Former World Heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali, has told reporters in Tanzania that he agreed to tour Africa for President Carter to help prevent a nuclear war over the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.
SV: Plane taxiing on runway
GV: Ali out of plane down steps and greeted by Tanzanians
SV: Ali walks across runway with crowd
CU: Ali speaking in English PULL BACK TO SEMI VIEW
ALI: "I'm here to say that if Russia is allowed to take over Afghanistan - lets assume Russia came to your country a few months ago, and Russia took you all over - would you like it? How would you.... would you want support from the world. One problem with us today is we tend to say, well it didn't happen to us. You see all people of various colours are all brothers under God. Now if this happens there, it could happen anywhere else. I'm just saying that we should make some effort to let the Russians know that we don't approve, and I think that if the Russian people see that the Olympics won't go on, they'll know the government must have done something wrong - because the Russian government, from what I understand, don't report to their people what 's going on. Now if we don't show up for the Olympics, that's the first sign that we're serious. Now there's another alternative. We could push a few buttons and shoot a few missiles and rockets, and start a nuclear war, I don't think that would be any good to you or nobody."
Ali promised to confront President Carter with the grievances raised by officials from the African States he visited on his tour, when he returned to America.
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Background: Former World Heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali, has told reporters in Tanzania that he agreed to tour Africa for President Carter to help prevent a nuclear war over the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. But he said he would never have agreed if he had been thoroughly acquainted with previous U.S.A policy in Africa. Ali said he would continue the trip as a fact finding mission to investigate African government grievances.
SYNOPSIS: American's boxer turned diplomat flew to Tanzania from New Delhi, where the Soviet Embassy had passed him a message from Mr. Brezhnev. The Soviet President said Ali was mixing politics with sport, and asked him to cancel the tour.
A warm welcome at the airport, but the official reception was considerably cooler. Tanzania's President Nyerere refused to see him, and the government controlled local press attacked Ali as an American puppet. From them, Ali said, he learned for the first time that the U.S. had refused to support the African boycott of the 1976 Olympics, called to protest against continued sporting links with South Africa. But he maintained the purpose of his mission remained just.