338. Telegram From the Embassy in South Africa to the Department of State0

14. Ex-Chief Albert Luthuli, President of African National Congress, told me that present government of union is worst he has ever had to deal with and that unless there is some softening in its attitude toward country’s 9 million non-whites he does not see how trouble can be avoided. He added that he himself is against violence but that [Page 734] there are strong elements in his movement who advocated direct action. Question on amount of Communist infiltration he said he knew there was some Red influence in ANC but that is not important.

I talked with Luthuli at town of Stanger, in area to which he has been exiled,1 and was accompanied by Potgieter, the Senior Government Information Officer for Natal and Zululand. However, I sent Potgieter on an errand so that I had about fifteen minutes alone with ex-Chief.

Luthuli said his exile is mild. He is allowed to see friends, write letters, and even write for publication but he cannot address a meeting of more than three persons. He said he is lucky that he has not been sent to infamous prison camp in Kalahari Desert. He spoke highly of United States and he said he hopes his daughter can be educated there.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 745A.00/7–2059. Secret.
  2. The South African Government imposed restrictions on Luthuli’s movements on May 22, 1959.