0n this occasion the Prime Minister directed a special word to the youth of the Republic and pointed to the great responsibility that rested on it. Adv. Vorster pointed out further that it was an urgent necessity that the energies of the Afrikaans and English-speaking should be combined to carry the becoming of the Republic successfully to its conclusion. The basic principles of the Government's outward policy were re-emphasised and the Republic was prepared to place its knowledge and technological development at the disposal of any country in Africa that requested it in the interests of its own development. The communist threat still remained actual through the whale of Africa and the time had come that Africa in its entirety should thoroughly realise this great danger.
As I saw the young people participating, I thought of them standing at the beginning of life. At the next festival they will be in the midst of life. I have noticed, not only in respect of their behaviour here, but in the conversations one has with them from time to time, that a great earnestness exists among them. I noticed also that there is present among them what should be present in every young person, namely, an urge to reform and improve. This is good and right for after all, no reform was even brought about by an adult without his having considered the matter in his youth and reflected on it.
Nothing can be made new again without continual reflection. Without continual reflection and the renewal that follows, stagnation sets in. For this reason I am pleased to discern that spirit in our youth and young people but in this regard, I would like to add this, from experience. Before one reforms or does away with things, there are certain questions one must ask oneself. And not only must one ask oneself these questions, but one must supply forthright answers to them. And before reforming anything, or steering it in a direction other than the course it is taking, it is always worthwhile to ask why the present is as it is. Nothing exists that had no cause which gave rise to it. Everything, good or bad, has a reason for being what it is and in most cases, if not all, it helps tremendously to establish first why the matter is as it is. And when you have established that and are not satisfied, then the next question you should ask is: "What is the alternative? What shall I put in its place?" For you dare not simply break off. You may not leave a vacuum. You must put something in the place of the thing you are dismantling. And when you are clear about that, before you dismantle, you must still first ask yourself the question: "What will the consequences be if I dismantle and put the new in place of it?"
And then, alas, that is the harsh reality of life. When you have answered all three questions, you must still wait, because then you must first be asked by your people to do what you think is good. Before that time you can talk a lot, do a lot, but until such time as you are called to do it, you can bring about nothing. And in that respect, I mention this in passing my young friends present here today. I refer them to many young people who have, in the past ten years, often been sensational frontpage news. They disappeared without even being heard of again. 1 You do not wish to be front page news for a split second in your youth. Indeed, when maturity has come, you wish to make a positive contribution to reform and improvement in South Africa. And you can do it, yes, much more, you have a duty to do it and you can best do it be preparing yourself in your youth for that task you must one day carry out.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is natural for our thoughts to go back ten years on this day. There were those, ten years ago, who believed it was only good and right for South Africa to go the Republican way. There were those who had doubts and reservations. Thank God, today we all accept that it had to be and we rejoice that it is so. Ten years ago the Republican issue was a contentious party political matter. Now, today, it is the accepted belief of all. Then, naturally, the question was put by each and everyone, will it work out? After ten years we can say in all sincerity, we know it has worked out for South Africa. Ten years ago our attitude was one of anticipation, today, it is one of gratitude and thanks giving.
In spite of many obstacles in our way, in spite of the difficult world we live in, in spite of all those who stood up against us and sought our downfall, we can today make up our books and look at our balance sheet with pride and satisfaction. We have peace, we have prospered, our standard of living has risen far above the average, we do not fear the future, but what is more important, as I know our people, we, after ten years still have our trust in God. Let us therefore briefly examine our balance sheet, let us look for a moment at our human and material resources.
What is the picture of South Africa today, briefly compared with ten years ago? And when I mention these figures, ladies and gentlemen, each and everyone of you can, and must make your own deduction. Today we have at school 866 900 White children, 155 000 more than in 1960, 515000 Coloured children, 210 000 more than in 1960, 163 000 Indian children, 35 000 more than in 1960. For each population group the material is therefore at school at the moment to lead the development of the future of South Africa as far as all population groups are concerned. Looking at the material side, we find that our exports rose from 883 000 000 in 1960 to 1 538 000 000 in 1970. Our imports rose from 1 111 000 000 000 to no less than 2 540 000 000 which on the one hand shows that South Africa is truly a developing country, but on the other hand I must take this opportunity to warn that the gap is too wide for a country like South Africa.
We look with pride and satisfaction at the gross national product which rose from five thousand million in 1960 to eleven thousand million in 1970, more than double, but it is accepted the world over that the production and consumption of electricity best illustrate the development of a nation and in our case the consumption of electricity rose from twenty-one million units in 1960 to no less than forty-four million in 1970, a rise of 207%. And if we take into account that it is more or less 70 % of all the electricity generated on the whole continent of Africa, then we realise what the position is that South Africa occupies in Africa today.
