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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 17, 1964


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    Correspondence from the South African Lawn Tennis Association, which includes the competition schedule for the second national championship and the congratulatory letter from the Chinese General Secretary of PRC Sports Committee Zhang Lianhua.
    "Cable from the Chinese Sports Committee, 'Request Clearance for a Letter of Congratulations to the South African Lawn Tennis Association'," October 17, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 108-01092-04. Translated by David Cowhig.
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People's Republic of China Sports Committee

Request Clearance for a Letter of Congratulations to the South African Lawn Tennis Association

(64) Sports Foreign Affairs #3050

To the Foreign Cultural Liaison Committee:

The South African Lawn Tennis Association recently sent a letter (Annex 1) announcing that it will hold their third National Tennis Championships on October 28 of this year as well as their annual meeting. They asked us to send them a short congratulatory letter. In view of:

1. The letter noted that the South African Lawn Tennis Association’s “purpose and goal is to develop and manage tennis on a non-racial basis”.

2. According to the information provided by [Ahmed Gora] Ebrahim, the foreign secretary of the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee who recently made a joint communique with China on the issue of combating racial discrimination, the South African Lawn Tennis Association is non-racist sports organization in South Africa. It is not a white people's sports organization.

Therefore, we have drafted a short congratulatory letter to support its struggle against racial discrimination.

If you agree, please clear the attached draft letter of reply.


1. Letter from the South African Lawn Tennis Association

2. Draft letter of reply


Distribution: State Council, Cultural Affairs Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Central Propaganda Department, Investigation Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

Annex I: Letter from the South African Lawn Tennis Association

South African Lawn Tennis Association

Dear Sir:

We are very pleased to inform you that prior to January 1957, our South African tennis players themselves set up a committee to organize matches and play. For example, Indians competed among themselves as did Africans and colored people. Although these managers are elected according to regulations, they never include racial organizations (unfortunately the whites are not together with us).

A 1957 conference established the South African Lawn Tennis Association. Its purpose and objective is to develop and manage tennis on a non-racial basis. After the organization was established, it sent a notice to all national ethnic organizations asking them to conclude their work and to instruct their provincial organizations to withdraw from race-based organizations and join new non-racist organizations.

In this way, the average athlete joins the local non-racial club. These clubs also participate in provincial-level organizations. These provincial organizations became the South African Lawn Tennis Association. About 10,000 athletes currently belong to the various clubs. In addition to hosting club tournaments, each club also participates in provincial competitions.

South Africa - National Championship

Our Association concluded its Second National Championship in Johannesburg in the first week of January this year. The Championship lasted seven days with simultaneous play on eight tennis courts. The following competitions were held:

1. Men's Singles

2. Men's Doubles

3. Women's Singles

4. Women's Doubles

5. Mixed Doubles

6. Singles for male athletes under the age of 18 and under

7. Singles for female athletes over 18 years old

8. Prize competitions

Competition was conducted according to international rules.

The third competition was held in Cape Town on December 28, 1964.

During the competition, we will hold our annual meeting. We are writing this letter to notify you of the establishment of our Association and about its work and to ask you to send us a short congratulatory letter. We hope to include it in our report. We hope to receive the congratulatory letter by October 25, 1964.

Respectfully yours,

Honorary Secretary

Annex II: Congratulations to the South African Grassland Federation

To: The Honorary Secretary of the South African Grass Tennis Association

Dear Friends:

Thank you for your letter dated September 16, 1964. We are pleased to learn that you will hold the Third National Lawn Tennis Championships in Cape Town on December 28 this year and that you will hold your annual meeting during the competition. First of all, let me extend to you my heartfelt congratulations to you on behalf of Chinese tennis players.

The South African colonial authorities have consistently implemented the odious policy of racial discrimination and apartheid. They discriminate against and persecute South African athletes, unreasonably prohibiting them from participating in national competitions and going abroad to participate in competitions. What is especially outrageous is that the South African colonial authorities’ crimes against basic human rights have been going on with the connivance of reactionary organizations such as the International Olympic Committee which is controlled by U.S. imperialism.

The Chinese people and athletes strongly support the heroic struggle of the South African people and athletes against racial discrimination. We are convinced that in solidarity with the people from Africa, Asia, Latin America and all the other peoples of the world, your just struggle will end in total victory.

I wish you success in your competition and conference.

Zhang Lianhua

Secretary-General of the All-China Sports Federation