From the Archives – 1970s
From the Archives
For the 60th anniversary, AAI will feature a monthly “From the Archives” blog, highlighting historical milestones in AAI and African history. This blog post features verbatim historical documents from AAI’s files and articles from Africa Report, a monthly publication of in-depth analysis and reports chronicling the continent’s dramatic political and economic developments.
Published from 1956 through 1995, Africa Report became the most significant Africa-focused publication in the U.S.
Africa Report, January-February 1973. Volume 18, Number 1
November 28: The U.N. Security Council prepared for a debate on the Escher report on Namibia. The report had been widely and hotly discussed around the U.N. since its publication on November 16 . The initial reaction of most African delegates was negative: Salim A. Salim of Tanzania, chairman of the Committee on Decolonization, said, “The South Africans have not yet seen fit to make any concessions.” But other delegates claimed that a careful study of the report would show significant concessions had been made. On the question of unity of Namibia, for example, South Africa backed away from its insistence on separate development for the different ethnic groups in order to accommodate the U.N. position, and agreed to the formation of an advisory council drawn from representatives of the various groups. Vorster himself (John Vorster, Prime Minister of South Africa) would assume responsibility for the territory as a whole relieving the different ministries presently responsible for its several sectors.
The agreement also included a promise to examine the possibility of removing restrictions on the freedom of movement and assembly. But where critics could not be silenced was in the report’s failure to specify details of a plan for the independence of the territory, and the refusal of South Africa to agree to a U.N. presence in Namibia.