Draft Report on the Third All African People’s Conference held in Cairo from March 25 to 30, 1961
by George M. Houser, American Committee on Africa
New York, New York, United States
About April 1961
American Committee on Africa
Coverage in Africa:
, South Africa
, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Houser reports on attending the Third All African People's Conference in Cairo. Large banners suspended across major Cairo boulevards had slogans such as "Unify Congo as One Country", "Death to Lumumba's Murderers", "Colonialists and Imperialists Hands Off Africa", "Down with Verwoerd's Government,” and "Freedom to Kenyatta." Also, large photographs of Patrice Lumumba, Jomo Kenyatta, Roland Felix Moumie (President of the Union of the Populations of the Cameroons who was poisoned in late 1960) and John Kale (representative in Cairo of the Uganda National Congress who died in a plane crash in 1960) added to the symbolism of the Conference. The report says there were 207 delegates representing some 58 organizations from 31 countries. Most of the not-yet- independent territories in what is called the Pan African Freedom Movement of East and Central Africa, (PAFMECA) including Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Nyasaland, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, had strong delegations at Cairo. The Congo was represented only by the Gizenga faction from Stanleyville. The Nigerian delegation was considerably weaker than at the previous conferences with representation coming only from the Northern Elements Progressive Union, an opposition party in the north, and the Nigerian Youth Congress. There were about a half a dozen observers from the USSR and perhaps a slightly larger group from the People's Republic of China. Observers also attended from East Germany, the Italian Socialist Party, Northern Korea, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Poland, and Yugoslavia. In sharp contrast to the two previous conferences, there were only three American observers. The other two were George Loft of the American Friends Service Committee and Mrs. Mary Louise Hooper, the West Coast representative of ACOA’s Africa Defense and Aid Fund. James Callaghan, the expert on colonial affairs in the Labour Party of Britain attended. Fenner Brockway, leader of the Movement for Colonial Freedom in Britain, was there also. Comparing this conference to the previous two, Houser observed a lack of emphasis on non-violence, no internal struggle for power or for control of the Conference no single issue which was an obviously divisive one, and more aggressiveness and perhaps more self assurance than either of the two preceding conferences. The report says the virtually no speech left out lengthy reference to the Congo situation and practically every speaker paid homage to Patrice Lumumba. The disillusionment of the Congo was the biggest influence on the mood of the Conference. Major attention was given to the concept of neo-colonialism. One of the most marked differences between the Accra or Tunis conference and Cairo was that at this third conference, a point of attack was made by many delegates directly upon the United States. A very aggressive attitude was taken in calling for an end to white domination in South Africa and for an end to Portuguese control in Angola, Mozambique and Portuguese Guinea. Great emphasis was placed upon pan-Africanism and unity.
Used by permission Africa Action (successor to the American Committee on Africa).
Collection: George M. Houser (Africa collection), Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections