19 August 1998
Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) chairperson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, released documents revealing an alleged plot by Western countries to assassinate United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden. He stated that although the TRC could not verify the authenticity of such a plot, he decided to release the documents to inform the world what might have transpired prior to Hammarskjold's death.
The documents were disclosed in TRC meetings with the South African Institute for Maritime Research (SAIMR, thought to be an SA Defence Force front company) and linked M15 (United Kingdom Security Services), Special Operations Executive and the CIA to "Operation Celeste", the alleged mission to kill Hammarskjold. The documents were dismissed as fakes by a former Swedish diplomat, while the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office moved quickly to dismiss the TRC findings as a sinister move to discredit them.
Hammarskjold and fifteen others died in 1961 when their aircraft exploded before landing in Zambia, killing them instantly. At the time of his death he was trying to negotiate peace between the Congo (present-day Democratic Republic of Congo and formerly known as Zaire) and the breakaway province of Katanga. If the documents were authentic, Hammarskjold's death appears to have been part of an attempt to prevent Katanga's mineral wealth from falling under communist control.