Congo Disaster

Congo Disaster

Congo Disaster

Congo Disaster

Excerpt

I started this book in the late summer of 1960 to provide a background to the Congo crisis. But events have outstripped me. Already since completing the bulk of the book at the end of September the balance of forces within the Congo, Africa, and the United Nations has changed substantially. We are now faced with a new situation. While these changes do not invalidate my analysis of earlier developments, there is clearly a need to bring the last few chapters up to date. For technical reasons this must be done in the Introduction. What follows is in a sense a Stop Press, and should perhaps be read at the end of the book rather than at the beginning.

RIVALS FOR POWER

The sudden collapse of the Belgians' authoritarian power produced a vacuum which has alternately sucked and expelled various internal and external forces. In the first phase (July to September) the central power was tenuously held by a coalition between the unitarian forces of Patrice Lumumba and the federalist forces of Joseph Kasavubu, while the regional power of Katanga -- the economic heart of the Congo -- was held by Moise Tshombe and the Belgians. Soviet intervention on the side of the Lumumbaists hastened the inevitable split in the coalition; this precipitated the expulsion of the Russians, and brought the first phase to an end with the vacuum still unfilled.

The second phase (last week of September to middle of November) saw a stalemate between the political contenders which opened the way for Col. Mobutu, Chief of the Congo National Army (formerly the Force Publique), to suspend parliament until the end of the year, and to rule through a 'collége d'universitaires', later renamed the Council of Commissioners. General. Col. Mobutu acted at first as an agent of Kasavubu, but soon renounced him and at once followed Lumumba's example in alternately declaring war on, and cooperating with, the UN in the Congo. Gradually Mobutu won the support of the Belgians and of the Western Powers. This second phase ended with the . . .

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