As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we depend almost entirely on donations from people like you.
We really need your help to continue this work! Please consider making a donation.
Subscribe here and join over 13,000 subscribers to our free weekly newsletter

Louis Armstrong and the spy: how the CIA used him as a ‘trojan horse’ in Congo
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)

Patrice Lumumba, right, the prime minister of then Congo-Kinshasa. He was murdered within two months of Armstrong’s tour. Photograph: Getty

The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers), September 12, 2021
Posted: February 4th, 2024

Louis Armstrong, his wife and a diplomat from the US embassy were out for dinner in a restaurant in what was still Léopoldville, capital of the newly independent Congo. The [musician] was in the middle of a tour of Africa ... organised and sponsored by the State Department. What Armstrong did not know was that his host that night in November 1960 was not the political attaché as described, but the head of the CIA in Congo. “Armstrong was basically a Trojan horse for the CIA,” said Susan Williams ... author of White Malice, a new book which exposes the astonishing extent of the CIA’s activities across central and west Africa. Armstrong's host, CIA station chief Larry Devlin, and other US intelligence officers posted to Congo used the cover of the musicians’s visit to get access to the strategically important and very wealthy province of Katanga, which had recently seceded. There was much of interest to the CIA in Katanga, ranging from senior officials with whom they could not otherwise meet to crucial mining infrastructure, with 1,500 tons of uranium and vast potential to procure more. The CIA in the Congo, led by Devlin, was trying to kill the Congo’s first democratically elected prime minister, 35-year-old Patrice Lumumba, fearful that he would lead the country into the Soviet camp. A mile or so from where Armstrong and Devlin had dined, the charismatic Lumumba was being held prisoner ... by soldiers loyal to Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, the young military chief with a close working relationship with the CIA, who had effectively seized power some weeks earlier. Within two months of Armstrong’s tour, Lumumba was murdered in Katanga. Devlin later claimed that the CIA was responsible, telling a US Congressional investigation “that the coup of Mobutu … was arranged and supported, and indeed, managed, by the CIA”.

Note: Read how the CIA used modern art and other cultural figures as weapons during the Cold War in our Military-Intelligence Corruption Information Center. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.

Latest News

Key News Articles from Years Past