Good evening, Canon Collins. I have just been making a tape-recording of a message that I am sending to your Group.
I was told by a mutual friend that you wanted me to send you a message. I have quite a little audience here around me in the house of a friend who has been doing the recording for us. I am grateful to you for giving me this opportunity of speaking to your Group, separated though we are by distance, yet one is happy that we are one in spirit. Receive greetings to our mutual friends.
I still look forward to coming to England accompanied by my wife: we look forward to being guests some day of Christian Action. Of course, there is always - this, that one or other of us must stay behind. But we do not want to waste our brains very much in thinking about that for the moment. We have not forgotten your inspiring visit to South Africa some time back. One wonders whether we shall be given the privilege of seeing you again here. But what a hope!
You may have heard from press reports about the meeting of the African leaders recently held in Bloemfontein under the auspices of the African Ministers` Federation.
It was a most inspiring meeting, and really I was happy that it took place. Let me just say a bit about it.
The Conference met to consider the report of a Government commission which, under the chairmanship of Professor Tomlinson, was charged with the task of making a social economic study in order to commend a coordinated development plan in the areas. I suppose just as the British people need to make economic plans for the Protectorates, so our Government feels the same way too. Of course, the difficulty with us is that it seemed that their plans are linked up with apartheid. However, let me go on.
This Conference of African leaders and people must be a landmark in their struggle for freedom in the Union of South Africa. There were many features which marked it out as a significant conference. Here are some of the features which I would like you to note.
Almost the first thing to note is that it was convened by African spiritual leaders. Ministers are not always very keen to associate themselves with political movements. (You and others are exceptions to the rule.) But there is no doubt that the African Ministers` Federation felt a deep concern at the rapid deterioration of affairs in our country, especially insofar as the Government`s policy affected the Africans and stretched almost to breaking-point their relations in the country. It is most significant when I think that the Conference consisted of African people representing all shades of opinion in national affairs. And it gave a thunderous "NO" to the apartheid report of the Tomlinson Commission. It gladdened my heart to hear that thunderous "NO". One wished that it could have been transferred to Pretoria almost immediately: but, no doubt, they got it through the special branch, and I suppose also through press reports. As I said earlier, it is unfortunate that their recommendations are so indissolubly linked up with the evil policy of apartheid. But the Conference quite rightly rejected the Tomlinson Commission.
Well, let me repeat, we are happy that people like you, and Father Huddleston, and others, are working hard for the cause of freedom, not only in Africa, but throughout the world. May God bless your efforts!