You are meeting at a time when the United Nations Committee of eighteen nations at Geneva is still engaged in its task of attempting to draw up a treaty for general and complete disarmament. Anything that can be done to assist in this work is of the utmost importance to mankind.
Humanity is perched on the edge of a dangerous precipice from which one fatal miscalculation may bring mankind to the brink of annihilation. The Powers developing the atom bomb for war purposes claim that their actions are dictated by the instinct of self-preservation. Experience has shown, however that the stockpiling of armaments as a basis for "negotiation from strength" is the very soil from which the seeds of war constantly break out. The old maxim — "if you wish for peace prepare for war," — is outmoded in our time. A serious peril stares mankind in the face. Who can save us from this peril? A voice — a bold and courageous voice resounding across the world with man’s yearning for peace and calling upon the Nuclear Powers to end forthwith the stock-piling of nuclear weapons for man’s destruction.
Let us hope, distinguished friends of this Assembly, that yours will be that voice, and that those who hold the fate of mankind in their hands will pay a timely heed to the sincerity and fervour of your voice.
You have assembled here not as representatives of countries or of political parties or organisations, but as individuals who are determined to save the human race from those who would condemn it to destruction. The fact that you have come here as individuals will, I believe, allow you to do that new thinking and make fresh approach which is today so essential to the survival of mankind.
A new approach to those problems and a new thinking on the issue of man’s reservation is demanded. Out of this body of eminent thinkers who have actively concerned themselves with the welfare and progress of mankind must come a positive answer to that demand.
It is hoped that by putting my point of view before you, I might be able to some small extent, assist in this fresh approach and new thinking, and it is in this spirit that I am now venturing to address you.
Morality In thinking over the problems which you will be considering, what strikes me most forcibly is this. What the world today lacks is a code of international morality which measures up to its technological progress. Tell the truth; love your neighbour as yourself: succour the poor and the needy; waste not the bounty which nature and science have provided; do no murder: These are the maxims of all religions and moralities and the principles which men try to apply in their private lives.
Can one honestly say that the nations of today try to apply these principles to international life? Instead of the truth being told, whole peoples are deceived and led to believe the exact opposite of the truth, namely, that by the use of shelters, or the like, many people could escape death in an atomic war. In reality, the survivors are likely to be confined to those engaged in directing and waging nuclear war, since those who think in terms of a "hot war" automatically accept that these are the only lives which must at all costs be saved.
Campaign of Hate Ideological differences between the nations have unfortunately become the basis of a campaign of hate between people and the whole apparatus of science is employed on both sides in this campaign. The result of this can only be the obliteration of the human race with all its achievements. The vast sums of money consumed in this campaign could be used to finance national and international programmes for the eradication of disease, poverty and want. It is believed that about One Hundred and Fourteen Million Pounds (the equivalent of Three Hundred and Forty-Two Million Dollars) is spent every day — every single day mark you on the production of weapons of mass destruction.
Surely, what we need is a public morality, which will teach that what is wrong in private life is equally wrong in international relations. I say this because, I believe that in the world of today no nation, great or small, will be saved by its armaments. Not only the defence of small nations, but the defence of the greatest powers on earth, ultimately depends not on weapons of mutual mass destruction, but upon the collective conscience of mankind. If by coming here you can do something to arouse that conscience, then your journey will not have been in vain.
Peace: A Practical Policy And let me say this: you have a great chance of success. It must be realized that in the world of today, there is no longer that conflict between morality and national expedience which up till now has bedevilled any attempt to permanently solve international problems without recourse to war. Peace, disarmament and banning of atom bomb testing are today practical policies. The obstacle to their implementation is no longer based on the economic or political needs of national states. The obstacle is solely the persistence of that out-moded attitude of the mind which still regards war as a continuation of political policy by other means.
Let me illustrate what I mean by referring to the history of the abolition of slavery. Nations as a whole never are able to abide by a moral code which, if respected, would seriously impede their economic well-being. In the days of slavery, irrespective of the moral code to which they nominally adhered, the master class continued to own slaves.
The pious slave-owner merely excused his activities by priding himself on treating his slaves more humanely than his irreligious colleagues. He quoted Aristotle and the Bible to justify slavery. Some of the bravest spirits of each of the past condemned slavery, but their voices were few and their moral appeal went unheeded for centuries. Then suddenly, so it seemed, that moral appeal which had for so long fallen upon deaf ears, touched men’s hearts and, first the slave trade and then slavery itself were abolished.
No Profit Why this sudden change of attitude? Was it not because slave trading and slavery, though still a considerable source of profit to those who practiced it, had ceased to be a prime economic necessity for the Powers of the day?
The abolitionists’ task still remained difficult and arduous as they had to overcome ingrained habits of mind, but it was no longer impossible and by courage and perseverance, they won their day. l believe an almost exact parallel exists with the issue of war and peace in our own time.