Truly, we have grown and developed and with hard work and dedication; this development can and will continue. Monetary and financial difficulties and crises in Europe and the United States will naturally affect us in the years to come. Britain's entry into the common market will bring great and serious problems for us and other people, but I believe, looking forward at the next decade, we can and will overcome all these difficulties.
We have the resources, we have the open spaces and the fresh air of a young virile developing country; our wind is one that breathes success, our air carries inspiration and faith.
We have the workers, responsible workers, to whom I want to pay homage today, but we not only have the workers, we have the leaders of finance, commerce and industry, we have the students, researchers, scientists, engineers and men of the professions to lead and canalise the development and progress of South Africa in the years to come. We have the men who can make it, we have the producers, be it on the farm or in the factory, who can deliver it, be it on the sports fields or in the sphere of sophisticated surgery or the secrets of atomic power: we an hold our own and make our contribution as far as the world outside is concerned.
Numerically, we are a small nation. Numbers do count and are important, but equally if not more important is the will, the vision, the purpose, the steadfastness and faith of a small people - and thank God we have that.
For the last thirty years, South Africa has been in the news. Ever since 1946 we have been the subject of United Nations resolutions, in fact, if words could kill and resolutions could destroy, we would not have been here today. Indeed, there are those who are surprised that we have managed to survive at all.
Managed to survive the blast of words and the simulated anger of professional and other agitators, do-gooders and own axe-grinders. Indeed, for so long have know-alls reputedly informed, and bandwagon sensational writers proclaimed that the wolf is about to devour us, that the mere fact that we are still there, that we are going from strength to strength, that we are holding our own and filling our place and that we are in fact prepared to face the challenge and accept our calling, indeed, all that has awakened a new interest in South Africa with peoples and leaders all over the world.
It is true, people still critizise and condemn and will keep on doing so. Such is the world we live in. After all it is better and more popular to pose as an expert on the problems of others, than to fail in the solutions of the problem of your own. After all, the mote and the beam will always be with us. But it is also true that more and more people are prepared to delay judgment and condemnation until they have made a better study and a closer scrutiny. We welcome that, we welcome it because we know we can stand inspection, but what is more, we can stand comparison.
More and more people are inclined to talk to us rather than to shout at us. We welcome that too, because in talk both sides can learn and each can profit by the experience of the other. In this connection we were recently reproached by certain people that we do not talk to our own people. Nothing, of course, is further from the truth. And if you want to know the truth it is very easy to establish that with the leaders of our various peoples in this country.
I know of nothing that stands in the way of better understanding between South Africa and other nations who seek peace and prosperity for the peoples of the world and especially for Africa. We have no craving or desire for that which belong to other people. We are a people who mind our own business not only because it is a corner-stone of our foreign policy, but also because we happen to have business to mind.
We are prepared to contribute our share of skill, experience and know-how to Africa and other developing parts of the world and we can justly claim that we can, in fact, make a contribution and if there are those in high and other places who say to me, your way of life, your internal policy stands in the way, then I say to them, I believe in what President Nixon, the leader of the strongest power in the free world, had to say on this subject when he recently visited Rumania. This is what he said: "Rumania takes position on major issues quite different from our own, but we recognise the right of every nation to develop its own policies in the light of its own interest, therefore our differences do not preclude consultation or political co-operation." That is what Mr. Nixon said and I therefore say to these critics of my country, South Africa, if a communist country like Rumania has that right according to the highest authority, 2 then surely South Africa, as a small, but very important bastion of the free world and guardian of the most important sea routes of Europe and the free world certainly has that same right. 3
If it were not so, then I must accept that double standards are accepted practice in international affairs. Or that a weaker nation or those who for the moment happen to stand alone have no right to heed the will of their people or to develop a policy in the light of their own interest.
Let there therefore be no misunderstanding in the years that lie ahead. South Africa is to prepare to play our part. South Africa, as always, is prepared to talk and to listen and to learn from other people as equals, but in the final instance it will and must always be the people themselves who will and must decide the future. So it will be: there cannot be any other way.
The road which led us to today through the last ten years, belongs to history. The events are all well-known. What happened is there for all to see. There were setbacks, there were disappointments, there were things that could have been different and which we would perhaps have liked to have had different, but to the objective observer it is very clear that great progress has been made and that South Africa is continuing to go ahead. For the objective South African there are grateful blessings to be counted every day. Not only was there progress in the domestic and economic spheres, but also in the world outside and in Africa.
