Nkurmah At The United Nations Assembly
AT THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
September 23, 1960
The great tide of history flows and us it flows, it carries to the shores of reality the stubborn facts of life and man’s relations, one with another. One cardinal fact of our time is the momentous impact of Africa’s awakening upon the modem world. The flowing tide of African nationalism sweeps everything before it and constitutes a challenge to the colonial powers to make a just restitution for the years of injustice and crime committed against our continent.
But African does not seek vengeance. It is against her very nature to harbour malice; over two hundred million of our people cry out with one voice of tremendous power — and what do we say? We do not ask for death for our oppressors, we do not pronounce wishes of ill-fate for our slave-masters, we make an assertion of a just and positive demand, our voice booms across the oceans and mountains, over the hills and valleys, in the desert places and through the vast expanse of mankind’s habitation, and it calls out for the freedom of African: African wants her freedom! African must be free! It is a simple call, but it is also a signal lighting a red warning to those who would tend to ignore it
For years and years Africa has been the foot-stool of colonialism and imperialism, exploitation and degradation. From the north to the south, from the east to the west, her sons languished in the chains of slavery and humiliation, and Africa’s exploiters and self-appointed controllers of her destiny strode across her land with incredible inhumanity without mercy, without shame, and without honour. Those days are gone and gone forever, and now l, an African, stand before this august Assembly of the United Nations and speak with a voice of peace and freedom, proclaiming to the world the dawn of a new era.
Mr. President, distinguished delegates, I wish to thank the General Assembly sincerely for this opportunity of addressing you. Let me say here and now that our tribulations and suffering harden and steel us, making us a bastion of indomitable courage and fortifying our iron determination to smash our chains. I look upon the United Nations as the only organisation that holds out any hope for the future of mankind. Mr. President, distinguished delegates, cast your eyes across Africa, the colonialists and imperialists are still there. In this twentieth century of enlightenment, some nations still extol the vain glories of colonialism and imperialism. As long as a single foot of African soil remains under foreign domination, the world shall know no peace. The United Nations must therefore face up to its responsibilities, and ask those who would bury their heads like the proverbial ostrich in their imperialist sands, to pull their heads out and look at the blazing African sun now travelling across the sky of Africa’s redemption. The United Nations must call upon all nations that have colonies in Africa to grant complete independence to the territories still under their control. In my view, possession of colonies is now quite incompatible with membership of the United Nations. This is a new day in Africa and as I speak now, thirteen new African nations have taken their seats this year in this august Assembly as independent sovereign states. The readiness of any people to assume responsibility for governing themselves can be determined only by themselves. I and the Government of Ghana, and I am sure the Governments and peoples of independent African States share the joy of welcoming our sister states into the family of the United Nations. There are now twenty-two of us in this Assembly and there are yet more to come.
I would suggest that when the Charter of the United Nations comes to be revised, a permanent seat should be created for Africa on the Security Council in view not only of the growing number of African members of the United Nations, but also of the increasing importance of the African continent in world affairs. This suggestion applies equally to Asia and to the Middle East. Many questions come to my mind at the moment all seeking to be dealt with at once: Question concerning the Congo, disarmament, peace, South Africa, South West Africa, China and Algeria. However, I would like to start with the question of the Congo and to take the others in their turn.
The Congo, as we all know, has been a Belgian colony for nearly a century. In all those years, Belgian applied a system of calculated political castration in the hope that it would be completely impossible for African nationalists to fight for emancipation. But to the dismay of Belgium, and to the surprise of everyone outside the African continent, this dreaded nationalism appeared and within a lightning space of time, secured the independence of the Congo.
The policy of political frustration pursued by the Belgian colonial regime created a situation in which the Belgian administration was unable to continue while at the same time, no Congolese had been trained to take over and run the State, the struggle for independence in the Congo is the shortest so far recorded, and the Belgians were so overtaken by events that they pulled out, but fully expected to return in one way or another. The high positions in the Army, the police and the public services have been the exclusive preserves of the Belgians. No African could hope to rise to the lowest commissioned rank in the Army. The whole of the Force Publique was subject to extremely harsh discipline and had very low rates of pay. This situation made it impossible to build up a cadre of indigenous personnel to man the services. As soon as an African became Minister of Defence, the incongruous position of the African in the Force Publique became evident.