Up to the moment of its abolition, there were still powerful forces who had a vested interest on slavery and who honestly believed that their country’s way of life was bound up with slavery’s continuance. They were prepared to fight and even to die in its defence. But their cause was lost once the mass of the people was made to realise that slavery was not only morally wrong, but that economic progress demanded its abolition.
In the same way, there are today powerful groups who believe that only trough armaments can their civilizations be preserved. But objective truth is not on their side. World war is no longer a practical economic policy. In this age, there is no single objective which can be gained through world war. Conversely, in this age, there is no single objective which cannot be gained by the peaceful use of the world’s recourses.
In the old days of slavery, the abolitionists were regarded as unworldly idealists and cranks whose ideas were perhaps morally justifiable but which were quite economically impracticable. Looking back, we can see now that the exact reverse was the case. Those who believed that their civilization depended upon slavery were the impractical men, mesmerized by the past. The abolitionists were the realists.
New Doctrine of Hope Today, those who advocate disarmament, the abolition of the threat of nuclear conflict and the ending of the cold war, are the realists and history is on their side.
Therefore, you cannot only stir the conscience of the world; you can teach a new doctrine of hope. It is because war has thus ceased to be an essential instrument of policy that moral opposition to it has a real possibility of success, particularly, if it is organised and developed on the basis of hard practical argument, and upon the teaching of a new international morality.
This new morality should teach primarily a sense of individual responsibility. The menace of nuclear warfare could be removed tomorrow, if every individual in every country was convinced that he had a personal duty to prevent the destruction of mankind in an atomic holocaust.
At the moment, in my view, the greatest danger to peace is apathy. An attitude of mind exists among a great part of the peoples of many of the nuclear powers, or aspiring nuclear powers, that the issue of peace or of nuclear war is a matter not for them but for the politicians, the generals and the technicians. By propaganda, they have become indoctrinated with the idea that the greatest issue in the world today, the survival of the human race, is not a question upon which they can act, but is something which must be left to a small group of supposedly military experts to decide. Such a view is not only untrue: it is immoral. The issue of peace and war in this nuclear age is the concern of every human being, the future of the human race is a responsibility no man or woman can delegate.
Stir World Conscience! This is why I have said that this Assembly must therefore not only stir the conscience of the world, but establish a new doctrine of hope. For the nations which have accepted the Charter of the United Nations, war should no longer be an instrument of policy.
The menace of nuclear warfare could be removed tomorrow, if every individual in every country acted as though he had a personal duty to preserve mankind from nuclear war.
What is true of individuals is also true of nations. Ghana is non-aligned, but we are not an island isolated from the world. We are a part of mankind and the fate which befalls mankind is the fate that will befall us Ghana’s policy of non-alignment is not a policy of neutralist detachment. No more than the ostrich, will we find safety by burying our head in the sand and pretending to be unaware of what is around us.
The people of the world, therefore, have a duty to carry on a positive campaign to awaken the conscience of the world, to secure the banning of atomic tests, the destruction of all weapons of mass slaughter and the reduction of conventional armament.
Join the Crusade If this campaign is to be successful, the men and women of all countries throughout the world, including the scientist, the leaders of religious faiths and the writers, must work to influence public opinion and to arouse the conscience of mankind against nuclear war.
Above all, the humble people who are to be found in every country upon earth and who believe in the dignity of the human race, and who realise that man was not created to destroy himself, and that mass suicide is the most deadly of all sins, must join in this crusade.
In ridding the world of the threat of nuclear warfare, vehement protest is an essential ingredient in arousing man’s conscience. I should like to express admiration and respect for those among you here, and to all those others who cannot be with us today, who have led such protest. I admire the courage of scientists, religious leaders, writers, and others who have braved scorn, and often persecution, for speaking out boldly against nuclear warfare.
We must convince the bulk of mankind that nuclear war is not only against all morality, but is economic and political suicide for all who attempt to base their policies upon it.
We must show that world war has no longer any economic or political justification and that the things which it is supposed might be gained by war can, in fact, be gained only by peaceful means.
For this reason, I am particularly happy that this Assembly contains a number of individuals skilled in economics and politics, and who have given detailed study to the technical problems of disarmament. It is by marrying their technical knowledge to the moral force of those who have protested against nuclear warfare that we shall find a solution.
I am delighted to see participants from so many different parts of the world. No country has a monopoly of ability and it is therefore of the utmost importance that those from the countries of Europe and North America should confer with distinguished men and women from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Australia.
We should by no means underestimate the effect on world opinion of the view of the non-aligned individuals and nations from these four continents. If a common policy can be put forward by them, it would have a decisive effect. Success or failure in your task will, I believe, depend on how realist a manner you tackle the root causes of the conflicts of interest in the world today. In other words, we must, if we are to create a "World without the Bomb", understand the conditions which have created "The World with the Bomb."
In my view, the tensions which have produced the "World with the Bomb" can be divided into roughly, four classes.
Critical Analysis First, there are the tensions resulting from the problems left over from the Second World War.
Secondly, there are the tensions arising out of the striving of the peoples of the less developed parts of the world to better their future and throw off the burdens of imperialism, colonialism and racial discrimination.
