The Congo-- Precedent or Fiasco?
The Congolese surge toward independence may have caught Belgium unaware but not Hammarskjold.
Almost from the first day he assumed office he had been alive to the new stirrings in Africa and their importance to the UN.
To a Danish cabinet minister who visited him in those early months, he commented how odd it was that of thirty-five hundred members of the Secretariat "only a handful are concerned with Africa." Philippe de Seynes of France, in charge of economic and social affairs, recalls that Africa was one of the first topics brought up by Hammarskjold when de Seynes talked with him in 1954 about taking on the job of Under- Secretary. He was already aware of the utility of the economic approach.
Four African states were members of the UN in 1953 when he took up his duties. By the end of 1960 the number was