Just before I went to Oslo last December to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, I wrote a letter to Americans expressing both surprise and satisfaction that men abroad have grasped our movement for what it is - a peaceful attack on a vicious system that divides men by race and condemns the majority to a position of permanent inferiority.
In that letter, I said: "I regard the Prize as not for me alone, nor for the Africans alone, but for all men everywhere who have sacrificed for the Brotherhood of Man."
Now I write again because, as each day passes, life under apartheid grows more difficult. Our every action meets the fierce repression of the South African Government. Our people, living under appalling conditions of poverty and hunger, find their protest movements banned, their leaders in jail or exile.
And now - under the new "Sabotage" Act, to challenge segregation is to risk the death penalty. Under such conditions, it is not too much to say that twelve million of my people look to you. For we cannot win equality without the help of the outside world.
Such help from abroad is precisely what the American Committee on Africa proposes. As indicated in the enclosed copy, the American Committee`s APPEAL FOR ACTION AGAINST APARTHEID is projected to bring pressure on South Africa on an international scale - pressure for change before it is too late, before we are caught in a bloody revolt which would necessarily polarise along racial lines and blot out all hope for justice in South Africa. Such a cataclysm would destroy our movement here; it would endanger hard-won progress everywhere, including America.
That is why Martin Luther King joins me as an initiating sponsor for this APPEAL FOR ACTION. That is why 130 leaders from all parts of the world have signed this call to action.
The Appeal must not remain merely a document; it must become the base of an international campaign. Because such a campaign is costly, I ask for your generous support now.
As you write your check, I am sure you will make a sacrifice - not for the recognition accorded by the Nobel Prize, but for the cause we share: that interracial amity shall not perish.
(Signed) A.J. Lutuli