Thirdly, there are tensions resulting from a conflict of ideologies. And fourthly, there are tensions caused by the possessions by some powers of weapons of mass destruction.
However, before beginning to criticize the policy of those Powers whose actions have led to the "World with the Bomb", it is always most important for States and individuals to bear this in mind. We have neither the responsibility nor the experience of conducting the policy of the nuclear powers, and therefore we cannot say for certain how, if we were placed in their position, we would act. In making any criticism, it is right for us to remember that we have been spared the weight of responsibility that rests on their shoulders, each one of us should say himself, before condemning any policy: "There but for the Grace of God might go I."
Second World War Let me now deal with the first of my point — the tensions resulting from the problems left over from the Second World War. The very fact that peace is today threatened by tensions created by the Second World War underlines the point that world war cannot solve our difficulties. The victors in a world war, by their very victory, create problems which contain the seeds of a new war.
USSR, A Power: US Industrial Might
The lessons of the last two Great Wars teach, above all else, the uselessness of world war in the conditions of today. Indeed, the consequences of these last two wars have been the very opposite of what either victor or vanquished anticipated when they entered the conflict. Looking back on the First World War, its two most important consequences can now be seen to have been the establishment of the Soviet Union and the building up of the industrial might of the United States of America. Both these events have since profoundly affected the world for good, but they were neither aimed at, nor even anticipated, by those who went to war in 1914, and in fact both world, in all probability, have occurred in any event without the senseless mass slaughter on the battlefields.
In the same way, the outcome of the Second World War was the direct opposite of anything intended by the aggressors or indeed by any of those who first joined in the conflict against them.
Movement for Colonial Freedom Looking back on this last war, its most dramatic result was certainly never anticipated by those who entered in 1939. Its most important consequences was to set in motion a train of events which led inexorably to an irresistible movement for colonial freedom. A great part of the globe previously under colonial domination has, within less than a score of years since the end of the Second World War, become free.
This, coupled with the establishment of socialist states in China and Eastern Europe, has profoundly affected the balance of power in the world in a way never contemplated in 1939. In consequence, in the post war period, the Great Powers were confronted with problems for which they were unprepared, and this has added to the tensions in Europe which the war provoked.
Berlin Foremost among these is the German question which has been no more settled by the Second World War than it was by the First. It is another example of the futility of modern war that those powers which, in unity could fight the war, cannot to this day — seventeen years after the war has ended agree among themselves on the terms of a German peace treaty. This is converting the German question into a potential source of a Third World War.
At the moment, the German issue is highlighted in the Berlin problem. It may seem strange that a city so remote from Africa should be a central question at an Assembly in Accra. We must however discuss it, if only because a war over Berlin would engulf the whole world. It is therefore right that we ask at this Assembly why cannot this problem be solved? So far as I can see, there is substantial agreement between the great powers on three major points.
First, both power blocs are agreed that there should be no nuclear weapons in Berlin; secondly, that there should be no increase in the number of the military units now stationed there; thirdly, they appear to agree that access to West Berlin should be internationally guaranteed. In fact the dispute over Germany boils down to whether or not the East German authorities should or should not supervise the passage through Berlin territory of the internationally guaranteed traffic. In other worlds, the world is threatened with nuclear war, because the Great Powers cannot decide who should stamp whose passport on the route to Berlin.
Anyone who studies the detailed documentation of this Assembly must be struck with how few points in fact divide the Great Powers when these are compared with the points upon which they are agreed. It seems to me that one of the tasks to this Assembly might be to isolate these points of disagreement and then boldly suggest possible solutions other than those already advanced by either of the power blocs.
A Crisis of Confidence In so doing, however, it must be remembered that no solution, however reasonable, will in fact be acceptable unless a way is found to resolve the basic distrust which keeps the Great Powers apart. Fundamentally, what we face is not a difference on details, but a crisis of confidence.
My Government has sponsored this Assembly because we believe that it is in meetings such as this a beginning may be made to resolve this crisis of confidence. In the same way as one may argue interminably as to which came first, the chicken or the egg, so one can argue interminably which comes first in the control and inspection of disarmament. Both sides are agreed that there should be inspection and control over disarmament. The difference arises as to whether there should be inspections and control over the armaments which remain after disarmament.
Distrust versus Spying
As I see it, this cannot be resolved because the Western Powers will not accept the Socialist bloc’s estimate of arms which remain, unless there is inspection, and the Socialist bloc will not accept that any inspection team examining existing armaments will not be, in practice, a spy organisation.
Such a crisis of confidence can be resolved by a bold stroke. I believe that an impartial inspection team could be found and that its very impartiality would reassure both the Socialist States that it was not a spy organisation and the Western Powers that the Socialist countries were not in fact retaining more armament than they said. One task of this Assembly, so it seems to me, is to make positive proposals as to how such an inspection team could be constituted.
