Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Message to the Fifth Annual Assembly of the Organization of African Unity Meeting in Algiers.

September 13, 1968

My Distinguished Friends:

America's thoughts and good wishes are very much with you in this most important meeting of the Organization of African Unity. In the five years since its birth the OAU has made major contributions to the solution of African problems. Your historic work for peace and cooperation is needed more than ever in this time of testing.

We in America share your dream of the African future--of a peaceful, prosperous continent where all peoples may live in freedom and dignity and enjoy the fruits of their labor. That dream can be won only by perseverance and steadfast cooperation. And we share your proud confidence that it will come true.

We also know the importance you attach-and rightfully so--to the solution of Africa's problems by Africans. In Lagos, Kampala, Niamey and Addis Ababa, you have carried the hopes of the world in your tireless efforts to end the tragic fighting in Nigeria. For we all know that the helpless victims of the Nigerian civil war have been denied succor too long and their anguish should not be allowed to continue. As you gather today, women and children far from the sound of battle are dying of starvation in that stricken land.

The Government and the people of the United States and many other countries outside Africa have already contributed food and medical supplies to help relieve the suffering. We stand ready to give further help.

Yet a terrible and paralyzing deadlock still prevents life-saying relief supplies from reaching those who so desperately need them. And it is to you--the Assembly of the OAU as the highest voice and conscience of Africa--that the world now looks to break that deadlock. I pray that your great influence and wisdom will lead both parties in the conflict to set aside partisan considerations and allow a prompt, effective solution to this agonizing problem.

I do not underestimate the difficulties of your task. But I have every hope that your common dedication in the spirit of African unity will meet the challenge.



Note: For a statement by the President in support of a truce in Nigeria, see Item 639.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Message to the Fifth Annual Assembly of the Organization of African Unity Meeting in Algiers. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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