There is growing concern about the scale of foreign involvement in Angola. Civil war has?
There is growing concern about the scale of foreign involvement in Angola. Civil war has been going on there since long before the Portuguese left on November 11th, between rival nationalist movements: the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola on the one hand, who control the capital and have proclaimed themselves the independent government; and the alliance of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola and UNITA, who hold extensive territory in the north and south of the country on the other. The foreign involvement has built up substantially since independence.
Among all the claims and counter-claims, it has emerged that the Popular Movement (MPLA) has the support of Soviet-made tanks, rocket launchers and other modern weapons, and that several thousand Cuban soldier are fighting with them. On the other side, South Africa, which originally said it had sent troops in to protect a jointly-owned dam near the S.W. African border, has now indirectly confirmed that it has men fighting with UNITA. Zaire troops have been fighting with National front (FNLA) forces in the north of Angola. The United States, through the Central Intelligence Agency, has provided the FNLA-UNITA alliance with 25-million dollars worth of aid, and plans to send at least as much again; but this has now run into stiff opposition in Congress.
The danger that all this foreign intervention could from into the same sort of situation as that in the Congo in the early 1960s is causing grave concern to political leaders in Africa. President Kauda of Zambia flew to Nairobi to see President Kenyatta, and the two issued a call for a cease-fire. President Kaunda has also discussed the matter at a meeting with President Nyerere of Tanzania and President Machel of Mozambique. He had his own views clear at a defence seminar in Lusaka:
The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Gaston Thorn, has said that the problem of Angola should be left in the first place to the Organisation of African Unity; and the O.A.U. is now considering a special emergency session on the question. Its members are far from united in their attitude to the conflicting movements inside Angola: thirteen member states, including Tanzania and Nigeria have recognised the M.P.L.A. as the government. kenya, Zambia and most of the French-speaking sates have not. One thing on which they will probably find common ground is in condemning the involvement of South Africa. South African aid is proving an embarrassment politically to UNITA. Only last week, their leader, Dr. Jonas Savimbi, specifically denied that his movement was being helped by South Africa at all.
In this he was at odds with a spokesman for his partners, the FNLA. Mr. Jose Monteiro Barreto of FNLA, in Rome for a world conference of Christian Democrats, said ten days earlier that his group had no dealings with the South Africans, whom, he said, had been brought in by UNITA. But in his view, the South Africans were not a major influence in Angola:
The United States, for its part, has made no secret of the fact that it has backed the FNLA-UNITA alliance with money. Now, in a Defence Appropriations Bill before the Senate, it is asking for more money; and the Senate is objecting because members fear this could develop in time into another Vietnam situation. But the Secretary of State, Dr. Kissinger, has assured senators that there is no intention of sending any men to Angola, not even advisers, let alone combat troops. Dr. Kissinger had several meetings in Washington with the Soviet Ambassador, to protest about the scale of Soviet involvement. In Brussels a week ago, he had this to say: