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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 17, 1964

REQUEST FOR CLEARANCE OF A DRAFT JOINT COMMUNIQUE OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA SPORTS COMMITTEE AND THE CHAIR OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN COLORED PEOPLE’S SPORTS COMMITTEE

This document was made possible with support from the Henry Luce Foundation

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    The PRC Sports Committee requests instructions regarding the publication of a joint communique with a South African delegation. The document includes the minutes of the conversation between Zhang Lianhua and the South African representative.
    "Request for Clearance of a Draft Joint Communique of the People’s Republic of China Sports Committee and the Chair of the South African Colored People’s Sports Committee ," October 17, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 108-01092-05. Translated by David Cowhig. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/120265
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Request for Clearance of a Draft Joint Communique of the People’s Republic of China Sports Committee and the Chair of the South African Colored People’s Sports Committee

(64) Sports Foreign Affairs #3027

To the Foreign Cultural Liaison Committee:

[Two] invitees of the [Chinese] People's Institute of Foreign Affairs--[Peter N.] Raboroko, the head of the delegation of the Pan-Africanist Congress of South Africa (as well as member of the Party Executive Committee and Educational Secretary), and delegation member [Ahmed Gora] Ebrahim (Director for International Sports in the Party’s Cairo office; also claims to be head of the "South African Non-Racial Sports Committee" and is of Indian descent)--held talks with Comrade Zhang Lianhua, Secretary-General of the All-China Sports Federation and Director of the International Affairs Division on July 9 (Annex 1). Ebrahim elaborated on the South African people’s struggle against racial discrimination by the South African colonial authorities and the International Olympic Committee. He also offered to make a joint communique with us to condemn the International Olympic Committee.

1. According to the People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, this is beneficial for us. They [Raboroko and Ebrahim] take a strong stand against imperialism and in essence agree with us on opposing revisionism.

2. They support our struggle against "Two Chinas".

3. Support the Games of the New Emerging Forces.

Therefore, we propose to agree to use the name of the All-China Sports Federation to issue a joint statement. This will help supporting the anti-imperialist and anti-colonial struggle of the South African people, fight the International Olympic Committee and supporting the Games of the New Emerging Forces.

Please indicate approval or disapproval. If approving, please consider for approval the attached draft joint statement. (Annex 2).

Attached:

1. Memo of Conversation between Comrade Zhang Lianhua and the Delegation of the Pan-African Congress of South Africa

2. Joint Communique (draft)

July 18, 1964

Memo of Conversation between Comrade Zhang Lianhua and the Delegation of the Pan-African Congress of South Africa

Delegation Member: Ebrahim, head of international sports at the Cairo office and Comrade Zhang Lianhua who is of Indian descendant

Head of Delegation Raboroko: Our party has sent many international conferences to the country. Please tell us about the about the sports issues in South Africa first.

Ebrahim: The South African apartheid policy of racial separation has been devastating. This is true in sports as well. In South Africa, sports and politics cannot be separated. We fight not only white South Africans but also those who control international sports organizations.

We have our own sports organization, that is, the "South African All Races Sports Federation". I head the association.

In 1908, the South African white sports organization was recognized the International Olympic Committee. Over the past fifty-six years, the organization has never chosen a colored person to participate in the Olympic Games. The white organization has always violated Olympic regulations against discrimination. The International Olympic Committee has always condoned the white sports organization doing so. This proves that the IOC itself guilty of institutional fraud.

At the London Olympics in 1948, we raised the issue of the violation of anti-racial discrimination rules to the International Olympic Committee. The famous black weightlifter Ylander announced they he wanted to participate in the Olympic Games. The white organization did not approve it. Later he went to the United Kingdom. At that time, South Africa was a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. UK law stipulated that a Commonwealth country citizen who lived in the United Kingdom for three months could become a UK citizen. Ylander obtained British nationality. He participated in the British Commonwealth Games in 1948, winning first place. The he represented the UK in the Olympic Games and won third place. He repeatedly defeated South African white athletes. We had protested to the international Olympics on this matter but they had turned a deaf ear.

In 1958, we once again fought the International Olympic Committee. Moreover, The IOC, pressured by Asian and African countries, had to start thinking about our problems we had brought up. They promised to conduct an investigation in 1959. After the investigation, The Olympics said that our black athletes were not qualified and excluded us from the Rome Olympics. The South African Olympic Committee said that since blacks and whites are not allowed to compete together, there is no way to tell which athletes are better. The International Olympic Committee promised to another investigation. After the resolution at the IOC Moscow Conference in 1962, if the South African white organization did not eliminate racial discrimination, the Nairobi Olympic Committee meetings in October and June will take action.

