Patrice Lumumba

Correspondence with United Nations General Secretary Dag Hammarskjöld

July & August 1960



Source: 1. letter: Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, p. 71, the rest: Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, p 49-58..
Written: by Patrice Lumumba;
Transcribed: by Thomas Schmidt.



From a letter to Dag Hammarskj÷ld, U.N. Secretary-General, July 26, 1960

New York, July 20, 1960

I am informing you of the following facts: 50 soldiers have been shelled in Shinkolobwe, seven soldiers have been killed in Jadotville, 40 soldiers have been killed in Elisabethville and 12 soldiers have been killed in Kolwezi.

The Minister of Justice reports that thousands of Congolese citizens have been fired on in Kipushi, Dilolo, Bukama, Manono, Kabalo, Albertville, Kabongo, Kamina and Kaniamba. In addition, European settlers are killing all Congolese appearing singly on the highways.

This report has come from the general of our national army Mr. Victor Lundula.

The Minister of Justice of our republic informs us that the Belgian troops, now being withdrawn from the other provinces of the Congo, are concentrating in Katanga Province, where they have their headquarters. The Minister insists on the unconditional and immediate withdrawal of Belgian troops from the entire territory of the country.

In view of the gravity of the situation, I permit myself to insist once again on the following demand that was forwarded to you earlier: "Belgian troops must be immediately withdrawn from the Congo."

I ask you to inform the members of the Security Council of these new facts from the Congo.

P. LUMUMBA

Prime Minister


From a telegram to Dag Hammarskj÷ld, U.N. Secretary-General, August 5, 1960

I am happy the U.N. has decided to send troops to Katanga. I am aware that with the help of cunning manoeuvres inspired by Belgian officers, whom the Government of Brussels has assigned to Tshombe, the Belgian Government has attempted to ignore the decisions of the United Nations. I firmly hope you will not give in to the blackmail of the Government of Belgium through its puppet Tshombe.

I cannot understand how Dr. Bunche could go to Katanga to discuss with Tshombe the question of the arrival of U.N. troops in that province. Such negotiations with a member of a provincial government contradict the decisions of the Security Council.

The Security Council had, after all, instructed you to take the necessary steps, in consultation with the Government of the Congo, to render us such military assistance as we may require. You should, therefore, negotiate with our Government and not with Tshombe.

In an effort to retain its troops in Katanga with the purpose of stabilising the split it has provoked, the Belgian Government asserts that its troops were sent to Katanga Province on Tshombe's request.

With that decision the Belgian Government admits that it initiated the breakaway of Katanga Province. In its resolution of July 22, the Security Council called upon all states to refrain from any action that might hinder the restoration of public order and the exercise of authority by the Congolese Government. Similarly, it requested these states to refrain from any action that might undermine the territorial integrity and the political independence of the Republic of the Congo. By placing its troops and military advisers at Tshombe's disposal to facilitate the splitting up of the Congo and to obstruct the actions of the United Nations, the Belgian Government openly hinders the restoration of public order in the Congo and the exercise of authority by the Congolese Government.

Patrice LUMUMBA


From a letter to Dag Hammarskjöld, U.N. Secretary-General, August 14, 1960

As it has informed Mr. Bunche, the Government of the Republic of the Congo can in no way agree with your personal interpretation, which is unilateral and erroneous. The resolution of July 14, 1960, explicitly states that the Security Council authorises you "to provide the Government (of the Republic of the Congo] with such military assistance as may be necessary". This text adds that you are to do so "in consultation with" my Government. It is, therefore, clear that in its intervention in the Congo the United Nations is not to act as a neutral organisation but rather that the Security Council is to place all its resources at the disposal of my Government. From these texts it is clear that contrary to your personal interpretation, the United Nations force may be used "to subdue the rebel Government of Katanga", that my Government may call upon the United Nations services to transport civilian and military representatives of the Central Government to Katanga in opposition to the provincial Government of Katanga and that the United Nations force has the duty to protect the civilian and military personnel representing my Government in Katanga. Paragraph 4 of the Security Council's resolution of August 9, 1960, which you invoke in order to challenge this right, cannot be interpreted without reference to the two earlier resolutions. This third resolution which you cite is only a supplement to the two preceding resolutions, which remain unaltered. The resolution to which you refer confirms the first two. It reads: "... confirms the authority given to the Secretary-General by the Security Council resolutions of July 14 and July 22, 1960, and requests him to continue to carry out the responsibility placed on him thereby." It follows from the foregoing that Paragraph 4 which you invoke cannot be interpreted as nullifying your obligations to "provide the Government with such military assistance as may be necessary" throughout the entire territory of the Republic, including Katanga. On the contrary, it is the particular purpose of this third decision of the Security Council to make it clear that Katanga falls within the scope of the application of the resolution of July 14, 1960.

My Government also takes this opportunity to protest against the fact that upon your return from New York en route to Katanga, you did not consult it, as prescribed in the resolution of July 14, 1960, despite the formal request submitted to you by my Government's delegation in New York before your departure and despite my letter replying to your cable on this subject. On the contrary, you have dealt with the rebel Government of Katanga in violation of the Security Council's resolution of July 14, 1960.

That resolution does not permit you to deal with the local authorities until after you have consulted with my Government. Yet you are acting as though my Government, which is the repository of legal authority and is alone qualified to deal with the United Nations, did not exist. The manner in which you have acted until now is only retarding the restoration of order in the Republic, particularly in the Province of Katanga, whereas the Security Council has solemnly declared that the purpose of the intervention is the complete restoration of order in the Republic of the Congo (see the resolution of July 22, 1960).

Furthermore, the talks you have just had with Mr. Moise Tshombe, the assurances you have given him and the statements you have just made to the press are ample evidence that you are making yourself a party to the conflict between the rebel Government of Katanga and the legal Government of the Republic, that you are intervening in this conflict and that you are using the United Nations force to influence its outcome, which is formally prohibited by the very paragraph which you invoked.

It is incomprehensible to me that you should have sent only Swedish and Irish troops to Katanga, systematically excluding troops from the African states even though some of the latter were the first to be landed at Leopoldville. In this matter you have acted in connivance with the rebel Government of Katanga and at the instigation of the Belgian Government.

In view of the foregoing, I submit to you the following requests:

1. To entrust the task of guarding all the airfields of the Republic to troops of the National Army and the Congolese police in place of United Nations troops.

2. To send immediately to Katanga Moroccan, Guinean, Ghanaian, Ethiopian, Mali, Tunisian, Sudanese, Liberian and Congolese troops.

3. To put. aircraft at the disposal of the Government of the Republic for the transportation of Congolese troops and civilians engaged in restoring order throughout the country.

4. To proceed immediately to seize all arms and ammunition distributed by the Belgians in Katanga to the partisans of the rebel Government, whether Congolese or foreign, and to put at the disposal of the Government of the Republic the arms and ammunition so seized, as they are the property of the Government.

5. To withdraw all non-African troops from Katanga immediately.

I hope that you will signify your agreement to the foregoing. If my Government does not receive satisfaction it will be obliged to take other steps.

My Government takes this occasion to thank the Security Council for the resolutions it adopted, of which my Government and the Congolese people unanimously approve and which they would like to see applied directly and without delay.

P. LUMUMBA,

Prime Minister


From a letter from Dag Hammarskjöld, U.N. Secretary-General, to the Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo, August 15, 1960

Leopoldville

Sir,

I have received your letter of today's date. In it I find allegations against the Secretary-General as well as objections to the Secretary-General's interpretation of theresolutions with the implementation of which he has been entrusted. In your letter you also submit certain requests which appear to derive from a position contrary to my interpretation of the resolutions.

There is no reason for me to enter into a discussion here either of those unfounded and unjustified allegations or of the interpretation of the Security Council's resolutions. As far as the actions requested by you are concerned I shall naturally follow the instructions which the Council may find it necessary or useful to give me.

I have the honour to be, etc.

DAG HAMMARSKJÖLD


From a letter to Dag HammarskjöId, U.N. Secretary-General, August 15, 1960

Leopoldville

The letter I addressed to you on August 14 on behalf of the Government of the Republic of the Congo contains no allegations against the Secretary-General of the United Nations but rather reveals facts, which should be made known to the Security Council and to the world at large. The Government of the Republic is well aware that the position you have adopted is in no sense that of the Security Council, in which it continues to have confidence. It is paradoxical that you decided to inform the Government of the Republic only after making arrangements with Mr. Tshombe and the Belgians surrounding him. Furthermore, you at no time considered it advisable to consult the Government of the Republic as the resolution of the Security Council recommended you to do. The Government considers that you refused to give it the military assistance it needs and for which it approached the United Nations. I should be grateful if you would inform me in clear terms whether you reject the specific proposals contained in my letter of August 14.

