77. Telegram From the Embassy in Guinea to the Department of State 1
Conakry, April 14, 1972, 1318Z.
470. Subj: Comite of 24. Ref Conakry 467.2
- Summary: Comite of 24 and staff departed Conakry early morning Apr 14 by Air Guinea for Monrovia and connecting flight. Unprecedented direct Comite contact with PAIGC and its leaders, including first visit of a UN group to “liberated” territory, greatly enhanced PAIGC status. Comite resolution (reftel), adopted unanimously, gave PAIGC virtually everything it asked for and is likely to be followed by increased material and moral support in months to come. Following preliminary observations and impressions emerge from brief informal talks with cross-section of Comite of 24 and staff, colleagues and GOG officials. End Summary.
- First, it is generally agreed visit was huge success for PAIGC which got virtually everything it wanted, e.g., recognition as “only and authentic” rep of the people of Guinea-Bissau and “request” to all states and UN to take this into account. According to UN staff official, GOG pushed harder than PAIGC for diplomatic recognition, going even beyond what UN understood OAU had asked for. Only PRC, Soviets and their friends voiced dissatisfaction with the resolution because it did not condemn NATO allies by name and strongly enough for assisting Portugal. However, in interest of obtaining unanimous agreement, Soviets and PRC sacrificed this point of substance.
- As for diplomatic recognition, it appears PAIGC was principally interested in obtaining assurances it would be forthcoming; however, they reportedly want to control the timing, in harmony with OAU according to one UN staffer. Timing will depend upon conclusion of series of elections now in progress scheduled to culminate in proclamation in “about six months” of “national assembly.”
- In practical terms, PAIGCs’ enhanced popularity and diplomatic support is certain to lead to additional material assistance. UN specialized agencies will be under increasing pressure to help the PAIGC. Several countries, e.g. Sweden, noted increased contributions. Swedish rep expected its govt contribution for next year to go from $2.4 million to $3 million. PAIGC already receives $900,000 which, Swedish del noted, being disproportionate to size of territory or number of people involved, was a tribute to PAIGC.
- Perhaps most serious consequence of meetings for US is apparent unquestioning acceptance by all delegations that, without aid from its NATO allies, Portugal’s policies of “domination and oppression” in Portuguese territories could not continue. Since US and NATO are virtually synonomous in people’s minds, the US is clearly regarded as principal source of such support, even if not mentioned by name. Our argument that there is no proven case where Portugal has used either NATO or bilaterally-supplied arms in Afrik falls on deaf ears; inevitable counter argument is that by aiding Portugal militarily, or even economically, we liberate resources which latter can use in Africa. Interestingly, the subject of Vietnam, or US role there, was strikingly absent from discussions.
- Conclusion. PAIGC has been given significant moral and promised important material support as a result of Comite meetings. Sec-Gen Amilcar Cabral’s stature has been enormously enhanced. PAIGC and GOG pleas for more help for PAIGC were echoed by virtually all Comite members. One can only conclude that prospects for even wider support have been immeasurably strengthened.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Limited Official Use. Repeated to USIA, Dakar, Lisbon, Monrovia, and USUN.↩
- Telegram 467 from Conakry, April 13, described a resolution unanimously adopted by the Committee of 24 that recognized the Liberation Movement of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) as the sole representative of the people of these territories and called on all UN member states, specialized agencies, and other organizations to render “all the moral and material assistance necessary to continue their struggle for the restoration of their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.” (Ibid.)↩