America’s China Policy Is Not Working
The Dangers of a Broad Decoupling
No one who looked down from the galleries last May on the glittering array of African heads of state assembled in Africa Hall at Addis Ababa could fail to see that this meeting constituted an historic landmark. But just what sort of landmark was it? Clearly it had greater significance than a gathering of emperors, kings, presidents and prime ministers at a single sparkling event-like, say, a coronation in Britain. But was there as much common purpose in Addis as moved the 55 men who met in Philadelphia in May 1787? President Nkrumah of Ghana had hoped and intended that there should be; in speeches, memoranda and even a full-length book he had urged the states to form a single parliament forthwith. But gazing down on the patrician head of the Mwami of Burundi facing the taut Ben Bella, observers must have realized that the differences of past experience and future problems impeded any such swift fusion into one close entity. It is still too early to assess the full achievements of the Addis conference-how far short it fell of Nkrumah's ideal, how much more important it was than just an imperial jamboree. But enough has happened in the months since May to attempt at least a progress report.
The Addis Ababa conference marked the end of the period when, beginning with the first meeting of the Independent African States in Accra in May 1958, the states were "feeling out" the ways in which they might achieve both greater unity and the liberation of the whole continent. They had experimented with organizations for close coördination in economic matters alone, and at the new Addis airport the Union Africaine et Malgache (U.A.M.) was able to display an impressive advertisement of the successful coöperation by its 14 member states-a jet airliner of their Air Afrique fleet. There had been more dramatic attempts at political union, such as the Ghana-Guinea-Mali union announced in December 1960; but the coolness obvious between Nkrumah and President Sékou Touré of Guinea, who found themselves by alphabetical accident next to each other at the horseshoe table, showed the disappointments experienced in that venture.
The Casablanca group of seven states-Morocco, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Egypt, Libya and Algeria-had drifted apart after the issues which first brought them together in January 1961 had either faded into history or reared into points of actual disagreement among them. Morocco had lost its battle against Mauritania; in January 1961 the Casablanca powers had called Mauritania "a puppet state" of France and backed any action by Morocco "for the restitution of her legitimate rights," but now Mauritania was seated at the United Nations, her Prime Minister, Moktar Ould Daddah, was sitting in Africa Hall, and Morocco in consequence was boycotting the conference. The three other issues which had led the seven states to meet originally had taken them to no satisfactory conclusion. Withdrawal of troops from the United Nations force in the Congo, in protest against the U.S.'s unwillingness to recognize the Gizenga régime, had always been opposed by Ghana, and Gizenga was still being detained when President Kasavubu and Premier Adoula of the Congo came to Addis. Avowed hostility to Israel as "the instrument of imperialism and neo-colonialism" (the first resolution at Casablanca) had not inhibited Ghana from close economic coöperation with that state. And the consultative committees which the Casablanca powers had announced to foster unity-political, economic, cultural and a joint high command-had made no noticeable headway beyond setting up a defense headquarters in Ghana. The Addis conference provided the Casablanca powers with the opportunity to submerge, or it may be kinder to say sublimate, their efforts into the larger sphere of planning provided by the meeting of all heads of government.
The Monrovia group (more properly if less often called the Inter-African and Malagasy States Organization, I.A.M.O.) had been more successful, perhaps because of its pragmatic approach. It began with the 12 "Brazzaville" powers trying to mediate in the Algerian war and championing Mauritania. By the time of the Monrovia meeting in May 1961, it had gathered seven more adherents, including Nigeria and Ethiopia and the host, Liberia. The group spoke of "unity of aspirations and of action" rather than political integration, and by the time they came to approve the Lagos Charter in December 1962, they were planning very much on the pattern of the Organization of American States.
