Patrice Lumumba

Solemn Appeal to the President and members of the Security Council and to all the member states of the United Nations

September 10, 1960

Source: Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, pp. 67-70.
Written: by Patrice Lumumba;
Transcribed: by Thomas Schmidt.

In a Memorandum dated September 8, 1960, and addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the Security Council, the Government of the Republic of the Congo drew attention to the United Nations' flagrant interference in the internal affairs of the Congo. Conclusive proof was given of this interference. The statement just made in the Security Council by the U.N. Secretary-General that Mr. Kasavubu had the right to depose the Government only confirms this interference.

Moreover, the position adopted by the Secretary-General runs counter to the sovereign decisions of the Congolese Parliament, which in two ballots, with a considerable majority of votes in each ballot, annulled the decree illegally issued by Mr. Kasavubu.

It is not the U.N. Secretary-General's business to interpret the Fundamental Law of the land; that is the duty of the Congolese Parliament. Article 51 states that the "formal interpretation of laws is the exclusive responsibility of the Chambers". In their interpretation, in particular, of Article 22, according to which the "Head of State appoints and deposes the Prime Minister and Ministers", the two Chambers of the Congolese Parliament, which annulled the decree of the Head of State, came to the conclusion that a government can be appointed or deposed only after Parliament has passed a vote of confidence or no confidence.

The Head of State cannot appoint a government without the sanction of Parliament and that, to an equal degree, applies to the deposition of a government, which must follow the same procedure. Furthermore, in their interpretation, the Congolese legislative Chambers declared that insofar as the Government, headed by Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, and the Head of State Mr. Kasavubu, had been approved separately by Parliament, only the latter had the right to depose the one or the other.

Basing itself on the confidence unanimously expressed in the Government by Parliament, which is the only sovereign body in the country, the Government of the Republic lodges a further protest against the interference of Secretary-General Hammarskjöld in the internal affairs of the Congolese nation. This interference is a grave threat to confidence in the United Nations and its prestige not only in the Congo but also throughout Africa and, essentially, throughout the world. In addition, the Government of the Republic lodges a further protest against the repeated refusal of the United Nations authorities in the Congo to co-operate with the Government in implementing the Security Council's resolutions. In the interests of universal peace, the Government urgently requests the United Nations:

1. Firmly to recommend to the Secretary-General and his colleagues in the Congo that they should cease interfering in the internal affairs of our Republic directly or indirectly.

2. Not to adopt any further resolutions on the Congo insofar as the resolutions already adopted are perfectly clear and specific but have not been fully implemented because of the perfidy of the Belgian Government and its allies, who are continuing to help the illegal and rebel Government of Katanga with supplies of aircraft, arms and ammunition and with liaison and line officers.

To this is added the fact that the United Nations authorities are deliberately holding up the implementation of the concrete and unequivocal decisions of the Security Council.

The Congolese Government cannot be deceived by these intrigues, which are turning the dispute between the Congo and Belgium into a dispute between the Government of the Congo and the United Nations only ten days after our Republic formally became a member of the U.N.

The Government most emphatically protests against the contention of the Secretary-General that troops of the National Army must be disarmed. Being perfectly aware that the troops of the National Army did not submit to a similar demand by Mr. Kasavubu, who ordered the Congolese militia to lay down their arms, the Secretary-General would like to continue with a demonstration of force only in order to start a war in the Congo in which the Congolese population would find itself in conflict with the armed forces of the United Nations.

The sole purpose of all this is to establish an international trusteeship over the Congo. Moreover, by such arbitrary actions as the seizure of our national radio station and all the airfields in the Republic, the Secretary-General seeks to deprive the Government of the means of broadcasting and to prevent any outflow of information in order to allow Tshombe and the illegal radio stations that have been recently set up near Leopoldville to continue theirattempts at a coup d'etat. These stations are daily spreading active anti-Government propaganda, lies, slander and insults in order to discredit the legal Government, which has the support of the overwhelming majority of the people.

This morning the Government informed the U.N. Headquarters for the fifth time that it must regain the use of its national radio station. Anxious to restore peace and order in the Congo and to retain good relations with the United Nations, the Government of the Republic of the Congo solemnly and passionately appeals to all the countries of the world to take steps to prevent the Congo from being turned into a battlefield of a third world war.