Excerpts from remarks by Governor G. Mennen Williams of Michigan to Africa Freedom Day
by G. Mennen Williams, American Committee on Africa
New York, New York, United States
April 15, 1959
American Committee on Africa
G. Mennen Williams says he feels Africa is undergoing a new, exciting experience and a promise of manifest destiny for her people. Williams believes this new spirit is fed by a burning desire for freedom to control Africa’s own destiny, a revolution of rising expectations, and an overwhelming compulsion to achieve racial equality. Williams expressed pride and confidence in the work of a personal friend and fellow citizen from Michigan, Congressman Charles Diggs, who is the first negro member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Williams proposed that the objective of American policy should be the recognition of the principle of African majority rule, which he believes is the underlying policy of most countries, including our allies. Williams says with respect to trusteeships, the United States should use its influence to make more substantial progress toward self-government. Williams says in 1958, of the $3.3 billion dollars in US foreign aid, only $77 million went to Africa, mostly to north of the Sahara. Williams says economic aid for Africa should be constantly increased in scale with Africa's ability to absorb it. Williams recently proposed in Toronto that the industrialized free nations undertake a $5 billion a year foreign aid program through the United Nations. Doing this through the United Nations would convince Africans of the integrity of purpose of the programs and avoid any suggestion of political exploitation or domination. Williams said the United States should exert leadership against the policy of apartheid, or racism in any form. Williams discusses self-government, the Declaration of Independence, and growth in wealth. [Note: the speech was given on April 15, 1959; this document was presumably produced a little later.]
Used by permission of Africa Action (successor to the American Committee on Africa).
Collection: Peter Weiss papers, Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections