93. Editorial Note

At the 423d meeting of the National Security Council on November 5, Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles discussed developments in the Congo during his briefing on significant world developments. The relevant portion of the memorandum of discussion by Deputy NSC Executive Secretary Marion W. Boggs, dated November 5, reads as follows:

“Mr. Dulles said the last item he wished to report on concerned the Belgian Congo and the Cameroons. Recent riots in Stanleyville had been triggered by the arrest of nationalist leaders, while sporadic disorders in Leopoldville had been a reaction to the Schrijver Plan, which provides for independence of the Congo in four years. These disorders are led by organized agitators in the cities although apathy still exists in the countryside. Certificates of merit for revolutionists are being sold for sixty francs in the Congo. The President remarked that this was a new way to get money. Mr. Dulles said that Mr. Stans had just returned from a month in the area and had been very helpful in providing information. The President said he wondered how such areas as the Congo with no seaports could be economically viable unless they joined some sort of larger federation. Secretary Herter said [Page 258] that fantastic language barriers existed in Central Africa. Mr. Stans noted that strong tribal animosities existed there also. If the authority of the central government were weakened, tribal violence would no doubt break out. Mr. Stans also noted that radio is now having a great influence on the natives, who listen mostly to Radio Cairo and Radio Brazzaville. So far as he could tell, no one listened to the Voice of America. There would probably be a great deal of bloodshed in the Congo before the political problems of the area were settled. The President asked what weapons were used in tribal warfare. Mr. Stans said the tribes used muzzle-loading rifles, knives and spears, because they had not been permitted to acquire more modern weapons. The U.S. and U.K. missionaries were very much concerned about the possibility of tribal warfare. However, the Belgians took a fatalistic attitude toward developments, with Belgian Government officials and businessmen wanting nothing so much as to get out of the area before trouble starts. The Congo has great manpower and natural resources, but enormous capital would be required to develop them. While the natives of the area shout for independence, their concept of independence is very vague and generally can be reduced to the hope of getting a handout from the government. Mr. Stans said he was forced to conclude that the best thing for the area would be a plan which did not grant independence for twenty-five years.” (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)