In Pretoria on Friday (13 August), American Negro Congressman Charles Diggs accused South Africa's government of lacking courage, but decided to go ahead with a tour he had cut short only the previous night.
GV Street scene and Pan to U.S. Embassy with crowd at entrance
LV Interior Diggs sitting down at table
CU Diggs (SOUND ON FILM)
TRANSCRIPT: (SEQ. 4): MR. DIGGS: "With great surprise and deep disappointment, we learned upon arrival at Jan Smuts Airport that the South African government had interposed an objection to our visit to Namibia, and there was no satisfactory reason for this decision. And its particularly aggravating when you consider that it involves an area in which the International Court of Justice has just only recently reaffirmed that the South African government lacks legal authority in the first place. The reasons given concerning the heaviness of their schedule in the area and the lack of accommodations is ludicrous, when one considers that less than two weeks ago I was part of the U.S. delegation attending the funeral of President Tubman in Liberia -- a country of only a million and a half people -- and found accommodations without any difficulties and handled without any difficulties, ten chiefs of state, and twice that number of delegations from Europe and African nations. So it was certainly unsatisfactory to learn that a country of this size and renowned sophistication, could not handle a delegation containing six people."
Initials OS/2255 OS/2304
THE SOUND ON FILM INCLUDES PART OF MR. DIGG'S STATEMENT. A TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS. MR. DIGGS REFERS TO SOUTHWEST AFRICA BY ITS UNITED NATIONS NAME, NAMIBIA.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Pretoria on Friday (13 August), American Negro Congressman Charles Diggs accused South Africa's government of lacking courage, but decided to go ahead with a tour he had cut short only the previous night. His remarks came at a press conference at the U.S. Embassy.
Mr. Diggs, an outspoken critic of South Africa's apartheid policies, is the first black Congressman to visit South Africa since World War II. The Michigan Democrat said that the South African government's failure to grant facilities for his five-man mission to visit Southwest Africa -- the former German territory whose administration by the Republic is in dispute in the United Nation -- was "ludicrous".
The Congressman did not reveal the itinerary for the rest of his stay in South Africa, except to say that he would visit Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Zululand, Johannesburg, and the Transkei. On Saturday (14 August), however, the Chief Minister of the Transkei -- South Africa's first self-governing black homeland -- refused a meeting with Mr. Diggs. He cited the same reason as the government in refusing Mr. Diggs visit to Southwest Africa -- too short notice.
Mr. Diggs said he would hold another press conference before his departure on 19 August.