(For use of information media—not an official record)
Note No. 2230
1 September 1960
NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS
PRESS CONFERENCE BY DR. RALPH J. BUNCHE AT UN HEADQUARTERS ON THURSDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 1960
― 1 ―
Mr. BUNCHE: I have just a few words to say before entertaining your questions. I arrived at 12:15 this morning from certainly the toughest mission I ever had, and also the most challenging and inspiring mission I have ever had — challenging because of the tremendous opportunity for constructive effort and for international co-operation in the Congo, and inspiring because I am confident there has never been in the history of international organization the spirit of co-operation amongst all the organizations — the United Nations, the specialized agencies and indeed private institutions as well — that has been evidenced out there in these last two months. Nor has there ever been before so generous a response on the part of the nations of the world, large and small, as in response to the appeal on behalf of the Republic of the Congo.
I arrived there on 25 June with a dual assignment. In letters which the Secretary-General had given me on 20 June I was to represent the United Nations at the independence ceremonies on 30 June; in the second letter I was to stay on in the Congo for a period of a few weeks for the purpose of being available to the Government of the newly independent State for consultations and discussions on matters relating to the United Nations interest.
Well, neither the Secretary-General nor I on 20 June could have realized what the nature of those consultations in the ensuing few weeks would be. After a week of independence, you will recall, came the mutiny of the Force Publique on 7-8 July. I would like to make just one comment upon that because I am not sure that it was ever fully registered in the world press or in world public opinion. As bad as this situation was, there was something akin to a miracle in that period of 7-9 July. Here was a situation in which a mutinous army, without a commander and without officers, with no government authority effective enough to resist it, found itself in complete control of several communities, but particularly the large and rich community of Leopoldville. It was in complete control; there was nothing to oppose it. The members of that force were
― 2-3 ―all over the city. The city was completely at their mercy. They were strongly armed and they came into the buildings, the hotels, houses and apartment houses, and I am frank to say that I have never been so frightened in my life as I was at that time. But when it was all over I realized that what I was frightened about was the realization of what just had to happen in a situation of that kind. The mere thought of being completely at the mercy of a mutinous army with nothing to oppose it was what frightened me, but as it turned out there wasn't much else that happened in Leopoldville.
*. Although not mentioned at the Conference, there were other communities which were much less fortunate in their experience during that period, such as Thysville.
In our hotel, for example, the Stanley Hotel, everyone was chased out of his room at gun point. Pocketbooks, cameras, jewelry — everything was left in the haste of retreat. Nothing was stolen; not a thing. There was no pillaging in Leopoldville that day; there was no looting; there was no murder; no one was killed. There were a few people injured, but not seriously. If I can think of that same situation prevailing in any other city in the world, I doubt if it could have come off as well as it did there. I think it is well to bear this in mind.
Then came the calling out of the Belgian troops a few days later on 12 July. That, I am also frank to say, I personally consider to have been a mistake. I felt so at the time—and said so—that this should not have been done at least until an appeal had been made to the United Nations. I think that much of what has happened since can be attributed to this act.
This, of course, led to the question coming to the Security Council and the Security Council resolutions of 14 and 22 July and 9 August and the meeting of 21 August, without a resolution, on the interpretation of these resolutions.
― 4 ―
I should say a word, because I know you will expect it and because the questions will be forthcoming if I do not do so, about what night be called misunderstandings concerning the Security Council resolutions. There have been not a few; it would have been another miracle if there had not been, because when you think of the nature of this operation, a very large armed force being set down in a country — all over the country — in the midst of populous cities, it is necessary to bear in mind that in this respect the United Nations Force in the Congo is substantially different from the United Nations Force in Sinai and the Gaza Strip, because the United Nations Force in the Congo is in direct and constant contact with the populace of the country. It is in the cities, it is on the streets, and it is in touch with all of the authorities, and when in addition to that you take into account that by its very nature and by the principles on which it operates this United Nations Force has had to avoid any involvement in internal political affairs in a country in which internal political affairs are very active, and no involvement in civil strife in a country in which there is civil strife, then we have a situation far more delicate, far more difficult than that which the United Nations encountered in its intervention in the Lebanese crisis of two years ago. It is much more difficult and much more delicate, but the principle is the same, that of avoiding any involvement in the internal political affairs of the country or in the internal political strife.
Well, now, that involves a sort of subtle and sophisticated distinction which is not easily comprehended by Governments that are interested in having the United Nations intervene on one side, and which it is difficult to get across to them. It is difficult also to get across to Governments, and even at time to generals and other officers, that the United Nations Force is not a fighting force in the sense of having the ability to take any military initiative. It carries arms, but it carries them only for the purpose of self-defence, it does not undertake any offensive actions ever. It uses those arms only when provoked, for the purpose of defending itself. This is not easy to comprehend, it is not easy to comprehened by a Government, for example, which calls lupon the United Nations for military aid or assistance and which expects that aid to be used in the broadest sense. Here, I think, is one of the bases
― 5 ―for misunderstanding that existed at the beginning, a tendency, an expectation, for too much and that too quickly from the United Nations.
Before turning to your questions, I should mention also one of the basic difficulties from the standpoint of the United Nations operation in the Congo, and that has been the psychological state of the society. It is a society in which frustration and fear are very abundant psychological qualities; they are in fact a heritage from the very recent colonial past, fed very much by the disappointments and disillusionments immediately following independence in a society where, among 14 million people, there are only a total of about fifteen people who have had university training, where there has been literally no experience in carrying any sort of governmental responsibility, where technicians are nonexistent on the African or indigenous side, where there is so complete a void in education and training and experience as one finds in the Congo. It is a society in which rumour has a much freer run, and where it runs more rampantly than in any society I have ever seen. It is a society in which suspicion leads to fear and fear easily leads to panic.
This was the sort of thing that happened at Stanleyville last Saturday. Two American planes were landing at the time a huge crowd was at the airport awaiting the arrival of the Prime Minister. The first one came in with a few Canadians and they unloaded and went through the crowd. The crowd was friendly, happy, no feeling at all about this. The second plane landed, it was on the ground for forty minutes or so and some of the men had mingled in the crowd, Americans and Canadians. They found the crowd still friendly and happy, and then suddenly something happened.
There are various versions as to what happened; the backfiring of a car, which was thought to be a rifle shot from a Belgian paratrooper; someone yelled "paratrooper!" and the whole crowd was off; a melee occurred and the Americans and Canadians were badly beaten.
It is not easy to believe that just the words "Belgian paratroopers" could cause this sort of reaction until one has seen it happen a number of times. I was not convinced for the first few weeks, but I finally became convinced that the Congolese are in earnest about it and believe it. One could document this sort of panic reaction by many experiences.
― 6-8 ―
Finally, I would say that, despite all the difficulties and misunderstandings, the United Nations Organization in the Congo is definitely off the ground. That was my job out there, to get it off the ground. We have now some 16,000 troops as against a maximum in UNEF, at the peak of its size, of 6,000; these troops are deployed all over the vast country. We have a civilian technical assistance program which is burgeoning, with a large number of experts already at work and with a tremendous program taking shape. We have the Belgian troops out of the country; and I am inclined to think that though there will undoubtedly be many difficulties ahead for this sort of operation — it could not be otherwise — the worst is over and that this greatest of all United Nations efforts will go forward with increasing success. I think it has already had great success in achieving its initial objectives.
That is about all I have to say except that I am glad to be back home, at base and on my regular beat. When Mr. Wilder Foote told me that I had to come down here to face you ladies and gentlemen, I rather longed to be back in Leopoldville; but everything is relative in this world and so I am at your mercy.
Mr. HOROWITZ (Heruth, Tel Aviv): May I ask a two-point question. During his visit here, Prime Minister Lumumba, in reply to a question I posed, stated that he had confidence in the United Nations mission there and he did not set any time limit. I was wondering what factors have developed which you can see which have made him sort of change his mind. The second point is, how accurate are the reports on the atrocities?
― 9 ―
Mr. BUNCHE: First of all, as to your first question, I do not know that he has changed his mind. I have not been back long enough, but I have been told that he made a new expression of confidence in the United Nations at the closing session of the African Conference yesterday afternoon, in somewhat the same words you have used just now. As to the atrocities, with a bow, shall I say, to the eloquence and the descriptive ability of the press, there were certainly atrocities but, so far as I have been able to judge, not on the scale that they were sometimes publicized to be.