Let me come now to my second point — the tensions arising out of the striving of the people of the less developed parts of the world to settle their future and to throw off the burden of colonialism, neo-colonialism and racial discrimination.
Change Bound to Come In my view, this Assembly must face the fact that the less developed parts of the world are in a change. One of the great values of the Assembly is that it contains eminent and experienced individuals from all over the globe. They, I believe, may be able greatly to assist in arriving at possible solutions for one of the most difficult of questions, namely, how to reconcile the maintenance of balance of power between the Great Powers with the need for change in the African, Latin American and Asian continents.
Philosophy of historically imperative Force May I give you one example: Ghana has been much criticized for not condemning as aggression the Indian action in using armed force to end Portuguese colonialism in India. Fundamentally, the basis of this criticism was that real non-alignment means the support of the status quo. Can such an argument be supported by history? Was Garibaldi an aggressor, when he fought to unify Italy? Were the British and United States Governments wrong when in the early nineteenth century they made it clear that they would oppose by force any attempt by Spain to re-conquer her lost South American colonies? If the United Nations had been in existence in the year 1776, would we have expected those countries who were non-aligned at that date to have condemned France for coming to the aid of the American colonies then in revolt against Britain?
Goa-Moral Arguments Fail In Goa, force became the only remedy only because, the United Nations was unable to end colonialism on Indian soil, and only because moral arguments and political pressure were of no avail. Yet those who, like Ghana, accepted this action as proper have been accused in the words of one critic "of the tacit acceptance of the dangerous doctrine of good and bad wars."
This is an issue we must face. A study of history shows that there has never been a conflict in which each side did not believe that they were acting in accordance with justice, and indeed, in which they did not evoke Divine Providence to support their arms. "Praise God and pass the ammunition", was their cry. Once one accepts the conception that was permissible, the door is opened to every type of conflict.
What is the answer? I believe it lies first in a positive policy being adopted by the United Nations. The United Nations cannot survive as an organ dedicated to preserving the existing order of things. If an injustice is universally recognized, as it was for example, in the case of the continued Portuguese occupation of Goa, then the United Nations can only avert military action by initiating peaceful change.
O Yes, No Power Can Stop It!
The world is going to change. No power on earth can stop it, short of destroying all humanity. The choice before us is, therefore, peaceful change or change brought about by force. No international organisation, however powerful, can stop the clock of history. I am a strong believer in peaceful change. In the Positive Action campaign which I initiated in Ghana during colonial times, and which led to a realization by the British authorities that the time had come to end colonialism here, I always insisted upon non-violent action.
Where Peace Fails... I am, however, sufficiently a realist to understand that change cannot always, at every period in history, be brought about by non-violent action. It is no coincidence that every single one of the five nations to whom permanent seats on the Security Council are allotted have had their revolutions or rebellions, which they look back to with justifiable pride and upon which, indeed, their present constitutions are based. The fact is that in certain periods of history, the masses of the people in some particular country have no other means of escaping from a regime which is intolerable to them except by armed revolt. We must accept this fact and we must also accept the fact that the forces which produce a revolution, a revolt against colonialism or a movement for national unification, can occur at any point of time in history.
History Shows... For example, what took place in Britain in the seventeenth century, in North America and France in the eighteenth century and in Latin America, Germany and Italy in the nineteenth century, is today in our own century, taking place before our eyes in Africa.
One of the great difficulties of our age is that peace has become equated with compulsory political stagnation. The theory of balance of power results in this or that State being arbitrarily assigned to the zone of influence of one or other of the great power blocs.
False View In consequence, any attempt by the people to alter the regime, whether it be by democratic or revolutionary means, is regarded not, as it should be, as a purely internal matter, but as an attempt to alter the balance of power between the power blocs. It is unrealistic, however, to hope that the people most intimately concerned with the issue in this light. Oppressed peoples in a less developed country, desperate by tyranny and corruption, are not going to be deterred from getting rid of an objectionable government on the ground that it might upset the balance of power between the Great Powers. People struggling to free themselves from colonial oppression are going to get help wherever they can find it. People artificially divided in the interest of the balance of power are going to continue to strive for reunification, and those suffering from racial discrimination are going to end it irrespective of the interest of those powers.
The Argument that Holds no Water It is utterly irresponsible for the Great Powers to say to the less developed Countries. "It is true we revolutionized our social systems." It is true that some of the executed our kings and emperors in the name of liberty, but this was a luxury to which we were entitled and to which you are not. You must bear of all your present misfortunes because otherwise, you will upset the balance on which we depend for our safety.
We must be realistic and understand that such a policy is in fact impossible. We must accept change, even violent change, in less developed countries of the twentieth century.