And therefore I say to you today: The years that lie ahead will certainly be very exciting. But my friends, at the same time I say to you:
They will not only be exciting. The next four, five years will also be decisive in as far as it is permitted man to decide his own future. I wish to give you this today as my considered opinion: for as far as it is permitted man, what will determine the end result will depend largely on our stand and on our attitude.
Material prosperity is important and indispensable. Knowledge and technical ability will in the nature of things be a prerequisite. But when one has said all that, one cannot escape the final point, namely that it will be our attitude and our faith that will make the final decision.
And, economics aside, if we look at human problems, then to me there are, especially in these four, five years that lie ahead, four matters to which attention must be devoted. For our attitude, and not only our attitude, but also our success as far as it is concerned, will largely determine how the future will fall for us.
The advent of the Republic removed one, and probably the greatest, obstacle which always existed in South Africa in respect of healthy cooperation and understanding between the Afrikaans and English-speaking. I want to say to you today that on the road ahead South Africa's interests demand very good co-operation and very good understanding between the Afrikaans and English-speaking here in South Africa. But my friends, at the same time I want to say this: It will not avail us to confess this in theory, for it to remain lip-service on the part of our people. It must be shown in practice by each and every one of us and there is nothing, nothing which can contribute more to greater cooperation than making an effort to understand the other man. And you can best understand the other man by learning his language. Nothing will make a greater contribution than respecting the other man, and you can best respect him by respecting his language and the things of his spirit.
To my regret I have, in the past few weeks, and even this morning, read articles which shocked me. Articles aimed not only at driving a wedge between the Afrikaans and English-speaking, but articles aimed at sowing hatred between White and Non-White in South Africa. To the people responsible for these articles I want to say: Every person in South Africa is entitled, and fully entitled, to his own opinion. Even person in South Africa can maintain his own view, but nobody has the right to harm South Africa because he differs. Nobody has the right to do the work of agitation for which South Africa will ultimately have to pay because he is frustrated, or whatever. I say to those people today, and they know who they are: Stop this, for the sake of South Africa. It can bring nothing good to South Africa or its people.
I have told you there are four matters to which we will have to devote attention. I have referred briefly to the first and the second, as I see it, flows from our acceptance of multi-nationalism here in South Africa, and I believe this gives every population group the chance to play its full part as a fully-fledged person.
I want to say to you today there are less developed people, there are people in South Africa who are different to what we are, but there are no inferior people in South Africa. I am thankful that the leaders of al the nations with whom I recently had discussions, the leaders of our Coloured community, the leaders of the Giskei, of the Tswanas, of the Tsongas, and the leaders with whom I am on the point of deliberating -they all see it this way, and because they see it like this, a future can be worked out for every group in Southern Africa. Because this is so, there will in the nature of things be greater consultation among leaders in all spheres as soon as there is greater participation on the side of the other nations. 4 As I have already said, the recrimination that we want to tall to leaders of other countries but are not prepared to talk to our own, is wrong. This is not the truth. Indeed, we not only talk to our own people, but are indeed leading them every day on the road to self-determination and the road to independence.
But in the third place there is in us all the growing realisation that we are also of Africa and in this regard it is necessary for me to stress our view once again today. We are prepared to make our contribution according to our ability to the development of Africa. Recently, to illustrate our good faith towards those who made recriminations against us and insinuated that our intentions towards them were evil, we said to them: We are prepared to draw up a non-aggression pact with every one of you who are afraid in that respect. 5
My friends, I would be neglecting my duty if I did not in passing mention in this regard that, while it is our view, and while the world knows that we seek nothing but peace in Africa, then I would neglect my duty if I did not at the same time tell the world that this does not mean that South Africa is not prepared to defend itself if it has to. If South Africa's honour, life and property demand it then South Africa will demand the right that any other state in the world demands, namely to defend itself to the utmost of its ability.
But in the fourth place, we have also repeatedly stated that we are prepared to talk about peace and prosperity to all the leaders of Africa, on a basis of equality, and I am pleased that reaction has come from various parts of Africa. And if you ask me today how far this has progressed, then I can say this to you: I have reason to believe that it will not remain at talking.