The experience I have cited in Leopoldville was a case in point. One could write a very dramatic story — and they were written — about what happened in Leopoldville on 8 July. As one of those who was poked out of his room at the muzzle of a Sten gun, one can dramatize that very easily. But the drama of it was really in what one thought had to happen. The fact was that, with all these people being poked out of their houses and rooms by Sten guns and rifles, nobody was shot. It is really a place where rumours gain more credence than any place I have ever been and where everything gets quickly magnified. You cannot avoid it. Just the other day, for example, an eye-witness report informed us that there were 1000 Congolese troops suddenly at Ndjili Airfield. When we checked on it this turned out to be 140 Congolese soldiers who were lined up, quite orderly, boarding planes for Luluabourg.
Everything looks big out there and everything gets dramatized, because the potentiality for danger is very great. So far it has not lived up to its billing, let us say. I hope it never does.
Mr. Richard HOTTELET (CBS News): How long do you estimate, or does the UN Secretariat estimate, that the United Nations Force will remain in the Congo, and what signal will be required for them to withdraw?
Mr. BUNCHE: I could not answer that. We do not have any basis for estimating. As you know, we have been called there to assist in maintaining order and law. How long it will take, in the eyes of the Government and in the eyes of the Security Council which was responsible for responding to this appeal, is something I would not be prepared to say. I should say that this would be tied up very much with the training programme of the National Army, which the Government
― 10 ―itself has called for, the reorganization of that force, and restoring its morale. Before the mutiny, it was, I understand, a very good force. It had a good record in the last World War. How long it would take General Kittani,
*. General Ben Harmou Kittani (Morocco), Deputy Supreme Commander of the UN Force
Miss FREDERICK (National Broadcasting Company): Dr. Bunche, are any of the technicians and military experts from United Nations Members who are now in the Congo working directly with the Lumumba Government instead of through the United Nations?
Mr. BUNCHE: You mean by that, is there any bilateral technical assistance?
Miss FREDERICK (National Broadcasting Company): Yes.
Mr. BUNCHE: I think there is bilateral technical assistance. I could not document it by specific instance. There are some cases, which might be called "border"/cases, where medical teams which have come out have not been directly under the UN umbrolla but where, for example, they have been assigned to areas by WHO, though they had not been asked for or accepted under the UN technical assistance programme.
Miss FREDERICK (National Broadcasting Company): I was thinking particularly, Dr. Bunche, to be more specific, of the reports we have been receiving that Soviet technicians are in there and using their position to try to gain political advantage.
― 11-12 ―
Mr. BUNCHE: I have no knowledge of that. As a matter of fact, I had in mind in the part of the question that I have answered, a team, or two teams, of medical doctors who did not come out directly under the UN programme, but who did take assignments from WHO. I think one was a team of twenty-four Soviet medical people.
Mr. GABRIEL (Transradio News Agency): I want to ask a question in regard to what is reported here from time to time as Premier Lumumba's major grievance, and that is that he is not amply consulted. I want to put my question in this way. First, is there a procedure of consultation? And secondly, is there what I might call a formula, a UN formula, of what he can be consulted on and what perhaps are areas that the United Nations might not feel it needs to consult him? Could you clarify that whole zone?
Mr. BUNCHE: Consultation procedure is very simple. We were seeing each other very often. Sometimes I would see him at his request, and other times he would see me at my request. It is a matter of picking up the telephone and saying "I would like a meeting," and it was always very informal and very easy to arrange. In some instances, as a matter of fact, the consultation would be not only with the Prime Minister but with the entire Cabinet. On a number of occasions, I was called in to meetings of the entire Cabinet and discussed questions such as sending troops to Coquilhatville or to Katanga or some place else, at great length. Such meetings would usually run two to three hours; sometimes they were with the Prime Minister alone and sometimes with the Prime Minister and the Chief of State, Mr. Kasavubu.
*. Joseph Kasavubu, President of the Republic of the Congo
― 13 ―
Mr. GABRIEL (Transradio News Agency): I might clarify that by asking whether there is a sort of policy. Is the United Nations withholding any areas on which it does not feel that it would need to consult with the Congolese Government?
Mr. BUNCHE: No, there is nothing withheld. We would consult on anything.
Mr. KEE (B.B.C. Television): If fighting between Mr. Lumumba's troops and the troops of Mr. Tshombe in Katanga developed considerably, would it be the role of the United Nations Force to try to come between them?
Mr. BUNCHE: Not on the basis on which we operate. We do not participate in what would be civil strife. In other words, we would follow the same principle that we followed in Lebanon.
Mr. KEE (B.B.C. Television): How, then, do you reconcile the United Nations Force's duty not to interfere in the civil strife with its duty to maintain law and order?
Mr. BUNCHE: As I said earlier, there are subtle and sophisticated distinctions in these matters, and this would certainly be one of them.
Mr. KEE (B.B.C. Television): Would you have to refer back to the Security Council for further instructions?
Mr. BUNCHE: Yes, that's right. Let me just say this, in further answer to your question, without any elaboration: If one thinks of conditions in many states throughout the world, one can readily conclude how dangerous — —, . in my view, how fatally dangerous — it would be if the United Nations should go into the business of participating in civil wars.
Miss WEILL (Agence France-Presse): We hear sporadic reports on the Kasai situation. Can you tell us whether you consider that to be a dangerous situation?
― 14 ―
Mr. BUNCHE: There are two situations there — both of them dangerous, as a matter of fact. One of them is of longer-standing duration, and that is the inter-tribal conflict. We do draw a line or a distinction between tribal conflict and what we might call civil war. In the inter-tribal conflict between the Lulua and the Baluba, we have had some role. We have tried to be a buffer. We have escorted refugees. We have had some casualties, in fact, in undertaking that role. The more recent — I cannot say the more serious, but certainly the more recent — conflict is that with regard to the struggle between the Government and the supporters of Mr. Kalonji in the Bakwanga area. I do not have a clear picture of just what is happening there. Apparently, it has intensified since I left Leopoldville on Tuesday afternoon, and I have not yet had an opportunity to study the cables that have arrived here since I left Leopoldville. I therefore cannot be very precise about that situation, except to say that I understand that the reports indicate that it may be quite serious.
Mr. MEZERIK (International Review Service): From 7 July to 9 July, there were many reports of racism in Leopoldville and, in fact, Premier Lumumba said it was entirely devoted to a conflict against the whites. From that time —
Mr. BUNCHE: Did he say that?
Mr. MEZERIK (International Review Service): He said it here.
Mr. BUNCHE: Did he say the Belgians?
Mr. MEZERIK (International Review Service): Indeed, he did say the Belgians; excuse me. But, since that time, of course, he has made many other statements which are interpreted — I certainly interpret them that way — as having a racist tinge. Would you comment on that?
Mr. BUNCHE: The only answer I can give to that is that my race did not help me any on that day.
Mr. MEZERIK (International Review Service): You will be quoted.
― 15 ―
Mr. BUNCHE: It did not help me a bit.
Mrs. GRAY (Greenwich Time): Because of a certain number of incidents that have involved some of the United Nations troops, it has been suggested that force should be used by the troops to uphold the authority of the United Nations. How do you think the authority of the United Nations can best be upheld?
Mr. BUNCHE: I think it can best be upheld in the way we have been upholding it, and that is by what I would call a prudent use of force. I am quite frank to say to you that I have pursued that policy out there because I have been convinced that, on the basis of the appeal to the United Nations, the resolutions adopted by the United Nations and the debate on those resolutions, the United Nations was not in the Congo to start killing Africans — that was not its mission — and that, the moment we found ourselves in a position where we had to start shooting people, and particularly the public, we would be on a very bad wicket indeed, because we would be on the road to the development of hostility amongst the people, and then the only way we could remain there would be as an army of occupation, which is exactly what we were trying to avoid. That meant that the United Nations personnel there, civilian and military alike, had to exert a forbearance and a patience and an understanding far beyond what would normally be expected of any human being in that kind of situation, because there was plenty of provocation and there were incidents in which one could easily have said: "Well, turn loose the guns". But this had to be weighed in terms of what the results of turning loose the guns would be. There is very much at stake in this operation. I think the whole future of the continent of Africa, indeed, is at stake in this. Therefore, there had to be and there must be very great prudence in the use of the force at our disposal.
That does not mean in any sense that we should show weakness. We should show great moral strength and firmness in the use of force when it becomes necessary to use force, that is, to hold a position that is indispensable to us, to protect us. Now, one situation occurred in which force might have been used but where it was actually impossible to use it. That was exactly the case last Saturday, when we had well-armed Ethiopian troops at the airport who were completely overwhelmed by a crowd of about 10,000 people and who were lost in the crowd. If they had used their
― 16 ―arms, they would have shot a lot of innocent people and— according to the victims of the beatings—if any shots had been fired every one of them would have been killed. The Ethiopians acted very heroically—they did not use their arms, but they used their bodies to protect those who were being attacked, and they themselves received a considerable beating.
It is not easy to decide when triggers are going to be pulled in a situation of that kind — but there are other situations in which we would certainly pull them.
― 17 ―
Mr. HALASZ (Radio Free Europe): The Congolese situation seems to be different from the situation in the other emerging African States. Most of them come into independence with no trouble, or very little. I wonder if you could explain to us why Congo is the exception. Was it the role played by the Belgians, or was it the domestic situation in the Congo, or because of outside interference? And is there any lesson for the future as to how to avoid similar occurrences?
Mr. BUNCHE: I think the reason is very simple, that people cannot be prepared for independence overnight; there must be preparation long before. This does not mean delaying the date for independence, but starting to prepare for it earlier. That is obviously the case. I suppose it would be difficult to find any other colony that has become independent thus far in which there were only fifteen university graduates in a population of 14 million, but certainly this is a factor in the frustration, disappointment and bitterness that develops in a society when it suddenly finds itself saddled with responsibilities that it is ill prepared to carry.
Mr. FRYE (Christian Science Monitor): Does the continued stay of the United Nations in the Congo depend upon the continued consent of Mr. Lumumba?
Mr. BUNCHE: I think you would have to direct that question to the Security Council. We are just agents out there. The Security Council takes the resolutions. You know that the Security Council adopted resolutions in response to an appeal. Those resolutions are based upon provisions in the Charter. If such a situation arises, Security Council action would surely be taken. I would never try to "second-guess" the Security Council.
Mr. KRISHNAYYA (Krishnayya's News Service): The other day Senator Mansfield made a speech, the central thesis of which was that the United States and the USSR denounce military intervention in Africa,
― 18 ―that they agree to refrain from seeking new bases, and that they agree to withdraw from existing bases as the Security Council might direct. Senator Mansfield would channel all military action by the United States and the USSR and all economic action through the United Nations. Would you care to comment on this?
Mr. BUNCHE: No, beyond saying that the Congo has quite enough problems without having the cold war added to them.
Mr. WOLFF (London Daily Express): You said there was neither law nor order in Bakwanga nor in the discussions between —
Mr. BUNCHE: I do not recall having said that.
Mr. WOLFF (London Daily Express): My newspaper is tonight publishing a despatch from the first reporter to have got into Bakwanga and stayed there, and from his report it appears that the United Nations Tunisian troops are only just staving off attacks by Congolese soldiers on Belgian civilians and seem to be helpless in staving off the attack on other Congolese civilians there. You may have better information. But the question I am going to ask is if it is the task of the United Nations Force to maintain law and order whether there is civilian strife or not. Can you really say that the United Nations Force is carrying out that task?
Mr. BUNCHE: First of all, I do not have this report, as you know; you say you have only just had it. The United Nations Force's task certainly is to do whatever it can to protect civilians everywhere, whatever their race. I cannot go beyond that because I cannot vouch for the accuracy of your information.
Mr. WOLFF (London Daily Express): But would this be one of the cases where possibly, as you said before, shooting might have to start?
Mr. BUNCHE: I would suspend judgement on that until I know the facts.
― 19 ―
QUESTION: I think you stated earlier that you saw little evidence of the influence of the big powers in the Congolese situation.
Mr. BUNCHE: Did I say that? I was not aware of that either. There was a question about experts coming out under auspices other than the United Nations; that was the only question I heard.
QUESTION: I will rephrase it. Has there been a great deal of influence by the big powers in the Congolese situation?
Mr. BUNCHE: I would say, as far as I can see at this stage, not a great deal, except that there has been a tendency to appeal to one side and then the other in any given political situation, as you know. But if you mean by that, in the policies of the Government does one find a reflection of pressure from one side or the other, or influence from one side or the other, I would say that it is certainly not very clear as yet. It is something that could develop, of course.
QUESTION: Do you think this will turn into a battleground between East and West eventually?
Mr. BUNCHE: As I said a moment ago, the Congo could do without that.
QUESTION: It could do without it, but will it?
Mr. BUNCHE: I could not predict.
Mr. LEICHTER (German Press Agency): Does the optimism which you showed today extend to the prospect of a civil war? In other words, do you think there would be a full-fledged civil war, or do you think the presence of the United Nations will finally lead to a peaceful settlement of the internal problems?
― 20 ―
Mr. BUNCHE: I could not be at all sure, and if I expressed optimism on that point I think I did not express myself well. I would say that there is certainly the possibility. I would hope it would not develop but I would certainly not exclude it.
Mr. FREUDENHEIM (Chicago Daily News): Under the rules under which the United Nations operation is being conducted, can you tell us what practical problems now stand in the way of any of the great Powers bilaterally giving military assistance to the Central Congolese Government in conducting what might verge on civil war, at least its disputes and military action, as against various provinces?
Mr. BUNCHE: I suppose the obstacles that have always been present, and that is the position of the Security Council.
Mr. FREUDENHEIM (Chicago Daily News): We have read of Soviet trucks being used — we do not know whether this is correct — to transport Lumumba's forces to one of the provinces.
Mr. BUNCHE: We had known that Soviet trucks were coming — but if they have arrived I am unaware of it... There is no bar at all against using equipment from the big Powers. We are using a lot of American equipment, as you know, but participation of that equipment in a military operation might be different. But I have no information to that effect. As far as I know, the Soviet trucks have not arrived.
Mr. FREUDENHEIM (Chicago Daily News): A related report was that there were plans for a new air transport system to be made with Soviet equipment.
Mr. BUNCHE: Of that I am unaware.
― 21 ―
Mr. GOLDBERG (Associated Press): You have given us a cepsule description of the Government as you found it when you arrived. Do you think the United Nations operation will bring it to the level of how the Charter defines a United Nations Member by the time the General Assembly works on the Congo's application for membership?
Mr. BUNCHE: That is a question which, you will recognize, I could not answer, because the Assembly is master of its own decisions. The Security Council took these factors into consideration, I assume, when it took its action on this application. There have been developments since then, to be sure, which the Assembly will take into account. The United Nations is out there to give assistance to that Government and to the people of the Congo, to help them to develop good and stable government, national security, a cadre of technicians able to run a government and an economy, and this the United Nations will do as quickly as it possibly can. The problems are very great, as you know. For instance, the schools are to open on 15 September. There is an immediate need for 1,700 teachers to open those schools. One assumes that some of the Belgian teachers will return, but even so, there is a likelihood that international organizations will be expected to find somehow, somewhere, between 1,000 and 1,200 teachers. This sort of problem pervades all aspects of the life of the society. So, it is a big operation.
― 22 ―
Mr. HOROWITZ (Heruth, Tel Aviv): When you mentioned that the UN now is on the ground...
Mr. BUNCHE: I said the operation is "off the ground."
Mr. HOROWITZ (Heruth, Tel Aviv): Well it doesn't matter; my question is: is the UN presence now over the entire Congo, including Katanga? In other words, is the United Nations now more or less in a position where it covers the entire territory of the Congo?
Mr. BUNCHE: Yes, it covers the entire territory of the Congo, but in some places much too thin because it is a very large country. We would like to have many more troops in Kasai, for instance. We could use a good many more in Equateur, in Bas-Congo and in Katanga. We are thin with 16,000 troops; we would be thin in some places if we had 18,000, which is the objective.
Mr. HOROWITZ (Heruth, Tel Aviv): What number would fill the gap?
Mr. BUNCHE: Well, we are shooting at 18,000. That is the target; (I don't mean we commence shooting at 18,000).
Mr. van GINDERTAEL (Agence Belga, Brussels): You attributed the Stanleyville incident to frustration, fear and a heritage of colonialism. I wonder whether you think that those beatings may also have been prompted by appeals to racial violence of the Congolese radio, and if so did you take up the matter with Mr. Lumumba and his colleagues?
Mr. BUNCHE: Since you mention a specific episode, may I repeat what I said before. What I said specifically was that this was an example of the cycle of suspicion, rumour and fear leading to panic in this society. If there had been racial antagonism and racial hostility, these men would have been attacked as soon as they got off the planes. I pointed out that the men got off the first plane and went through the crowd and were unmolested. The second plane
― 23 ―came in and was on the ground from forty minutes to an hour. They unloaded the plane and the men mingled in the crowd. They were unmolested. So it couldn't have been that some sinister agent incited the crowd all of a sudden to become racially hostile. If they had been racially hostile they would have attacked the men when they first landed and came off. There was something that created fear suddenly, and they were attacked.
I am saying this on the basis of the talks I had with the men themselves, because it came as a complete surprise to them. They had no basis for assuming that there was danger. It was so unexpected — they were suddenly attacked from behind and hit with gun butts and that sort of thing. It was not all one-sided, mind you. The Congolese soldiers and police got to fighting each other. The President of the Provincial Government was badly beaten by Congolese troops in trying to protect these people. One of the American lieutenants, 1st Lt. Henery, was grabbed by four Congolese soldiers and thought that he was a goner. It then developed that these four were protecting him from the others and they pistol-whipped other Congolese soldiers who were trying to get at him. He was only slightly wounded because he was protected by these four Congolese soldiers who did not panic and who were apparently motivated by a sense of decency. They tried to protect this man from a beating and they did protect him. It was a very mixed up situation.
Mr. HOTTELET (CBS News): Dr. Bunche, is it your impression that the Congolese Government in Leopoldville is in control of all the territory of the Congo except for Katanga?
Mr. BUNCHE: I couldn't answer that in view of what we have just heard about reports in Kasai, for instance, where there is said to be fighting. No, I could not answer that.
― 24 ―
Mr. TRAN VAN KY (La Verité, Cambodia): May I ask you two questions. During the last week-end we have received a very interesting report on an analysis of the Congolese problem by an Associated Press man, a very brilliant man on African matters, and he said that in just about two or three more weeks, if the United Nations is not able to deal with the Congo situation, the whole country may turn communist. Do you have any comment on that?
Mr. BUNCHE: No, I would not have any comment on that.
Mr. TRAN VAN KY (La Verité, Cambodia): I have another question, on the subject of patience — you just talked about patience. In almost every quarter, and especially among the Asian delegates, there are only words of praise for Mr. Hammarskjold and for yourself. They admire your dedication to the job, your courage, and your patience. But supposing that you had to start once again and you had to return to Leopoldville; what would you think about that?
Mr. BUNCHE: I would try to continue to be patient, but then I think I should be long-suffering.
Mr. TRAN VAN KY (La Verité, Cambodia): I mean trying another honeymoon with Mr. Lumumba?
Mr. BUNCHE: Well ...
Mr. PARASURAM (Press Trust of India): I have a question about the Belgians who are serving in the army of Katanga under Mr. Tshombe. Do you feel their presence constitutes interference in the internal affairs of the Congo?
*. Note: The question was misunderstood. The reference to Belgians in the army of Katanga was heard as "advisers." Had the question been heard correctly, the answer would have been that I have no information on the matter.
― 25 ―is not unusual in the Congo to find Belgian advisers still functioning.
Mr. PARASURAM (Press Trust of India): But that is a Government with an international personality; what about one that does not have an international personality?
Mr. BUNCHE: I would say that if a Government is sovereign and independent it has to be free to call upon the services of anyone it thinks might be helpful. I do not know of any basis on which the United Nations or anyone else can restrain or pass moral judgement upon a Government freely seeking advice or employing advisers, experts, technicians as it sees fit.
The Press Conference ended at 6 p.m.