Last Empire: How Europe Lost Africa

While the Portuguese armed forces were engaged in fighting Black guerrillas in Angola and Mozambique, to their rear they were being ‘stabbed in the back’ by a much more lethal enemy based in the U.S.A. The Portuguese territories in Southern Africa were the last vestiges of European colonial power that had not long previously spanned the world. The old empires had created self-contained trading systems, buttressed by an ethos that saw the European as having a world civilising mission. The Congress of Berlin of 1884-1885[1] sought an agreement among the European powers for the colonisation and development of Africa, indicating the potential for a collective European arrangement. The U.S.A. on the other hand, represented an entity quite different, and still does.

The U.S.A. was founded as a rebellion against European imperial power. ‘Americans’ sought to cut their roots off from millennia of European tradition, even if they did try to hark back to Classical antiquity in their notions of republicanism.

With the increasing internationalisation of capital, or what we today call ‘globalisation’, the European empires had become anachronisms. Rather than facilitating trade they had become restrictive to the increasing world scope of a merchant class that steadily displaced the old aristocracies as the ruling elite. Concomitant with the rise of the merchant was the development of the economic doctrine of Free Trade, which was said to assure the continuing march of humanity towards a universal millennium of wealth and happiness for all of mankind. World War I struck a mortal blow to the Old Order of Europe and its empires, and saw the U.S.A. as the real victor. American President Woodrow Wilson ushered the American millennium on the ruins of European empires, which had fought themselves to bankruptcy and exhaustion. Wilson, like all subsequent U.S. Presidents, was in a position to dictate to the world the terms for a ‘new world order’, as it is now called. Wilsonian doctrine, outlined in the President’s ‘Fourteen Points’, set the scene for world domination by plutocracy.

In 1918 President Wilson stood triumphantly on the world platform to announce his ‘Fourteen Points’[2] for the reorganisation of the post-war world, among which were the demands to remove economic barriers and establish ‘an equality of trade’ among all nations (III), the ‘adjustment’ of all colonial claims (V), and the formation of an ‘association of nations’ to guarantee territorial and political independence of all states’ (XIV), the latter a reference to Wilson’s dream of a ‘League of Nations’. The primary purpose of the ‘Fourteen Points’ was to create a new international order based on free trade led by the U.S.A., by eliminating the empires. Wilson, like his Bolshevik contemporaries, sought to create an empire in the name of ‘anti-imperialism’; an empire not of the old aristocrats and monarchs but centred on money. The ‘Fourteen Points’ refer to ‘the intimate partners of all the governments and peoples associated together against the Imperialists’.[3]

The anti-European agenda of the U.S.A. was assisted by the new-found assertiveness of the colonial subjects who had seen the white world devour itself in the Great War. Oswald Spengler wrote of this:

This war was a defeat of the white races, and the Peace of 1918 was the first great triumph of the coloured world: symbolised by the fact that today it is allowed to have a say in the disputes of the white states among themselves in the Geneva League of Nations – which is nothing but a miserable symbol of shameful things.[4]

The remnants of the European empires were finished off by another devastating intra-European war that saw the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., emerge as rivals in entering the power vacuum created by the scuttling of the empires. Like the ‘Fourteen Points’, the ‘Atlantic Charter’ was intended to eliminate the imperial trading blocs and impose international free trade under the auspices of the United Nations Organisation, Wilson’s beloved League of Nations having been inadequate for the purpose. It was the brainchild of President Roosevelt and his advisers, which they imposed upon Churchill, the British ‘bulldog’ who had overseen the destruction of the British Empire by his implacable hatred of the Third Reich. Roosevelt said to Churchill that, ‘Of course, after the war, one of the preconditions of any lasting peace will have to be the greatest possible freedom of trade. No artificial barriers….’ Roosevelt stated that imperial trade agreements would have to go, and remarked that the Third Reich’s incursion into European trade had been a major caused of the war.[5] Churchill spoke in despair, ‘Mr. President, I believe you are trying to do away with the British Empire. Every idea you entertain about the structure of the post-war world demonstrates it’.[6]

 

Imperial Scuttle

Most of the European colonial powers had been engaged in a suicidal war that left them materially and morally ravished, and in debt to international finance. All that the U.S.A. had to do was to ‘push the falling,’ to paraphrase Nietzsche.

