America’s National Security Agency may hold crucial evidence about the cause of the plane crash in 1961 that killed the United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the Cold War, an independent commission which reviewed the case said on Monday.
The Swedish-born diplomat died as he was attempting to broker a ceasefire in the newly independent Congo. The crash of his DC-6 aircraft near Ndola airport in modern-day Zambia has bred a rash of conspiracy theories.
A four-member commission reported on Monday that the inquiry should be reopened, saying the only way of establishing what happened would be for the NSA to release recordings it was believed to have of the final communications from the aircraft. The commission lodged Freedom of Information requests which were rejected on security grounds, but has appealed.
Commission chairman Sir Stephen Sedley, presenting the report in The Hague, said it was a “near certainty” that the NSA was recording radio transmissions from the African airfield near where Hammarskjold’s plane crashed.