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To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
We were indeed delighted to see that the CRIMSON had expressed itself firmly on the Algerian problem. While in full accord with the main line of your article, we should nonetheless like to point out what are, to our minds at least, slight discrepancies.
In the first place, the finality of America's decision in this problem is questionable. Indeed, since it is a complete reversal of Ambassador Dillon's statement on Algeria, a position endorsed anew by Secretary of State Dulles's disavowal of the Kennedy speech on Algeria, one might well question the sagacity of the term "finality."
Secondly, we should like to express some doubts as to the wisdom of siding openly with Bourguiba and against France.
The intrinsic wisdom of Mr. Dulles's policy may not be forever clear to the "irrational" deputies; and America's constant pressure be it at Saigon, Rabat, Suez, or Tunis may well lead to the end of N.A.T.O., which after all is more basic than Bourguiba's friendship. You cannot methodically torpedo your allies in order to gain new ones; and Suez has shown that Mr. Dulles, although very good at flushing France and Britain, is not quite so good in gaining neutral support. Thirdly we should like to question the sagacity of the shipment itself. For not only did the American arms shipments reveal to France the degree of support it may expect now, as in October of 1956, from its American ally, but its effect on Bourguiba can only be slight when we pause to reflect that Bourguiba probably remembers, if you do not, America's solid rejection of colonialism and gunboat diplomacy during the rise of Castillo Amaras in Guatemala.
But, as your title clearly states, these arms have little to with Tunisia; their ultimate destination, as that of the arms periodically stolen from American depots in Morocco, is clear.
Sending arms to Bourguiba means siding with the anti-colonialist, with the Algerian F.L.N. Apparently you feel this is the only solution; some reflection will show that this is not the case. Even Mohammed V, who ordered the disbanding of the Popular Movement branch of the Istiqual, that is the pro-F.L.N. Moroccan party, even Bourguiba, who expressed much annoyance at the F.L.N.'s disavowal of Yazid, and its constant demand for total independence before negotiation, during his talk with the F.L.N. in Tunis last month, feels that the idea of a totally autonomous Algeria is impracticable. Yet you do not.
The French assembly has consistently showed its desire to grant some autonomy to Algeria; the 1947 Witner's laws. It needs no prodding from any one at all; as you well know, of the 272 deputies who voted against the Loi Cadre, 159 did so because they felt it too weak. France is ready to conduct elections under the aegis of the United Nations; the F.L.N. is not. The Algerian war, for the mass of the French population, is not a colonialist war. The war in Algeria is not between colonialists and anti-colonialists; it is between partisans of gradual independence, and extremists, largely interested in exterminating one another as at Melouzza, extremists who are every ounce as narrow-minded as the colonials whom everyone seems to despise.
Agitation for immediate independence, for that is what support of the F.L.N. is since they want all or nothing, be it agitation conducted by French communists, Egyptian crypto-fascists, or editors of the CRIMSON only serves to make harder the task of those people who have in mind ideas more constructive than methodical anti-colonialism, and less than "mutual trust and understanding." Patrice Higonnet Andre Nikitine
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