Portugal was an exception, wisely having maintained her neutrality during World War II, and continuing to develop her African territories. The Portuguese empire and the Christian corporatist ‘New State’ inaugurated by Professor Salazar, based on Catholic social doctrine, was a major obstacle to the post-1945 new order.

While the focus for superpower incursions into Africa and other decolonised territories was on the U.S.S.R., which trained its African puppets at Patrice Lumumba University, few realised that the major centre of subversion was the U.S.A. The first imperial powers targeted were France and Britain in West Africa, where Washington spent $94.7 million to displace the French and British.[7] While Patrice Lumumba University was established in 1960,[8] the U.S.A. had established the Africa-America Institute (A.A.I.) in 1953 to train their Black puppets for post-colonial Africa. We are told that the purpose was and remains to educate Africans to play leading roles in states, linking them ‘to the global economy’. The U.S. Government, corporations and foundations fund A.A.I. projects.[9]

Among the A.A.I.’s first programmes was the ‘U.S.-South Africa Leader Exchange Program’ set up in 1958.[10] In addition to the programmes directed towards getting the French out of Africa, during 1961-1983 the Southern African Student Program, funded by the U.S. State Department, was set up to eliminate white rule from the remaining European colonial geopolitical bloc in Africa. It is described as ‘an effort to provide educational training to students from South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, to provide a cadre of leadership in these countries which were transitioning into independent nations’.[11]

The purposes were obvious: to eliminate white colonies from Africa and provide the leadership cadres to take over after the departure of the European colonial administrators. The aim was to train a post-colonial leadership that would serve U.S. agendas and bring Africa into the world economy.

Although the regular army had uprooted FRELIMO in Mozambique in 1970 with Operation Gordian Knot, that organisation received funds from the Ford Foundation via the Mozambique Institute.[12] Black terrorists were provided with a refuge and training under the A.A.I.’s East Africa Refugee Program (1962-1971) and the Southern African Training Program (1971-1976).

Fernando Andresen Guimarães, a director of the U.N. Department of Peace Keeping Operations, stated that the U.S.A. gave support at an early stage to the murderous Holden Roberto:

The Kennedy administration also acted beyond the United Nations and sought directly to support an anti-colonial movement against the Portuguese. Holden Roberto, the UPA (and later FNLA leader) had by the end of the 1950s established a wide range of contacts in the United States. Due to its prominent role in the anti-colonial uprising in northern Angola in 1961, the UPA was the Angolan nationalist movement with the most international exposure. Washington authorized the CIA to extend support to Roberto and UPA.[13]

In 1959 Roberto travelled to Washington, where he met Kennedy. U.S. support to Roberto included a university scholarship programme for African students from the Portuguese colonies.

U.S. military assistance for Portugal was cut from $US 25 million to $3 million and a ban on commercial sales of arms to Portugal was imposed in mid-1961. The USA supported the prohibition on the use of NATO war materiel in Africa.[14] From 1965 the military aid was reduced to $1 million annually, and comprised mostly spare parts.[15] It was the usual tactic that the U.S. employs against its supposed allies such as Chiang Kai Shek,[16] Batista in Cuba[17] Samoza in Nicaragua,[18] and others: impose arms embargoes at the crucial moment, showing time and again that alliances with the U.S.A. are lethal.

In 1961 the U.S. State Department advised its Embassy in Lisbon what its line should be towards Salazar:

Basis for US policies: … US believes change fact of life in our era. Changes in Portuguese Africa as inevitable as elsewhere in world, though Portugal still has power to decide whether they will take place with her or against her. We believe failure to respond now to self-determination aspirations of Portuguese Africans will result in changes detrimental to interests of United States and West as well as to Portugal. This is why US continually urges Portugal in its own interest become champion of political changes which will take place in her territories and, being based on pragmatic principles, it is why US policies in respect this situation have not changed and should not be expected to change. …

You should also tell Salazar US gratified at indications certain African leaders interested in further talks with Portugal. We plan emphasise with FonMin importance these conversations and our concern that there be no prior conditions attached to them. We hope Portugal will adopt constructive attitude toward such meetings.[19]

While Washington feared alienating Portugal during the Cold War, the U.S.A.’s support for Roberto continued nonetheless. The policy was typically duplicitous, and a classic ‘stab in the back’. Roberto’s adviser was John Marcum, an adviser to Averell Harriman[20] on the Portuguese colonies. Already in 1964 there was a close association between Americans in Leopoldville linked to the U.S. Embassy, C.I.A., Congolese political circles and Holden Roberto. ‘Later in 1975, this triangle was to be instrumental in formulating the context for the U.S. decision to provide covert support for the FNLA’.[21]

However, U.S. support to Roberto was more significant than indicated by Guimarães. Since 1969, Roberto had been on a $10,000-a-year retainer from the C.I.A.[22] Yet, despite the U.S. support for the FNLA to supposedly counter the Soviet-backed MPLA, the official policy in fact was not to discourage the MPLA.[23] What is not stated in such analyses is that international power politics and Cold War rivalries were being played out over the corpses of White settlers. Roberto, as the ‘moderate’ option to the Soviet-backed MPLA, was later to recall that when his gang invaded from their base in the Congo in 1961, over-running farms, government outposts and trading centres, ‘this time the slaves did not cower. They massacred everything’.[24] The subsequent 27 year civil war between the FNLA and the MPLA resulted in 500,000.

 

Re-Colonisation

The A.A.I.’s initial programme for ‘refugees’ (fleeing terrorists) from Portuguese Africa was for the training of personnel ‘in anticipation of independence’. After Portugal’s departure from Africa the program was directed towards ‘Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, for employment in their countries of asylum with a later focus on the repatriation of trainees’.[25] This programme was continued through 1976-1981, with funds from USAID.[26]

In 1975, soon after the Portuguese departure from Africa, the A.A.I. established the Development Training Program for Portuguese-Speaking Africa (DTPSA) to establish the post-colonial leadership for the former colonies of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe. This programme was also funded by USAID,[27] which serves as a means by which U.S. influence is extended world-wide via foreign aid.

As the European colonial administrators moved out of Africa, international corporations extended their own form of colonialism by entering into partnerships with the new Africa leaders. Behind the façade of nationalisation, global capital embarked on lucrative business arrangements under the protection of the post-colonial tyrannies. For example, the day that President Machel announced his nationalisation programme General Mining, linked with the Oppenheimer dynasty’s Anglo-American Corporation, negotiated with the new regime a deal for bulk-handling chrome loading equipment.[28]

The Portuguese Christian-corporatist ‘New State’ that had outlived all other such states from Europe to South America, was an anomaly in the ‘brave new world’ of post-imperialism. Salazar’s ‘New State’ subordinated economics to High Policy, which in turn was based on traditional Christian European values.[29] Such a state could not be allowed to endure in a world that had to be reshaped on economic principles. Journalist and author Ivor Benson, who lived in Africa and knew the situation well, having been an adviser to the Rhodesian Government of Ian Smith, commented that ‘in Portugal politics has remained in power and has not become subordinate to economics… they have not made the Gross National Product their God. Therefore in Portugal economics is the servant, not the master’.[30]

Unlike most politicians then or since, the Portuguese statesmen were conscious of what they were up against. Dr. Franco Noguieira, Portuguese Foreign Minister, stated of the subterranean forces at work in Africa:

Africa has been subjected to a regime that excludes European interests and African interests as well, neither being sufficiently strong to impose themselves. A form of autonomy and independence has been created which ensures the destruction of the old forms of sovereignty and permits the setting up of new forms of sovereignty so precarious and so artificial that it is an easy matter to dominate them. The result has been that the real autonomy and the real control are to be found outside the frontiers of the new political units. The aim is to dominate Angola and Mozambique and to include them in the spheres of foreign influences, to utilise their economic and strategic positions for the benefit of other Powers.[31]

The scuttling of Portuguese Africa followed soon after the ‘Carnation Revolution’, the leftist army coup of junior officers in 1974 that toppled the New State; a revolution moreover that had been precipitated by years of strain on Portugal’s forthright maintenance of her Imperial principles. The war against the Soviet and U.S. backed terrorists had accounted for 42% of Portugal’s annual budget.[32] However, the new leader of Portugal, General Spinola, had nonetheless aimed to establish a Portuguese federation and keep the African territories within the Portuguese sphere, but Spinola was soon passé. The way was opened for the continuation of the onslaught against the final bastions of European rule in Africa: Rhodesia and South Africa.

 

[1] Congress of Berlin, http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones/his312/misc/berlin.htm

[2] W. Wilson, ‘Fourteen Points’, p://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1918wilson.html

[3] Ibid.

[4] Oswald Spengler, The Hour of Decision (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 19340, p. 209.

[5] Elliott Roosevelt, As He Saw It (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1946), p. 35.

[6] Ibid. p. 31.

[7] F. Pedler, Main Currents of West African History, 1940-1978 (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1979), p. 96.

[8] http://www.rudn.ru/en/

[9] The Africa-America Institute, ‘about AAI’, http://www.aaionline.org/about-aai/

[10] http://www.aaionline.org/about-aai/history/1950s/

[11] http://www.aaionline.org/programs/past-programs/southern-african-student-program-sasp-1961-%E2%80%93-1983/

[12] B. Whitaker, The Foundations: An Anatomy of Philanthropy and Society (London: Eyre Methuen, 1974), p. 24.

[13] F. A. Guimarães, ‘The United State and Decolonisation of Angola’, Lisbon, October 2003, http://www.ipri.pt/artigos/artigo.php?ida=5

[14] Ibid.

[15] U.S. briefing memorandum on military assistance to Portugal, from the Country Director for Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, and Uganda (Feld) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Moore), Washington, October 28, 1968. Department of State, Central Files, DEF 19–8 US–PORT. Secret.

[16] Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story (London: Random House, 2005), pp. 304-311.

[17] Mario Lazo, American Policy Failures in Cuba (New York: Twin Circle Publishing, 1968).

[18] Anastasio Samoza and Jack Cox, Nicaragua Betrayed (Boston: Western Islands, 1980).

[19] Telegram from the U.S. Department of State to the Embassy in Portugal, Washington, April 16, 1964.

[20] Harriman was a U.S. Establishment luminary, serving in numerous ambassadorial roles, and as assistant and under secretary of state, chairman of the Business Council, member of the Club of Rome, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and of the Yale old-boy’s network, Lodge 322.

[21] F. A. Guimarães, op. cit.

[22] New York Times, 25 September 1975.

[23] State Department Circular 92, 16 July 1963.

[24] ‘Holden Roberto dies at 84, Fought to Free Angola from Portuguese Rule’, New York Times, 4 August 2007.

[25] http://www.aaionline.org/programs/past-programs/southern-african-refugee-education-project-sarep-1976-%E2%80%93-1981/

[26] http://www.aaionline.org/programs/past-programs/southern-african-refugee-education-project-sarep-1976-%E2%80%93-1981/

[27] http://www.aaionline.org/programs/past-programs/development-training-program-for-portuguese-speaking-africa-dtpsa-1975-%E2%80%93-1985/

[28] I. Benson, The Struggle for Africa (Perth: Australian League of Rights, 1978), p. 54.

[29]

[30] I. Benson, This Worldwide Conspiracy (Melbourne: New Times Ltd., 1972), p. 73.

[31] Quoted by I. Benson, 1972, ibid., pp. 70-73.

[32] Marvine Howe, ‘Portuguese Find the Spirit of Salazar Still Dominant’, The New York Times, 20 August 1972, p. 16.

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