Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere said in London on Friday (21 November) that he would be "extremely critical" if the superpowers began to intervene further in the internal conflict in newly independent Angola.
GV Nyerere facing newsmen
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 1: WARD: "You've been critical of Russian involvement in Angola. Will you be equally critical of any Chinese involvement, with whom you're alligned?"
NYERERE: "I don't know how critical I've been. I've been trying to make a distinction between so-called Soviet involvement and what I see as the other superpower involvement there. Chinese, the Chinese give us arms, as the Russians used to. At the present, nobody suggests that the Chinese are involved in supplying any of the organisations there with arms, at present. They did supply us with arms during the freedom struggle itself."
"If they were to become involved, would you become equally critical?"
"I'd be extremely critical."
"Mr. President, do you see Rhodesia becoming another Angola?"
"Well, we have.....when we were talking with our friends in Rhodesia, we were reminding them of the danger, because we were foreseeing what was likely to take place in Angola, if the nationalists don't come together early enough. So we have warned them that if they don't come together early enough and achieve independence of their country, however they do it -- whether it's by talking or through the bush--they should do it together.....and especially if they have to turn to the gun. The multiparty system is alright if it is the ballot you have in mind. When it is the bullet, the end is very grim. We have warned them unless they come together, they can find that the preparation for their independence is really a preparation for civil war."
"Where would black Africa stand if the superpowers decided to undertake another Vietnam in Angola, fight their own battles on foreign soil?"
"I'm afraid we are so week, we'd just stand on the side. We would scream."
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This film includes an interview with President Nyerere with Visnews Africa Editor William Ward.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere said in London on Friday (21 November) that he would be "extremely critical" if the superpowers began to intervene further in the internal conflict in newly independent Angola. He also warned divided Rhodesian nationalists despite to work for independence and so avoid a repetition of the bloody conflict between independence groups in Angola.
Denying that he condoned Soviet involvement in Angola while condemning possible western intervention, President Nyerere said he drew a distinction between the Soviet support for the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) during the struggle against Portuguese colonialism, and any other later arms suppliers to the fighting forces in the country.
In Angola, things might now be different if arms had been provided by western powers from the start of the Liberation struggle, he said. He extended his criticism to China--one of Tanzania's important allies--should the Peking government also attempt intervention.
With Angola in mind, President Nyerere warned Rhodesian nationalists that they should patch up their differences to press for independence whether by "talking or through the bush". He emphasised the dangers of internal strife between nationalist movements "especially if they have to turn to the gun" to achieve black rule in Rhodesia.
Mr. Nyerere was addressing newsmen on the final day of his state visit to Britain. Following talks with Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Foreign Secretary James Callaghan, he said that the British government was less pessimistic about the Rhodesian problem than Tanzania. Asked about recent meetings between Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith and African Nationalist leader Joshua Nkoma, President Nyerere said he believed that "an armed struggle was inevitable" to settle the situation.