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ers dangerously close to war.

The Congo Asks for U.N. Help |

It was in this situation that the Government of
the Congo called on the United Nations for help.
The purpose of this call was to provide an accept-
able alternative to a return of Belgian control and ^
to the threat of great-power intervention, to fur-
nish the Congolese Government, whose own in-
strumentalities for maintaining law and order had
broken down, with the necessary breathing space
to enable it to create a new basis for law and
orderly government and to lay the groundwork
for rebuilding the country on the shattered foun-
dations of the former system.

Secretary-General Hammarskjold responded to
this appeal by what Walter Lippmann has called
"a bold attempt to fill a dangerous vacuum." He .
asked the Security Council to approve the forma- i
tion of a U.N. Force that could replace the Bel- ^
gian troops and assist in the maintenance of order.
He made it clear that this force would include
troops from African countries and other smaller
countries of the United Nations but not those of
the great powers.

The United States supported the Security
Council resolution,^ which authorized Mr. Hani-
marstjold to give the Congo military assistance
until the Congolese themselves might be able to
fulfill the task of maintaining law and order.
The resolution also contained provisions against
intervention by the great powers or other outside i
countries in the Congo's internal affairs.^

U.S. Support for U.N. Military Force

In supporting the creation of a United Nations'
military force for the Congo, the United States-
was seeking not to promote conflict but to avoid it.
It was recognizing a reality already all too ap-
parent — that the injection of the United Nations
was the only alternative to big-power intervention
in the Congo.

' For background and text of resolution S/-1387, see
nuixETTN of Auff. 1, 1060, p. l.W.

' For background and text of resolution S/4405, see
iii(?., Aug. 8, 1960, p. 221.

Department of Stale Bulletin



The Lunda and related tribes which support Tshombe are in shaded areas of Katanga. Baluba and related tribes
which oppose Tshombe are in remaining portion of Katanga Province.

Big-power intervention had, in fact, already
proceeded a fair distance. Tlie Soviet-bloc coun-
tries were moving their agents into the Congo.
They were sending in planes and equipment.
Their prospects for setting up shop in the middle
of Africa appeared excellent. Counterpressures
for direct American involvement were growing.

In the circumstances three courses of action
*vere open to us.

We could stand by, wringing our hands and
doing nothing.

We could intervene directly, putting United
States power face to face with Soviet power, with
all the risks of conflict and escalation that that

Finally, we could support a move into the
Congo by the United Nations, acting impartially
on behalf of the world community and in suj^port

January 8, J 962


of its obligation spelled out in the charter to pre-
serve peace.

We exercised the third option. The Eisen-
hower administration joined other governments in
sponsoring the United Nations action. It was not
an easy choice. The choices that have followed
have not been easy either. But 17 months later
I have no doubt that our Government was right
then as it is right now.

The U.S.S.E., on the other hand., has consist-
ently opposed the U.N. operation in the Congo.
It tried to remove Secretary-General Ham-
marskjold because of his vigorous leadership of
the U.N. operation in the Congo. It opposed the
recognition by the United Nations of Joseph
Kasavubu as President of the Congo.' It assisted
dissident elements in the attempt to promote a
Communist takeover. It refused to contribute
one ruble to support the U.N. operations in the

Let there be no mistake about it. Had the
United Nations not placed its forces in the Congo,
had those forces not moved decisively under the
leadership of Mr. Hammarskjold to restore order
and to prevent the import- of military supplies and
equipment from the Soviet Union and its friends,
there would have been only one way of stopping
a complete breakdown leading to a Soviet domina-
tion of the Congo — the confrontation of other big-
power forces.

The prompt action of the United Nations, made
possible partly by our diplomatic support, our mil-
itary airlift, and our financial contribution, has
kept direct Communist power out of the Congo
while avoiding the dangers of a brush-fire war in
the heart of this volatile continent. We are still
a long way from being out of the woods, and the
Communists are always waiting in the shadows —
waiting for us to falter. But our sense of direc-
tion is right, and we are moving.

