Denmark and National Liberation in Southern Africa

Denmark and National Liberation in Southern Africa
Denmark and National Liberation in Southern Africa
Denmark and National Liberation
in Southern Africa
A Flexible Response
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala 2003
Indexing terms
Foreign relations
National liberation movements
South Africa
Language checking: Elaine Almén
Cover: Adriaan Honcoop
© The author and Nordiska Afrikainstitutet 2003
ISBN 91-7106-517-2
Printed in Sweden by Elanders Gotab, Stockholm, 2003
Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Historical setting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
The scope of the study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
2. Out of Anonymity: The Apartheid Appropriation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
1960: Consumer boycott and Oliver Tambo’s first visit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
1962: The Nordic countries in the United Nations:
‘No more Abbyssinia’. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
1963: Answers to a UN appeal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
1964: Denmark’s first financial support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
1965: Institutionalising Danish support:
The ‘Apartheid Appropriation’. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Out of anonymity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Domestic and international Attention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Allocation and distribution: NGOs and the ‘Apartheid Committee’ . . . . 33
Beneficiaries: Threee broad categories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Volume 1965–1971 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Establishing a track for the future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
3. ‘To’ or ‘Through’? Denmark Supporting National Liberation Movements. . . 41
1971: The first grant to a national liberation movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Denmark and its Nordic counterparts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Danish NGO initiatives: ‘Afrika-71’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
The Social Democrats and the national liberation movements . . . . . . . . . 55
Liberation movements with human faces: ‘But, we knew them’. . . . . . . . 57
‘Millions to African freedom struggle’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Reactions to Andersen’s expansion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Parliamentary debates: ‘To’ or ‘through’? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Dolisie: NGOs favoured over UNESCO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
The political nature of Andersen’s expansion: Limits for change . . . . . . . 75
4. 1974: Political Struggle and Stalemate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Continued growth of the Apartheid Appropriation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
New government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
A different conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
NGOs concerned, but not alarmed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Initiatives for public action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
Pressure from the right . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Guldberg suspicious of the Apartheid Appropriation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Fighting the minister. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Explanations and withdrawal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Political positions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
Stalemate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
5. Sanctions: Denmark’s Shift from Hesitant to Decisive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
South Africa back on the agenda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Nordic political response . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Coordinating with the EC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
Danish policy on the Nordic Action Programme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
No restrictions on the coal trade. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Public action. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
Coalition government 1978–79: Cease-fire on sanctions and support. . . . . 106
Increasing attention on increasing trade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
A new government—another new majority . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Political steps towards Danish sanctions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
The Nordic path . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Completing Danish sanctions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
A peculiar parliamentary situation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
6. Trends and Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Main periods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Actors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Double nature and flexibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Name Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
Anti-Apartheid Movement of Britain
African National Congress
Danish International Development Assistance
DanchurchAid. English for FKN
Danske Gymnasieelevers sammenslutning (Danish High
School Students’ Association)
Danish ‘kroner’
Danmarks Socialdemokratiske Ungdom (the Danish Social
Democratic Youth Organisation)
Danske Studerendes Fællesråd (the Danish Student’s Council)
Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd (the Danish Youth Council)
East Asian Company
European Comunity / European Economic Community
European Free Trade Association
Frie Faglige Internationale (Danish for ICFTU)
Folkekirkens Nødhjælp
Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola
Frente de Libertação de Moçambique
New name for WUS-Denmark