Liquidate Colonialism The highly developed countries of the world today must realize that before they could become fully developed, they had in fact, to go through an exactly similar process. General and complete disarmament must presuppose complete and total liquidation of colonialism. Let me now turn to my third point: the tension arising from a conflict of
Conflict Within Conflict I should have thought that history, at least, has taught us futility of ideological wars. We look back, for example, upon the great conflict between Christianity and Islam, what positive benefit of humanity was secured by it? It deprived the Christian world of the benefit of Arab science and agricultural techniques and setback for perhaps four hundred years, the technological and industrial development of Europe. It imposed on the Arab world, a militaristic pattern which in the end destroyed the splendid early flowing of Islamic science and culture. The Christian World, which at the time of the crusades, believed that it was fighting for a clearly defined ideology, was soon to discover the Christianity itself — which appeared to them as universal monolithic faith — was capable of splitting into rival ideological groupings which fought the most bitter wars against each other.
Survival Today, the religious faiths, at least, have learned that co-existence is essential if any religion is to survive. The lesions of history have shown that no faith can proper, if it attempts to impose its tents by force of arms upon those who will not, of their own free will, accept its teaching. Today, as the composition of this Assembly shows, it is possible to bring together people of the most diverse faiths in order to discuss the problems of mankind. Indeed, the wheel has turned the full circle and the most eminent religious leaders now consider that their faith demands of them, that they meet and discuss with others of quite different religious persuasions the questions which must be settled in order that mankind can live a full and happy life.
Example and Argument, Not Force In an age of nuclear warfare, we cannot wait for that long period of time which had to pass before the religious faiths realized the importance of living together in peace with those who believed in conflicting ideologies. We must make the world realize here and how that ideology can only be imposed by example and argument, and not by force.
You do not make a man change his opinion by killing his fellow countrymen with an atom bomb, any more than you can alter a man’s secret religious beliefs by burning his co-religious at the state.
The Power to Choose If religions can today co-exist, why cannot nations which have different economic and political theories as to how the state should be organized, do the same? To me at any race, co-existence does not only mean that the two power blocs will agree to tolerate each other, it also means that every nation both great and small shall be entitled to choose and follow the path best suited itself.
Clear-Cut Let me illustrate what l mean by referring to the problems of the African continent.
The unity of Africa, which is to me and to many others, the most important single international issue may follow from either the system of capitalism, as practised in the United States of America today, or the system of socialism, as practised in the Soviet Union.
To me this does not of course mean that those who think in these terms condemn either of these two systems, or suggest in any way that they are not suitable for the countries in which they are practised.
Since however, owing to Africa’s colonial background, there is no class of indigenous African capitalists, it is impossible to build up a capitalist system the same way as, for example Japan has done. A capitalist system in Africa upon the United States model, if it could be constructed at all, which is doubtful, would be essentially a system of the domination of Africa by foreign capital.
On the other hand, we have throughout Africa indigenous institutions as, for example our traditional forms of cooperative undertaking in agriculture and commerce which provide us with a basis upon which we can build. But in order to do so, we must construct social and political systems of our own type and it would be quite unrealistic to think that this could be done by adopting wholesale the economic and political systems of the Soviet Union.
Leave Us Alone We wish to learn from the capitalist and the Socialist systems. In so far as is practicable, we want to adopt to our own circumstances what is best in both of them but we are not prepared to be forced to say we belong irrevocably to either camp. Unfortunately, this is often what the Eastern and Western blocs attempt to force us to do. They accept the view that he who is not for them wholeheartedly is at heart their opponent. This is not true. All that we wish to do is to live in friendship with all countries of the world, irrespective of their political ideologies. All we ask in return for our friendship is that we are left alone to work out our own destiny.
The emerging States of Africa do not present either a military or an economic threat to any other nation. Why, therefore, must we become the battleground of rival ideologies? At present, there are crying evils calling out for remedy in Africa. These can be solved by the African peoples themselves without any threat to the peace of the world, but unless the African are allowed to deal in their own way with these evils, sooner or later, they imperil the peace of the world.
Remember Congo Monstrous injustices, such as racial persecution, and in some colonial territories the virtual enslavement of a great part of population, will not be forever endured. Unless they can be remedied peacefully, they will erupt into war.
The Congo is a proof of the danger to peace which the Great Power involvement in African entails. The Berlin Conference which partitioned Africa was called, it should not be forgotten, because of the first. of the Congo crises.
This crisis was solved by neutralizing the Congo, so far as the Great Powers were concerned, by handing it over to the King of the Belgians as his personal property.
After Bomb, Colonialism will still Threaten Peace The failure of such solutions as these are today plain for all to see. King Leopold’s regime was one which shocked even a world that accepted the principles of 19th century colonialism. It left behind it a legacy of racial hatred and military brutality which has borne bitter fruit in our day. The Belgian regime was neither able to maintain its power nor provide the machinery for a peaceful transition to Independence. Because certain Powers considered that in 1960 they had the same right again to settle the Congo problem in accordance with their own ideas, the Congo situation almost produced another World War.
Divided and weak as the independent African States still are, it was their intervention, supported by non-aligned countries, and using the machinery of the United Nations which saved the day.
The Meaning of Neo-Colonialism It is true to say that even if the threat of the atom bomb world peace is intimately bound up with the liquidation of colonialism. As long as the question of colonialism remains resolved, world peace will be threatened.