Creation of the Adoula Government

The year tliat followed these first dramatic
events was full of spectacular incident and deep
confusion. Rival governments laid claim to the
allegiance of the Congolese people and the recog-
nition of the outside world. Tribal separatisms
burgeoned and subsided, backed by greater or les-
ser degrees of outside support. Much of the

' For biickground, see ihid., Dec. 12, 19C0, p. 904.

country was under no effective government at all,
yet miraculously survived, although with increas- I
ing difficulty.

But the details of these months are largely ir-
relevant. Wliat is important is that behind the
shield of United Nations troops and protected
by the United Nations from massive great-power
intervention, the basically moderate political
leadership in Leopoldville began to pull itself to-
gether. Slowly but perceptibly it laid the ground-
work for some sort of orderly and democratically
based government in the country. i

The culmination of this long slow process was'
an act of faith in the democratic process. A year
after the breakdown on July 6, 1960, the President
of the Congo convened the Congolese Parliament
under U.N. protection to provide the political
leaders of the country with an opportimity to
create a legitimate government, representative of
the country and capable of dealing with its prob-
lems. Events justified this act of faith. After
10 days of deliberation and debate, the political
leaders of the Congo reached agreement. On the
basis of that agreement the Parliament brought
into being a government of national unity undei
the leadership of the moderate nationalist tradf
union leader — Cyrille Adoula.

Mr. Adoula is moderate in his views, -firmly Tion-
Communist and committed to genuine independ-
ence and progress for the Congo. He is one ol
the outstanding leaders that have emerged in th(
new Africa. His government was duly electee
under the provisions of the Constitution approved
before independence by all the political leaders of
the Congo — including those who have since tried
to secede. Its legitimacy is imquestioned. It ha?
a broad political base comprising \-irtually all the
major elements in Congolese political life, includ-
ing even factions which formerly supportec
Patrice Lumumba and Antoine Gizenga. If this
government can survive its present severe political
tests, the prognosis for the Congo can be hopefulj(j|

If all other things were equal, the Congolesf
people under tlie Adoula government should now
be coping with the basic human problems — eooJi
nomic development, the provision of adequate!
employment, education, health and welfare — ^
activities which should, in a well-ordered world,
be the principal concern of a countrj' like the


Department of State Bulletin

Threats to Congolese Unity

Unfortunately, however, all other things have
not been equal. Prime Minister Adoula's ability
to concentrate the energies of his government on
.the prime tasks of the Congo has been vmder-
mined by the danger of two major defections — the
defection of Moise Tshombe and his group, who
have claimed to set up an "independent" govern-
ment in Elisabethville in the Katanga in the
southern Congo, and the defection of Antoine
Gizenga, who is pursuing his own ambitions in
Stanleyville in the Orientale Province of the
eastern Congo.

In these circumstances the Congo's main politi-
cal issue, perhaps the only really "modem" issue,
|is Congolese unity. If Prime Minister Adoula
should prove unable to deal effectively with the
Katanga secession of Mr. Tshombe, militant ex-
tremists such as the Communist-chosen instru-
ment, Mr. Gizenga, would bid to take over the
central government — in the name of Congolese
imity. In the resulting civil war our main objec-
tives in central Africa would be drowned in blood.

No Case for Balkanizing the Congo

The road to nationhood for the Congo has been
a rough one.

The Congo is composed of a large number of
tribes, some large, some small. They speak over
100 tribal languages and four varieties of lingua
franca. Out of this diverse material there was
created in the last 50 years a single countiy, ad-
ministered as six major provinces.

Both the nation and the provinces were given
their imity essentially by a common colonial ad-
ministration and a structure of political institu-
tions which created the habit of common govern-
ment. It was on tliis structure — the only one the
Congo has ever known except for tribal institu-
tions — that the present Federal Constitution was
based. This Federal Constitution, adopted and
placed into force at the time of independence, is
the fundamental law of the Congo.

