Landmark Books in All Fields
ItemID: #117462
Cost: $175.00

Handbill ["Statement on the U.S., the U.N., and the Congo"]

Collin Gonze


GONZE, Collin, editor. Handbill ["Statement on the U.S., the U.N., and the Congo"]. New York: American Committee on Africa, circa 1962. Single sheet of cream paper, measuring 5-1/2 by 8-1/4 inches; p. 1. $175.

First edition of this scarce handbill sharing the American Committee on Africa's viewpoints on the Katanga/Congo conflict.

This handbill shares the American Committee on Africa's perspective on the raging conflict between Congo and a breakaway state, Katanga, during the early 1960s. In 1960, the Belgian Congo received independence from Belgium. Independence from Belgium had been a difficult process, wracked by violence, political turmoil, and ethnic conflict. The resulting difficulties in Congo opened the door to self-interested actors. A local political leader, Moise Tshombe, buoyed by the support of a Belgian mining company and Belgian-trained paramilitary forces, declared the State of Katanga independent. Tshombe argued that Congo was authoritarian and run by communists. The new nation of Katanga, he said, was born out of a grassroots, indigenous desire for independence. Tshombe's contentions did not reflect the reality on the ground. The independence movement was led by whites of Belgian descent; many of the local tribes wanted nothing to do with secession. At the request of the Congolese prime minister, the United Nations intervened, demanding that Belgium remove its military personnel from the region. What followed was a lengthy debate about the UN's mandate and its abilities to interfere in "domestic" matters. In January of 1961, the Congolese prime minister was overthrown in a coup and murdered. The Western imperative then turned to preventing Civil War. Tshombe was not prepared to let his country be overrun by foreign forces and engaged hundreds of mercenaries to build up his fighting power. He also bought up arms at a furious clip. The Katangese ended up in all-out warfare with the UN, with widespread bloodshed. Unable to depose Tshombe, the UN eventually decided to cut its losses and turn to peace negotiations. Before those could be completed, UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold and his entourage were killed in a plane crash that, today, many believe was caused by a Belgian pilot shooting down the plane. Under new leadership, the UN recommitted to desposing Tshombe. Fighting continued until, eventually, the UN's might became overwhelming. Tshombe backed down and Katanga was integrated back into the Congo. In 1964, Tshombe returned from exile and led the Congo as its prime minister until he was cast out the following year. Congo has struggled with internal strife ever since.

Vertical crease from folding, slight toning and soiling to extremities. Extremely good condition.

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