- In the spring of 1960, I was the only foreign correspondent covering Patrice Lumumba in Stanleyville just before Independence, and as such and an American, I became Lumumba's confidant and the one he entrusted to mediate between himself and the Belgian administration and to get the word to Eisenhower and the American people that he was absolutely not a Communist, that he feared Russia, that he admired America, and that he wanted President Eisenhower to have his people come to America for a crash course in administration before Independence.
- It was well known in the Congo before Independence that Belgium and the banking and mining interests were arranging for the coming Independence to disintegrate into chaos so they could take back Katanga with its gold, uranium and copper, and the Kasai with its industrial diamonds, while dumping the unprofitable remainder of the Congo.
- The "White Congolese" of Belgian descent were even more aware of this and more angered by the betrayal of a trust, than almost any "Black African", except Patrice Lumumba. It was these disaffected White Congolese, and especially the colonial governor of Kasai, who told me exactly what the plans of the banking and mining interests were. I even have their hand-drawn maps showing the parts of the country that would be reclaimed from the chaos. The governor of Kasai was so disgusted with the Belgian government that he took down from his wall his prized historical maps of the Congo and handed them to me (I still have them).
- Before I went up the Congo River to Stanleyville, which was Lumumba's political headquarters, I had read newspaper stories and been told by some people in the Belgian Colonial Administration that Lumumba was a madman and a Communist puppet of Russia. What I found was a thoughtful, dignified, dedicated man who naively believed that if his idol Eisenhower were told the truth, Eisenhower would no longer listen to the Belgian lie that he, Lumumba, was a Communist.
- My cabled newspaper stories had things added and removed by Scripps-Howard, and all references to Lumumba's admiration for America and his requests to President Eisenhower for training for his people were cut out.
- Lumumba rightly believed that the Russians didn't like him any more than the Belgians did, because he was not a Communist and because he would never do the bidding of any foreign power. Lumumba only wanted what was best for the Congo and that was his death warrant. The Russians would have killed Lumumba, if the Western powers hadn't done it first.
- I was with Lumumba in his living room in Stanleyville when Lumumba got the telegram which said that instead of Gizenga's staying in Accra for training with Nkrumas people, Gizenga had been taken straight from the airport in an Aeroflot plane to Moscow. Lumumba was terrified by this and said to me, The Russians will use Gizenga as my Judas. However, Gizenga's subsequent life indicates that the Russians would have found him as dedicated to the Congo and as difficult to dictate to as Lumumba. (See the e-mail about their family's travails written to me by Dorothee Gizenga in July 30, 2003.)
- (The Russians had thought they would be able to wrap Gizenga in Lumumba's mantel and take control of the Congo. Gizenga did establish himself as Lumumba's heir in the Eastern Congo, but, like the rest of the Congo, the area descended into tribal war, plus Maoist inspired massacres aimed at the 'elite', which included anyone who could read, or even wore eyeglasses.)
- Lumumba looked to America as his dream of what the Congo could be, and ironically it was Eisenhower who ordered his assassination.
- Before Independence, I know from personal knowledge, that Lumumba asked Eisenhower to provide training in government administration for Congolese, who the Belgians had deliberately kept from learning the most basic skills necessary to run a country. Eisenhower replied that would be interfering in Belgium's internal affairs, a position which was later repeated to me by the State Department.
- After Independence, when the Congo needed international assistance to restore order, Prime Minister Lumumba asked Eisenhower to send American troops. However, Eisenhower continued to falsely label Lumumba a Communist and handed Lumumba's unwanted request over to Dag Hammarskjold. Hammarskjold, along with Conor Cruise-O'Brien, was part of the cabal that used the UN to destroy the Congo's Independence, in order to take back Katanga on behalf of Western mining interests.
- To try to force Eisenhower to send American troops to restore order in the Congo, Lumumba threatened to bring in Russians troops. This was highly publicized by the American government, and no mention was made of the fact that this was only a threat and Lumumba was appealing to Eisenhower to send American troops. (see the book Congo Cables with the actual cables to an from Washington regarding the Congo and Lumumba, as assembled by Madeline Kalb)
Right up to his being turned over to Katanga to be assassinated, Lumumba pinned his hopes on America and his travelling companion and confidant was Frank Carlucci, who it has since been revealed in Congressional investigations was an American intelligence officer.
- I left the Congo overland just before Independence through the Ruanda and Urundi and the Mountains of the Moon to bring Lumumba's requests for help addressed to President Eisenhower to the American Consulate in Uganda, because mail and cables were being stopped by the Belgian postal authorities. The American consulate refused to accept anything from Lumumba. They said he would have to use the Belgian Post and Telegraph in the Congo for any messages he wanted to send to President Eisenhower.
- One this site, and indexed below, are newspaper stories I wrote from the Congo which were highly edited back in the States, and documents including Lumumba's own written responses to my questions on his future plans for the Congo, and in Lumumba's own handwriting with my notes using the same pen, the statement I carried to the Belgians in charge of Stanleyville at the height of the crisis.
REFERENCE: The best summary I have found of the history of the Congo and the only full description of the activities of the various military and mercenary elements after independence is "Heart of Darkness: the Tragedy of the Congo, 1960-67" © 1997 by Dr. Robert Craig Johnson, a highly respected military historian. This is part of a series first published, in abbreviated form, in 'Eagle Droppings', the Newsletter of the Rocky Mountain Chapter, IPMS/USA. It includes excellent pictures of all the military aircraft involved and a very good map. You will find this at http://worldatwar.net/chandelle/v2/v2n3/congo.html