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (Social Democratic international labour organization, based in Brussels)
Internationa Defence and Aid Fund
Internationalt Forum (Independent youth wing of ‘FN-forbundet’—Danish UN Association)
International University Exchange Fund
Kirkernes Raceprogram (Danish Section of PCR)
Landskommiteen Sydafrika Aktion (The National Committee
for South Africa Action)
Landsorganisationen (Danish TUC)
Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke
Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola
North American Treaty Organization
Norwegian ‘kroner’
Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
Organization of European Economic Cooperation
Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development
Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde
Programme to Combat Rascism (The Danish section was KR)
South African Council of Churches
South African Congress of Trade Unions
Sydafrika Kommite. (Local South Africa committees. Most prominent were SAK-Århus and SAK-Copenhagen)
Swedish ‘kroner’
Swedish International Development Authority (now Sida—
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency)
South West Africa People’s Organization
Technical Assistance (Denmark’s official development assistance. Did not include the independent ‘Apartheid Appropriation’)
Technical assistance Secretariate—later DANIDA. Section in
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responsible for administrating
the TA. In periods under a different Minister than the Minister
of Foreign Affairs. Also responsible for administrating the
‘Apartheid Appropriation’
Trades Union Congress
Ulandshjælp fra Folk til Folk (Development Aid from People to
União Nacional para a Indepêndencia Total de Angola
US Dollars
World Assembly of Youth
World Federation of Trade Unions (Communist oriented international labour organization, based in Prague)
World Council of Churches
World University Service
Zimbabwe African National Union
Zimbabwe African People’s Union
Danish political parties
Centrum-Demokraterne (CD)
Danmarks Kommunistiske Parti (DKP)
Fremskridtspartiet (FP)
Konservative Folkeparti (K)
Kristeligt Folkeparti (KrF)
Radikale Venstre (RV)
Socialdemokratiet (SD)
Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF)
Venstre (V)
Venstresocialisterne (VS)
Centre Democrats
Communist Party
Progress Party
Conservative Party
Christian Democrats
Social-Liberal Party
Social Democratic Party
Socialist Peoples Party
Liberal Party
Left Socialist Party
The present study on Denmark is the fourth and last within a wider research
project on National Liberation in Southern Africa: The Role of the Nordic
Countries, hosted at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala, Sweden. Serving
until mid-2001 as the project co-ordinator, it gives me great pleasure that the
study by Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne brings this Nordic undertaking to
its completion.1 Studies on Denmark, Finland2, Norway3 and Sweden4 are now
available. In addition, a companion volume of interviews—mainly with representatives from the Southern African liberation movements—has been published.5
Individually and as a group, from the early 1960s the Nordic countries
played a prominent role in support of the national liberation struggles waged
against colonialism and minority rule in Southern Africa. While the victorious
movements of MPLA in Angola (1975), FRELIMO in Mozambique (1975),
ZANU and ZAPU in Zimbabwe (1980), SWAPO in Namibia (1990) and ANC
in South Africa (1994) were shunned by the West during the Cold War period
as ‘Communist’ or ‘terrorist’, their legitimate demands for national self-determination and democracy found an echo in the distant North. Often described
as ‘Soviet-backed’, the less dramatic label of ‘Nordic-backed’ nationalist movements is empirically more accurate, particularly with regard to the non-military
aspects of the struggles. This study on Denmark sheds further light on the Nordic involvement in the ‘Thirty Years’ War’ in Southern Africa which started in
Angola in February 1961 and ended with the democratic elections in South
Africa in April 1994.
Initially inspired by a research proposal by the Harare-based Southern
Africa Regional Institute for Policy Studies (SARIPS) on the the history of
national liberation in Southern Africa, in mid-1994—shortly after the demise
of apartheid in South Africa—the Nordic Africa Institute took the initiative to
1. Due to its marginal interaction with Southern Africa, no particular study on Iceland was undertaken. As acknowledged in the texts, Iceland, however, formed an integral part of the Nordic
countries’ active stand against colonialism and minority rule.
2. Soiri, Iina and Pekka Peltola, 1999, Finland and National Liberation in Southern Africa, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala.
3. Eriksen, Tore Linné (ed.), 2000, Norway and National Liberation in Southern Africa, Nordiska
Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala.
4. Sellström, Tor, 1999, Sweden and National Liberation in Southern Africa. Volume I: Formation
of a Popular Opinion 1950-1970, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala, and Sellström, Tor, 2002,
Sweden and National Liberation in Southern Africa. Volume II: Solidarity and Assistance 19701994, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala.
5. Sellström, Tor (ed.), 1999, Liberation in Southern Africa. Regional and Swedish Voices, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
document the particular involvement of the Nordic countries. More comprehensive accounts of this important chapter in contemporary history will be
written from within the region itself. As researchers and participants in the
countries concerned increasingly embark on this path, it is hoped that the
present study on Denmark, and the other studies in the series published by the
Nordic Africa Institute, may contribute to a better understanding of the global
context of the Southern African national liberation struggles.
