STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE CHARLES C. DIGGS, JR. (D-MICH), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON AFRICA BEFORE THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE IN SUPPORT OF SENATE RESOLUTION 214

by Charles C. Diggs Jr.
Washington, DC, United States
February 3, 1972
10 pages
Type: Testimony
Coverage outside Africa: United States, Portugal
Language: English
The testimony says I appreciate and welcome the opportunity to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in this hearing to evaluate the Case resolution that any agreement with Portugal or Bahrein for military bases or foreign assistance should be submitted as a treaty to the Senate for advice and consent; I wish to compliment the Committee for continuing to insist on a return to normal relationships between the Congress and the Executive on foreign policy, and specifically to the unique constitutional role of the Senate in ratifying treaties; I concur in the Committee's evaluation and to the extent that we have drifted away from this traditional relationship, we have lost an important ingredient in American foreign policy. The testimony says one of the most noticeable and deplorable recent examples is the Azores Agreement; it was the announcement of the United States alliance with Portugal and of the concomitant enormous economic and political commitment to that country which compelled me to take the unprecedented step of submitting my resignation to the President from the U.S. Delegation to the 26th Session of the General Assembly; I would like to submit as an attachment to my statement here my statement of resignation of December 17 as well as the letter I and some 18 other congressmen sent to the President on the Azores Agreement. The testimony says it is interesting to note that the Administration cites Article 3 of the North Atlantic Treaty and also our 1951 Mutual Defense Assistance bilateral with Portugal as the basis for our defense relationship with Portugal. The testimony says I have just returned from a visit to Brussels for the purpose of discussing the Azores Agreement and its significance to NATO with the U.S. Mission to NATO; there I was categorically informed that there was no, and I repeat no, NATO direct interest in the Azores accord; further, I was informed that there had been no kind of consultation with NATO on this matter, as it was purely a matter affecting U.S. interests and requirements in the Azores. The testimony says the Administration is claiming that the Azores Agreement has no political implications for the United States, and certainly none which affects policy towards Portugal's colonies in Africa, and the wars being waged at this moment against the liberation movements; it seems to be apparent to the whole world that this is a political act, but not to the State Department. The testimony says since the early 1960's, Portugal has obdurately refused to recognize her international legal obligations under the United Nations Charter, and in particular Article 73 relating to the responsibilities of U.N. Member States administering non-self governing territories. The testimony says Portugal has refused to recognize the right of the peoples of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde to self-determination. The testimony says largely as a result of the emigration of the elite of Portugal's work-force, the population has fallen from 10 million to 8. 5 million in the last decade; there is a crippling shortage of labor because of the burden of the wars; this, together with the general poverty of Portugal, with the lowest per capita income in western Europe, results in the total lack of economic development, or the facilities for education and other services for the people of Portugal. The testimony says African peasants are literally forced to grow cotton, coffee and other export crops, frequently forcing them to the edge of starvation. The testimony says all white Portuguese have political and civil rights which are denied to the overwhelming majority of Africans; in order to qualify for the vote, they have to have an education way above that of the average white; no significant difference will occur in the political power structure while the white minority determine the educational system; having visited two of the so-called Portuguese territories in Africa - Angola and Mozambique in 1969 and having visited the other two - Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde last August - I have seen first-hand the exploitation by the Portuguese of their African colonies and their subjugation of the people, and the inordinately low state of these territories for the majority of the people. The testimony says I attended a meeting of U.S. parliamentarians and African officials from some 10 countries in Lusaka, Zambia; there it was incontrovertibly demonstrated that the Africans regard the Azores Agreement as the most significant step of this Administration in regard to Africa; they see it as the crux of U.S. hypocrisy on African issues, as a forthright announcement of U.S. support for the white minority regimes and as a U.S. decision to jettison U.S. interests throughout Africa in favor of the minority ruled countries of southern Africa and Guinea-Bissau. The statement discusses Portuguese territories in Africa, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, President Pompidou of France, Secretary of State Rogers, Portuguese Prime Minister Caetano, Ted· Szulc, The New York Times, foreign exchange reserves, guerrillas, American export credits, hard currency, defense expenditures, military expenditures, the Ex-Im Bank (Export-Import Bank), OECD, Nacala, Ponta Dobela, Foreign Minister Rui Patricio, the Military Advisors Assistance Group, and President Kenneth Kaunda.
Collection: Brenda Randolph Africa archive, Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections