Canada, the Congo Crisis, and UN Peacekeeping, 1960-64 by Kevin A. Spooner

By Kevin A. Spooner

In 1960 the Republic of Congo teetered close to cave in as its first executive struggled to deal with civil unrest and mutinous military. while the UN validated a peacekeeping operation to house the problem, the Canadian govt confronted a tough choice. may still it aid the intervention? by way of delivering one of many first designated bills of Canadian involvement in a UN peacekeeping venture, Kevin Spooner finds that Canada’s involvement was once no longer a simple task: the Diefenbaker executive had instant and ongoing reservations concerning the venture, reservations that problem loved notions of Canada’s dedication to the UN and its prestige as a peacekeeper.

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15 An interesting exchange of views in April 1957 between Escott Reid, high commissioner to India, and Ambassador Hébert demonstrates the opposing views within External Affairs toward decolonization, and Belgian policy in the Congo in particular. In preparation for a visit to Ottawa by Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Reid had written a memorandum on colonialism in which he suggested that the colonial powers in Africa place their nonself-governing territories under the aegis of the UN and fix a date by which self-government for each territory be achieved.

Brian Urquhart, a senior official in the UN Secretariat at the time, noted that, from this point, the crisis took on “strong racial overtones ... ”40 Prime Minister Lumumba and President Kasavubu flew from location to location trying to quell the riots, but their absence from the capital made it more difficult for the Congolese government to take concerted action. Nonetheless, the Congolese cabinet met with Ralph Bunche on 10 July and Hammarskjöld was subsequently advised of a Congolese request for a team of 27 28 Prelude to Crisis technical assistance personnel capable of providing military advice to the new government.

He concluded that the Belgian invasion “completely obliterated any element of black/white cooperation or sympathy in the Congo. ”42 Regardless of Bull’s private views, the Canadian government did not publicly criticize Belgium. But aside from Belgium’s NATO allies, the international community was virtually unanimous in condemning its actions in the Congo. The Soviet bloc was quick to exploit the situation, calling it an act of Western colonial imperialism. This chaotic situation was only made worse on 11 July when the provincial president of Katanga, Moïse Tshombé, declared independence.

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