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The newly independent countries of Africa are now providing a somewhat bizarre setting for a continuation of the four-decade struggle between Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse-tung, embodied in their respective states, the Republic of China (Nationalist), and the People's Republic of China (Communist) . The match between the two in this sector of the larger struggle is by no means as uneven as it looks at first glance. Certainly Communist China, with its 700,000,000 people and huge land area, looms far above any individual African country-indeed, it has over three times the population of the entire African continent. Rump Nationalist China, however, while minuscule when compared to its Chinese rival, is a large state by African standards. Its population of 11,000,000 would rank it seventh were it in Africa, ahead of 27 other independent African countries, as well as the few remaining colonial possessions. Moreover, its per capita income of nearly $120, second highest in the Far East, would place it tenth in Africa.
The "two Chinas" share several assets of importance in penetrating Africa. Taiwan and Southern China enjoy a semi-tropical climate that permits the quick transfer of agricultural techniques to tropical Africa, and both have major rice crops which parallel the extensive rice potentialities of West Africa and Madagascar. In consonance with the goals of "African Socialism" as proclaimed all over the African continent, both the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang (whose general socialist tendencies are often overlooked) can claim to help the Africans in working toward this ideal. Each can point to itself as a "developing" country whose example might be followed by the development-hungry African countries, and both share the distinction of being non-white, with no history of colonial involvement in Africa.
Similarities do not end here, for the two share almost identical motives and methods in their courting of African countries. Any new African country can, on the day of its independence, be assured of receiving almost identical messages from the foreign ministries of the two Chinas, advising them that they have been "recognized," in the hope that the recognition will be reciprocated. Both Chinas have sent and received delegations to and from various African countries; both have had African leaders on official state visits; both have given scholarships to African students for training in their respective areas; and both are involved in aid projects in Africa.
It is only after a closer focus on their activities that the differences begin to appear. The Communist Chinese have dealt on an official and formal level mainly with the more "radical" states of Africa, such as the members of the Casablanca Group, while maintaining informal and covert relations with factions in other countries. The Nationalist Chinese ties are with the more "moderate" states, principally those former French states now in the Union Africaine et Malagache (U.A.M.).
I. AFRICAN COUNTRIES GRANTING DIPLOMATIC RECOGNITION
(with year of recognition)
To Communist China To Nationalist China To Neither *Algeria '62 +Cameroon '60 Burundi *Ghana '60 +Central African Republic '62 Ethiopia *Guinea '59 +Congo (Brazzaville) '60 +Ivory Coast *Mali '60 Congo (Leopoldville) '60 +Niger *Morocco '58 +Chad '62 Nigeria Somalia '60 +Dahomey '62 Sierra Leone Sudan '58 +Gabon '60 Tunisia Tanganyika '61 Liberia '57 Uganda '62 Libya '59 *U.A.R. '561 +Malagasy '60 +Mauritania '60 Rwanda '62 +Senegal '60 Togo '60 +Upper Volta '61 South Africa2
* Members of the Casablanca Group.
+ Members of the Union Africaine et Malagache.
1 Egypt maintained relations with Nationalist China from 1942 until 1956.
2 A Chinese Consulate in Johannesburg, which has assumed many diplomatic functions, predates the establishment of the Nationalist Government in China in 1927.
The Communist Chinese seem to have the following objectives: to spread the Chinese brand of the Communist world revolution, with its concomitant anti- Americanism; to secure big-power status; to gain support in the United Nations; and, perhaps least of all, to obtain some of the strategic goods lacking in China. The motives of the Nationalist Chinese have been to counter the Communist Chinese on the African continent; to retain and enlarge African support in the United Nations; to maintain old and create new markets for Taiwanese agricultural and industrial products; and, to a lesser degree, to develop a useful outlet for those students and technicians frustrated or made restless by the comparatively limited scope of opportunities on Taiwan.
The overseas Chinese in Africa are relatively unimportant-approximately 42,600, centered for the most part in the islands of Reunion, Mauritius and Madagascar-and for this reason I shall not consider this limited aspect of Chinese rivalry. It is significant to note, however, that President Philibert Tsiranana of the Malagasy Republic (Madagascar) warned the Chinese of his country in 1960 that he would expel them if they subsidized subversive activities; and that in Tanganyika, site of the first Chinese Communist embassy in East Africa, the Chinese Communists have wasted no time in entertaining groups of overseas Chinese residing there.
The importance of the African votes on the question of Chinese seating in the United Nations can hardly be exaggerated. Out of 110 U.N. members, 33 are African-enough to swing a vote one way or another if all the African countries voted together and were joined by just a few others. This "African Bloc" is thus crucial to the Nationalist Chinese, who have been actively campaigning to keep their U.N. seat, especially when compared to the almost studied indifference of the Communist Chinese. It is therefore in order to consider the trends in the U.N. vote over the past four years on the China question, during which time the African vote became increasingly important. Table II summarizes these votes.
II. VOTES OF THE U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND OF U.N. AFRICAN MEMBERS ON THE QUESTION OF CHINESE SEATING, 1959-19621
FOR AGAINST Nationalist China Nationalist China ABSTAINING TOTAL 1959 U.N. 44 29 9 82 African Members2 2 5 3 10
1960 U.N. 42 34 22 98 African Members3 2 9 16 27
1961 U.N. 48 37 19 104 African Members4 9 9 11 29
1962 U.N. 56 42 12 110 African Members5 17 14 2 33
1 1959 and 1960 voting on a U.S. motion to postpone discussion; 1961 and 1962 voting on a Soviet resolution to unseat Nationalist China and seat Communist China.
2 For: Liberia and South Africa; Against: Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Sudan, and the U.A.R.; Abstaining: Ethiopia, Libya, and Tunisia.
3 For: Liberia and South Africa ; Against: Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Sudan, the U.A.R., Ethiopia. Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal; Abstaining: all U.A.M. members except Senegal; Congo (Leopoldville), Libya. Somalia, Togo, and Tunisia.
4 For: Cameroon, Gabon, Liberia, Libya, Malagasy, Mauritania, Senegal, Tanganyika, and South Africa ; Against: Ethiopia. Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and the U.A.R. ; Abstaining: Central African Republic, Chad, both Congos, Dahomey, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Tunisia, and Upper Volta.
5 For: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, both Congos, Dahomey, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Malagasy, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Upper Volta and South Africa; Against: Algeria, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanganyika, Tunisia, U.A.R., and Uganda; Abstaining: Nigeria and Togo.
From it we see that the 1961 vote was marked by a gain of seven additional votes for Nationalist China, while Communist China's total remained the same as the previous year. The 1962 vote registered increases for both sides, reflecting the substantial growth in African members, but Nationalist China scored the larger gains. Significantly, all the U.A.M. members voted this time for Nationalist China, enabling Taipei to garner over half the African votes. Though some U.A.M. members had come out for a "two China" solution during the debate, none of them embodied this in a specific proposal. Communist China, on its part, also increased its African vote, though not by as great a percentage. This Nationalist Chinese success was in large part a result of its activities in Africa, as well as strong U.S. support and the recent Communist Chinese actions against India.
The Communist Chinese thrust into Africa has been, characteristically, on all fronts: diplomatic and clandestine; conventional and unconventional; political, economic, social and cultural. Perhaps above all it has been revolutionary, citing as early as 1949 the importance of its own example to all the underdeveloped areas, Africa included. Conversely, Nationalist China has operated through conventional diplomatic channels, though it has utilized its resources to the point where they truly rival the more comprehensive efforts of Communist China.
The Bandung Conference of 1955 marks the beginning of Communist Chinese activities in Africa. There, Foreign Minister Chou En-lai was able to meet- and impress-for the first time leaders and delegates from 23 Asian and 6 African countries. Communist China became "respectable," a "developing" country whose example might well be followed by others. One immediate product of the Bandung Conference was a plan to continue, more or less, the basic idea behind the conference by further meetings of Afro-Asians. Thus there followed the Afro-Asian Solidarity Conference in 1957 and thereafter a host of accompanying organizations, including a proposed common market. The Afro-Asian Solidarity organizations have proven to be a useful vehicle for Communist Chinese penetration, and for meeting and influencing Africans.
More important, however, was the aura of the "spirit of Bandung" which, coupled with the allure of the Chinese market and the discrediting of the United Kingdom, France and to a lesser degree Europe by the Suez crisis, allowed the Communist Chinese to gain their first toehold in Africa through diplomatic recognition. Then, in May 1956, President Nasser of Egypt, who was very impressed by Chou at Bandung, not least because of the backing he received on the Palestine issue, established relations with Communist China, to the latter's delight.
During the Suez invasion by Israel and the British and French intervention that followed in October 1956, Communist China was second only to the Soviet Union in pledging its support to Egypt, promising volunteers and magnanimously granting $4,700,000-the beginning of a pattern of direct aid that is small in amount but designed for maximum propaganda advantage. By 1959, however, relations had cooled as Nasser criticized Communist China for its actions in Tibet, and Communist China in turn allowed the Syrian Communist leader Khaled Baghdash to attack Nasser and his United Arab Republic at the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the People's Republic held in Peking. Nasser regarded this latter act as "aggression," and threatened to call on all Asian and African countries having diplomatic relations with Communist China to lower their representation to the status of chargé d'affaires. This eventually elicited a Communist Chinese apology, though relations remain strictly formal.
Communist China had to wait until 1959 for another spurt of activity, when relations were established with Sékou Touré's Guinea. Even here, however, active aid was delayed until after a Nationalist Chinese good-will mission included Guinea in a tour of African countries in early 1960.[i] Apparently the Communist Chinese protested, but followed with a gift of 10,000 tons of rice and an invitation to Sékou Touré to pay a state visit to Peking. The Guinea President made his visit in September 1960 and signed a friendship treaty and two agreements, one on economic and technical coöperation, the other on trade and payments involving an interest-free loan equivalent to about $25,000,000. Under the technical coöperation agreement, some 5,000 Chinese were to go to Guinea to aid in construction and advise in rice growing. Technicians arrived in Guinea in 1961 to help in the construction of the National Assembly building and a tobacco plant, as well as in rice cultivation, but their numbers are reported to have never exceeded 500, and this number has decreased since Touré became disenchanted with Communist methods.
Perhaps the last "spectacular" put on by the Communist Chinese was their reception of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana when he visited Peking in 1961. A friendship treaty was signed, and an agreement gave Ghana a $19,600,000 interest-free loan. Very recently, in October of this year, an agreement of technical coöperation was signed by the two states, but its implementation remains to be seen. In addition, Chou En-lai has accepted, in principle, an invitation to visit Ghana. If he does, he will be the first high-ranking Communist Chinese official to visit Africa.
By 1961 the impact of the virtual economic collapse on the China mainland began to catch up with Communist foreign policy-makers, and, with the exceptional case of Algeria, their activities abroad began to be curtailed, though certainly not ended. Thus the establishment of relations with five other African countries since mid-1960 has not been followed by official offers of aid and assistance. For example, in the case of a Sino-Mali trade agreement of 1961, provision was made for loans which have never been arranged.
These are not the only Communist Chinese activities in "friendly" African countries. In 1959, 20 African delegations toured Communist China; in 1960 the number was 113 but in 1961 only 44. There are or have been nine Communist Chinese organizations dealing with Africa, of which perhaps the most important are the African Affairs Committee within the Secretariat of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese-African Friendship Association whose President, Liu Chang-sheng, headed a friendship delegation that visited eight West African states[ii] early in 1961. Radio broadcasting beamed towards Africa has also sharply increased in the past three years.
The Communist Chinese have also played host to African students, both, apparently, for conventional university schooling and for the teaching of terrorist tactics. In 1961 it was estimated that 225 Africans, excluding those from North Africa and Sudan, were at the Institute of Foreign Languages in Peking where they were learning Chinese before entering other universities; and in April of that year a "Union of African Students in China" was formed by students from Somalia, Kenya, Zanzibar, Cameroon, Chad, Ghana and Uganda. Their efforts, however, received a setback last August when 30 Cameroonian students were expelled, reportedly for having openly reacted to racial discrimination in Communist China. One of them declared that "every contact is forbidden not only between black men and Chinese women, but between black men and Chinese. Moreover, African students have no right to shop in the same stores as other foreign students." Students from other African states reacted similarly and many have already left Communist China without completing their studies.
A major Communist Chinese effort is concentrated on clandestine activities, such as the support of revolutionary and diversionary groups. Because of the nature of these operations it is obviously difficult to obtain full information on them. The Chinese Communists have apparently tried to support groups in countries where they could draw an analogy to their own revolutionary experience-in particular in Algeria, Cameroon and Angola, upon whose revolutionary fronts they have bestowed the honorific Communist title "National Liberation Movements," and to a lesser degree in the Congo and with the pan-Somalia movement in the Horn of Africa.
Algeria has been their real favorite. Not only did they recognize the rebel Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic in 1960, but they have been host to Algerian delegations on many occasions, including a "state" visit by Ferhat Abbas as Premier of the Provisional Government in October 1960. Certainly they have given an indeterminate amount of material military aid, and advice on how to run the "war of liberation"-although they were rebuffed when the Algerians, contrary to advice from Peking, opened negotiations with the French. Following Algerian independence this year, despite their own strained economy, the Communist Chinese gave the new Algerian government a gift of 9,000 tons of wheat, 3,000 tons of rolled steel and 21 tons of medicine.
By supporting the rebellious section of the Union des Populations Camerounais after Cameroon independence the Communist Chinese have ruined any chances of a rapprochement with the Cameroonian government. The best evidence of this support for the rebels came in July 1961 when six Cameroonians were captured entering their country, having on their person weapons and documents showing that they had completed a ten-week course in sabotage and guerrilla warfare in Peking. In Angola, on the other hand, the Communist Chinese have apparently lent little more than political support to the rebels up to now. They also attempted to enter the complicated Congolese situation when, after the murder of Patrice Lumumba, his Vice- Premier, Antoine Gizenga, established a "national government" in Stanleyville. The Communist Chinese immediately recognized this régime, and dispatched an ambassador in February 1961. In August 1961 the Stanleyville government was absorbed by the Leopoldville government, which had diplomatic relations with Nationalist China. Thereupon the Communist Chinese officially withdrew, attacking the United States as the cause of all the troubles.
In any characterization of Communist China's policy toward Africa it must be noted that, like the U.S.S.R., it was ideologically unprepared for the wave of independence in Africa which commenced in 1960. Western imperialists were just not expected to give independence to their colonies, especially so fast. The Communist Chinese first emphasized those contacts which seemed most promising for further penetration into a colonial Africa; they were received enthusiastically by particular African leaders who thought Communist Chinese help would be decisive in their fight for influence in Africa. Independence virtually erased this issue, and their cries against neo-colonialism have never had the same emotional impact. This Communist Chinese lag, then, has opened the way for the rather ambitious Nationalist Chinese activities in Africa. These activities are just beginning to be noticed by the Communist Chinese, as evidenced by a recent confrontation between the two in Burundi, discussed below; but the Chinese Communists have not yet formally "warned" the Africans of these as they have, for instance, warned them of Japanese activities.[iii]
Before beginning a discussion of Nationalist Chinese activities, we must consider the particular assets possessed by Nationalist China on Taiwan, in order to show how that comparatively small island can "challenge" the huge mainland. Perhaps the biggest contrast between the two Chinas is that of economic growth. The initial misleading claims of Communist China's Great Leap Forward did impress the African countries, which closely watched this experiment in economic development to see if it was the model for them to follow. The recent admitted failures, however, have had the effect of hardening the views of those more inclined towards the Nationalist Chinese. This has been fortified by the striking economic successes evident on Taiwan. Nationalist China has an important, though invisible, commodity in technical know-how, both in facilities for training and in trained personnel to send out. Another distinct asset is its very successful land reform, and the agricultural extension activities carried on by the Sino- American Joint Committee on Rural Reconstruction-part of whose facilities are being used in the current African "campaign." Finally, a good proportion of Nationalist Chinese success in Africa can be traced to the backing and encouragement of the United States.[iv]
The Nationalist Chinese activities began tentatively in 1960, gained strength in 1961, and are being maintained at an accelerating pace this year, again presenting a contrast with Communist China, which started out ambitiously, reached early heights in 1960, and then dropped in 1961 and 1962. In 1960, as was mentioned above, a Chinese Nationalist goodwill mission visited 11 African countries. During 1961, paralleling similar activities on the part of the Communist Chinese, Nationalist China invited both African missions and individuals to come to Taiwan, with the result that over 40 prominent Africans from ten countries did visit there. In addition, a Nationalist Chinese commercial mission visited seven West African countries.
In March 1961 a Liberian goodwill mission, headed by the Liberian Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce, visited Taiwan and requested that a Nationalist Chinese technical mission be sent to Liberia to survey the agricultural needs there and to formulate a development program. To meet this request, Nationalist China decided to send 14 qualified farmers to Liberia to establish a model farm for two years. They arrived in November 1961, and after one year are reported to have been highly successful.
In June of the same year an agricultural mission arrived from Togo, and in August the Dahomean Minister of Labor and Public Functions visited Taiwan and an agreement was reached whereby Nationalist China would help Dahomey develop its water resources and irrigation system. The Dahomean Minister later stated, in Paris, that he was "vividly struck by what the Chinese in Formosa have accomplished" and believed "that the African states would be interested in visiting this country, which could serve as an example for them."
A Malagasy agricultural mission visited Taiwan in September, purchased some 30,000 tons of tuna and agreed to send men to Taiwan to learn about tuna fishing. The Congolese (Leopoldville) Minister of Agriculture visited in October. The Nationalist Chinese Ministry of Education further announced that it was offering 10 fellowships in 1962 to qualified students from any of the newly independent African countries.
Libya also requested aid in agriculture in 1961. An article in the semi- official Nationalist Chinese Chung-yang Jih-pao (Central Daily News) reports that this request resulted from disappointment with U.N. efforts to aid in agriculture and hesitancy to accept either Communist or Western (i.e. colonialist) aid. Nationalist China responded by sending a survey group in December 1961. The event coincided with the change in Libya's U.N. vote on the question of seating Communist China, from abstention in 1960 to a vote for Nationalist China in 1961. This was followed up in February 1962 by an agreement for technical coöperation, whereby the Nationalist Chinese will run a demonstration farm in Libya for two years (six Chinese farmers arrived last March) and train Libyan agricultural technicians in Taiwan.
In December 1961 there was set up in Taipei a Committee on Chinese-African Technological Coöperation, a joint venture by the Nationalist Chinese Ministries of Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, Economic Reconstruction and the Joint Committee on Rural Reconstruction. This intra-governmental committee coördinates the increasing number of activities in Africa and is the medium through which invitations are extended to African countries to send agricultural technicians for training in Taiwan.
The year 1962 opened auspiciously as two African countries established diplomatic relations with Nationalist China in January. Following floods in Kenya, Nationalist China sent 22,000 pounds of rice for relief there; and in February and March a group of Nationalist Chinese agricultural experts toured Gabon to study the possibilities of rice cultivation in that country.
April, however, was the triumphal month for Nationalist China, when Taiwan welcomed the first visit of an African chief of state, President Philibert Tsiranana of the island Malagasy Republic. A friendship treaty was signed, and Tsiranana called his visit "very rewarding," stating that his country had "much to learn from Nationalist China in economic development, land reform and modernization of armed forces." He also discussed fishery coöperation, promised to send two agriculturists to Taiwan to study rice cultivation and invited Chiang Kai-shek to visit Madagascar.
The middle of the same month 25 Africans from 11 countries[v] arrived in Taiwan for six months of practical training in rice planting, upland crops, agricultural expansion, operation of farmers' organizations and farm credit, sponsored by the Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction in a program given the name "Seminar for Agricultural Technicians from Africa." This first class has graduated and returned to Africa, and at the request of the same African countries a second seminar is being organized for next spring. The operations of this seminar, as well as the demonstration farms in Liberia and Libya, were cited by Ambassador Adlai Stevenson during the recent U.N. debate on the issue of seating Communist China.
May 1962 saw the visit of a four-man delegation from Chad, and the signing of an agreement on economic and cultural coöperation. Since then, others who have visited Taiwan have been the Ivory Coast Minister of Agriculture, who signed an agricultural coöperation agreement; the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Cameroons, who signed cultural, commercial, educational and economic and technical coöperation agreements; the Foreign Minister of Rwanda, with whom an agreement was reached to send agricultural technicians; and the Dahomey Minister of Agriculture. Further, agricultural demonstration teams were reported being formed to be sent to Gabon, Ivory Coast, Dahomey and Ethiopia.
A most interesting development occurred recently in the Kingdom of Burundi, which gained its independence in July but postponed its independence ceremonies until October because of a threat of tribal violence. The Communist Chinese Ambassador to neighboring Tanganyika was already on hand as a guest for the celebration when apparently Burundi, with second thoughts, invited a Nationalist Chinese representative. The Communist Chinese, Ho Ying, withdrew, decrying "the imperialist scheme of using the Chiang Kai-shek clique to undermine Sino-Burundi friendly relations," though blaming all on the "U.S. imperialists." For the first time the Nationalist Chinese had displaced a Communist Chinese when the latter was there first. This was, however, somewhat offset by the situation in Uganda where representatives from both the Chinese capitals were also invited; but this time the Chinese Nationalists declined, and subsequently Uganda-a former British protectorate-agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Communist China.
Nationalist China, in the words of the official Nationalist Chinese News Service, "is sparing no effort to enhance friendly relations with the African nations." A judicious use of resources at a time of economic prosperity and Communist Chinese economic failings have combined to enable it to outdistance its rival in Africa. While unable to directly match, dollar for dollar, the generous though sporadic Communist grants, the Nationalists are making up for this in steady progress within their means. In the space of two years Nationalist Chinese programs have achieved a level that may soon be comparable to the foreign assistance program of Israel (and certainly some of the underlying reasons are the same in both cases)-small, but effective, and with a good reputation. Nationalist China's success in making friends in Africa has been translated into support in the United Nations; it is proving an effective counterpoint to Communist China in Africa; and in the longer run it should provide markets for Taiwan's expanding industry.
Africa, meanwhile, is benefiting from this rivalry, which will be resolved only when the China problem itself is solved.
[i] Others: Cameroon, British Cameroons, Nigeria, Togo, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Somalia, Ethiopia and Ghana.
[ii] Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Upper Volta, Senegal, Togo and Dahomey.
[iii] In November 1960 the New China News Agency "exposed" the Japanese plan. "Japanese monopoly capital is making strenuous efforts to penetrate into Africa for exploration and plunder at a time when British and French monopoly capital is hit by surging national independence movements."
[iv] It should also be noted that the voting of Nationalist China in the United Nations has generally been anti-colonialist, remarkable when one realizes the diplomatic tightrope the Nationalist Chinese must walk vis-à- vis the European states which still maintain diplomatic relations with Nationalist China.
[v] Countries and numbers of students: Central African Republic (2), Congo (Brazzaville) (3), Congo (Leopoldville) (2), Dahomey (4), Ivory Coast (2), Libya (2), Malagasy (2), Mauritania (1), Niger (2), Senegal (2) and Togo (3).