Leaders of the PNP - the Belgian Congo's moderate National Progressive Party - spoke to crowds at a public meeting in the African quarter of Leopoldville, Mar 8.
GV People assembled for meeting.
SV Policeman in crowd looks on.
SV Crowd clapping
SV Three leaders arrive in car, Delvank, Euvumba, Pete-Pete
SIDE V Ditto, standing in car
CU Kuvumba speaks.
SV Crowd listens.
SV Kuvumba Speaks.
LV Crowd Clapping.
CU Delvank speaks.
SV Crowd clapping.
SV. Three leaders surrounded by crowd.
CU Another speaker.
CU PAN Crowd clapping.
LV PAN Massed crowd.
SV PAN Leaders depart.
LV Crowd dispersing.
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Background: Leaders of the PNP - the Belgian Congo's moderate National Progressive Party - spoke to crowds at a public meeting in the African quarter of Leopoldville, Mar 8.
In the absence of the party's president, M. Bolya, who is one of the members of the executive body assisting the Governor-General, the African audience was addressed by PNP vice-president Delvank, M. Joseph Kuvumba of the affiliated Luka Party, and Mr. Pete-Pete.
M. Delvank devoted most of his speech to a protest against French claims concerning western regions of the Belgian Congo. This protest follows a meeting at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris, Feb 26, when the Foreign Minister Couve de Murville drew the Belgian Ambassador's attention to the rights claimed by France, under an arrangement of 1911 dealing with African possessions, if the Congo were alienated from Belgium. Belgium does not share the French view and has made it clear that she regards the grant of independence to the Congo, envisaged for June 30, not as a cession or a sale but as a return of the Congo to its natural owners, the Congolese people.
In its political programme, the National Progressive Party - now preparing like others for the forthcoming elections in June - is anxious to steer clear of extremist views. Party leader Bolya recently underlined his determination to let bygones be bygones.
Welcoming the outcome of the Brussels Congo talks, he said the "era of demagogy and political slogans" had come to an end and Africans were now faced with the task of making constructive contribution to their independence. "We have always attempted to assess the situation calmly, knowing full well that nothing is gained by acting like a bull in a china-shop." The victory to be won in the June elections would be that of "People of good will, people who know that one has to work in order to live, people who are aware of their responsibilities towards the nation, towards Africa and the world.