Due to the correct decision of the Kenyan government to reject South Africa and Portugal, the meeting venue was changed from Nairobi in Kenya to Baden Baden.

My Party sent me to the Baden Baden meeting. There I had a face-to-face discussion with the South African whites. Initially, the IOC disagreed with me doing that and wanted me to write a memo instead. I said the memo was written in 1948 and nothing happened. Now all three parties are present. A face-to-face interview can make the problem clearer. The International Olympic Committee finally agreed. After the discussion, the Olympic Committee had to admit that there was racial discrimination in white South African sports organizations. We proposed to expel the white organization for its violation of the Olympic charter. The Baden Baden meeting in the end decided to give the South African white organization two months to reorganize. On behalf of our Party, I accepted this resolution, provided that if the white organization is not reorganized as scheduled, the International Olympic Committee should expel it. On December 31, 1963, the International Olympic Committee did not act on the resolution but instead delayed until the Innsbruck meeting of 1964. My Party sent me once again to attend this meeting. I asked why the International Olympic Committee did not implement the resolution of the Baden Baden Meeting. They said that the South African Olympic Committee (white) had made concessions. Since South African law does not allow black and white athletes to compete together, they propose to separate black and white people during the trials or to change the trials to another site under British protection. I said that South Africa has no law on this. Apartheid is merely a traditional practice. If the white organization is willing to mix and select we can chose them ourselves. We insist, no matter what, that the white organization be expelled from the International Olympic Committee.

After my dealings with the International Olympic Committee, I realized that the IOC is not willing to expel any white organizations. Their purpose is to maintain white rule. We have not only been discriminated against by white South African organizations but by the International Olympic Committee.

On July 17 of this year, the Organization of African Unity will meet in Cairo. We will have requests to make to this organization such as if the Tokyo Olympics does not allow South African colored people to participate, all Africans should boycott it.

Other Eastern countries stand with us in this struggle. They are members of the International Olympic Committee and we ask them to support our struggle.

China does not yet participate in the International Olympic Committee. If possible, we hope to issue a joint statement with China to condemning the IOC for serving the interests of white people.

Zhang Lianhua: We will issue a joint statement. We will let you know after we consult with the head of the All-China Sports Federation. The International Olympic Committee is a reactionary organization in the hands of the imperialists. To fight the IOC, we will need to win the support of the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. We can also force some socialist countries in Eastern Europe [to oppose the International Olympic Committee. This will take a lot of work. In short, we must resolutely struggle against the International Olympic Committee, expose its plotting and show that people should not cherish illusions about it.

Head of Delegation Raboroko: Opposition to the International Olympic Committee has historical roots. When the ancient Olympics were held in Greece, one-third of the slaves and one-third of the foreigners were not allowed to participate. Only one-third of the people could participate. Now imperialism has joined this tradition. We must fight them to the end. Our Party only recognizes "one China."

Ebrahim: Avery Brundage is an American. I asked him: "You reject politics. When Indonesia refused to issue visas for Israel and Taiwan, you took a one-sided high-handed approach and canceled Indonesian membership. The reason is simply that Indonesia rejects this organization that is supported by and was founded by the United States. Our South African white organization is an agent of imperialism. The colored people's Olympic Committee has been excluded from the Olympics for fifty-six years. You have not taken any action. But it is said that I am talking about politics. In fact, you yourself set out from the political positions of British and American imperialism."

Zhang Lianhua: "Brundage before, "No politics is the biggest politics." He is conducting apolitical conspiracy under the guise of "not talking about politics."

Ebrahim: Kenya decided not to allow South Africans and Portuguese to enter their country and Brundage changed the venue of the meeting to Baden Baden in West Germany. We know that it is wrong to cancel Indonesian membership. It is a big scam. Indonesia has the right to participate in the Olympic Games.

The main issue discussed at the Innsbruck meeting was actually the New Games of the Emerging Forces, not the Olympic Committee. The New Games is a great threat to the Olympic Committee. This is why they canceled the membership of Indonesia. The meeting decided that the Olympic Committee could not issue instructions to the various International Sports Federations telling them to cancel their participation in the New Games of the Emerging Forces or to punish participants.

The ban on Indonesia has been lifted Although the disposition of Indonesia has been lifted, but the issue of the participation of Indonesian athletes in the Olympic Games remains unresolved.

Zhang Lianhua: What do you think of the New Games of the Emerging Forces?

Ebrahim: Minister Maradi has invited me to participate in the first National Games and gave me a ticket. I did not participate because I wanted to participate in the African Liberation Committee. The athletes under the leadership of the Pan-African Congress Party fully support the New Games. I regret that the New Games will not discuss the South African issue. The responsibility lies with me because I did not attend the meeting.

We decided to participate in the second National Games in Cairo.

I hope to participate on the Executive Committee of the New Games in August this year.

Zhang Lianhua: You can get in touch with Maradi right away. What is the state of sports in South Africa, and where do you need to help from us in sports?

Ebrahim: South Africa's main programs are: track and field, football, bicycle, weightlifting, basketball, boxing, bodybuilding, table tennis, and chess.

Annex II:

Joint Communique of the South Africa Non-Racial Discrimination Sports Committee and the All-China Sports Federation (Draft)

The South African Division of Non-ethnic Sports Commissioner Chen Ebrahim made a friendly visit to the People's Republic of China in July and August 1964. During the visit, Ebrahim and the Secretary-General of the All-China Sports Association, Zhang Lianhua, held cordial and friendly talks. During the talks, the two sides exchanged views on issues of common concern in international sports and reached a consensus.

As is well known, the South African colonial authorities have consistently implemented their odious racial discrimination policy. In sports activities, they have consistently discriminated against athletes who are not white, arbitrarily prohibiting them from playing against white athletes. The white South Africa Olympic Committee, in under the control of the colonial authorities, discriminated against and persecuted the South African People’s Sports Committee. They unreasonably claim that only the South African Olympic Committee has the right to represent South Africa in international competitions. The Chinese people and all the athletes expressed great indignation at the unreasonable practices of the South African Olympic Committee. The Chinese people resolutely oppose the South African colonial authorities who are depriving the colored people of their legitimate right to participate in sports competitions.

The South African Olympic Committee has committed the crime of racial discrimination and has been publicly public protected by the International Olympic Committee under the control of the US imperialist Avery Brundage. Although the International Olympic Committee pretends to be above politics, it in fact discriminates in international sports for political, religious and racial reasons. It has even taken a defensive and conniving attitude toward the racist policy of the South African colonial authorities. The International Olympic Committee has repeatedly ignored the protests of the South African Peoples Sports Committee at the Rome Olympic Games and at previous Olympic Games where South African colored athletes were unreasonably excluded. In August 1963, in support of the South African people’s opposition to racial discrimination, the Kenyan government refused to allow representatives of the South African Olympic Committee to attend the 60th session of the International Olympic Committee, which was scheduled to be held in Nairobi. Thereupon then arbitrarily changed the venue of Baden-Baden in West Germany. These facts go to show that the so-called policy against racial discrimination of the International Olympic Committee is not only a big scam but that the IOC it is actually being used as a cover for maintaining its support of the policy of the South African colonial authorities to implement racial discrimination. The Chinese people will work with the people of South Africa and the people of all countries to fight against the racial discrimination of the International Olympic Committee.

Under the guidance of US imperialism, the International Olympic Committee is pretending to be "against politics in sports" and actually takes part in vicious political plots against the people of all countries. It not only shields the South African colonial authorities in their practice of racial discrimination, it also constantly plots to create "two Chinas" conspiracies in order to serve the US imperialists' policy of territorial aggression in their long-term occupation of Taiwan. The South African people fully support the Chinese people's opposition to the "two Chinas" conspiracies of the International Olympic Committee and other reactionary sports organizations.

The two sides are gratified to see the great achievements of the athletes who participated in the Games of the New Emerging Forces held in Indonesia in November 1963. They are breaking the monopoly and control of imperialism and of both the old and neo colonialisms on international sports. We support the peoples of the newly emerging countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America who have become a huge force for the independent development of sports. Their efforts have been warmly received by the people of all countries. The two sides firmly believe that the Second Games of the New Emerging Forces to be held in the United Arab Republic in 1967 will achieve even more. The two sides expressed their willingness to continue to promote the lofty cause of the Games of the New Emerging Forces.

The two sides agreed that the friendly visit of Mr. Ebrahim, the head of the South African Colored People's Sports Association, to the People’s Republic of China has further strengthened the brotherhood between the Chinese and South African people and particularly in the field of sports.

Beijing, Month Day 1964

Ebrahim

Head of the South African People's Sports Committee

Zhang Lianhua

Secretary General of the All-China Sports Federation