The World Council of Churches (WCC) in February 1974 approved the distribution of R300 000 to 29 organizations on six continents of which half (R149000) was to be channelled to terrorist movements in Southern Africa and another R67 000 (the largest amount) to the movement fighting against Portuguese forces in Portuguese Guinea. Prior to this the WCC had disbursed a total of R402 000 - more than 60 per cent of it to Southern African terrorists. The organization's financial support to terrorism in the four years, 1970-74, thus exceeds R700 000.

The WCC has concentrated its activities in this regard on Southern Africa (with which it has grouped for convenience Portuguese Guinea) and its adoption of sponsorship of terrorism has undoubtedly had far-reaching impact on the stance adopted by official and unofficial bodies in the Western world. The certificate of respectability given by the highest organized body grouping major churches of the world to those who seek to attain their political objectives by violent means has stimulated others to increase (and sometimes initiate) their own sponsorship of terrorism.

Impetus in West

Prior to 1970 the bulk of the financial support accorded to terror movements in Southern Africa came from Russia, Communist China and other countries behind the Iron Curtain although finance was also arranged within Africa and by various non-Communist governments notably those in the Scandinavian countries. After the World Council of Churches started financing terrorism in 1970 there was a substantial increase in the scale of contributions towards terrorism from non-Communist and non-African sources.

The World Council of Churches has itself claimed to have stimulated and encouraged financial support for terrorism. "The Fund has acted as a leverage, particularly in the case of liberation movements in Southern Africa. Several governments, churches, organisations and many groups and individuals have been influenced by the WCC decision and have made grants to liberation movements", according to Document 40 (d), being a Report on the WCC Central Committee Meeting at Utrecht in August 1972.

Prior to the advent of the WCC into the terrorist supporters club, sponsorship for terrorism in the West came from the radical left. Prominent in this sponsorship was the highly organized anti-South African lobby in Britain. The Defence and Aid Fund, for example, collected R400 000 in 1968 - R60 000 within Britain and the remainder from other sources including a donation of R80 000 from the Swedish Government.

Scandinavian support

The Swedish Government, along with other Scandinavian governments, was prominent on its own account in supporting terrorism. In 1969, for instance, after having given support to terrorists for some years Sweden stepped up her aid and decided to grant financial assistance to the extent of R142 760 a year to terrorists in Portuguese Guinea and R103 200 a year to terrorists in Mocambique. A further escalation occurred in 1973-74 with total Swedish governmental aid to terrorists in Africa reaching R5 million, one-third of this going to rebels in Portuguese Guinea. The 1974-75 Swedish allocation to terrorism was a staggering R7 million. Private Swedish organizations which have donated funds to terrorists include the Swedish International Development Association which gave an amount of R27 000 in 1973-74. A propaganda campaign in Sweden also forced a Swedish corporation to withdraw from participation in the Cabora Bassa project in Mocambique.

In 1970 came WCC involvement in terrorism and immediately there was a stimulation of support for terrorism from Western sources. As indicated above, the Swedish Government increased its annual contribution from about R250 000 before the first WCC grant in 1970 to R7 million thereafter. Other governments were quick to follow the green light of the WCC and Scandinavian countries were well to the fore.

In 1971 the Norwegian Government pledged R70 000 to the OAU for distribution to terror groups and the following year announced an increase in its aid to terrorism but no figures were given. In 1974 Norway announced a R1,5 million grant to terrorism.

The Danish Government earmarked R150 000 to terrorism in 1971 stipulating that it should be for "educational and humanitarian purposes" only and in 1972 raised its contribution to R700 000.

Finland was donating R130000 to terrorists in Southern Africa by 1974 but the scale of previous donations is not known.

