A Proposal for a New U.S. Policy on the Congo

by George M. Houser, American Committee on Africa
New York, New York, United States
Undated, late 1960 or very early 1961?
Publisher: American Committee on Africa
3 pages
Type: Policy Document
Language: English
The document concerns the lack of any effective central government in the Congo since independence on June 30 and the prospect of civil war. President Kasavubu's power rests partly on moral support given from outside the country and the control Colonel Mobutu has over the Congolese army in the Leopoldville area. The Government of Commissioners has not been able to carry out elementary government functions effectively or efficiency; the United Nations is constantly complaining about this ineffectiveness. There is no one government to safeguard independence for the whole country. The document says the Congo is rapidly being segmented into small secessionist states, and the prospect of civil war breaking out is ever more imminent. Tribal differences, traditional rivalries, and personal animosities among leaders are all contributing factors. Kasavubu and the Abako Party control only a certain section of the Leopoldville Province; the PSA under Kamitatu controls a significant portion of the rest of the Province; Lumumba's MNC controls the Stanleyville area and a large portion of Oriental Province; Tshombe's Conakat Party controls Elizabethville and the southern portion of Katanga; Sendwe's Balabakat Party controls the northern part of Katanga and is in opposition to Tshombe; and Kalonji's party controls the southern part of Kasai. Interference in the internal affairs of the Congo by outside forces is proceeding with ever increasing vigor; with a power vacuum within the Congo, no single force can control influence from the outside. Thus Belgium has been able to move in the Congo with economic and political influence, accepted by some internal forces and opposed by others. Various African states have been engaged in political maneuverings, accepted by some internal forces and opposed by others. the United States has backed up the Kasavubu and opposed the Lumumba forces. The Soviet Union, for a short time, was giving significant aid and was prepared to continue this if Lumumba had remained in a position of authority. The document says civilian operation of the United Nations is essential in keeping elementary functions of government working; U.N. technicians have been responsible for keeping the transportation and communications systems operating, for food supply, for minimum standards of health being maintained. The document argues that the United Nations must be given the power effectively to fill the vacuum which exists in the Congo and that the United States should make a positive declaration of support for the United Nations and commit itself to giving no unilateral assistance to any faction within the Congo for the period that the UN operation is in control. The document mentions Parti Solidaire Africain (PSA), Alliance des Bakongo (ABAKO), Mouvement National Congolais (MNC), the Security Council, the General Assembly, and military and civilian personnel. 
Used by permission of Africa Action (successor to the American Committee on Africa).
Collection: Peter Weiss papers, Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections