Snow, ice, and artic cold could not deter the Office of the Historian and The Wilson Center’s half day symposium, “New Evidence on the Congo Crisis and Aftermath, 1960-1968,” this past Tuesday morning. The conference highlighted the recent release of Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) 1964-1968, Volume XXIII, Congo 1960-1968 and exemplified how historians re-assess events after new evidence enters the public record.
After a welcome and opening remarks by The Wilson Center’s Christian Ostermann, the Office of the Historian’s Stephen P. Randolph presented an overview of the volume’s content and production. Keynote speaker Roger Moran, a longtime Foreign Service Officer with considerable Africa experience who now serves as a UN official in Africa, discussed his perspective on the issues raised by the Congo volume. The “Challenges of Declassification and the Future of FRUS” roundtable recounted the compilation and declassification challenges that this particular volume of the FRUS series posed, notably why it took 19 years to publish. During the conference’s second roundtable, “New Evidence on the Congo Crisis,” panelists discussed how the Congo volume’s new documentation shed light onto the historical record. According to the Office of the Historian’s Myra Burton, “there is phenomenal material in this volume.”