The colonial powers while handling over independence see to it that the substance of domination through economic powers is maintained. This conduct is extremely dishonest and leads to unnecessary complications and crisis. On the 1st July next, Ruanda Urundi will become free as separate independent States. The two territories could have been easily united, but that was not in the interest of the Belgians. But the record of the Belgians in the Congo fails to be a warning to themselves. Their intention to grant independence while retaining actual control over Ruanda Urundi, appear quite clear from the pronouncements and gestures of Belgium in her desperate anxiety to keep Belgian troops in those countries after independence, on the pretext of helping to maintain law and order.
It is the same story which produced the Congo crisis, which Belgium wishes to repeat. She must not be allowed to do so, and the United Nations must avert mother catastrophe in Ruanda Urundi by resolution and firm action.
Balkanization The great danger facing us is the balkanization of Africa into States too small to maintain real independence, much less to expand their economics and be able to stand on their own feet. The example of Latin America is before us.
Balkanized Africa, like the Balkans in 1914, could constitute a political tinder box which any spark could set alight and involve the whole world in flames. The struggle for African unity and independence is therefore an essential part of the struggle for world peace.
Co-existence and disengagement run together. The Great Powers cannot co-exist and at the same time compete for spheres of influence in the less developed of the world.
Disengagement It may therefore be of value to you, if I explain in a little detail how l envisage disengagement on the African continent. Obviously, there are many difficulties to be faced. Disengagement is impossible so long as former imperial powers retain in practice control over their former colonies. In the case of a number of African states, the former colonial power continues to control the Civil Services and the administration generally. It has a strangle — hold over the economy by maintaining its control of the central banking system. Further states have been created which are so small as not to be economically viable, and these countries in fact are compelled to depend upon their former colonial rulers for subsidies in order to meet the ordinary expenses of administration. Under such circumstances, of course, there can be no disengagement as the former colonial power in fact retains every attribute of government, except for the purely nominal attitude of sovereignty.
Dividing Africa to Unite Europe? But why must it be necessary to divide Africa in order to unite Europe? lf a Common Market for Europe is the right policy, why should there not be a Common Market for Africa? The plans for a European Common Market, however, as at present formulated, contain proposals for perpetuating the old unnatural pattern of colonial trade by which commerce was not on an inter-continental African basis but was almost exclusively between the imperial power and the colony.
The Blunt Fact The colony produced the raw materials, the cash crops and the minerals, whose price was in effect determined by the importing monopolists of the imperial power. In return, the colony had to receive the manufactured goods of the imperial country, paying a price which in practice, the commercial interest of the imperial power could dictate. This may or may not have enriched the imperial power. It certainly kept the colony in poverty.
It is essential to realise that the continuance of such a system is in itself, a threat to world peace. Colonial revolts are not only occasioned by the desire of a people to control their own political government. In fact, they are more often produced by economic oppression. British rule was tolerated by the American colonies so long as it was not accompanied by economic oppression. The American War of independence, the first and certainly the most significant of all colonial revolt, arose directly from the economic fetters imposed by the imperial power on the thirteen colonies.
Grave Danger If the European powers use their present economic strength to impose a similar system upon their ex-colonies, sooner or later, the relationship will become intolerable, and there will be a peoples’ revolt against the neo-colonialist regime. Since such regimes are backed by military pacts with the former imperial power, such a revolt would assume at once an international character. There will then arise the grave danger that the State or States in revolt against neo-colonialism would follow the classic pattern set by the American colonies, and call in outside powers to give them aid, which in many states has strings attached to it.
Unity — Africans Ready! For this reason alone, I believe that it is in the interest of world peace for all the Great Powers to disengage themselves from Africa. This of course, will not solve all our problems. African unity, which is the prerequisite for solving both the economic and the political problems of Africa, can only be created by Africans. It is a task whose magnitude I in no way underestimate, but it is one which we must undertake ourselves and which we cannot expect other nations outside our continent to do for us.
No Interference All that I propose is that, the Great Powers hold the ring and agree among themselves not to interfere in our affairs. If only they do this, whatever happens in the African continent can never be a threat to world peace. What I am proposing may sound novel and revolutionary, but it is in fact nothing new.
A Leaf from European History In 1860, the unity of Italy was only secured because Britain made it known that she would oppose by force any attempt by outside powers to interfere with the internal revolution which swept away those small States which had for so long been the main cause of Italian poverty and backwardness. Indeed, history provides a number of examples of occasions when the Great Powers have isolated conflicts by agreeing among themselves to enforce a policy of genuine non-intervention. It is, of course, most necessary that a non-intervention policy is properly and genuinely enforced. History unfortunately also contains examples - as, for instance, in the Spanish Civil War — when the principle of non-intervention was used as a cloak for intervention. This misuse of the principle of non-intervention should not deter us from attempting to apply it in a proper way. It should, however, serve as a warning that non-intervention, if it is to be effective, must be most strictly supervised. In such supervision non-aligned countries, in cases where their interests are in no way bound up with the particular matter or issue, must play an important part.
