TransAfrica News Report
with Dolores Clemons (Editor)
Washington, DC, United States
Contents: WAR IN WESTERN SAHARA • Message to the President on the Resignation of Ambassador Andrew Young and on United States Relations with the Middle East and Africa • RECENT EVENTS • The government of Morocco is petitioning the Carter Administration to lift restrictions on military sales that have been imposed because of Morocco’s military struggle against POLISARI guerillas in Western Sahara. The Western Sahara was annexed by its two neighboring states, Morocco and Mauritania, following colonial Spain's departure in 1975. Since then, the POLISARO Front, representing the 80,000 inhabitants of Western Sahara, has waged a war for self-determination with increasing success. Now, with conservative support in Congress, King Hassan II of Morocco is mounting a campaign for increased U.S. military support. Despite existing restrictions, in February the State Department approved the sale of a half dozen Chinook CH-47 helicopters to Morocco. Rep. Cardiss Collins, Chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus, wrote to President Carter about the 1960 agreement with Morocco that limits the use of U.S. weapons to defense of Morocco itself, not the Western Sahara. Collins’ letter said Carter should withhold arms and encourage King Hassan to negotiate an end to the war "through the exercise of genuine self-determination on the part of the Sharaoui people." The United Nations has resolved that the Saharan people have a right to self-determination; Spain has endorsed the U.N. resolutions; so now does Mauritania. In July, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) passed a resolution supporting a referendum for the former Spanish colony; Spain walked out of the OAU meeting in protest. TransAfrica’s statement about the resignation of Andrew Young following his meeting with a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) offers a critique of U.S. policy toward Palestine and Israel, including Israel’s occupation and settlements policies. The statement also gives a detailed list of Israel’s military and other trade with the government of South Africa. The statement discusses Israel’s intransigence in the conciliation efforts by the African Committee of Four Wise Men concerning Israel’s occupation in 1971-1972. In recent news about TransAfrica, over 1,000 guests celebrated TransAfrica's first anniversary at a dinner in Washington, D.C. Mayor Tom Bradley and Councilman Robert Farrell sponsored a TransAfrica fundraising reception in Los Angeles for over 300 people. Executive Director Randall Robinson attended the OAU summit in Liberia, with other black Americans D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, John Sengstacke, Reverend Wyatt T. Walker, and TransAfrica board member Courtland Cox. TransAfrica policy subcommittee chairman Willard Johnson testified before the House InterAmerican Affairs subcommittee on U.S. policy in the Caribbean. Harry Belafonte performed a three-hour benefit concert for TransAfrica at Constitutional Hall and was honored at a reception hosted by Ambassador Omer Salih Eissa of the Sudan. TransAfrica Forum has received tax-exempt status; the educational arm of TransAfrica will sponsor public seminars and provide informational materials on U.S. policy toward Africa and the Caribbean. People are asked to communicate to their representatives that the U.S. must continue to impose sanctions against Rhodesia because genuine majority rule has not been achieved and the U.S. should not sell arms to Morocco.
Used by permission of TransAfrica.
Collection: Private collection of David Wiley and Christine Root