Did Britain’s MI6 have Patrice Lumumba murdered?

Guest Post by Harry Stopes

Africa is a Country readers may not regularly check the London Review of Books, a British literary magazine with a circulation just over 50,000–it’s meant more for Bloomsbury than Bamako or Bloemfontein (though some readers could probably find it in Brooklyn; it’s online too with a subscription)–but the magazine has a pretty good, though not blameless (worst offender RW Johnson) record of writing on Africa. On the good side, frequent contributor Bernard Porter has written about the continent several times, in particular on the Mau Mau insurgency, advancing an interpretation of events that seems increasingly likely to be proven correct. And occasionally the LRB breaks news. Towards the end of March, Porter reviewed Calder Walton’s book on the British security services, the Cold War, and the end of Empire. Porter mentioned in passing that Howard Smith, then an official in the British Foreign Office and later head of MI5, had advocated killing Patrice Lumumba as one of a number of possible “solutions” to the problems he seemed to pose to Western governments and corporations. Continue reading