Another issue which by May had had its edges blurred by long hammering was the question of regional groupings. At the first All African Peoples Conference at Accra in December 1958, the delegates agreed that "as a first step towards the attainment of the broad objective of an African Commonwealth, the independent states of Africa should amalgamate themselves into groups on the basis of geographical contiguity, economic interdependence, linguistic and cultural affinity." Informally it was decided to speak of five regions of Africa which could be a first tier in this future Commonwealth. But by February 1962 Ghana had strong suspicions about what was happening in East Africa. The Pan-African Freedom Movement for East and Central Africa (PAFMECA) grew to an organization embracing 20 countries at its conference in Addis, and enlarged its title to PAFMECSA to include Southern Africa. John Tettegah, Ghanaian Ambassador Extraordinary, intervened at this meeting with a press statement in which he said that Nkrumah believed "that regional commonwealths and territorial groupings will be just another form of Balkanization, unless they are conceived within the framework of a larger union based on the model of the United States or the U.S.S.R." The PAFMECSA chairman, Kenneth Kaunda, gave Tettegah a polite assurance that it was conceived inside the framework of the All African Peoples Conference (which was perhaps not quite the same thing, since the A.A.P.C. had never committed itself to more than "the broad objective of an African Commonwealth").
At any rate, Nkrumah was inveighing against "regional Balkanization" when he flew to Addis last May. He claimed in a memorandum, "Towards African Unity," which he sent to the conference ahead of him: "There is a general feeling in Africa today that development into separate political or economic groupings is unfortunate, since it tends to a dispersal of energy, resources and general inter-state or inter-territorial coöperative effort." He was convinced, he added, that frontier disputes, economic difficulties, political disagreements between African states and neocolonialism can all be resolved within the framework of a Union Government of African States. At the airport he repeated his written warning: "We must unite now or perish."
He found at Addis virtually no support for his case. As host, the Emperor of Ethiopia made the keynote speech and led the great debate which followed onto other ground. Said the Emperor:
While we agree that the ultimate destiny of this continent lies in political union, we must recognize that the obstacles to be overcome in its achievement are numerous and formidable. Africa's peoples did not emerge into liberty in uniform conditions. . . . Further, no clear consensus exists on the "how" and the "what" of this union. Is it to be, in form, federal, confederal or unitary? On these and other questions there is no agreement, and if we wait for agreed answers, generations hence matters will be little advanced, while the debate still rages.
The union which we seek can only come gradually. A period of transition is inevitable. Old relations and arrangements may for a time linger. Regional organizations may fulfill legitimate functions and needs which cannot yet be otherwise satisfied. . . .
There is nonetheless much that we can do to speed this transition. There are issues on which we stand united and questions on which there is unanimity of opinion. Let us seize on those areas of agreement and exploit them to the fullest. . . . If we act where we may, in those areas where action is possible, the inner logic of the programmes which we adopt will work for us and inevitably impel us still farther in the direction of ultimate union.
The Emperor went on to speak about economic coördination, the establishment of the African Development Bank, planning for an African defense system, and campaigns against nuclear tests and racial segregation.
The Emperor's speech and the draft charter submitted by his government provided the guide-lines of the conference. Besides Nkrumah, only Milton Obote of Uganda spoke out for an African parliament now, saying: "However nice one may feel as complete master in one's own house, the time has come for African independent states to surrender some of their sovereignty in favor of an African central legislative and executive body"; and he suggested this executive should have powers to establish a common market, collective defense, a common foreign policy and common monetary zone, and to supervise continent-wide planning. The others all stuck to talk of coördination, mainly in the economic sphere, and wanted periodic meetings of heads of governments. President Nasser, who Nkrumah hoped would support him solidly, suggested vaguely, "Let there be an African League" without offering any idea of constitution; and then, even more vaguely, "Let there be anything, but let it be something real."
So the pattern was set, along the O.A.S. model. Indeed the Ethiopian Government had engaged the former Chilean secretary-general of the O.A.S., Señor Trucco, to advise on the administrative structure. The Charter of the Organization of African Unity finally adopted at Addis lays down as "supreme organ" the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments, meeting at least once a year. It followed closely the Lagos Charter with the notable addition of provision for a Defense Commission. In the conference resolutions, the establishment of the Liberation Coordinating Committee of nine nations was the most striking innovation. Under the heading of "General Disarmament" the heads of governments unanimously agreed to seek the removal of all foreign military bases and "disentanglement of African countries from military pacts with foreign powers." But Nasser wisely warned: "Military pacts will not fall by themselves like autumn leaves."
Perhaps more important than any of the details of agreement was the infusion of what has become known as "the Addis spirit"-best defined in the Emperor's exhortation to "seize on these areas of agreement and exploit them to the fullest." Those skeptical of the effects of enthusiastic spirit have been asking, "What mileage can you get out of such a mixture?" They will of course have to wait for their answer until the spirit has run out. At present that seems a distant point, although there have been splutterings which we shall examine shortly.
The Addis conference exerted heavy pressure on states to agree and, through the example of Morocco, demonstrated the disadvantages of being the "odd man out." Morocco learnt its lesson-that it should never have boycotted the conference-and attended the foreign ministers' meeting in Dakar in August. Nkrumah agreed that it was best to show agreement and, astute in the midst of disappointment, saw to it that Ghana was among the first to ratify the O.A.U. Charter. A quarrel which had taken up a great deal of the time of the foreign ministers in their preparatory talks before the heads of states met was over the recognition of the Grunitzky régime in Togo. Most of the "Brazzaville" states had earlier opposed recognition at a special meeting at Ouagadougou because it amounted in their eyes to countenancing assassination; but by May they were wavering. Only Nigeria, Guinea and Tanganyika (whose independence celebrations had been attended by President Olympio) maintained opposition and kept the Togo seat vacant. Nigerian and Guinean opposition was founded on suspicions that Ghanaian leaders were not averse to fomenting subversion in nearby states, and that the assassination of Olympio may have been plotted from Ghana. But written into the Q.A.U.'s principles of the charter was "respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each member state and for its inalienable right to independent existence." With Ghana's signature under this principle, further opposition to President Grunitzky melted and the Togolese foreign minister was welcomed to Dakar.
At Dakar the greatest discussion developed over what constituted a legitimate regional grouping. A resolution proposed by Guinea recommended the abrogation of all charters which predated the O.A.U., and mentioned specifically the Casablanca and Monrovia charters, and the charter of the 13 U.A.M. states, signed in Tananarive in September 1961. PAFMECSA was not mentioned in the resolution, which laid down as a definition that "geographical realities and economic and social conditions common to neighboring states be the sole justification of such groupings and subgroupings." The chief target in this debate was the U.A.M., which could hardly claim the justification of "geographical reality," leapfrogging as it does across the continent from Senegal to Chad, Rwanda and Malagasy. The U.A.M. leaders had met before Dakar to discuss the future of their organization, and decided it should remain in existence, at any rate temporarily, while "progressive fusion" of the U.A.M. with the O.A.U. would inevitably take place. But at that Cotonou meeting there was evidence of diverging views. The Mauritanian president argued that the U.A.M. must not compromise African unity, but the President of Chad stood at the opposite pole declaring that the U.A.M. should not sacrifice itself for a new (and untested?) organization. The others, led by Senegal, stood in the middle ground on the basis that the U.A.M. should evolve and adapt itself to the new situation which the Addis conference had created. As a first step in adaptation they dissolved the U.A.M. group at the United Nations.
This was hardly enough for the other leaders at Dakar. Jaja Wachuku, the Nigerian foreign minister, called the U.A.M.'s continuance "an enterprise of sabotage," while Sékou Touré said it was draining the O.A.U. Charter of its "essential dynamic content" and he went on to attack what he termed "an insolent resurgence of U.A.M. activities." But the U.A.M. has stood firm, with the Ivory Coast vice-president M. Philippe Yace saying there is no question of breaking up either the U.A.M. or the "Entente" group (Ivory Coast, Dahomey, Upper Volta and the Niger Republic) for the time being. The next U.A.M. conference is scheduled for February, and its leaders will doubtless ponder whether some of the reasons for the October coup in Dahomey-workers' annoyance at Ministerial extravagance, radical attacks on ex-President Maga's too obvious "French connection"-are not relevant to other states.
The ferocity of Touré's attack is partly due to historical factors, dating back to the time of the French withdrawal from Guinea. Touré sees dangers in the way the U.A.M. is linked closely with France through its defense coöperation and military pacts, and also by its members' special relationship with the European Common Market (E.E.C.). Through these arrangements, 20,000 French troops are today still stationed in U.A.M. countries and the lion's share of $784,000,000 in the latest five-year plan of the E.E.C.'s Overseas Development Fund is going to these states. The troops may have acted very properly during the recent overthrow of President Youlou in Congo (Brazzaville) and the association with the E.E.C. may not yet have uncovered political strings. But Touré and other African leaders see in these arrangements a wedge dividing African states. The ex- British dependencies in Africa, at last year's Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference, resoundingly rejected the idea of associate membership on several grounds, and they hope to bridge the gap between the 18 "associated" African states and the 14 others by the swift creation of an African Common Market. But officials are more cautious than politicians. Paul Morawetz, heading a team of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa to study the possibilities of harmonizing the economics of neighboring states in West Africa, said in September that the creation of a common market would be a long task; he thought it could be achieved only over several stages, beginning with a grouping of West African states into three "harmonizing" units. Sierra Leone, alone of the ex-British territories, has decided that the way to unity is to become associated with the E.E.C. In its separate way, this decision underlines the anxiety of African leaders over the divisions created by trade and other links with European states.
An existing grouping which was clearly legitimate under the O.A.U. definition is that in East Africa, composed of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika, whose heads of government pledged themselves in June to try to form a political federation by December 1963 (Zanzibar added its name as a founding member in July). The plans ran into a variety of troubles. Ugandan leaders were suspicious (with some good reason from past experience) that Kenya would gain by far the greatest benefits from the natural processes of closer association, in the same way that Southern Rhodesia gained most from the federation in Central Africa. To take on Kenya's greater debt burden and trade deficit seemed to Uganda a large price to pay for federation if she was not to receive in return some of the best perquisites of the union, such as high office for her leaders or perhaps the federal capital at Entebbe or assurances that new industries would be directed her way instead of gravitating to Nairobi. Uganda has also wanted to maintain some independence in foreign policy, including a separate vote at the United Nations, and shuddered at reports that President Nyerere said in Oslo that he accepted the idea of a United Africa having only one U.N. vote. There have been technical arguments, centering on such matters as the structure of a central bank, and tussles between personalities. Zanzibar in its minor role has contributed another problem, in that its coalition government does not want to relax immigration restrictions on "mainlanders."
These differences, rather than any opposition from a frightened traditionalist group (the Buganda Lukiko, for example), are the reasons why it is now acknowledged that an East African Federation cannot be formed until some time in 1964. Kenyan leaders know, from a cursory glance at trade figures, that development depends absolutely on the achievement of federation, at any rate with Tanganyika, some time in 1964. The mood set in Tanganyika by Nyerere strongly favors federation, and in the end it is probable that Uganda's doubts can be dissolved. At present, though, Nkrumah's phrases about "regional Balkanization" uttered at Addis and elsewhere are useful for quotation by Ugandan politicians who want to go slow on federation and yet appear to all as fervent Pan-Africanists.
With the setting up of federal working parties in East Africa and the establishment of the Liberation Coördinating Committee after Addis, there was discussion on the future role of PAFMECSA: Kenneth Kaunda, its chairman, supported by Nyerere felt that its liberating functions had been assumed by this Committee of Nine and its unifying functions were being taken care of by Ministers in East Africa (in Central Africa the process is at present one of dissolution rather than unification). In September Kaunda said that, although PAFMECSA was not "a spent force," it had been "overtaken" by the O.A.U. Mboya, prominently involved in PAFMECSA's work throughout its five years of life, felt it had a remaining usefulness as an intermediate tier to be placed between East Africa and the O.A.U. in the structure of Pan-Africa. But it is likely to be wound up as a superfluous organization causing unnecessary friction inside the O.A.U. Its secretary- general, Peter Koinange, has spent virtually no time at its Tanganyika headquarters since he became a member of the Kenya Cabinet in June. However, the close friendships between East and Central African nationalist leaders will remain whether or not PAFMECSA becomes defunct.
As for the Liberation Coördinating Committee, it is too early to say how effective it will prove. The Committee itself is well balanced politically and contains the three strongest military powers in Africa-Egypt, Algeria and Ethiopia-as well as Senegal, Nigeria, Guinea, Uganda, Congo (Leopoidville) and Tanganyika. At its first meeting in Dar-es-Salaam in July, the Committee ran into the problem of which group of "freedom fighters" to recognize and support. This problem recurred in several countries where there are rival organizations-South Africa, South-West Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Angola and Portuguese Guinea. By August the Committee had met Angolan leaders in Leopoidville and had decided to put the O.A.U.'s support behind Holden Roberto's U.P.A. (Unaio das Populaçoes de Angola), and at Dakar picked as the most representative movement in Portuguese Guinea Amilcar Cabral's P.A.I.G.C. This occasioned a bitter argument between Senegal and Guinea, as Cabral is a Touré man. But before the end of the Dakar conference both countries suffered further disappointments: Senegal failed to get Dakar accepted as O.A.U. headquarters, and Guinea failed to get its Ambassador to the U.N., Diallo Telli, chosen as O.A.U. secretary-general. Both site and post went (temporarily) to Ethiopia, which may mean some loss of dynamism in the organization.
The Committee of Nine prepared a budget for the Foreign Ministers which called for $4,200,000 a year for liberation movements in 18 different territories. A subcommittee of Algeria, Egypt and Guinea also made detailed proposals for military aid, and sketched out a training program in sabotage and politics, The report showed the liberation fund had received $675,000, two-thirds of it being contributed by Nigeria and Algeria. A general impression of the Committee's work is that, faced with some knotty problems, it has begun reasonably well and can expect to gather momentum soon. The Addis conference produced a mood of emancipatory zeal at which Salazar and Verwoerd (and Winston Field in Southern Rhodesia) are unwise to scoff. It seems clear that the first pressures will be upon Portuguese-held territories, although Algeria and Ghana are already training freedom fighters from Southern Rhodesia and South Africa. What is less certain is how many volunteers from independent states may come forward to fight alongside them.
A fierce attack against the Committee of Nine was launched on October 25 in the Accra weekly Spark, the organ of the African Affairs Bureau in Ghana. It analyzed at length a secret official report of the Committee's meeting in Dar-es-Salaam and criticized it decisions on three main counts. First, it had exceeded its responsibilities by setting up a commission for propaganda aimed at 12 colonial territories and had allocated £300,000 (or most of its six months' budget) to this purpose-money which should have been used for military purposes. Second, it had also planned, as major strategy, to negotiate with the colonial powers after organizing sufficient action to create an atmosphere of insecurity in these territories; this was "unrealistic and futile." Third, it had acted "entirely outside its mandate" by transferring the major role in helping liberation movements to the "neighboring countries." This, said Spark, was unwise because it gave colonial powers easy targets to attack and also damaged African unity by encouraging regional groupings.
Ghana is not a member of the Committee of Nine, and might therefore be expected to be its leading critic among African states. The article also appeared while the Defense Commission, set up at Addis, was holding its first meeting at Accra. Kofi Baako, Ghana's Defense Minister, took the lead in proposing the immediate establishment of an African High Command and (in secret session) of a "strike force" to operate against the colonial territories. Nigeria surprisingly came closest to Ghanaian views on the need for a High Command, but the U.A.M. states defeated such a proposition, and the Commission merely voted to set up an executive committee under the administrative secretariat in Addis Ababa-and then adjourned for a year.
Recent talk of aggression against the white governments in Southern Africa is in marked contrast to the attitudes of nonviolence expressed at the first A.A.P.C. at Accra in December I958, when it was resolved to support "all those who resort to peaceful means of non-violence and civil disobedience, as well as all those who are compelled to retaliate against violence to attain national independence," But, partly from humanitarian instincts and partly from natural caution about challenging powerful white armies in battle, the independent African states are still persisting in trying out more peaceful means of unfastening the grip of the Portuguese and South African governments on Africa. Efforts to isolate them, including economic sanctions, have been intensified since the Addis conference. Refusal to accept South African representation on international bodies- whether it is the International Labor Organization, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature or the International Olympic Committee-has progressed to the point of moving to get South Africa excluded from the United Nations. Adlai Stevenson and others have warned against the folly of doing this, and Jaja Wachuku, the Nigerian Foreign Minister, told the General Assembly in September that it was, he thought, better to bring South Africa and Portugal to the United Nations and "keep on whipping them until they learn some lessons, than to toss them outside and leave them in the cold." But feelings were given play a fortnight later when African and Asian delegates staged an unprecedented mass walkout to protest the South African delegate being allowed to defend apartheid from the Assembly rostrum.
Perhaps the most spectacular move to boycott trade with South Africa has been the banning of South African Airways planes from landing or overflying the African states, and driving their Europe-bound airliners out over the Atlantic. Where an embargo on trade with South Africa has been imposed, as in Tanganyika and Uganda, the burden has of course been heavier on the African black states than on South Africa; for instance, to find new markets for Uganda coffee is difficult. But it is a valuable boost to nationalist morale, and plays its part in promoting unity.
A U.N. special committee on apartheid, which included five African states, has insisted on immediate action against South Africa on several fronts: refusal of technical aid, prohibition of emigrants or investment bound for South Africa, an effective embargo on arms and petroleum shipments, denial of facilities for all ships and planes bound for or returning from South Africa. It is unlikely that all these measures will be effectively implemented, especially since British investment in South Africa amounts to a billion pounds. But there is little doubt that these recommendations cause embarrassment to Britain and annoyance at least to Verwoerd.
It is notoriously easier to combine against someone or something than it is to find common cause for constructive action. If this explains the greater emphasis on moves against the Salazar and Verwoerd régimes, it should nevertheless be conceded that there has been an increase in constructive planning since the Addis conference. A conference to plan the regional needs for hydroelectric power is one recent example. Another, which was initiated before Addis but consummated afterwards, was the agreement in July to establish an African Development Bank next year with an authorized capital of $250,000,000 to foster economic coöperation on a regional basis.
Yet to be tested is the Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration set up at the Addis conference based on detailed proposals from Tunisia. The title gives an idea of the methods such a Commission (when established by the Assembly of Heads of States) would employ, but there is no hint yet of how arbitration decisions would be enforced, without bruising the charter's third principle, "respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each member state." In the meantime, the "spirit of Addis," amplified by Emperor Haile Selassie and President Keita of Mali, temporarily soothed the passions aroused between Algeria and Morocco in their October skirmish around two oases. Whether the O.A.U. can round off what the Bamako cease-fire conference began remains to be seen. Probably the next occasion for this Commission to set to work will come in trying to settle the dispute between Somalia and Kenya, where 150,000 Somalis live along its northeastern border. Mauritania and Mali have settled a disputed frontier this year, and there is some hope that the Ghana-Togo border dispute may be eased with the proposed trade agreement, although there is no sign that President Grunitzky would want to integrate his country with Ghana. The first integration of countries may come with Gambia's absorption into Senegal. Gambia, a British colony with 300,000 people and little else besides a river and a lot of groundnuts, became self-governing in October. There are many matters to be negotiated: Can Gambia keep Commonwealth ties? Can she maintain her own (British) legal system? Can she have a degree of autonomy not granted to the surrounding 3,000,000 Senegalese? But if Sene- gambia and an East African Federation cannot be achieved by the end of 1964, the prospects for full African unity will become extremely remote.
Is the "Addis spirit" strong enough to drown personal jealousies? Ghanaian opposition to an East African Federation is not based just on ideological dislike of regional groupings. As the pace-setter since 1957, Nkrumah finds it hard to share, and harder to yield, the lead. Nyerere of Tanganyika has shown himself likely to become a practical-minded leader of radical thought throughout Africa, although his country has not the resources to be the prime example of development. Ghana has spent a large part of her budget on diplomacy, and her 60 embassies give her a respected position in foreign affairs and at the United Nations. But Kenya leaders, such as Mboya, Odinga and Murumbi, have international experience which may soon bring East Africa into preëminence diplomatically. Others will argue that Ghanaian opposition to the East African Federation is based on a fear that it might encourage a similar move in westernmost Africa, with Mauritania, Senegal, Mali and Guinea planning an economic grouping which could lead to federation. The obstacles, as the Emperor warned, are "numerous and formidable,"
As their offering to the Addis conference, the Band of the Imperial Bodyguard produced in English, French and Amharic an "African Nations Anthem," but this did not relieve its members of the burden of learning 32 national anthems. This lack of a common anthem and flag is not a trivial matter; symbols are basic requirements if a Pan-African consciousness is to permeate all levels. Musicalty, and in every other way, the African states have a long path to march before they reach unity. But the Addis conference put heart into many of the less resolute to attempt this journey. When the Emperor formally registered the O.A.U. Charter at the United Nations during his visit to New York in October, U Thant was not venturing into a polite exaggeration when he replied that the charter was "one of the historic documents of this century."