There is a grave danger that where non-intervention is enforced by one state and an area of the world is thus isolated from outside pressure, this can develop into a form of intervention. For this reason, I believe that disengagement should not be organised through the United Nations and should not be imposed by any one power declaring that it will not permit outside intervention in a particular part of the world.
Stop Under-Cover Support! If there is to be disengagement in Africa, it is essential first that the Great Powers do not give under-cover support to colonial regimes. To quote one practical example: Portugal, one of the principal remaining colonial powers in Africa, has a European population which is only about a million and a half greater than that of Ghana. It is one of the poorer European countries and in fact, the gross National Product per capita, of European Portugal only exceeds that of Ghana by Twelve Pounds per head. Nevertheless, Portugal maintains a vast colonial empire. Her Africa territories alone are twenty-three times the size of European Portugal and the colonial people whom she rules over greatly outnumber the inhabitants of Portugal itself. It is obvious that Portugal could not maintain such an empire in the face of rebellion by its colonial subjects without outside assistance. The Powers which today provide Portugal with assistance against the Angolan people are giving hostages to fortune. Obviously, and naturally, those who are fighting Portuguese colonialism must ultimately be tempted to seek similar assistance from rival power blocs.
On the other hand, if the interested Powers agreed to give no further support to Portuguese colonialism on the basis of an agreement that no other non-African power would intervene, Portugal would have to negotiate. I believe that arrangements could be made by which Portugal would not lose financially through a peaceful transfer of power. Even if she did, provided those powers who today assist her to maintain her military forces supplied the sums of money for the peaceful development of Portugal itself as they now spend on supporting her tottering colonial empire, Portugal would be much better off economically, and much more stable politically than she is today.
Supplying Arms The Great Powers cannot have it both ways. They cannot on the one hand supply finance and arms to a colonial power which would otherwise be forced to negotiate with its colonial subjects so as to secure a peaceful transfer of power, and then blame the Africans in revolt for endangering world peace by resorting to arms.
South Africa is a typical example of this. Though the Security Council has declared that racial discrimination in South Africa is a threat to world peace, some permanent members of the Security Council are to this day quite openly supplying arms and building armament factories for those who are practicing racial discrimination in its most brutal form.
South Africa Cannot Long Endure Does anyone here believe that a regime so fundamentally evil as that of South Africa can for long endure'? But when it goes down in chaos and civil war, the blood of many innocent men, women, and children will be on the heads, of those who have so irresponsibly armed the oppressors of the African people.
There is one more argument for disengagement from Africa. Colonialism not only oppresses the colonial people: it ultimately corrupts imperial power itself. The imperial powers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were caught in this dilemma.
“One Man One Vote" At home they were democracies built on the principle of "One man, one vote," but they could not obviously adopt this political principle in their colonies, and they therefore invented in its stead, the theory that by natural right there was an "elite" who were entitled by reasons of their supposedly superior education and qualities to rule, irrespective of the views of those over whom they ruled. In where there was a European settler class, they naturally became the "elite."
This theory, so convenient for maintaining colonial domination, spread back from the colonies to the home country itself. The colonial "elite" allied themselves with their corresponding class in the imperial power and ultimately claimed the moral right to dictate policy not only in the colony, but in the home country as well.
OAS and French Bomb Algeria is the typical example of the final effect of this colonial ideology in practice. A completely irresponsible minority group in Algeria actually believes that they have a moral right to dictate the policy of France, and in order to do so, to commit any atrocity which they see fit.
This situation presents an acute danger to world peace. The O.A.S in Algeria have managed to possess themselves of most of the types of weapons used by the French army, and they employ them indiscriminately against the civil population without the least regard for the international consequences of their acts.
Can you wonder that Ghana and many other African States expressed the most extreme concern at France’s atom bomb testing in the Sahara and her desire to become a nuclear power? What would have been the fate of the world, if one nuclear bomb possessed by France had fallen into the hands of the O.A.S?
That Infinitesimal Northern Rhodesian "elite" It is not only in France, however that colonial policy is dictated by a European "elite." The total European population of Northern Rhodesia, if transferred to Britain, would not be sufficiently large to be entitled to be a constituency to elect one out of the 360 members of the British House of Commons. So ingrained, however, is the colonial ideology of the "elite", that when these same persons are living in Northern Rhodesia, it is accepted by politicians who practice democracy at home, that they are entitled, if not to control the government, at least to have an equal share in it with the two million Africans who comprise practically the entire population.
Disarmament and Disengagement I have dealt at some length with the African situation because naturally, it is the problem with which I am most familiar, but I would not have done so had I not thought that it illustrates admirably the need for combining a policy of disarmament with a policy of disengagement.
At a pre-Assembly meeting at Zagreb early this year, some of you who met to plan the work for this Assembly suggested that there might emerge from it an Accra Plan. I hope if it is possible to formulate such a plan, that those working on it will consider the need for disengagement without which I believe peaceful co-existence is impossible.
