[Dear Mr. President, we write to you urgently about the crisis in the Congo]
by George M. Houser, American Committee on Africa
New York, New York, United States
December 15, 1961 or a few days later
American Committee on Africa
Copy of a letter to the President John F. Kennedy about the crisis in the Congo. The letter says: A turning point has obviously been reached; U.S. Government reaction is of critical importance. We fully endorse the position which our Government has been taking the last few weeks in strongly supporting the Central Congo Government and working towards an end to the secession of Katanga. We support a cease-fire between United Nations and Katanga forces, but on the basis of Katanga’s being fully incorporated into a united Congo, whether on the basis of a strong federal arrangement or a part of a unitary state in line with decisions made at the Lovanium conference held last August. In our opinion the problem cannot be solved on the basis of the loose confederation arrangements which grew out of the Tananarive conference. It the Katanga secession is not ended the following tragic developments will almost inevitably result: 1. The Central Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Cyrille Adoula may fall. Two-thirds of the wealth of the Congo comes from Katanga. 2. The Stanleyville regime will undoubtedly formalize its split with the Central Government. Furthermore, the northern half of Katanga, bitterly opposed to and in fact free from the control of Tshombe, will secede from Elizabethville. 3. The cold war will re-enter the Congo in the heart of Africa. 4. The United States policy of supporting the African countries in their right of independence from direct involvement in the East-West conflict will suffer an almost irreparable defeat. 5. The United Nations will suffer a defeat in its pursuit of peace in the Congo from which it may not recover. We therefore urge upon you continued strong support for the UN operation in the Congo, and for the creation of a strong and unified Central Government.
Used by permission Africa Action (successor to the American Committee on Africa).
Collection: George M. Houser Africa collection, Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections