has been "distracted" from his work by accusations of improper intercession with federal regulators on behalf of a banker from Arizona, Charles H. Keating Jr.

DeConcini's support of UNITA "remains solid," Savimbi's lobbyists told him, "but we have had to rely on some other Democrats, notably Sen. {Bob} Graham {D-Fla.}, for help during the past months," the memo said.

Congressional staffers are also important figures in the lobbying game. Just before Savimbi's arrival in Washington, for instance, Black, Manafort worked up a memo for UNITA Vice President Jeremias Chitunda telling him of a former CIA employee who has "a good understanding of . . . covert policies" and is an aide to freshman Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.).

"We have been working on {the aide, Thomas Parker} very hard in order to secure the support of his boss," the memo said, adding that efforts were also being made to cultivate Kirk Robertson, an aide to Sen. David Pryor (D-Ark.).

"Pryor has never been a supporter and until this year we have not had to pay much attention to him," Chitunda was told. "However, this year he was elected as the secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference, which is a starting point on the Senate leadership ladder. This has made him more significant."

Another memo about a Savimbi meeting on the House side last Tuesday stirred the indignation of Rep. Tony P. Hall (D-Ohio), chairman of the House Select Committee on Hunger, who has been pressing for famine relief to the war-torn country. Black, Manafort mentioned two Hall aides on the committee staff, one of whom, Martin S. Rendon, it described as "favorably inclined to UNITA," and the other, Polly Byers, as "quite hostile."

The lobbyists said that Byers did "most of the staff work on Angola" and "as a result, Hall sent a confidential letter to the House Intelligence Committee urging that aid to UNITA be stopped."

A spokesman for Hall said there was nothing confidential about the Sept. 11 letter and that it did not specifically ask that aid to UNITA be stopped, but rather asked for "a new, more positive direction" in U.S. policy because the civil war has been making distribution of relief so difficult.

As for Rendon and Byers, the spokesman said both would personally oppose aid to UNITA, but "their feelings on aid to UNITA don't affect their work on the hunger committee." Hall said: "That just shows how lousy their scouting reports are. If Dr. Savimbi paid money for that memo, he got cheated."

In their first memo, dated Sept. 29, Black, Manafort warned Savimbi that "the MPLA lobby" would be "aggressive" during the week.

"We can expect Randal{l} Robinson {head of the TransAfrica lobbying group}, {Sen.} Ted Kennedy {D-Mass.}, {Rep.} Howard Wolpe {D-Mich.}, the Congressional Black Caucus and the usual suspects to try to generate negative press," the first memo said. " . . . we must remain on guard."

Black, Manafort concluded that it was that same day, Sept. 29, that their guard was let down. "Whoever gave you that information was desperate enough to go through our trash {that} Saturday," Levinson said, "because that's where we've figured it came from."

Staff writer Al Kamen contributed to this report.