Great discontent resulted even so, the situation might not have erupted had the Belgian Commander of the Force Publique adopted a realistic attitude towards the men, and made any attempt to redress the legitimate grievances of the Congolese soldiers.
Even a promise of future reform might have done some good. On the contrary, emphatic statements were indiscreetly made by Belgian officers that nothing had changed and that life would go on much the same as it was before independence, in short, the soldiers were told that independence was a sham and that Belgium. Still wielded the big stick. This produced the mutiny.
When the mutiny occurred, large numbers of Belgians began to leave the country. The President of the Republic, Mr. Kasavubu, and the Prime Minister, Mr. Lumumba, went to Matadi in order to appeal to the Belgians to remain. But instead, they were all taken on board a ship on the advice of the Belgian consul. The next day, the town was machine-gunned from the air by Belgian Military Aircraft and shelled from the sea. Despite the fact that there were no Belgian — civilians whatever to protect, Belgian troops entered the town and shot in cold blood, a number of unarmed police and civilians. It was following upon this incident that acts of organised violence by members of the Force Publique began to occur. These incidents, in their turn, provided an occasion for Belgian military intervention.
Meanwhile, ostensibly on the grounds of safeguarding the lives of Belgians in the Province, Belgian troops entered Katanga in considerable numbers and enabled the Chairman of the Provincial Council, Moise Tshombe, to set himself up as the head of a so-called independent state. The whole of the administration of this so-called state was in Belgian hands and it was supported and maintained openly by Belgian troops. The situation was thus one of extreme danger. The Belgian army was virtually occupying the Congo, pleading as their excuse circumstances which were fundamentally all of Belgium’s own making.
The Congo Government called for aid. Congo asked Ghana for help and also wisely called in the United Nations. From this point, distinguished delegates, you are more than conversant with the story and there is no need for me to dwell in detail on the facts. It is only necessary to say that something has happened in up the Congo, which has justified my constant warning to the African countries to be on their guard against what l call, “clientele sovereignty," or fake independence, namely, the practice of granting a sort of independence by the metropolitan power, with the concealed intention of making the liberated country a client state and controlling it effectively by means other than political ones. What has happened in the Congo has more than justified my continuous outcry against the threat of balkanization in Africa and more than justified my daily condemnation of neo-colonialism, the process of handing independence over to the African people with lone hand only to take it away with the other hand.
The Congo question is a test case for Africa. What is happening in the Congo today may happen in any, other part of Africa tomorrow, and what the United Nation does today, must set precedent for what it may have to do tomorrow. The United Nations will be judged by the success or failure of its handling of this Congo situation.
Certain propositions seem to me to be self-evident. The first of these is that, the United Nations need not go to the assistance of any country which invites its intervention, but that once it had done so, it owes an obligation to the government and people of that country not to interfere in such a way as to prevent the legitimate government which invited it to enter the country from fulfilling its mandate. In other words, it is impossible for the United Nations at one and the same time to preserve law and order and to be neutral between the legal authorities and the law breakers. lt is unfortunately exactly this which the United Nations has attempted to do in the case of the Congo, which is the cause of all the present difficulties and disagreements.
My second proposition is that in any sovereign state, there can only be one national army. If a soldier disobeys the superior officer and uses his arms to murder and to loot, he is a mutineer. There is, however, no difference between his position and that of a Colonel who disregards the authority which appointed him and uses the troops under his own command for his own purposes. The United Nations in enforcing law and order must deal equally sternly with either of these two types of mutineers.
This failure by the United Nations to distinguish between legal and illegal authorities had led to the most ludicrous results, embarrassing both to the Ghanaian Forces who were called upon to carry them out, and to the United Nations itself which was exhibited in a ridiculous light. For instance, the very troops which Ghana sent to help the legitimate Lumumba Government at the request of Lumumba were employed by the United Nations in preventing Lumumba, the legitimate Prime Minister of the legal Government of the Congo Republic, from performing the most obvious functions of his office-for instance, using his own radio station.
Distinguished delegates, these difficulties are in essence growing pains of the United Nations, and it would be entirely wrong to blame either the Security Council or any Senior official of the United Nations for what has taken place. However, a new approach is clearly required. I believe that it is not difficult to devise methods by which the issue can be appropriately dealt with. Let us get down to realities. The United Nations were invited to enter the Congo in a message from the head of state, Mr. Kasavubu, and from the Prime Minister, Mr. Lumumba. Both these gentlemen were appointed to their respective offices in accordance with the will of the Congolese people expressed through election. Here then is the legal Government which should be supported and behind which the United Nations should throw its authority.
I am sure that the Independent African States will agree with me that the problem in the Congo is an acute African problem which can be solved by Africans only. I have on more than one occasion suggested that the United Nations should delegate its functions in the Congo to the independent African States, especially those African States whose contributions in man and material make the United Nations effort in the Congo possible. The forces of these African States should be under a unified African Command with responsibility to the Security Council in accordance with the first resolution of the Security Council under which the United Nations troops entered the Congo Republic. I suggest that the General Assembly should make it absolutely clear that the United Nations contingents in the Congo Republic have an overriding responsibility to preserve law and order which can only be done by supporting, safeguarding and maintaining the legal and existing parliamentary framework of the state.
In order to prevent illegal actions of all sorts, it is necessary that in co-operation with the legitimate Government of the Republic, the national army should be re-trained, re-grouped and reorganised and that there is finally established one army responsible only to the Central Government. These proposals, if accepted, would result in the withdrawal of all non- African troops from the Congo and make it easy to identify and eliminate the Belgian troops who have been infiltrating into the territory in defiance of the Security Council resolution.
In this connection, one must mention Katanga, which brings to mind, the regrettable and most vicious attempts being made by vested interests to bolster up a puppet regime there using poor Moise Tshombe against his own Government to break up the Congo Republic by secessionist activities. I am sure, Mr. President and distinguished delegates, that no African state would lend support to any secessionist move in the Congo. The Congo is in the heart of Africa and we shall do our utmost to prevent any injuries being inflicted upon it by imperialist and colonialist intrigue. The Congo, including Katanga and Kasai is one and indivisible. Any other approach is mere wishful thinking, for not all the mineral wealth in that integral part of the Congo can create Katanga into a separate state.
The crisis in the Congo must be arrested now before it sparks off another world conflagration. But some powers do not appear to realise the gravity of the situation and are playing with fire by attempting to use the United Nations as a cloak for their own aims. I personally, and my Government have done everything possible to assist and advise the leaders of the Congo to resolve their differences and place their countries and Africa’s interests first. Both of them, President Kasavubu and Prime Minister Lumumba, speak the same language of peace and unity. Both of them are anxious to see stability achieved in their country. Both of them agree to reconciliation.
What, then, prevents them from coming together? What has led to the fake Mobutu episode"? I am assured distinguished delegates, that but for the intrigues of the colonialist, a document of reconciliation which has been drafted in the presence of my Ambassador in Leopoldville and approved by both Mr. Kasavubu and Mr. Lumumba would have been signed by them. Imperialist intrigue, stark and naked, was desperately at work to prevent this being signed. The policy of divide and rule is still being practised energetically by the opponents of African independence and unity.
It is quite clear that a desperate attempt is being made to create confusion in the Congo, extend the cold war to Africa, and involve Africa in the suicidal quarrels of foreign powers. The United Nations must not allow this to happen. We, for our part, will not allow this to happen. That is why we are anxious that the United Nations, having reached a point where intervention on the side of the legitimate Government of the Congo appears to be the obvious and only answer to this crisis, should act boldly through the medium of the independent African States.
Let these African States act under the canopy of the United Nations and produce the effective result. In these particular circumstances, the Congo crisis should be handed over to the independent African States for solution. I am sure that left to them, an effective solution can be found. It is negative to believe and hesitate until the situation becomes irredeemable and develops into another Korea. I would go further and suggest that all financial aid or technical assistance to the Congo Republic, should be arranged only with the legitimate Government of the Congo Republic, channelled through the United Nations and guaranteed and supervised by a committee of the independent African States appointed by the Security Council who should be accountable to the United Nations.
Having dwelt at length on the Congo situation, which is only natural in view of its gravity, I now wish, Mr. President and distinguished delegates, to turn to other matters. But before I do so, it is pertinent here to sound a strong note of warning, namely, that if some people are now thinking in terms of trusteeship over the Congo to carry out the exploitation of her resources and wealth, let those people forever discard that idea, for any such suggestion would be resisted.
There can be no question of trusteeship in the Congo. The Congo is independent and sovereign. The colonialists and imperialists must remember this fact and remember it for all the time.