Tor Sellström
Pretoria, 11 November 2003
Not long after the 1994 elections in South Africa, the joint Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala, with Project Coordinator Tor Sellström as the organiser, took
the initiative to establish research in the Nordic countries to document and
analyse their involvement in the Southern Africa liberation process. The aim
was to investigate how the Nordic countries developed a policy of support, and
how this took its individual form in each of the countries.
The Nordic countries were unique in the Western world in their support to
individuals, organisations and refugees, struggling to end institutionalised colonialism and racism and alleviate their humanitarian consequences. Nordic support was humanitarian and civilian, and to a large extent given to refugees and
to education. Increasingly, it came to involve national liberation movements
and financial support to their civilian activities, at a time when these movements were politically and militarily struggling against the regimes in their
countries—including the government of Portugal, a NATO military partner of
Norway and Denmark.
Danish support developed differently from that of the other Nordic countries. Official support was never given directly to liberation movements. Rather,
Danish NGOs were employed to advise on Danish allocations and to distribute
these allocations and carry out activities, using their own capacity or through
their international networks.
The study seeks to determine the events, rationales, arguments and decisions that led to the various forms of Danish support. Key questions are how
Danish support was established as a purely humanitarian facility that later
developed into supporting also the liberation movements, and how boycott
was first considered to be an issue for the individual but eventually became
national, official policy. The study seeks to describe why support and sanctions
developed in the way and at the pace they did. Major factors involved were
Danish public awareness of developments in Southern Africa, domestic political debates and mobilisation through NGOs.
This focus on processes of change has been necessary in a field of Danish
foreign relations that during the course of the research was recognised as being
a very wide as well as a very interesting one. As a new field of research, and
with the majority of the sources never having been studied before, this study
has an aim to provide a platform for other researchers, journalists and students. Hopefully it will inspire others to investigate the whole issue further—or
to consider it in a different perspective.
This research project has been possible only through the commitment of the
Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the form of financial support and privi-
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
leged access to central documentation on the administration and development
of official support, the so-called ‘Apartheid Appropriation’. The project has
also been very well received by Danish NGOs and has had access to archives
and other material documenting their activities. Finally, a number of individuals who themselves took part in events have been interviewed and have
patiently contributed with information and a necessary variety of viewpoints.
The research project has been accommodated in Denmark by the Department of History and Social Theory at Roskilde University and by the Centre of
African Studies at the University of Copenhagen, with the help of Professors
Gunhild Nissen and Holger Bernt Hansen, respectively. The author is most
grateful to both institutions and their staff that have provided not only shelter
from the rain, but also encouragement, inspiration and good coffee!
Student assistants Karen Reiff, Kristian Sand and Lone Hvid Jensen have
participated at different stages of the research and have each provided invaluable contributions. Veteran commentator Knud Vilby, Professor Gunhild Nissen
and editor Anne Hege Simonsen have provided fruitful comments on and
important editing of the manuscript. Many others have helped with inspiration and advice during the research process and during the writing, sincere
gratitude must be expressed to everybody. Needless to mention, however, the
author of the study is solely responsible for all possible flaws and mistakes to
be found in the text.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Tølløse, Denmark, 2003
Chapter 1
For more than 20 years, Denmark, together with the rest of the Nordic countries, pursued a political strategy based on the notion that sanctions against
apartheid South Africa would lead to nowhere if the UN Security Council did
not make them mandatory to all UN members—in particular South Africa’s
main business partners, France, Great Britain and the USA. The Nordic group
feared that unilateral sanctions would actually undermine the UN’s position,
and chose other means to help combat apartheid. In 1986, however, Denmark
became the first Western country to introduce full political and economic sanctions on South Africa. This followed, as we shall see, a rather remarkable shift
in Danish policy towards the oppressive Southern African regimes.
Bilateral financial support, to humanitarian organizations and later also to
national liberation movements struggling against apartheid and colonialism in
South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Namibia, became the
trade mark of Danish and Nordic assistance. The Nordic countries also played
a politically and financially active role in establishing and funding UN initiatives to support victims of apartheid.
Overall, the Nordic countries stand apart from other Western countries in
this period. To be in contact with, and even to some extent collaborate with,
liberation movements engaged in armed struggle against internationally recognised governments of other countries, was not a common position. In diplomatic terms it was close to being engaged in military activity against these governments. The matter is made not less intriguing by the fact that Denmark, as
well as Norway, was a member of NATO, the military alliance which included
Portugal—the colonial power in Angola and Mozambique.
