Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with James D. Phillips
PHILLIPS: It was all-pervasive. Why else would the U.S. give massive aid to Mobutu when we knew that at best it was only partially used the way we wanted it to be? The question wasn't whether these funds would produce short term improvements, although we always hoped they would. The question was was this a good long term investment, a wise insurance policy. With twenty/twenty hind sight the answer is less clear, but at the time we believed Mobutu represented a lesser evil that a Soviet style dictatorship that well could have replaced him.
Q: We will pick it up again with your next assignment. Where diyou go?
PHILLIPS: I went back to Washington and had a training assignment tstudy economics.
Q: This is the 15th of July 1998. Now, Dan, you are coming bacfrom where to go into economic training?
PHILLIPS: I came from a three-year tour in Zaire.
Q: When did you start this economic training?
PHILLIPS: I started in the summer of 1968. It was a six-month course. The course wasn't designed to make an officer a complete economist but to provide enough training so he or she could work competently on trade issues, for example. This was a short course in economic basics.
Q: What year was this?
PHILLIPS: This was 1968.
Q: How did you find this course?
PHILLIPS: It was exactly what it was advertised to be. It didn't make me a complete economist by any means, but I learned the basics and how economic analysis should be done. It helped me later as an Ambassador in judging how well economic officers on my staff were doing their jobs.