Peace-Keeping by U.N. Forces, from Suez to the Congo

By Arthur Lee Burns; Nina Heathcote | Go to book overview

IV
The Second Phase: Katangese Resistance and Lumumba's Dissatisfactions

F ROM JULY 24 THROUGH JULY 26, 1960, Prime Minister Lumumba, accompanied by other Congolese ministers, conferred in New York with the Secretary-General and U.N. officials. A communiqué reported satisfactory discussions about immediate technical assistance in the Congo in fields including administration and security, as well as Lumumba's insistence that Belgian troops withdraw at once.1 But events were to show that the meeting failed to establish mutual trust between Lumumba and Hammarskjöld.

In the storm center of Luluabourg, 3,000 of the Force Publique laid down their arms as Tunisian troops of the UNF moved in.2 Though that may seem to have been compliance with the mandate to restore law and order, the representative of the U.S.S.R. complained on August 8 that the U.N. troops had been disarming Congolese forces.3 In fact, the Central Government was at this stage supporting the disarmament of the Force Publique where U.N. troops were present.4 Only a thorough and rapid reorganization of Congolese forces could have met the requirements of the Security Council mandate and allowed a withdrawal of the UNF early in 1961; but, equally with the Katangese defection, their continued indiscipline prolonged a crisis that was to overtax the international credit of the organization.

Ending Katanga's secession became the first concern of the Central Government, while the government of Belgium, by concentrating 1,700 Belgian troops in Elisabethville and by frequent references in the U.N. to the 20,000 Belgian civilians in the province,5 revealed its determination to preserve intact the great Belgian-Katangese economic complex exploiting the area's mineral

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