Strange as it seems now, in 1960, everybody -- the UN, Washington, Moscow -- kind of imagined the future of the world was being determined on the banks of the Congo. Now, we just try not to think about the place. The CIA's man Mobutu was a prime stinker, but the place sure hasn't improved in the decade since he's been gone. Apres Mobutu, le Deluge, for which Mobutu and America bear much responsibility, but then maybe 35 years apres le Deluge is not so bad in tropical Africa. Anyway, it makes me tired to think about it.
Eisenhower liked to use the CIA as a cheap alternative to fighting the Cold War using the Army. (Similarly, he pushed ahead into the nuclear ICBM deterrent as an alternative to matching the Red Army tank for tank and man for man.) Not only did it save money and American lives, but it slowed the rise of the "military-industrial complex" that Eisenhower detested, and sidestepped the kind of war fever among the public that had made McCarthyism so popular during Truman's Korean War. Playing Machiavellian games among the Congo's elite was a lot better than sending American troops to the heart of darkness.
Eisenhower's VP, Richard Nixon, called Ike, who pretended to be a kindly old duffer in public, the most devious man he had known.