Contents: WILL NEW CALEDONIA WIN GENUINE INDEPENDENCE? • NEW CALEDONIA'S INTERNATIONAL RAMFICATIONS • THE NEW CALEDONIA INDEPENDENCE PROBLEM • This ISSUE BRIEF interviews Robert Van Lierop, an authority on South Pacific politics who represents the Republic of Vanuatu at the United Nations. Two essays trace the evolution and current status of the independence controversy in the colony and in French politics and explore international ramifications. Since mid-1984, there have been reports from the French colony of New Caledonia of road blocks, mine shutdowns, strikes, election boycotts, violent clashes between settlers and indigenous people and between "security" forces and local persons (that have resulted in the deaths of several politically important persons), the dispatch of French troops and administrators, and even a visit by French President Francois Mitterrand. This issue also has been prominent in French political debate and elections – for both the National Assembly and the presidency. New Caledonia raises issues-self-determination, colonialism, and racism, the nuclear debate, and East-West rivalry (affecting relations between (France, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific Island nations, Libya, Cuba, and the United States). New Caledonia is an archipelago located about 750 miles off Australia's northeast coast and about 1,000 miles south of Guadalcanal in the U.S.-controlled Solomon Islands. The article describes New Caladonia’s geography, population, and history. It has disproportionate importance to France and prominence in international discussion based on strategic, nuclear, economic, and ethno-political factors. The recent Rainbow Warrior affair involved parties with strong opposing attitudes towards nuclear weapons: the anti-nuclear David Lange administration in New Zealand and Greenpeace - both of whom oppose nuclear weapons and testing, and France, which shows near-fanatical attachment to its independent nuclear weapons capability. The newsletter mentions the OAS, the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization, the South Pacific Forum, foreign aid, U.S. Ambassador Evan Galbraith, President Reagan, the French secret service DGSE, French-New Zealand relations, a nuclear-free Pacific, support for Kanaky liberation, the Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS), and TransAfrica Forum staff Niikwao Akuetteh, Ibrahim J. Gassama, Audrey Pessu, Olivia Parker, Perrin J. Reid, and Randall Robinson. (Unforeseen developments, particularly demands of the Free South Africa Movement, delayed this issue, so it may contain information from after the stated publication date.)
Used by permission of TransAfrica Forum.
Collection: William Minter Southern Africa Papers