 International organizations:  The United Nations, Organization of African Unity
 Churches and Church movements:  World Council of Churches, All-Africa Conference of Churches, Lutheran World Federation, British Council of Churches, National Council of Churches of America, United Presbyterian Church of America, Reformed Churches of the Netherlands
 Governments:  Russia, Communist China, East Germany, Roumania, Bulgaria, North Korea and various other Iron Curtain regimes; Tanzania, Zambia, Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya and various other African regimes; Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Britain, West Germany, the Netherlands
 Private organizations:  Defence and Aid Fund, Anti-Apartheid Movement and various other radical groupings in London; Oxfam and War on Want; Evert Vermeer organization
 Individuals:  Queen Juliana, ex-President Heinemann, King Hassan

Other governmental aid

The Government of the Netherlands decided in 1974 to donate up to R3,3 million to terrorism. Smaller amounts came from other countries. In September 1970 Guyana donated R18000 to the so-called "Liberation Committee" in Dar es Salaam and in 1972 the Jamaican Government contributed R25 000 to the OAU terror fund. The West German Government announced a R17000 contribution in September 1973 for "humanitarian aid to victims of apartheid" following a firm offer of support the previous month to terrorism from the ruling Social Democratic Party. Canada announced in 1973 that she would intensify her "bilateral and multi-lateral" aid to terrorist movements but did not give a figure. India also joined the terrorist supporters.

In June 1971 the Israeli Government announced that it had granted the equivalent of R2 000 to terrorism following an appeal by the Secretary-General of the United Nations for support for an OAU appeal for funds for terror movements. Israel said that this money would be used for "a variety of purposes - medical, educational, social welfare and others".

The Israeli decision caused a furore in South Africa because of the close friendship ties between the two countries. Dr D.F. Malan, then Prime Minister of South Africa, had been the first head of a foreign government to visit Israel after its establishment in 1948 and his name stands inscribed in Israel's Golden Book.

After the Six Day Middle East War in 1967 R21 million was collected in South Africa for Israel and the South African Government granted special permission for the transfer of funds.

Non-governmental support

In addition to the West German Social Democratic Party other prominent Western political parties which have sponsored terrorists include the Labour Party in Britain which decided in May 1971 to give aid to terrorist forces because, according to its general secretary, it was "in danger of losing friends on the African continent".

Reacting to this decision the South African Prime Minister, Mr John Vorster, said "What Africa needs is not support for terrorists by the British Labour Party but co-operation between African states aimed at peace and prosperity in the continent" while the Leader of the Opposition, Sir de Villiers Graaff, said: "This horrifying decision to support felony and murder comes from the alternative government in the United Kingdom. It is not only irresponsible but dangerous in the unsettled world of to-day." Sir de Villiers issued a warning that this support for the overthrow of governments by insurrection and violence could boomerang on Western governments in unexpected ways. In 1971 the Labour Party in Britain announced a gift of R2 000 to terror groups. Before the 1974 General Election the Labour leader, Harold Wilson, announced that a Labour Government would aid terrorists.

Church involvement

The lead given by the World Council of Churches was quickly followed by individual churches. In 1970 the Lutheran World Federation decided to endorse the WCC participation in terrorism and in 1971 allocated R65 000 in aid to Mopambique terrorists.

Other significant amounts contributed to terrorism have come from the United Presbyterian Church of America and the National Council of Churches of America. (It was the United Presbyterian Church which contributed $10000 for the defence fund of Angela Davis, a self-confessed Communist charged with complicity in the murder of a judge and three others during an attack on a courthouse by Black militants.)

The Evangelical Churches of Germany donated R137 000 to terrorism in Southern Africa in 1971 and in 1974 the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands gave their first donation, of R14000, to terror groups in Southern Africa. Other support from church organizations has come from the British Council of Churches (which endorsed terrorism in October 1971), the All Africa Conference of Churches and the Christian Peace Conference.

The double standards applied by many radical churchmen within and outside the WCC was illustrated by two statements made in a Press interview by Mr D.W. Bleakley, an Irish representative to the Anglican Consultative Council in Limuru, Kenya, in 1971.

Statement Number One:

"Christians must be united on the issue in search of satisfactory grounds to assist freedom fighters in Southern Africa".

Statement Number Two: (after being asked whether the WCC's gift to terror groups would be followed by a similar donation to the Irish Republican Army):

"I think that would be the ultimate indiscretion".

Private donations

In April 1971 the Rowntree Social Services Trust established by the chocolate king Joseph Rowntree donated R50 000 to terrorists in Mozambique as a "spontaneous gesture"; in May 1971 the World University Service, an international student staff organization with an annual budget of R340 000, pledged its support to terrorist training in Africa and elsewhere;in 1971 Oxfam and War on Want contributed to the Mozambique Institute, a clearing house for terrorist programmes; in 1971 the Socialist International decided to give financial aid to terrorists; in April 1972 the Lions Club of Uganda donated R520 to a Uganda Government Fund to be handed to the "Liberation Committee". In the Netherlands, the Evert Vermeer organization began collecting funds for terrorism in co-operation with other leftist groups and in Washington the Committee for Liberation Movements donated R20 000.

United Nations

UN agencies such as UNESCO and the I LO had for many years been in the vanguard of anti-South African activity; in Lusaka in April 1972, Mr Salim Ahmad Salim of Tanzania, speaking as the chairman of the UN Decolonization Committee, said that his Committee would institute a massive campaign of aid to terrorists - the United Nations, he said, had not done enough.

In November 1972 the United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution calling on all states and UN agencies to aid "freedom fighters in colonial territories", in particular movements in Africa in consultation, as appropriate, with the Organization of African Unity".

Sections 3 and 4 of Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations read as follows:

All members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.


Prominent individuals who have given support to terrorists operating against the governments and peoples of Southern Africa include Queen Juliana of the Netherlands on whose behalf it was announced in 1971 that she had granted an undisclosed amount for "the combatting of racism" (the terminology employed by the World Council of Churches in its fund-raising propaganda), the then West German head of state, Gustav Heinemann, who donated R30 000 and King Hassan of Morocco who personally pledged R770 000 to "the liberation of Southern Africa" in 1972.

Africa's role

Because of the fact that much of the money which is channelled from Western sources to terrorist movements in Southern Africa is not disclosed it is impossible to arrive at an exact figure of the amount of money raised in the West. However, a conservative estimate based on the research findings reported above would give a figure in excess of R23 million.

Thus the funds derived from the Western world for the waging of terrorism in Southern Africa are substantially higher than those raised within the continent itself. Pledges by members to the OAU terrorist fund are estimated (again because much of the money is not disclosed publicly) at R14t5 million. To the figure for the West of R23 million and for Africa of R14,5 million (a total of R37,5 million) must be added the multi-million rand outlay on terrorism in Southern Africa by Iron Curtain countries. Again it is impossible to arrive at the precise amount thus expended but the extent of the Communist armaments captured from terrorists by the governments of Southern Africa and the evidence of training received by terrorists from Africa behind the Iron Curtain indicates that the Communist sponsorship of terrorism in Southern Africa has been a particularly substantial one in financial terms. Certainly there would seem little doubt that, as in the case of Western aid to terrorism in Southern Africa, the African contribution in money terms is far less than that of the Communist world; furthermore, Iron Curtain countries have provided the bulk of the armaments used by terrorists in Southern Africa as well as much of the training (although training and camp facilities have also been provided by African countries such as Algeria, Tanzania and Zambia).

There is no certainty that all the R14,5 million which it is estimated African states have pledged to provide, through the OAU, for the terrorist campaigns has reached OAU headquarters. In fact, few OAU states have met their "dues" regularly in full and in time. Not even the doubling of the budget for terrorism during the Rabat Summit of the OAU in 1972 and a personal pledge of R770000 by King Hassan jolted the African defaulters. By the end of 1973, arrears of OAU members to the terrorist fund were estimated at R9 million (including Egypt R900000, Zaire R430000, Nigeria R850 000, Morocco R704 000 - despite Hassan's personal commitment in public in 1972 - Algeria R58 000, Libya R99000 and Ghana R75 000).


In view of the encouragement which the involvement of the World Council of Churches in terrorism in Southern Africa has given others in the Western world and the substantial sponsorship of terrorism that has come from Western sources, it is necessary to give a brief review of the involvement of the WCC in support of terrorism.

The WCC was formed in Amsterdam in 1948 in a bid to heal the age-old divisions within Christendom. The single word "oikoumene" on its badge and in the cable address of its Geneva headquarters bears testimony to the original ecumenical intent of its founding fathers. In the first phase of its existence, and apart from its ecumenical work, the Council performed significant humanitarian services in such areas as bringing relief to millions of the world's homeless and hungry people.

