AN outspoken attack on Belgian post-war policy in the Congo has been made this week by Professor A. A. J. van Bilsen, the Belgian Catholic scholar who, five years ago, was the first man to draw up a scheme for the emancipation of the Congo.
In an exclusive statement to the CATHOLIC HERALD, he accuses his
country of complacently pursuing a policy of paternalism without doing anything to prepare the Congo for independence even after the government had recognised the necessity of granting self-government.
"After having promised independence in January, 1959. the Belgian authorities then lost a whole year during which nothing was done either to prepare Congolese political, administrative, and military leaders or to organise general elections which would have allowed the appointment of a Congolese Government and the organisation of a transition period," he writes.
Belgium should have asked for United Nations help several months before independence, he thinks, in order to tide over the transition from colonial dependence to complete autonomy.
Professor van Bilsen has been in close touch with the leading Congolese politicians, particularly M. Joseph Kasavubu, the President, M. Joseph Ileo, president of the Senate, and M. Moise Tshombe, the Prime Minister of Katanga. Since 1959 he has been an adviser to the Abako, M. Kasavubu's party in the Lower Congo.
Professor van Bilsen's article, exclusive to the Cm-m.3c HERALD, will appear next week.