In view of the absence of any experience with
federalism it was not surprising that under the
stress and strain of political turmoil a number of
the larger tribes in the Congo, and the political
leaders who drew their strength from those tribes,
should begin to develop ambitions toward separate
national existence, albeit a separate national ex-

istence for which there was in fact no historical
basis. This was the case with Mr. Tshombe with
his Limda and Bayeke supporters in the south
Katanga; of Mr. Kalonji with his Baluba sup-
porters in the south of Kasai ; of the Mongo tribe
in the northeast; and even of some of President
Kasavubu's Bakongo supporters in the area around

What distinguishes Mr. Tshombe's particular
brand of secession from the others is that the slice
of territory which his supporters inhabit — less
than one-twelfth of the area of the Congo, with
about one-twentieth of its population — ^liappens
to contain a disproportionate part of the mineral
wealth that is the Congo's greatest natural re-
source. It is the revenues Mr. Tshombe has been
able to obtain by taxing the production under his
control, the soldiers of fortune and writers of
propaganda he has been able to mobilize with these
revenues, and the encouragement he has received
from outside financial interests, that have given
the peculiar flavor to the Katangese attempt at

The question may, of course, be asked: Why
shouldn't the Katanga be independent ? For that
matter, why shouldn't every other tribe in central
Africa that wishes to declare its independence have
a right to do so ? There are, I think, two answers
to this question — one political and the other legal.

To pose the question as I have posed it answers
the political question without need for much elabo-
ration. The government strvicture which the Bel-
gians left behind in the Congo is the only political
structure the Congo has ever known. Under it,
the Congo has evolved from a primitive area to a
potentially prosperous power in Africa, with a
relatively high standard of basic education and a
level of economic development that many other
African areas could envy. To break up this entity
into a number of conflicting and competing tribal
satrapies could only confirm and render perma-
nent the chaos we have already seen in the Congo.
And that, as I hope I have made clear, would open
the way inevitably for the Soviets and their
friends to fish where they can catch the most — in
troubled waters.

To those who approach the problem from the
viewpoint of protecting particular interests, some-
thing may perhaps be said for carving enclaves out
of the Congo, though I am convinced that even
this calculation is mistaken. But if one looks at

January 8, J 962


the problem from the viewpoint of saving all of
central Africa from chaos and Communist infil-
tration, then clearly the acceptance of armed seces-
sion by a tribal area, no matter how rich and well-
supported, can lead only to disaster.

At no time has any responsible leader in the
Congo itself advocated that the Congo be split into
sovereign states. The absurdity of such a notion
is clear. If the Congo were split into separate
states with populations equivalent to the popula-
tion of the Katanga Province, we could wind up
with over 20 governments; indeed, Katanga itself
would split in two if the concept of tribal separa-
tism were given full play. There sim-ply is no
legal case^ no political case, no economic case, and
no moral case for Balkanizing tlie heart of Africa.

But there may be a case for injecting an element
of decentralization in a country the size of the
Congo. The Congo is a very large country; its
institutions for governing are still in the "less
developed" category ; its leadership cadres are still
dangerously thin; many of its people still lack a
sense of nationhood. In these circumstances most
of the political leaders of the Congo appear to
believe that there should be enough local autonomy
on local matters to discourage secession.

Yet if the Congo is to be a nation, it can hardly
permit provincial leaders to break off pieces of the
country, especially when such provincial leaders
are heavily influenced from the outside. What I
am saying applies not only to the Katanga, but
equally to the northern provinces and to any efforts
of Antoine Gizenga, the agent of Communist de-
signs, to set up shop as leader of a leftward-
leaning separatism in Stanleyville.

