Cable to the United Nations, by Dr. A. B. Xuma, November 25, 1948

Press reports Mr. Louw, Union delegate, as saying in Fourth Committee on sixteen November that Mr. Rathebe told meeting of Johannesburg Joint Council Europeans and Africans that "Natives" would accept apartheid if it was total segregation. This was apropos Polish delegate's anticipation of racial conflict resulting from Union's discriminatory policy and meant to show that Africans like Rathebe supported apartheid. Regret to say that what Rathebe said was opposite. Mr. Louw dared not tell delegations of Trusteeship Committee that among other things Rathebe said, "Africans tried to be subservient and had done all menial work of the country, but in spite of this they had not been able to satisfy the Europeans. They realized that they needed the guidance of Europeans who had the advantages of education and an older civilization, but felt that because of their own contribution in labour to the country's wealth they should be given equality of opportunity. They were no longer willing to be regarded as serfs or articles for exploitation, they wanted to be considered equal partners in the land of their birth. If this could not be achieved then total apartheid would be welcomed by them. But they knew that the apartheid envisaged by the Nationalists was quite different from that for which they hoped.

The Nationalists wanted them to continue as hewers of wood and drawers of water. Africans were well aware that it was futile to try and quarrel with Euro­peans, as they had the machine guns, for this reason and because they were so frustrated, they thought the only way to achieve harmony with the Europeans who possessed eighty-seven percent of the land [was for the Europeans] to give them territory and let them go their own way and build up their own civilization, with the help of Europeans of goodwill." Rathebe continued, "At the back of every person's mind was the desire for freedom—European countries were endeavouring to regain freedom they had lost during war; Indonesia, India and Palestine were all striving for it and Africans too longed for a state of their own where they would no longer suffer under oppressive laws." Rathebe continued, "Africans hoped that UNO would not be influenced by South African Government's attempts to prevent the discussion of Union's domestic affairs at its meeting. Naturally they felt that the rest of the world should know of the racial discrimination in South Africa." I beg you in interest of justice to backward peoples of Union of South Africa who are unrepresented in Assembly to circulate this cablegram to all members so that wrong impression may be corrected before debate in General Assembly. On twenty-third instant I cabled Mr. Louw requesting him to correct misrepresentation.