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United Nations Oral History

Interview with:Edmund Gullion

Conducted May 8, 1990, in 4 parts

(United States of America, 1913 – 1998)

Diplomat

A career ambassador, Edmund Gullion had been appointed United States Ambassador to the newly recognized Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1961 and had left that post in 1964. He then became dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Retired at the time of the interview conducted on 8 May 1990, Mr. Gullion shares his personal experiences as Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the political climate during that dramatic period in United Nations history.

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Too bad Gullion is so old here.

I agree, but at least it gave the interested the chance to hear him, perhaps for the first time.

For a much richer picture of Gullion and the Congo, there’s Richard D. Mahoney's seminal and startling Ordeal in Africa, which desperately needs reprinting (or “kindling”) in a more affordable edition.

And for anyone interested in seeking confirmation as to how radical a departure Kennedy’s policies in Africa were, Luis Rodrigues' A New African Policy? JFK and the crisis in Portuguese Africa * is both complementary and useful – ignoring for one moment the giant lacuna where the CIA should be - on the domestic complexities and pressures which faced the White House. The contrasting US approach to Africa under Eisenhower is weighed critically, much to Kennedy’s advantage, here: http://web.jmu.edu/h...nbeck-paper.pdf

* International Conference “The End of Empires? Cold War Diplomacy, Trajectories of Development and the Formation of the Third World,” organized by the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and the Department of History (Brown University) and the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, May 2011

Also note, once LBJ took over the Congo effort, Gullion was out.

You can see LBJ's point: America was, after all, menaced imminently by vast hordes of yellow dwarves with knives.

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Two of the CIA team who worked so assiduously to scupper Kennedy and Gullion in the Congo:

Sam Adams, an inward and, at the time, aimless nouveau poor classmate who traced his lineage back to the Adamses of the Revolutionary War, remembered David Halberstam as an unapproachable "big man on campus." Adams would go on to a quite different kind of career filled with remarkable coincidences that might have tied the two together. In the CIA, Adams ran the Congo desk at Langley. where, like a medieval monk, he methodically tabulated random intelligence reports and compiled remarkably accurate counts of the Katanganese rebels Halberstam wrote about. In Vietnam, he took on a similar chore. Within the establishment, Adams became one of the most tenacious silent rebels of the Vietnam era, contrasting with his classmate's most visible challenge. Twenty-five years after the graduation of the Class of '55, the Harvard reunion book carried a full page of exploits under HALBERSTAM, DAVID. Under ADAMS, SAMUEL it printed not a word. The two men would meet for the first time five years later -thirty years after Harvard -in a courtroom in New York's Foley Square during the celebrated libel trial of Gen. William C. Westmoreland vs. CBS. The meeting was somewhat awkward, the two men having traveled such oddly similar life paths in such different psychological garb.

http://aliciapatters...m-making-critic

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Gullion on the need to take action against Portuguese support for Tshombe, April 1963:

Tshombe has troops, some aircraft, and money in Angola and has secretly consulted with Portuguese authorities in Angola. The US should develop all the information it can about this situation and take appropriate means to block any Portuguese assistance to renewed secession. If there is any renewed attempt at secession we should support the UN in suppressing it.

http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v20/d419

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I realise this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for the few souls interested in reading further, Luís Nuno Rodrigues’"Today's Terrorist is tomorrow's statesman: the United States and Angolan Nationalism in the early 1960s," * offers a partial but fascinating insight into the point at which Kennedy’s hopes for a radically different approach to Africa ran into the conflicting objectives of the Warfare State, and CIA assets such as Holden Roberto. Worth bearing in mind what is not in Rodrigues’ essay: Roberto was seemingly talent-spotted by a CIA “missionary” and groomed, initially at least, by a CIA-front based in Zurich

*Portuguese Journal of Social Science Volume 3 Number 2. © Intellect Ltd 2004.Article. English language. doi: 10.1386/pjss.3.2.115/0

Abstract:

In the early 1960s, the US government and some private organizations developed close contacts with Angolan nationalist movements. In Washington, this policy gained momentum with the new African policy followed by the Kennedy administration in 1961. Kennedy wanted to extend the ‘new frontier’ to Africa and his administration adopted a policy of favouring self-determination and independence of former colonial territories in that continent. This African policy had several aspects, from the votes and public statements in the United Nations to the increased investment in educational programmes for future African leaders and to the close contacts with those leaders and organizations that could play a decisive role in the future of African nations.

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  • 2 weeks later...

John F. Kennedy – From “The Strategy of Peace” Chapter 13. The Middle East

The Middle East today is a monument to Western misunderstanding. During the last eight years the West has ignominiously presided over the liquidation of its power in the whole region, while the U.S.S.R. has gained important footholds. American policy has wavered and wobbled as much, if not more, than any other Western country…

But the main problem was and is understanding the driving forces and central needs of the region as a whole and devising an appropriate farsighted American policy….

Our mistakes in the Middle East, it seems to me, were primarily mistakes of attitude. We tended to deal with this area almost exclusively in the context of the East-West struggle – in terms of our own battle against international Communism. Their own issues of nationalism, of economic development, and local political hostilities were dismissed by our policy-makers as being of secondary importance.

