Navy Task Force Shifted to Congo — U. N. Troops Abandon Key Seaport
500 Marines On ships Sent to Trouble Spot
(Nehru's move bolters U.N. in Congo) - LEOPOLDVILLE, The Congo, 7Mar61 (UPI) — The United States switched a small Navy task force from a goodwill visit to South Africa to the Congo today and ordered the ships to stand by for possible use by the United Nations.
State Department spokesman Lincoln white said in Washington that the action had "no unilateral significance whatever."
He said the United States had no thought of intervening directly in the fighting which broke out over the week end between Congolese and U.N. forces.
The Navy moves came as a battered United Nations Sudanese force returned to Leopoldville by train today after surrendering the vital supply port of Matadi to prevent the spread of warfare in the Congo crisis.
Mr. White said the ships were diverted "only to be available in the event the U.N. may need them for further assistance.
The vessels involved are the destroyer Gearing, the LST Graham County, the LST Hermitage and the oiler Nespelen.
The destroyer Vogelgesang, which also was involved in the recent saga of the luxury ship liner Santa Maria which was stolen by Portuguese political exiles in South America, will continue to Capetown, South Africa to refuel and be ready to join the others if necessary.
There are 500 Marines aboard the four ships, most of them on the Hermitage....
[Editor's Note: There was more to this story on page 9, column 1 of the newspaper but it was not available.]
Taken from the 7Mar61 issue of the Pittsburg Press, and provided by retired Gunnery Sergeant Rocco Minicone.
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