No Bombs, No Bases! In regard to Africa, I should like the continent to become not only a non-nuclear zone, but also a zone where no foreign military bases are allowed. I should like this to be paralleled with an ideological truce and an agreement not to try to convert Africa into an economic appendage of any other continent.
Keep Out Cold War Africa should not become a battle ground for the cold war. The cold war and the cold mentality should be kept out of Africa. It is in the interests of world peace that this should be so. Such a plan for disengagement would, of course, apply equally to many parts of the world. In Laos, both the United States and the Soviet Union have now agreed that the only possible solution is a neutralist regime. The main obstacle, however, to the establishment of such a regime was the strength of the two rival ideologies which have been encouraged by the rival power blocs.
Mistrust and Mutual Fear Surely, we can profit by this example and provide for disengagement before it, of necessity, has to be proved in a civil war. It is unnecessary for me to deal at any length with my fourth point, for it is abundantly clear that mutual fear, which is at the root of so much of the mistrust in the world today, cannot be eliminated so long as the Great Powers are in a position at one stroke to annihilate each other. It is of course for this reason that your detailed discussions on the methods and processes of disarmament is of such great importance.
Further, disarmament is essential, if the productive forces of the world are to be released for use in developing the less developed areas of the globe. The mere fact of so using these resources would do much to destroy these dangerous tensions to which I referred under my third head, and which arise out of the disparity in wealth and opportunity for economic advancement between the more developed and the less developed countries.
"I Protest!" This Assembly has been named “The World Without the Bomb." It is ironic that it should be meeting at the very moment, when nuclear devices are being exploded. The experts on these matters among you will be able to tell you what military value, if any such tests have, but however great such military value may be said to be, I should still protest against them irrespective of who is the testing power or where the tests are undertaken.
When the major nuclear powers refused to heed the universal appeal to stop the manufacture and testing of nuclear devices, do they imagine that the rest of the world resigns itself submissively to what protection it can get from fall-out shelters? Unfortunately for mankind, it does not. One by one, country after country begins to think hopefully in terms of defence. Slowly but surely they learn how to construct these lethal weapons for themselves and, with much pride, they beast them into the atmosphere. Yesterday it was France. Today, maybe, it is Australia. Tomorrow it could be Japan, China, Italy, India, Pakistan, Greenland and many other Countries determined not to be left behind in the arms race.
The Grave Warning Apart from the great danger of fall-out from all these testing, one wonders just how much nuclear fission our globe can take before it before our whole planet, indeed, is itself split into millions and millions of tiny particles and blasted into eternity.
Does mankind, I wonder, really understand where he is heading for? No matter how small some people think the world has become in this age of jet propulsion and astronauts, it is still big enough to contain us all happily and peacefully, Communists and Capitalists, Mohammedans, Buddhists, Christians and Jews, Black skinned, yellow skinned and white skinned. For those who cannot reconcile themselves to this idea, who convince themselves that the globe is now small to accommodate their various ideologies, I would recommend that they get together in one of their man-made satellites and take a good look at the globe from outer space. In that vast expanse of either, looking down on our world and around at the thousands of other possible worlds, how can any man presume to have the right or the power to interfere with the all-powerful mechanics of the universe?
Scientists, Please Hands Off Finally, I would like to make an urgent appeal to every scientist, to every man and woman, whoever they are and wherever they live, to disassociate himself from everything connected with the manufacture, testing and stock-piling of nuclear weapons. I would like at this juncture, to venture a suggestion which on the face of it, may sound a little naive, but which I think might serve to increase our awareness of the vital part we can play in speedily bringing about nuclear disarmament.
World Without the Bomb Association
I wonder whether the distinguished members of this Assembly might, during their discussion here, consider forming and launching a club or association with worldwide membership, to be called perhaps, "The World Without the Bomb Association? Each member could be given a badge which he should wear at all times so that he can be identified as an active participant in the nuclear disarmament campaign. Membership should be restricted, of course, to those who are both morally and physically dissociated from the manufacture and testing of all nuclear weapons of destruction.
And the World Looks On... We have reached a point where each one of us must decide, once and for all, whether we want to live — and by living, l mean living normally and happily, without any kind of threat of destruction hanging over our head, or to be destroyed in an atomic war. On this issue of disarmament or nuclear destruction, we cannot listen to politicians, to generals, to our leaders and our superiors: this is one time when the individuals, the ordinary men and women of the world, must face the situation themselves and when they must have the supreme courage to do what they know is right. Whatever this may cost us, it is after all, a small price to pay to save mankind from annihilation and to restore sanity, peace and order to the world. Let us have the courage of our convictions and let us act today.
Courage: Akwaaba Mr. Chairman: It has been a great honour for me to address you and on behalf of the Government and people of Ghana, to welcome you. People in many lands are looking up to you for some new hope and some new light in these perilous times which try men’s souls. Distinguished Friends: I thank you for listening to me and l now leave you to your task.