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The Security Council devoted its 913th–920th meetings to a consideration of the current situation in the Congo. The Council had before it a report by the Secretary-General regarding the arrest and subsequent treatment of Mr. Patrice Lumumba.and a statement from the government of the Soviet Union concerning the Congo situation, as well as requests to present their views from several delegations not members of the Council. All these requests were granted. Referring to the statement of the Soviet delegate raising the question of the role of the UN in the Congo, and to his own note dealing with the arrest and detention of Mr. Lumumba, the Secretary-General opened the discussion by presenting his views on a number of aspects of the situation. Reminding the Council that UN troops had been sent into the Congo to protect life and property, he assured the delegates: 1) that the UN personnel there had maintained a strict neutrality in relation to all domestic political problems; 2) that, since the UN Force had been requested to assume functions in regard to law and order, there was a legal basis for the Secretary-General to concern himself with the observance of generally accepted human rights; and 3) that it was on that basis that he and his special representatives had appealed to the Congolese authorities to apply due process of law. The problem of ascertaining the true functions of the UN in the Congo was derived from the fact that the situation in that country had changed since the original Security Council mandate authorizing the dispatch of a UN Force to the Congo; one of the original objectives, namely, the elimination of Belgian military forces, had been achieved, but the problem of the protection of life and property was still acute, and the army was not, in the Secretary-General's opinion, much more capable of maintaining law and order than when the UN had first entered the Congo. Thus, it was his conclusion that the original reasons for the UN military presence were still valid, and that the withdrawal of the UN Force would result in chaos rendering impossible technical assistance activities, civilian business, and normal political leadership.
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