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May 05, 1965 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1965-05-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

EDNESDAY,.MAY 5, 19$5

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

P)

- '

WEflNESDAY. MAY 5. 1965 THE MICHIGAN DAILY

BATTLE FOR AFRICA:
U.S. Should Fill Kenya Aid Gap

For Direct Classified Ad Service, Phone 764-0557
from 1:00 to 3:00 P.M. Monday through Friday, and Saturday 10:00 'til 11:30 A.M.

By LEONARD PRATT
rpIE RUSSIAN cargo ship "Fizikt
Lebedev," loaded with Russian-E
made military equipment, wast
sharply rebuffed last Thursday byl
Kenya's President Jomo Kenyattak
and its cargo returned to Russia.
This marks a notable failure for
Russia's African policy-the first
significant failure in the new
Russian leaders' attempts to com-
pete with Chinese influence in the
area.
China's African policy, undert
Premier Mao Tse-tung's cleverj
guidance, has for some time beenr
aimed at inserting Chinese in-
fluence into Africa with a mini-
mum of 'aid costs to the shaky
Chinese economy. Mao has been
able to do this by finding nations
where political splits have become
potential powder kegs, then offer-J
' * ing aid to one of the two sides. 5
IF TIRE COMMUNIST side loses,
then there is really little loss be-.
cause of the small size of the
-original aid; the other side is not
offended because the aid is usually3
extended secretly. But if "his"
side wins, Mao has a foot-hold in;
an African government, all at the
cost of a few tanks, or other small
forms of aid.
This policy has worked surpris-
ingly well, enabling China to gain
recognition as a major influence
on the continent. Russia, natural-
ly, has resented this Chinese gain,
seeing herself as the rightful
prime mover in the world revolu-
tion. Under Khrushchev little was
done to improve this situation
other than occasional United Na-
tions Security Council speeches.
Those who forced Khrushchev's
resignation, however, have seen
China gaining on them and
strongly desired to regain what
they considered their rightful
prominence in Africa. Offering to
suply aid to Kenya's army was
their first attempt to regain this
prominence.
THEY FAILED for several rea-
sons. The first was that, quite
clearly, there was a good possibil-
ity that the Russians were trying
to imitate the Chinese way of giv-
ing aid. The aid was approved not

by Kenyatta, but by Kenya's Com-
munist-influenced Vice-President
Odinga Odinga. Rumors that the
aid was intended to wind up in
the hands of Communist partisans
led to several bitter conferences
between Kenyatta and the Rus-
sian ambassador, V. S. Lavrov.
These conferences led to the
Kenya defense minister's April 14
announcement that the arms were
intended as a gift from Russia to
the Kenyan army. But evidently
this was no more than good public
relations by Kenyatta who knew
as well as anyone for whom the
arms had been intended.
A SECOND REASON the Rus-
sians were rebuffed was simply
poor diplomacy. Lavrov and Ken-
yatta are reported to have been
fighting bitterly since early April
about Russia's intentions. Lavrov's
failure to quell Kenyatta's fears
is certainly a key reason why the
arms were refused.
What is reported to have finally
soured Kenyatta on the entire
matter was the 17-member Rus-
sian 'aid team" that arrived in
Nairobi, Kenya, two weeks ago to
train the Kenyans in the use of
the incoming weapons.
But when it was learned that
the tanks the Russians were land-
ing were T-34's, made in 1945 and
of little use in mountainous Ken-
ya, it was clear that the weapons
being sent needed no extensive
training period before they could
be used.
So the group, including one
general, would have been more of
a permanent military aid mission,
thus establishing the influence in
Kenya which the Russians want-
ed. But this, Kenyatta would not
accept.
THERE ARE two lessons to be
learned from the Russian debacle.
The first is that Kenyatta will
not accept overt foreign inter-
ference in his nation and that he
will risk losing both foreign aid
and the friendship of his sup-
porters to avoid it. (In the for-
eign aid case, Kenyatta actually
sent back the armored personnel
carriers which he did want. And
in the second case, he certainly

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THE SOLDIER, above, wounded n rioting in the Congo's Katanga
province, is taken to a hospital by his comrades. Riots and unrest
in the Congo and elsewhere in Africa present the U.S. with a
challenge to its world eminence and influence.

Ulm
watAD
i

offended Communist supporters
within Kenya by his actions.)
The second lesson to be learned
is that the Russians are even more
inept at African politics than the
Chinese have been. They not only
picked a loser, Odinga, they back-
ed him right up to the finish
thereby humiliating themselves
and making their defeat even
more obvious.
Ideally for the Russians, Lavrov
would have pacified Kenyatta into;
accepting the troop carriers and
hence the "aid mission," at least
for a limited time. But the month-
long Kenyatta/Lavrov fued testi-
fies to Russia's failure to do this.
BOTH.LESSONS have implica-
tions for America's foreign policy.
Not the least of these is that the
United States can no longer af-

ford to ignore African affairs to
the extent it has previously. Prior
to this, China's interferences on
the continent were few, and, the
failures well balanced out the
successes-China simply has too
many problems to devote many
men or resources to an extensive
program in Africa.
But the Kenyatta episode marks
Russia's entrance onto the stage.
Certainly, the Russians lost in
Kenya; but they are not fools.
And, unlike the Chinese, they do
have the men and resources to de-
vote to an African program.
The question is not whether they
can choose to create such a pro-
gram, for certainly they shall do
so if it suits them. The real issue
is that the possibility exists and
that so far the United States'
foreign policy has done nothing to
recognize this possibility. Signifi-
cant American efforts to make
African nations aware of the pos-
sibility of aid from other than
the Communist bloc have been
lacking.

i
Y
r
T
i
i
i

TIRED TOAD

Fa

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THE SECOND LESSON to be
learned is that an opening exists
right now for the U.S. to exert
just such an effort in Kenya. Ken-
yatta clearly wants the heavy
armor and specialized difficult-
terrain equipment which his na-
tio1 cannot produce. A strong
American effort to extend aid to
him which would allow him to
purchase this equipment in Europe
would both give us a friend in
Africa, a place where we sorely
need friends, while keeping us
militarily neutral in inter-African
struggles.
Unfortunately, the hot war in
Southeast Asia could easily have
the effect of making the Admin-
istration ignore the areas of the
globe where more subtle political
measures are required. This would
be a major error on the Presi-
dent's part, for, vital as Southeast
Asia is in achieving a balance of
power between East and West,
Africa is no lses vital. It is, for
the moment, in less danger of a
Communist take-over than is
Southeast Asia.
But only for the moment.

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THE SCENE ABOVE points to the cause of' much African bitterness against Europeans. Helmeted
South African police are forming a cordon around a South African settlement in preparation for a
dawn raid and house-to-house search police described as "a cleanup operation." Scores of blacks
were hauled away in police trucks.

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