I say we are prepared to discuss our share for the peace and prosperity of Africa with African leaders, and to reflect on it, but my friends, on a day such as this one cannot but think of the threat of Africa. It is not only disease, it is not only poverty, it is not only backwardness, it is not only Russian penetration and violence that Africa is facing, but I want to state as my view here today that the greatest single threat as far as Africa is concerned is the Red Chinese bridgehead forged in Tanzania, which threatens to run to Zambia. 6
When you get home tonight, think about this, and if you have a map of Africa, look at it. Imagine those states of Africa which border on the Mediterranean Sea - and which are under Russian influence, Algeria, Libya, Egypt - to mention only three. 7 Then look further down and ask yourself:
In what is the future contained if the Red-Chinese belt in Africa is to attain permanency, if it is to entrench itself there and if it has to serve as a springboard for China's surplus population, 8 and if, in addition, you think of Russian occupation of the Indian Ocean and the inspired terrorist offensives in various countries of Africa? Share my fears for Africa in the years that lie ahead.
We could adopt the view and say it was still far away from us, we could look at ourselves. Did we not see it here this morning? That is so, but when you say this, think again, for it is and remains a fact that what hits Africa today could hurt you and me tomorrow. Therefore it is good and necessary that in the years that lie ahead, the leaders in Africa who are concerned about the peace and the security and the prosperity of Africa, should find and understand each other. And I want to say this to you today, because this is a heartfelt need of mine. Where the responsibility is mine and where I am responsible to you, I want to say on this occasion to those of you who are here, and through you to all the rest of our people that as long as God grants me mercy to do so, I will promote this cause of South Africa and Africa.
And my friends, when we have come to an understanding with Africa, then we will find that suddenly the world outside will understand us far better than they understand us today.
I conclude. South Africa demands of us that Afrikaans and English-speaking people come to a fixed understanding. South Africa demands of us that White and Non-White stand in the right relationship to each other. South Africa's interests demand that we and the world understand each other, and in respect of this cause the next four years are of decisive importance. There will be setbacks on that road, and because this is so, I am happy to quote to you today what the philosopher expressed so strikingly when he said: "It is not humiliating to fall, humiliation lies in not being able to get up again."
We shall fall here and there because it is human and because the circumstances make it so, but this I know, and for that I am deeply grateful, that as often as it falls. South Africa's people will again find the strength and the grace to rise and go forward.
We have come to the end of the festivities. May it go well for our people this year. And it will go well if we have the firm knowledge that we have a calling to fulfil in South Africa, and that He who has called us, is always faithful.
"The real menace is Communist expansion. The real threat is People's China. And against this danger, the best bulwark today is South Africa with its military and industrial power." The Cape Argus, 14.5.1971.
These were in particular students at the Republic's English-medium universities who at that time continually raised protests against the Government. They included a considerable number of overseas students who were continuing their studies in the Republic.
Rumania was ceded to Russian control in terms of the Treaty of Yalta (1945). In April 1972 Mr. Nicolai Ceausescu, the head of the Communist Party in Rumania, said on his return from a visit to eight African countries that Rumania was determined to give increasingly powerful aid to the national liberation movements in Africa. Cf. Suidwes-Afrikaner, 14.4.1972.
The Cape sea route will continue to remain important even though the Suez Canal has been re-opened. The uncertain and tense political situation in the Middle East makes the Suez Canal an uncertain factor in international sea traffic. Cf. also Gail-Maryse Cockram, Vorster's Foreign Policy, pp. 63-81.
It was from the start the Prime Minister's policy to hold discussions with Non-White leaders to give them the opportunity of discussing the future of each population group at a high level. Cf. Die Burger, 19.6.1974.
On 15 September 1970, the Prime Minister said in the House of Assembly that he was prepared to enter into "a non-aggression pact with all neighbouring countries as well as with other countries in Africa." In his speech Adv. Vorster referred repeatedly by name to Zambia and also Tanzania. It may thus be accepted that the message also applied to President Julius Nyerere. Cf. Assembly Debates, Part XXX, 31 August - 2 October 1970, col. 4207. On 14 May 1971 the Prime Minister repeated his offer in this regard.
Cf. in this regard the statement of President Felix Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast:
"The real menace is Communist expansion. The real threat is People's China. And against this danger, the best bulwark today is South Africa with its military and industrial power." The Cape Argus, 14.5.1971.
Until recently these countries were still under strong Russian influence. In Egypt, however, the influence of the United States increased at the expense of Russian influence. This may be attributed, among other things, to United States financing of the opening of the Suez Canal. President Richard Nixon's visit to Egypt during the first half of June 1974 also had much to do with this.
In 1971 the population of China was officially declared to be 787 176 000. Natural increase is estimated at 1,5-2 per cent. The present population could therefore be in the vicinity of 800 000 000. Cf. Statemen's Yearbook, 1973-1974, p. 813.