COVERT ACTION

Africa

Congo/Zaire

A - H

Devlin, Larry. Chief of Station, Congo: A Memoir of 1960-67. New York: Public Affairs, 2007.

Lawrence Raymond Devlin died 6 December 2008. Joe Holley, "Larry Devlin, 86; CIA Chief of Station, Congo," Washington Post, 13 Dec. 2008, B5.

Clark comment: This is an invigorating read about a curious corner in the Cold War, written by a man who lived it closely. There is certainly plenty of Devlin's opinion on U.S. foreign policy of the era spread about in his memoir, but such does not represent more than momentary pauses in the narrative of the story he unfolds. This was neither the first nor the last time that officers (whether CIA or State Department) in the field and Washington had different views of developing situations. Devlin writes an easily read brand of English, introduces his colleagues and the Congolese leaders with both candor and sensitivity, and seeks to put to rest canards directed at the CIA institutionally and him personally for such actions as Lumumba's death and Mobutu's coup. It is, perhaps, easy at this late date to wonder "who cares" about these actions of long ago; it is, however, even easier to agree with Devlin's deepseated belief that it really did matter at the time. I am grateful that fate placed Larry Devlin in the Congo at this juncture as Africa began to move beyond its previous colonial existence.

EAB, AFIO WIN 06-07 (12 Feb. 2007), notes that when the author arrived in the Congo in 1960, there was "no central authority ... and local strongmen were struggling for power.... Devlin devotes a large portion of the book refuting his or the agency's part in Lumumba's death." Similarly, a Publisher's Weekly reviewer (via Amazon.com) finds that the author uses his last chapter for "a point-by-point refutation of his or the agency's involvement in Lumumba's death.... Devlin's straightforward, plainly written approach ... lends credence to his assertion of innocence."

For Cassilly, IJI&C 21.1 (Spring 2008), "this is the first report written exclusively from the CIA's point of view and, as such, a valuable contribution to the history of the time.... [A]s the Cold War recedes further, the time may soon arrive for a reexamination of the situation in a less emotional context. When doing so, Devlin's book will be required reading, if perhaps not the final word."

Rogers, CIRA Newsletter 32.1 (Spring 2007) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), calls Chief of Station, Congo "an important piece of history about the United States' skirmishes with the Soviet Union and other Communist countries during the Cold War as specifically played out in the Congo.... The Congo experience is a textbook lesson on how CIA can and should work with the Department of State, and how Department of State diplomats can use effectively intelligence resources."

See Scott Shane, "Memories of a C.I.A. Officer Resonate in a New Era," New York Times, 24 Feb. 2008, for the journalist's interview of the 85-year-old Devlin at his home in Virginia.

De Witte, Ludo. Trs., Ann Wright and Renée Fenby. The Assassination of Lumumba. New York: Verso, 2001.

Lippman, Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2001, finds this to be a "brief [224 pages] but well-documented" work. The author's argument is that "the Belgian government and major Belgian corporations -- with the support of the Central Intelligence Agency and the United Nations -- conspired with corrupt Congolese to get rid of Lumumba because he threatened their capitalist order." Along the way De Witte engages in some "over-the-top Marxist rhetoric." Nonetheless, "he has assembled a staggering amount of detail to support his allegations of direct [Belgian] government participation in Lumumba's murder."

Dorn, A. Walter, and David J.H. Bell. "Intelligence and Peace-Keeping: The UN Operation in the Congo, 1960-64." International Peace-Keeping 2, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 11-33.

Enahoro, Peter. "Did the CIA Kill Lumumba?" Africa, Oct. 1975, 11-13. [Petersen]

Fox, Renee C., Willy de Craemer, and Jean-Marie Ribeaucourt. "'The Second Independence': A Case Study of the Kwilu Rebellion in the Congo.' Comparative Studies in Society and History 8, no. 1 (Oct. 1965): 78-109.

Gleijeses, Piero. "'Flee! The White Giants Are Coming!': The United States, the Mercenaries, and the Congo, 1964–65." Diplomatic History 18, no. 2 (Apr. 1994): 207–237.

Guevara, Ernesto ("Che"). Tr., Patrick Camiller. The African Dream: The Diaries of the Revolutionary War in the Congo. London: Harvill Press, 2000. New York: Grove Press, 2001.

Publishers Weekly (via Amazon.com) calls this a "brutally honest account of Cuba's disastrous 1965 intervention in Congo. Guevara traveled to Congo to foment a Communist revolution in a country that then as now was in a state of anarchy. But as he readily admits, he was unable to mobilize his Cuban forces and Congolese allies into a cohesive force."

Hoare, Mike.

1. Congo Mercenary. London: Robert Hale, 1967. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 2008. [pb]

From publisher: "Hoare tells the true story of his resolute band of mercenaries during the Congo war.... [He] describes how the mercenaries were recruited and trained, and then recounts their adventures through four combat campaigns over an 18-month period during which they liberated Stanleyville, fought rebels in the hinterland, freed hundreds of European hostages and restored law and order to the Congo."

2. Congo Warriors. London: Robert Hale, 1991. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 2008. [pb]

From publisher: "In an exclusive new foreword and epilogue for this Paladin reprint,... Hoare provides an unparalleled understanding of mercenary action in Africa, the involvement of the CIA in such activities and new insight into the minds and hearts of mercenary soldiers."

3. The Road to Kalamata: A Congo Mercenary's Personal Memoir. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 2008.

Hoare commandied 4 Commando in Tshombe's Katanga in 1961 and 5 Commando during the 1964-1965 war against the Simbas.

Holm, Richard. "A Close Call in Africa." Studies in Intelligence (Winter 1999-2000): 17-28. CIRA Newsletter 25, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 36-41.

Clark comment: The author recounts the circumstances surrounding his frightful injuries in a plane crash in the Congo in 1965. Loeb, Washington Post, 15 May 2000, uses the publication of Ted Gup's Book of Honor (2000) to tell the story of Holm's crash, recovery, subsequent career, and frightful treatment at the end of his career by then DCI Deutch. See also, Gregory L. Vistica and Evan Thomas, "The Man Who Spied Too Long: The Inside Story of How a Cold-War Hero Became a Fall Guy for a Troubled CIA," Newsweek, 29 Apr. 1996, 26, 31.

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