Committee to Support the Republic of Guinea-Bissau

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Duration: 1973-1974
Location: New York, New York, United States

The PAIGC, the liberation movement of Guinea-Bissau, fought for the independence of the country, which was a colony of Portugal. By 1973 the PAIGC had liberated much of the country from Portuguese control. On September 24, 1973 the PAIGC declared the independent Republic of Guinea-Bissau. The Committee to Support the Republic of Guinea-Bissau was formed soon afterward. Robert Maurer was the founder and executive director. The purpose of the committee was to conduct a petition drive and organize a "people's recognition" ceremony of Guinea-Bissau on the first anniversary of the declaration of independence because the U.S. government refused to extend diplomatic recognition. In April 1974, prior to the first anniversary, there was a coup in Portugal and the new Portuguese government recognized the independence of Guinea-Bissau in September of that year. The Committee obtained 9,365 signatures on a Message of Solidarity from the People of the United States to the Republic of Guinea-Bissau which was presented to Gil Fernandes, a member of the Supreme Council of the PAIGC, at a Celebration of Solidarity that was held on the first anniversary. Seventy-seven prominent Americans were sponsors of the organization. Judge William Booth, the President of the American Committee on Africa (ACOA), was Chairman. The Committee to Support the Republic of Guinea-Bissau ceased operations in November 1974. The Committee operated out of the office of ACOA, but was independent of that organization. (Source: Robert Maurer, Committee document, and the 1973 American Committee on Africa Annual Report)