Advent of Eastern Churches

In 1961, Metropolitan Nikolai, second in command of the Russian Orthodox Church, an avowed enemy of the United States in particular and the man who accused the American Army in Korea of burying women and children alive, ushered into full membership of the WCC Russian-approved churches from the Soviet Union, Roumania, Bulgaria and Poland. Claiming a total of 70 million adherents, the new members swiftly brought change to the Council's balance of power and within a few years the WCC's first phase of ecumenical and humanitarian work had given way to a second phase of militant and revolutionary action.

At its Assembly in New Delhi the WCC set up a Secretariat on Racial and Ethnic Relations - its first intervention in the field of race relations. Race relations were strongly emphasized at-the Uppsala Assembly (1968) and the Netting Hill Consultation (1969) and shortly afterwards the Central Committee met at Canterbury and resolved:

We call upon the churches to move beyond charity, grants and traditional programming to relevant and sacrificial action leading to new relationships of dignity and justice among all men and to become agents for the radical reconstruction of society. There can be no justice in our world without a transfer of economic resources to undergird the redistribution of political power and to make cultural self-determination meaningful. In this transfer of resources a corporate act by the ecumenical fellowship of churches can provide a significant moral lead.

The "radical reconstruction of society" for which the WCC wanted the churches to "become agents" was to be through a Special Fund to Combat Racism which would be part of the Programme to Combat Racism (PCR). It is this Special Fund which is used to make donations to terrorists in Southern Africa. From the outset the Special Fund and the PCR dileanated two areas for priority attention:

(i) the so-called "White" world
(ii) Southern Africa

The official WCC publication Programme to Combat Racism: 1970-1973 declares of the background to the establishment of the Special Fund:

It became clear that racism is not confined to certain countries or continents, but that it is a world problem. White racism is not its only form. It is recognized that in some areas there are other forms of racism, and ethnocentrism. It is the coincidence, however, of an accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of the white peoples, following upon their historical and economic progress during the past 400 years, which is the reason for a focus on the various forms of white racism in the different parts of the world.

And, again;

White racism in its many organized ways is by far the most dangerous form of present racial conflicts.

Major WCC target

Having thus defined "white racism" as the major target of its attack, the WCC's PCR then - despite its own admission as given above that there are "various forms of white racism in the different parts of the world" - selected Southern Africa as a particular priority target:

...laying special emphasis in the struggle for liberation in Southern Africa. (Programme... op cit.)

Again, in a report on the Utrecht meeting of the Central Committee in August 1972, the WCC notes:

the situation in Southern Africa is recognized as a priority due to the overt and intensive nature of white racism and the increasing awareness on the part of the oppressed in their struggle for liberation.

The PCR gives token support to such causes as "the exploitation of Indians in Latin America and developed programmes designed to support the struggle of the indigenous peoples not only in Latin America but also in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand" to quote the Programme to Combat Racism: 1970-1973 but in its funding and in the publicizing of its activities the PCR concentrates on support for terrorist movements in Southern Africa.

For instance, of its 1974 allocations $322000 went to Southern African terror groups (the Portuguese Guinea movement known as PAIGC being included by the PCR in Southern Africa) while $50000 was granted to North America, $25000 to Latin America, $20000 to Europe and $10000 to Asia. In addition $28 000 was allocated to "support groups", most of them anti-Southern African extremist groups such as the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

Not a single dollar was allocated by the World Council of Churches to any religious or other group opposed to Communist dictatorship behind the Iron Curtain: and this despite its pledge that "We believe that for our time, the goal of social change is a society in which all the people participate in the fruits and the decision-making processes, in which the centres of power are limited and accountable, in which human rights are truly affirmed for all, and which acts responsibly toward the whole human community of mankind, and towards coming generations" ("Violence, Non-violence and the Struggle for Social Justice", The Ecumenical Review, October 1973.) - F.R.M.

From: Africa Institute Bulletin, 1974, Vol. XII, no. 5

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