In expectation of an immediate reply, I have the honour to be, etc.

P. LUMUMBA,

Prime Minister


From a letter from the United Nations Secretary-General to the Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo, August 15, 1960

Leopoldville

Sir,

I received your letter of August 15 in reply to my letter of the same date. I presume that your letters have been approved by the Council of Ministers and that you will inform the Council of Ministers of my replies. I have nothing to add to my reply to your first communication dated August 14 and received today at noon. Your letter will be circulated to the Security Council immediately at my request. If the Council of Ministers takes no initiative which compels me to change my plans, or has no other specific proposal to make, I shall go to New York this evening in order to seek clarification of the attitude of the Security Council.

I have the honour to be, etc.

DAG HAMMARSKJÖLD


From a letter to Dag Hammarskjöld, U.N. Secretary-General, August 15, 1960

Leopoldville,

Sir,

I have just this moment received your letter of today's date in reply to the one I sent you an hour ago. Your letter does not reply at all to the specific questions or concrete proposals contained in my letters of August 14 and 15. There is nothing erroneous in my statements, as you maintain. It was because I publicly denounced, at a recent press conference, your manoeuvres in sending to Katanga only troops from Sweden-a country which is known by public opinion to have special affinities with the Belgian royal family-that you have suddenly decided to send African troops into that province.

If no member of the Security Council has taken the initiative to question the validity of your Memorandum and your plans of action it is because the members of the Council do not know exactly what is going on behind the scenes. Public opinion knows-and the members of the Security Council also know-that after the adoption of the last resolution you delayed your journey to the Congo for twenty-four hours solely in order to have talks with Mr. Pierre Wigny, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, administrator of mining companies in the Congo and one of those who plotted the secession of Katanga.

Before leaving New York for the Congo, the Congolese delegation, led by Mr. Antoine Gizenga, Vice-President of the Council of Ministers, urgently requested you to contact my Government immediately upon your arrival in Leopoldville and before going to Katanga-which was in conformity with the Security Council's resolution of July14, 1960. I personally laid particular stress on this point in the letter I sent to you on August 12 through the intermediary of Mr. Ralph Bunche, your special representative.

Completely ignoring the legal Government of the Republic, you sent a telegram from New York to Mr. Tshombe, leader of the Katanga rebellion and emissary of the Belgian Government. Mr. Tshombe, again at the instigation of the Belgians placed at his side, replied to this telegram stipulating two conditions for the entry of United Nations troops into Katanga. According to the revelations just made by Mr. Tshombe at his press conference, you entirely acquiesced in the demands formulated by the Belgians speaking through Mr. Tshombe.

In view of all the foregoing, the Government and people of the Congo have lost their confidence in the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Accordingly, we request the Security Council today to send immediately to the Congo a group of observers representing the following countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, the United Arab Republic, the Sudan, Ceylon, Liberia, Mali, Burma, India, Afghanistan and the Lebanon. The task of these observers will be to ensure the immediate and entire application of the Security Council resolutions of July 14 and 22 and August 9.

I earnestly hope that the Security Council, in which we place our full confidence, will grant our legitimate request. A delegation of the Government will accompany you in order to express its views to the Security Council. I would, therefore, ask you kindly to delay your departure for twenty-four hours in order to permit our delegation to travel on the same aircraft.

P. LUMUMBA


From a letter from the U.N. Secretary-General to the Prime Minister of the Congo, August 15, 1960

Sir,

Your third letter of today's date has just been received. I have taken note of your intention to send a delegation to the Security Council to request the dispatch of a group of observers to ensure the implementation of the Council's resolutions. This request would seem to be based on the statement which you have made that you no longer have confidence in me.

I shall not discuss your repeated erroneous allegations or the new allegations added to those which you have already addressed to me. It is for the Security Council to judge their worth and to assess the confidence which the member countries have in the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

As regards the questions asked in your letters, to which you say you have had no reply, I refer you to the explanatory memorandum transmitted to you by Mr. Bunche. In it you will find all the necessary information.

You have requested me to delay my departure in order to enable the delegation of the Congo to travel on the same aircraft with me. I do not see the advantage of that arrangement, since it goes without saying that the Council will not meet until after the arrival of your delegation. In these circumstances, and as I have made all the preparations for my departure, I shall leave as indicated to you in an earlier letter today.

DAG HAMMARSKJÖLD