Threat of Civil War

It is clearly in the direction of constitutional
changes brought about by agreement among the
regional and national leaders that the solution
must be sought. But this has so far proved im-
possible because the Katanga authorities, confident
they were secure behind their mercenary-led
private army, have shown little interest in real
negotiations and have blocked talks by insisting,
in effect, on a prior recognition of independent

The continuation of this situation, which has
lasted for over a year, has posed an increasingly
serious threat of civil war. Pressures have grown

progressively greater on the central govei-nment ;
to break the deadlock and put an end to secession i
by military means. The moderate leadership in ,
the present government has made statesmanlike i
efforts to resist these pressures and rely on the
U.N. But it has been perfectly clear that an
explosion into civil war became every day more
likely if no political solution were found. Gizenga
and his Communist advisers have based their hopes
on this explosion.

Reasons for the Fighting in the Katanga

The United Nations forces were stationed in
Elisabethville — in the Katanga — over a year ago
for the same purposes as in the rest of the Congo —
to assist in the maintenance of law and order and
the prevention of civil war. As the threat of civil I
war has steadily grown, the importance of the
United Nations mission — to interpose itself be-
tween the rival forces in the Katanga — has grown
in equal measure. But during the same period
these forces have been subjected to a continuing
and growing campaign of harassment by the
Katanga authorities and their military append-
ages — African and European — designed appar-
ently to make the position of the United Nations in
the Katanga untenable. These efforts have been
spearheaded by mercenaries, adventurers, soldiers
of fortune who have flocked to the well-heeled
standard of the "independent" Katanga.*

Even the cease-fire that followed the outbreak of
fighting in the Katanga last September served only
to exacerbate the situation : While the United Na- i
tions stuck strictly to the terms of the cease-fire,
the Katanga authorities engaged in a steady build-
up of men, munitions, and equipment (including
airplanes) obtained through the devious channels
of the international arms trade in spite of the sin-
cere efforts of Western European governments to
stop the traffic.

The result was, of course, the series of incidents
that began about 2 M-eeks ago. The Katanga
forces and authorities arrested and beat up the top
leaders of the United Nations in Elisabethville,
kidnaped and murdered a number of their troops
including one oilicer, kept up a steady propaganda

* For statements made by U.S. Representative Adlai E.
Stevenson in the Security Council on Nov. 16, 21, and 24,
together with text of a resolution adopted by the Council
on Nov. 24, see ihid., Dec. 25, 1961, p. 1061.


Deparfment of State Bulletin

barrage against the U.N., and finally tried to cut
oil' the United Nations forces from their base of
supplies and communications. The United Na-
tions leaderehij) on the spot showed commendable
patience. But it was finally necessary for the
U.N. conunand in Elisabetliville to recognize that
these repeated breaches of the cease-fire agree-
ment could no longer be tolerated and to take the
necessaiy limited action to restore the ability of the
United Nations to carry out its mandate in the

No one can be happy about the bloodshed on
either side that accompanied these military opera-
tions. Peacekeeping is not necessarily wholly
peaceful. But in this case it was necessary to
pi'event a civil war that would have made the past
few days in Elisabetliville look like a picnic.

The U.N. action in Elisabetliville has now
largely achieved its limited objective — to maintain
freedom of movement for the peacekeeping forces,
witliout the daily, bloody harassment by local
Katanga troops, whipped into excited and irre-
sponsible action by rumor, radio, and beer. The
U.N. forces have stuck loyally to the limited aims
set for them by Acting Secretary-General U Thant
in New York. Now that discussions are in prog-
ress between Prime Minister Adoula and Mr.
Tshombe, the fighting has stopped. We hope it
is over for keeps.

Negotiations Between Congolese Leaders

The principal immediate objective of U.S. ef-
forts has been to bring about the negotiations be-
tween Prime Minister Adoula and Mr. Tshombe
for the peaceful reintegration of the Katanga into
the Congo and to carry the results of these negotia-
tions into effect. Just before he left on his Latin
American trip, President Kennedy took a major
initiative to bring these efforts to fruition.^

We are watcliing developments hourly. In a
situation as fluid as this, it is rash to be optimistic,
but I am convinced that we are on the right path.
In the difficult period ahead, it is most important
that secession not be encouraged there and that we
remember our interest is in bringing about stability
throughout the Congo. Our allies are working
closely with us in seeking that same goal.

