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

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

IX U.N. Forces: Their Limitations and Possibilities

T HE LAST UNF OPERATION in Stanleyville brought ONUC fullcircle, for it was certainly "providing the Government with ...military assistance" so that the "national security forces might be able, in the opinion of the Government, to meet fully their tasks" -- i.e., implementing its very first mandate of July 14, 1960, though without Hammarskjöld's noninterventionist qualifications. Eighteen months of U.N. military presence had evidently been insufficient to enable the national security forces to meet their tasks. Part of the reason was that they had not yet been retrained or even brought completely under discipline. During the hiatus in constitutional government between September, 1960, and August, 1961, there had been no real opportunity for UNOC to assist in retraining the ANC. But a more important cause of delay had prevented the integration of Congolese military units as a national armed force. This was the political, regional, and tribal conflict, which, after all, had become acute only after the first Security Council resolution of July 14, 1960. Now, the meaning of "technical assistance" can be stretched -- as that first resolution had stretched it -- to cover the "military assistance" of a UNF presence; but it cannot possibly be made to include internal political reconciliation, settlement, and unification. Nor is any such purpose explicit in the U.N. Charter. Indeed, help in promoting internal law and order is the more readily to be regarded as technical assistance, the more one thinks of "law and order" as apolitical.

Secession, when it exceeds the limits of legal protest, is necessarily a violation of constitutional law as well as a political act. Hammarskjöld held that it was probably not proper for the U.N. to seek to

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