25. Editorial Note

At the National Security Council meeting on September 21, 1960, Under Secretary of State Dillon reported that Patrice Lumumba had requested a visa to travel to New York as representative of the Congo to the United Nations and also as an official of the Congo Government. Both requests for visas had been denied, but Dillon warned that if Lumumba asked for a visa to visit the United States as a private citizen, it would be difficult to turn him down. Director of Central Intelligence Dulles warned that although Mobutu appeared to be the effective power in the Congo for the moment, Lumumba was not yet disposed of and remained a grave danger as long as he was not disposed of. ( Foreign Relations, 1958–1960, volume XIV, Africa, Document 223)

In telegram 974 to the Central Intelligence Agency that same day, September 21, the Station in Leopoldville reported the following: “In absence orders to contrary (which arrived much later), Ambassador felt he forced issue visas, but delayed issuance at Station request.” With the Ambassador’s approval, the Chief of Station alerted [name not declassified] and Colonel Mobutu, “pointing out Lumumba could be stopped if legal arrest warrant issued, as UN said it would not prevent legal arrest.” The Chief of Station “also suggested as alternative that government lift Lumumba passport at airfield, thus preventing his departure. [text not declassified] Mobutu called the Chief of Station to his home immediately, where the latter “urged arrest or other more permanent disposal of Lumumba, [names not declassified]. Also warned Mobutu of efforts by UAR, Ghana and Morocco achieve reconciliation between Lumumba and Kasavubu. Mobutu listened but seemed unconcerned; was rather like man in trance.” The Station indicated it was “checking recurring reports of Kasavubu Lumumba reconciliation. [text not declassified] Believe some substance to rumor but will do best prevent. If Lumumba allowed even minor role, he most apt come out on top.” (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 78–00435R, DDO/ISS Files, Box 1, Folder 3, [cryptonym not declassified] Ops)