In the final analysis the interests of the Katanga
and those of the moderate leaderslup in Leopold-

U.S. Welcomes News of Agreement
on Reintegration of Katanga

Department Statement '

The United States Government welcomes the news
that agreement on reintegrating Katanga into the
Congo has been reached in the talks at Kitona.'
Great credit is due the parties to the agreement, in
particular the statesmanlike contributions of Prime
Minister [Cyrille] Adoula and Mr. [Moise] Tshom-
be, and to the long, patient efforts of the United

Further meetings are now in view to work out
specific details of reintegration. The goal is not a
weaker Katanga but a stronger Congo, fully able to
defeat subversion from within or attempts at out-
side domination. This has been the objective of
United States policy in support of the United Na-
tions in the Congo from the beginning.

' Read to news correspondents on Dec. 21 by Lin-
coln White, Director of the OflSce of News.

' For background, see Bulletin of Jan. 1, 1962,
p. 10.

'Ibid., Jan. 1, 1962, p. 10.
January 8, 7962

ville are parallel. The sooner they pull in the
same direction, the better for both of them — and
for us as well.

I said before that a solution to the Katanga
problem should contribute decisively to the ability
of the Leopoldville government to cope with the
diversionary activities of Antoine Gizenga. Al-
though teclinically Vice Premier in the Govern-
ment, he has never worked at his job. His basis
of real support in the country is narrow. His
policy is founded upon the hope that the Adoula
government and the United Nations will be imable
to deal with the Katanga problem and that the
country must then turn to him for a solution. But
if the Katanga problem can be disposed of, I am
convinced that Mr. Gizenga, who has already
slipped badly, will cease to be of much use to the
Communist bloc. He can then be dealt with ef-
fectively by the genuine nationalists in the Congo

The Major issues

I have tried in these comments to be as succinct
and straightforward as possible. Let me sum up
the main points :

Firfit, our objective in the Congo, as elsewhere
in Africa, is a free, stable, non-Communist govern-


ment for the Congo as a whole, dedicated to the
maintenance of genuine independence and willing
and able to cooperate with us and with other free
nations in meeting the tremendous internal chal-
lenges it must face.

Second^ the United Nations is in the Congo with
objectives that by and large parallel our own— to
help the Adoula government create a stable and
unified Congo and to ward off the dangers of civil
war and great-power intervention. So far the
United Nations has been remarkably successful in
its efforts toward this end ; had it not been avail-
able for this purpose we should have had to invent
it, or the situation would already be lost. The
United Nations effort deserves our support. We
have given it. We should continue to do so.

Thirds the Adoula government, the only legiti-
mate government of the Congo, is a broadly based
coalition under the leadership of an outstanding
non-Communist African nationalist. This gov-
ernment's objectives are fully consistent with ours.
It too deserves our support and will have it. Be-
fore it can buckle down to its true task of pursuing
the national development of the Congo, this gov-
ernment must cope successfully with the threat of
armed secession in the Katanga and deal effectively
with political dissidence in Stanleyville. We
shall continue to support both of these efforts.

Fourth, the issue in the Katanga is not self-de-
termination. It is the threat of armed secession
by a tribal area that happens to contain a dis-
proportionate part of the weaUh of the entire
country. There is no legal, political, or moral
basis for these secessionist efforts. To allow them
to be pursued by provincial leaders with outside
support can only place in jeopardy the success of
our efforts in the Congo as a wliole, threaten tlie
entire Congo with cliaos and civil war, and lead
to the establislmaent of a Communist base in the
heart of central Africa. The ai-med secession in
the Katanga plays into tlie hands of the Commu-
nists. This is a fact that all Americans should

Fifth, the only way out of the present situation
in the Katanga is to assure an end to se

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of State. Office of Public CoDepartment of State bulletin (Volume v. 46, Jan- Mar 1962) → online text (page 16 of 101)