40. Editorial Note

Secretary of State Kissinger traveled to Africa on April 24, 1976, and remained until May 6, visiting Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zaire, Liberia, Senegal. He gave two major speeches. His address on May 6 to the fourth ministerial meeting of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Nairobi concerned efforts to help the economies of developing countries, and was only incidentally related to Africa. His principal policy statement on Africa, an address entitled United States Policy on Southern Africa, was given at a luncheon on April 27 in Lusaka, Zambia. While the majority of the speech focused on Southern Africa, Kissinger began with remarks about Africa as a whole. Those remarks follow:

“President Ford has sent me here with a message of commitment and cooperation. I have come to Africa because in so many ways the challenges of Africa are the challenges of the modern era. Morally and politically, the drama of national independence in Africa over the last generation has transformed international affairs. More than any other region of the world, Africa symbolizes that the previous era of world affairs, the colonial era, is a thing of the past. The great task you face-in nationbuilding in keeping the peace and integrity of the continent, in economic development, in gaining an equitable role in world councils, in achieving racial justice-these reflect the challenges of building a humane and progressive world order.

“I have come to Africa with an open mind and an open heart to demonstrate my country’s desire to work with you on these great tasks. My journey is intended to give fresh impetus to our cooperation and to usher in a new era in American policy.

“The United States was one of the prime movers of the process of decolonization. The American people welcomed the new nations into the world community and for two decades have given aid and encouragement to economic and social progress in Africa. And America’s responsibilities as a global power give us a strong interest today in the independence, peace, and well-being of this vast continent comprising a fifth of the world’s land surface. For without peace, racial justice, and growing prosperity in Africa, we cannot speak of a just international order.

“There is nothing to be gained in a debate about whether in the past America has neglected Africa or been insufficiently committed to African goals. The United States has many responsibilities in the world. Given the burden it has carried in the postwar period, it could not do everything simultaneously. African nations, too, have their own priorities and concerns, which have not always accorded with our own. No good can come of mutual recrimination. Our differing perspectives converge in a common purpose to build a secure and just future for Africa. In active collaboration there is much we can do; in contention or apart we will miss great opportunities. President Ford and the American Government and people are prepared to work with you with energy and good will if met in the same spirit.

“So it is time to put aside slogans and to seek practical solutions. It is time to find our common ground and act boldly for common ends.

“Africa is a continent of hope, a modern frontier. The United States from the beginning has been a country of the frontier, built by men and women of hope. The American people know from their history the meaning of the struggle for independence, for racial equality, for economic progress, for human dignity.

“I am not here to give American prescriptions for Africa’s problems. Your program must be African. The basic decisions and goals must be African. But we are prepared to help.

“Nor am I here to set African against African, either among your governments or among factions of liberation movements. African problems cannot be solved, and your destiny cannot be fulfilled, except by a united Africa.

“America supports African unity. We urge all other countries to do the same.

“Here in Africa the range of mankind’s challenges and potential can be seen in all its complexity and enormous promise.

“The massive power and grandeur of nature is before us in all its aspects-as the harsh master and as a bountiful servant of mankind.

“Here we can feel the rich and living cultures which have changed and invigorated art, music, and thought around the world.

“And here on this continent we are tested, all of us, to see whether our future will be determined for us or by us, whether humanity will be the victim or the architect of its destiny.” (Department of State Bulletin, Volume LXXIV, No. 127, May 31, 1976, pp. 672–79. All of Kissinger’s speeches and public statements, including several toasts and press interviews, from his Africa trip are printed on pages 657–710 of the same issue.)