This is not to say that we were necessarily wrong in saying that Communism was their greatest enemy – but we were wrong in believing that we could convince them that it was. We were wrong in believing that what was so clear to us could be made equally compelling to other peoples with problems very different from our own – people with a much lower standard of living, a much greater pride in neutrality and a much more cent history of foreign exploitation. The Arabs knew that their lands had never been occupied by Soviet troops – but they had been occupied by Western troops – and they were not ready to submerge either their nationalism or their neutrality in an alliance with the Western nations.

We made other grave errors in the Middle East. We overestimated our own strength and underestimated the force of nationalism. We failed to perceive when we had lost control of events – and failed to act accordingly once it became clear. We gave our support to regimes instead of to people – and too often we tied our future to the fortunes of unpopular and ultimately overthrown governments and rulers.

We believed that those governments which were friendly to us and hostile to Communists were therefore good governments – and we believed that we could make unpopular policies acceptable through our own propaganda programs. Without question some of these governments were good governments – genuinely devoted to the welfare of their people and the development of their economies – but logic and fact are not the same as what people believe. The mutilated body of Iraqi Premier Nuri As-said, to cite one vivid example, hanging from a Bagjhdad lamp post a year ago last July, became the symbol of what happened to our policy in Iraq.

Continued at:

Revolutionary Program

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  • 9 months later...

From The World Socialist Web Site:

Britain's involvement in assassination of Congo's Lumumba confirmed

by Jean Shaoul

April 18, 2013

A senior British politician has revealed Britain’s involvement in the 1961 assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the Congo’s first prime minister.

The leader of the Congolese independence struggle from Belgium was brutally murdered just seven months after taking office on the direct orders of the US and Belgium. Britain, whose involvement had long been suspected, also had a hand in it...

Article: http://www.wsws.org/...8/lumu-a18.html

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The elite US interests arrayed against Kennedy: a snap-shot

An examination of top policy-makers’ social background helps explain their assumptions. Under Secretary Dillon was a life-long investment banker with worldwide interests. Dillon’s family firm had made a $15 million loan to the Congo in 1958 for investments in Katanga. Robert Murphy became, after his retirement, director of Morgan Guaranty Trust. Morgan was the American bank that showed the most interest in the Congo. In 1959 and 1960 Morgan was the syndicate manager and a participant in two $20 million loans to the Congo, guaranteed by Belgium. Morgan had a participation in the Banque du Congo, led by the Société Générale, the holding company that controlled the Union Minière du Haut-Katanga. Further, Morgan was a principal banker for North-American mining companies with vast interests in Katanga. Thomas S. Gates, Jr., Secretary of Defense, was closely tied to Morgan interests through his family’s investment banking house, Drexel and Co. This firm has been in partnership with Morgan since 1850. Gates did not break his association with Drexel when he became Secretary of Defense.

The American ambassador to Brussels, William Burden, maintained during his ambassadorship, a directorship in American Metal Climax, whose Rhodesian copper interests were to make it the leading corporate defender of a conservative order, i.e. Tshombe, in Katanga. Therefore, one cannot exclude the possibility that the Eisenhower Administration’s perspectives on the Congo, particular its attachment to Katanga, may have been strengthened by tangible interests. Certainly, they have affected the assumptions of certain policy-makers.

Extract from: Why Did The US Want To Kill Prime Minister Lumumba of The Congo?, pp 10-11

LTC ROGER T. HOUSEN, ARMY

NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY, NATIONAL WAR COLLEGE

http://www.dtic.mil/...oc?AD=ADA442948

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  • 6 years later...
On 7/7/2012 at 10:27 AM, Paul Rigby said:

United Nations Oral History

Interview with:Edmund Gullion

Conducted May 8, 1990, in 4 parts

(United States of America, 1913 – 1998)

Diplomat

A career ambassador, Edmund Gullion had been appointed United States Ambassador to the newly recognized Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1961 and had left that post in 1964. He then became dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Retired at the time of the interview conducted on 8 May 1990, Mr. Gullion shares his personal experiences as Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the political climate during that dramatic period in United Nations history.

Nathaniel’s link is broken. Here is a transcript of those recordings:

 

https://tind-customer-undl.s3.amazonaws.com/da961f4d-533d-4fb0-a8a9-2f15d9ce05b0?response-content-disposition=attachment%3B filename*%3DUTF-8''Gullion8May90TRANS.pdf&response-content-type=application%2Fpdf&AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAXL7W7Q3XFWDGQKBB&Expires=1582905123&Signature=ekmUlVoB2qOcg0EhNqLAd7NVyGA%3D

 

 

 

Edited by Michael Clark
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On 7/7/2012 at 3:27 PM, Paul Rigby said:

United Nations Oral History

Interview with:Edmund Gullion

Conducted May 8, 1990, in 4 parts

(United States of America, 1913 – 1998)

Diplomat

A career ambassador, Edmund Gullion had been appointed United States Ambassador to the newly recognized Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1961 and had left that post in 1964. He then became dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Retired at the time of the interview conducted on 8 May 1990, Mr. Gullion shares his personal experiences as Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the political climate during that dramatic period in United Nations history.

Meet the Press, 3 December 1961: Edmund Gullion

https://youtu.be/JKwrqbhpf3c

 

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