I would now like, if I may, to turn to the question of South West Africa. Although opinions delivered by the International Court show that South West Africa is, strictly, not a trust territory, there can be no doubt whatever that the United Nations, as the successor of the League of Nations, has a particular responsibility towards South West Africa. I consider also that Ghana has a particular responsibility in regard to what is taking place in South West Africa. The justification for depriving Germany of this colony and of vesting its Government in South Africa was based upon a United Kingdom document entitled The Native Tribes of South West Africa and Their Treatment by Germany. Explaining the attitude of Imperial Germany towards Africans, this United Kingdom publication exposed the acts of brutal suppression perpetrated against the Africans of this territory by the Germans.
In fact, however, the policy laid down by the old German imperial colonial office exactly reproduces the policy now being pursued in South West Africa by the Union of South Africa. In his 1957 report to the Committee on South West Africa, the Secretary General has quoted a speech by a Senator nominated by the Union Government to represent South West Africa in the Union Senate. The Senator, Dr. Vedder, actually delivered a long and detailed speech to the Senate pointing out that in every respect, the Union Government was merely carrying on the traditional methods for ruling Africans devised by imperial Germany and enforced in South West Africa by Dr. Goering, the father of the notorious fascist, Hermann Goering.
The United Kingdom document which made the case against Germany in regard to South West Africa was, in reality, a Commonwealth document. At the peace treaty of Versailles, the Commonwealth was collectively represented by the United Kingdom which acted in the name of and on behalf of the Empire. What, therefore, was done at Versailles was done the name not only of the United Kingdom, but of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and though they were not yet independent, of India and Ghana.
In the report made to the General Assembly last year by the Committee on South West Africa, and approved by the General Assembly, the Committee stated that the policy of apartheid as practised in South West African "is no flagrant violation of the sacred trust which permeates the mandate and the charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of human rights."
For thirteen years now, the Union of South African has consistent disregarded the requests of the United Nations in regard to South West African. The Union imposes the most harsh and degrading regime upon the inhabitant which is not in any way in accord with the provisions of the mandate. There is a duty on the United Nations to enforce the mandate and the United Nations must not fail in this duty.
Mr. President, in this connection, I wish to make the following positive proposal: The Union of South Africa should be asked to surrender the mandate to the United Nations and a committee of all the independent African States should be set up to administer the territory on behalf of the United Nations of the Union of South Africa. If unable to accept this, then the next General Assembly of the United Nations should take steps to terminate the mandate, make the territory a trusteeship area, and appoint the independent African States to undertake the trusteeship.
I now turn to the Union of South Africa itself. The union government, against all moral considerations and against every concept of human dignity, self-respect and decency has established a policy of racial discrimination and persecution which in its essential inhumanity surpasses even the brutality of the Nazis against the Jews.
The interest of humanity compels every nation to take steps against such inhuman policy and barbarity and to act in concert to eliminate it from the world. To this end, Ghana has taken the following action. We have as from the 1st August this year caused a total boycott of South African goods, closed all Ghanaian ports — sea as well as air — to South African shipping and aircraft except in cases of distress, and have required South Africa citizens entering Ghana to have in their possession travel documents, issued by the Ghana Government or passports with valid Ghanaian transit visas.
This action is in implementation of the unanimous resolution adopted by the independent African States in Addis Ababa last June. Indeed, the hollow social basis of apartheid and the grievous practical harm it causes, can be judged by the gruesome massacre of defenceless men, women and children at Sharpeville in March this year by the Union police. The untenable claim of a minority in South Africa is steadily building a wall of intense hate which will result in the most violent and regrettable consequence in the future, unless this minority abandons the iniquitous racial policy which it pursues.
Mr. President, distinguished delegates, I now turn to the question of the Portuguese colonies in Africa. Portugal, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, has by her metropolitan law claimed the territories she has colonised in Africa as an integral part of Portugal. I have always emphasised that Africa is not, and can never be, an extension of Europe, and this Portuguese arrangement is repugnant to any concept of African freedom.
The N.A.T.O. Treaty, states in the preamble that member States "are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilisations of their peoples founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law."
May I ask all members of N.A.T.O. who are members of the United Nations to point out? When they come to speak in this debate, my single instance where Portugal has observed the N.A.T.O. principles in regard to her colonies in Africa. In Portuguese Africa, there exists force labour which is akin to slavery, all political freedom is denied and though this is difficult to believe, the condition of the ordinary African is worse even than it is in the Union of South Africa, If the situation in the Portuguese territories has not yet become, as has the situation in South Africa, a threat to world peace, this is merely because, the inevitable explosion has not yet taken place. In regard to Portugal, my view is that, a particular responsibility rests on the North Atlantic Treaty members who are also members of the United Nations.
They can bring pressure to bear on Portugal to accord the same independence to her colonies in Africa as other North Atlantic Treaty Powers have granted to their former colonial possessions. As I have said elsewhere, the wind blowing in Africa is not an ordinary wind, it is a raging hurricane and it is impossible for Portugal or, for that matter, any other colonial power, to prevent the raying hurricane of African nationalism from blowing through oppressed and down—trodden colonies.
May I turn now, with your permission, Mr. President, to the most regrettable question of the war in Algeria; for the past six years or more this war has remained a big problem for us all. For more than six years the sands of Algeria have been stained red with blood, and French and Algerian youth in their thousands have marched to their death. The flower of French youth is being wasted in an attempt to maintain an impossible fiction that Algeria is part of France, while at the same time the youth of Algeria are forced to give their lives in a conflict which could be settled tomorrow by the application of the principles of the United Nations.
This utter waste of the flower of youth of France and Algeria as a result of a senseless war, must now stop and the responsibility for stopping it should rest squarely on the United Nations. No argument about it being an internal problem of France can solve the issue for, in fact, the subject of a shooting war can never be the internal problem of any power, since a spark in the wrong direction by some mad man could spread the fire and cause a world conflagration.
France cannot win a military victory in Algeria. If she hopes to do so, then her hopes are false and unrelated to the realities of the situation. Indeed, any person who thinks that France can win a military victory in Algeria lives in a world of utter illusion, and time will prove me to be right. The only way out of this tragic impasse is the way of negotiation. There was, indeed, a bright ray of hope a year ago when the President of France made his declaration accepting the principle of the right of self-determination for the Algerian people. It is sad that the purpose of this declaration was later treated with contempt by France herself, thereby defeating this fine gesture of goodwill for the solution of the Algerian problem.
I feel strongly that, whatever has happened in Algeria, France and the Algerian Nationalist Government can still sit face to face on equal terms at the negotiating table and produce workable results, which would bring peace to both sides and put all end to this catastrophe. But from whatever angle you view this problem, you cannot escape from the fact that Algeria is African and will, always remain so, in the same manner that France is French. No accident of history such as has occurred in Algeria, can ever succeed in turning an inch of
African soil into an extension of any other continent. Colonialism and imperialism cannot change this basic geographical fact. If colonialism and imperialism attempt to do this, we shall have nothing but the strife and confusion that we are witnessing in the world today, let France and the other colonial powers face this fact and be guided accordingly.
The problem of Africa, looked at as a whole, is a wide and diversified one. But it’s true solution lies in the application of one principle, namely, the right of a people to rule themselves. No compromise can affect this cardinal and fundamental principle, and the idea that when a handful of settlers acquire a living space on our continent, the indigents must lose this right, is not only a serious travesty of justice, but also a woeful contradiction of the very dictates of history.
Out of a total African population of over two hundred and thirty million people, some three per cent are of non-African origin. To suppose that such a small minority could in any other continent produce acute political difficulties would be unthinkable. Yet such is the subconscious feeling of certain European settlers in Africa that to them, the paramount issue in Africa is not the welfare of the ninety-seven per cent but rather, the entrenchment of the rights of the three percent of these European settler minorities in Africa.
To these minority settlers, a solution seems impossible, unless what they describe as "justice" is done to the foreign three percent. Justice, they say, must be done to this group irrespective of whether it means that injustice continues to be done to the remaining inhabitants. I believe that a reasonable solution can be found to the African problem which would not prejudice the minorities on the continent. No effective solution, however, can be found, if political thinking in regard to a solution begins with the rights of the three per cent and only considers the rights of the ninety-seven per cent within the framework which is acceptable to the rest.
The world must begin at last to look at African problems in the light of the needs of the African people and not only of the needs of minority settlers. Colonialism imperialism and racialism are doomed in Africa and the sooner the colonial powers recognise this fact, the better it will be for them and the world. I have spoken at length on African questions and I must now turn my attention to other matters. I will, accordingly, make a few observations, on disarmament.
In my view, we are passing through another scientific industrial revolution which should make unnecessary the division of the world into developed and less-developed areas. We must therefore avoid economic thinking based upon the conditions of the past. Above all, we must avoid an attitude of mind which applies in an era of abundance, the economic theories worked out to serve an age of scarcity.
Fundamentally, the argument in favour of disarmament must be looked at in two ways. First, it is ridiculous to pile up arms which must destroy the contestants in a future war impartially and equally. Secondly, it is tragic that preoccupation with armaments prevents the big powers from perceiving what are the real forces in the world today. If world population continues to grow, and if inequality between the so-called developed and under-developed countries is allowed to remain, in conditions where it is no longer technically or scientifically justified, then however great the armaments piled up, an international explosion cannot in my view be averted. While there exists the means for providing world prosperity, the great numerical majority of mankind will not agree for ever to remain in a position of inferiority. Armaments, therefore, not only threaten the future of mankind, but provide no answer to the major problems of our age.
Possibly, the cause of disarmament has suffered because it is looked upon in a negative way. In some countries, at any rate, industrial prosperity is associated with rearmament and military preparations and a recession with a slowing down of military effort. This is because, disarmament is looked at in a vacuum. It should be looked upon as a means for the redeployment of the capital resources and the technical skills now being used for military purposes. What is required at the United Nations is some fundamental thinking and planning deployment of the armament capacity of the countries which disarm. Side by side with technical discussion as to how nuclear weapons can be controlled, there should be proceeding discussions as to how resources released by the control of these weapons could be used in the service of mankind.
No such planning is at present being undertaken by the United Nations. I propose, for your consideration, that some such study should be undertaken immediately and an international team of scientists technicians and administrators should be formed under United Nations auspices to produce a plan to show what could in fact be done with the resources which are at present being wasted in armaments.
In the meanwhile of course, it is essential that we on the African continent take positive steps to isolate ourselves as far as is possible from the effects of nuclear warfare. One of the first and most practical steps which could be taken in this regard is to prevent any state having nuclear weapons from possessing military bases on the African continent.
This is one of the main reasons why the Government of Ghana believes that no African State should enter into an alliance of a military nature with any outside power. Any such alliance not only involves the state concerned in the risk of being drawn into nuclear warfare, it also endangers the security of the neighbouring African states. "Fall-out" is no respecter of frontiers and a declaration of neutrality cannot save the people of any African state from nuclear poisoning, once atomic war is introduced into the African continent. A military alliance with any atomic power is therefore, in the view of the Government of Ghana, a threat to the security of Africa and world peace.
The Government of Ghana therefore feels that it is its duty to support all measures taken within the framework of the United Nations Charter and in collaboration with like minded African States to prevent the establishment or maintenance of military bases on the African continent.
In order to ensure that such bases are not established in Africa, I suggest that an arrangement should be made by the United Nations whereby new states admitted to this organisation should register with it any treaties they may have entered into with their former colonial powers.
I hope that the great powers who possess atomic weapons will appreciate our feelings in this regard and will voluntarily relinquish any bases that they may at present possess in Africa. I believe that it is the duty of the United Nations to encourage the growth of zones free from nuclear warfare. A start in this policy must be made somewhere and I therefore make the positive proposal that whatever other steps may be taken to effect nuclear disarmament, a start should be made by all nuclear powers agreeing to keep Africa out of their nuclear warfare plans.
Looking at the problem of nuclear disarmament generally, the small nations of the world can make a useful contribution. Since the great powers suspect each other so much, and since inspection on the spot appears to me to be one of the most effective means of obtaining concrete results, these great powers should agree to at system of inspection where the inspection teams are only composed of certain members of the small uncommitted nations. This would eliminate all suspicion, create confidence in the inspection method and help to solve this crucial and vital issue. And here, I must refer in particular to the question of French atomic tests in the Sahara.
The element of French intimidation contained in the tests was a positive provocation against Africa and a threat to world peace. We have no doubt that France chose the Sahara to demonstrate to African States their political weakness. This nuclear blackmail brings home forcibly to the independent African States the importance of creating and maintaining their solidarity against any attacks upon the peace and security of the African continent. We cannot overlook the fact that France is militarily allied to certain other powers and that in fact France, is only able to carry out these nuclear tests through the support which she receives militarily from other nations. We believe that the allies of France could do much more than they have done hitherto to dissuade the French Government from resuming atomic tests. The very least they could do would be to offer France, the use of their own testing grounds. I hope that when the matter, they will make it perfectly clear that they are opposed to the French atomic tests in the Sahara and have done everything possible to stop France from carrying out any further tests.
In Africa, we judge the great powers not by their words but by their deeds. We have a right to know which of the great power support atomic tests and perhaps more important than everything else in assessing the situation which of me great powers hold African opinion in so little regard that though in their hearts they oppose the French action, they are prepared to sacrifice African friendship for the interests of appeasing French pride and ambition.
Mr. President, distinguished delegates, one of the most interesting facts of political evolution in Asia is that, the old relationship between East and West is gone. Whatever this relationship was, whether it was exploitation or paternalism, at is no longer consistent with the new sense of dominant nationalism in Asia. This is an important background from which to consider the problem of pacification, unification and containment which have emerged in Korea and Vietnam. In the case of Korea, it is now of great interest to recall the Indian Prime Minister’s plea against advancing the United Nation’s forces beyond the dividing line of the 38th parallel after the North Koreans had been driven back to their own domain. The Indian Prime Minister was extremely critical of the unfortunate disposition of the Western powers towards making decisions affecting Asia without a full understanding of the mind and settlement of its people. How right he was has been demonstrated by recent events.
It is possible even now to resolve this intractable problem by having general elections in Korea. The situation in Vietnam is too well known to need recapitulation here. I wish, however, to invite attention to a crucial obligation that remains unfulfilled in regard to the question of re-unifying the two Vietnam. As a result of the Armistice signed at the 1954 Geneva conference, it was agreed that elections were to be held within two years with the object of re-creating a Unified Government for Vietnam. When, however, the two co-chairmen of the Geneva conference, namely, the United Kingdom and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics met in 1956, the elections were postponed. They have not yet been held, these countries will no longer submit to political subjection in any form and in the interests of world peace, we ask that elections should be held as soon as possible.
Mr. President, distinguished delegates, while on Asian problems, I feel constrained to pass a few remarks on the continued existence of the People’s Republic of China outside the framework of the United Nations. The Government of Ghana has always supported the view that the People’s Republic of China should be admitted to the United Nations so that the representation of China in this Assembly will be more realistic and more effective and useful.
We believe that the People’s Republic of China representing some six hundred and thirty million people, and with the vast economic, scientific, and technological resources that she is rapidly developing, can have a useful and constructive contribution to make towards the maintenance of peace and the advancement of civilisation in our time.
The issue of whether China should be admitted to the United Nations or not should, I submit, be determined on the basis of principle rather than of expediency. It would be unfortunate to underestimate the force of the socialist revolution that has taken place in China, and Ghana is convinced anyhow that any attempt to impose a form of tactical isolation on the People’s Republic of China is bound to prove abortive in the long run.
Mr. President and distinguished delegates, let me now turn to the Middle East. I do so because we in Africa have a vested interest in international peace and security and we view with considerable concern, problems in any part of the world likely to affect such peace and security.
The Middle East covers an area of a little over three and a half million square miles and possesses vast oil resources which make the region both economically important and politically vulnerable. From the foundation of the Roman Empire, the Middle East has been of great commercial significance and persistent efforts have been made by various countries to control and profit from the petroleum deposits in the area. However, the real danger to international peace is the attempt made by vested interests to prevent the inhabitants and others from profiting by the natural wealth of the region.
It is the view of the Government of Ghana therefore, that the Western powers which are the principal consumers of oil from the Middle East have a vital obligation to safeguard the peace and political equilibrium of the area. As long as the powers continue to exploit the oil resources of the Middle East on a competitive basis, the friction resulting from a clash of their economic and commercial interests is bound to endanger the peace of mankind.
It is my view that, the time has come for a supreme effort to be made at the international level to reduce the fever and heat of tension in this part of the world and I would propose that the United Nations should consider as a matter of urgency, inviting the various states in the Middle East to provide a just and permanent solution to these problems.
It seems to me that the most vital question would be to find out how best the petroleum deposits of the regions could be exploited on a non-competitive basis for the development of the Middle East and for feeding the productive capacity of industrialised countries for the benefit of mankind. If this were done, the existing tensions between East and West would be significantly reduced. For there is no doubt that with the invention of long range ballistic missiles and other forms of nuclear weapons, the importance of the Middle East as a base for any struggle for the mastery of the world has been greatly minimised.
Nevertheless, even when this clash of economic interests has been resolved, there will still remain the burning issue of Arab Israel relations in the Middle East. This is one of the thorniest problems facing this world organisation today, and unless a permanent and realistic solution is found, the danger of its developing into an armed conflict still remains. The solution of the Middle East question lies in the recognition of the political realities there. In the light of this, I submit that the United Nations should set up a committee to study and evolve a machinery in which it will be impossible either for Israel to attack the Arab States or to the Arab States to attack Israel, and for some sort of arrangement to be made to keep the cold war out of the Middle East.
Mr. President, distinguished delegates, I must crave your indulgence to make a few concluding observations by way of emphasis on the African situation. For a long time, Africa has been subjected to a harsh form of colonialism. In consequence, there is now a most strong, powerful and positive rebellion in Africa against this system.
I think that the upheaval in the Congo is a manifestation of that rebellion. The responsibility for keeping the cold war out of the Congo and, for that matter, out of Africa, rests squarely on the United Nations. This responsibility, as far as the Congo is concerned, can only be discharged, if the United Nations acts promptly and realistically in the present situation there. It is impossible to ignore the realities of continued Belgian intervention in the Congo in defiance of the Security Council resolution. Unless such intervention is promptly and effectively checked and the private armies of all sorts now operating in the Congo eliminated by the United Nations, there will be no end to the chaos and confusion which now reigns in the new state. It is as impossible for a saint to be neutral on the issue of good and evil as it is for the United Nations to be neutral on the issue of legality and illegality, lawful and what is right and then see that this is enforced, otherwise, the United Nations will decay the principles which were ` proclaimed in the first resolution of the Security Council on the basis of which the legitimate Government invited them to enter the Congo Republic.
Mr. President, distinguished delegates, knowing the situation in the Congo as I do, and in order to save the Congo from chaos and confusion, from strife and political and economic instability, drive the cold war out of Africa, save the reputation of the United Nations itself safeguard the legitimate Government which invited the United Nations to the Congo, I strongly recommend to the United Nations, the adoption of certain measures which I am sure will definitely provide the only solution to the present impasse in the Congo. In proposing these recommendations, I wish to take this opportunity of » expressing my personal appreciation of the way the Secretary-General has handled a most difficult task, and my own personal belief in the ideals of the United Nations Charter which constitutes in our time, the strongest bulwark for international peace and security.
The following are the recommendations of the Government of Ghana:
1. That the United Nations command in the Congo should be changed forthwith and a firm strong Command established with clear positive directions to support the legitimate Government with Kasavubu as President and Lumumba as Prime Minister whose jurisdiction should be recognised throughout the whole Congo Republic. In other words, the present composition of the United Nations Command should be changed and the composition of the United Nations Force, its Military Command and administration altered so that it is drawn entirely from contingents of the Forces of the independent African States now serving in the Congo.
2. That every support should be given to the Central Government, as the legitimate Government of the Congo, with the full support of the United Nations.
3. That all private armies, including the Belgian official forces in Katanga, should be disarmed forthwith and the Congolese national army be regrouped and reorganised for the purpose of, training so that ultimately, it can play its proper role as a national army of the Congo Republic until such time that the Central Government considers it possible to dispense with the services of the United Nations Forces.
4. That this new Command of the United Nations Forces should support the Central Government to restore law and order in the Congo in accordance with the first resolution of the Security Council in reliance of which Ghana and other independent African States placed their contingents under United Nations Command.
5. That the United Nations should guarantee the territorial integrity of the Republic of the Congo in accordance with the provisional constitution agreed to at the time of independence.
6. That all financial aid and technical assistance to the Congo Republic should be arranged only with the legitimate Government of the Congo Republic and channelled through the United Nations and guaranteed and supervised by a committee of independent African States appointed by the is Security Council and who should be accountable to the United Nations.
Mr. President, distinguished delegates, I must now thank you for the patience with which you have listened to me and also for the honour of this opportunity of addressing you.