Eisenhower ordered Murder of Lumumba
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Thu Aug 10 04:51:29 MDT 2000
President 'ordered murder' of Congo leader
Martin Kettle in Washington
Thursday August 10, 2000
The Guardian (UK)
Forty years after the murder of the Congolese independence leader Patrice
Lumumba, evidence has emerged in Washington that President Dwight Eisenhower
directly ordered the CIA to "eliminate" him.
The evidence comes in a previously unpublished 1975 interview with the
minute-taker at an August 1960 White House meeting of Eisenhower and his
national security advisers on the Congo crisis.
The minute-taker, Robert Johnson, said in the interview that he vividly
recalled the president turning to Allen Dulles, director of the CIA, "in the
full hearing of all those in attendance, and saying something to the effect
that Lumumba should be eliminated".
Mr Johnson recalled: "There was stunned silence for about 15 seconds and the
Lumumba, the first prime minister of Congo after its independence from
Belgium in June 1960, was forced from office as the country's civil war
deepened and was captured by rivals. He was killed on January 17 1961,
becoming one of the key martyrs of the African independence struggle.
No direct quotations were ever recorded at the national security council
meetings, and Mr Johnson only revealed the exchanges in 1975, when he was
privately interviewed by staff of the Senate intelligence committee's
post-Watergate inquiry into US covert action.
The committee concluded that the US was not involved in the murder, though
it confirmed that the CIA had conspired to kill Lumumba, possibly on
Eisenhower's orders. Recent Belgian parliamentary inquiries into the murder
implicated Belgium but failed to come up with a direct US link.
The transcript of Mr Johnson's interview has only come to light because it
was included in material sent to the US national archives in connection with
the assassination of President John F Kennedy.
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