Even if the Nordic countries had much in common as a group, each country
has its own specific history and approach to the struggle against apartheid and
colonialism. In Denmark, it should be noted that this support, to a large extent,
benefited from a general political consensus against racism. But, as this study
will show, the way it was applied was also subject to vigorous political debate.
In particular the political role of the Apartheid Appropriation, a special
humanitarian budget allocation established in 1964, which was intensely disputed in the 1970s, mainly due to the differing views of the Social Democrats
and the Liberals on the role of the national liberation movements in Southern
Africa in a cold war context.
In addition, the role of the Danish NGO’s will be discussed. Lots of Western
countries had active NGOs and solidarity organizations that informed, lobbied
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
and raised funds to support both humanitarian organizations and liberation
movements in Southern Africa. In Britain, boycott and solidarity movements
were established as early as in the 1950s, and similar movements could be
found in Holland and the USA.
What is significant for the role of the NGOs in the Nordic countries were
their relations with their governments. Nordic governments were not only
receptive to their arguments; they were actively engaged in supporting the
In Denmark, NGOs also played an important role as channels for official
Danish support to humanitarian organizations as well as to national liberation
movements. They were in fact invited to do so by the government, which
thereby granted them both influence on official policies and financial support
for their Southern African counterparts. On the other hand the NGOs were
also influenced in the process by government positions and by official administrative requirements.
In this manner the Danish organizations distinguish themselves from the
role their counterparts played in other Nordic countries, where government
support was applied directly and where the NGO’s role was to debate and
comment upon the support.
However, when the question of sanctions came in focus in the 1980s, the
relationship between Danish NGOs and the Danish government resembled the
situation elsewhere in the Western world, with NGOs lobbying the government.
Historical setting
This study forms the Danish part of a joint Nordic study1 focusing on the
unique role of the Nordic countries in the struggle against apartheid, racism
and colonialism from the late 1950s to the early 1990s. Its main focus is to
document and analyse the events and processes that formed Denmark’s policies
and support initiatives, both as a Nordic country with specific characteristics,
and as a country making its own individual choices.
It should, however, be remembered that outside the Western hemisphere
other countries pushed even harder to end apartheid in South Africa, and to
make the colonial powers grant independence to their territories. In the 1960s
it was particularly the ‘non-aligned countries’ and the newly independent African states that struggled to increase UN pressure on a South Africa that
showed no will for dialogue or compromise. India had raised the issue of apartheid as early as the 1940s, concerned about the large Indian population in
South Africa. Socialist countries saw Southern Africa in an East-West context
and supported UN initiatives politically. Over the years they also provided substantial support to the liberation movements, not least military aid. In the
1. National Liberation in Southern Africa: The Role of the Nordic Countries. Research programme
initiated and coordinated by the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala.
1960s a majority of UN member countries followed the UN General Assembly’s requests to cease diplomatic relations with South Africa, and boycott the
country. Western countries did not carry out such measures to isolate South
Africa, although most countries supported UN measures against Rhodesia after
the unilateral declaration of independence from Britain by its white racist
regime in 1965, and many only imposed the UN arms embargo against South
Africa in 1978. Otherwise, trade, investments and to a large extent diplomatic
relations continued until well into the 1980s, when most countries imposed
sanctions. Sweden and Denmark were among the first to do so, respectively
banning investment and trade.
The Danish policy towards Southern Africa differs not only from that of
many other countries, but it also deviates from the general trends in Danish
foreign policy after the end of World War II. After the war, Denmark
exchanged a neutrality-based policy that had not prevented five years of Nazi
occupation, for alliances with the major Western powers. After 1945 Denmark
became an integrated part of the Western world: it joined the NATO military
alliance in 1949, received financial assistance from the USA under the ‘Marshall Plan’, and joined the OEEC/OECD, the EFTA and later EC trade alliances.
At the same time, Denmark felt strongly committed to international cooperation, and was among the founding members of the UN in 1945. After
World War II, popular hopes were strong that future conflicts could be solved
through peaceful means. In a strict political sense it was also in Denmark’s
interest—not the least as a NATO member—to work against an increasing
divide between the Western and the Eastern blocs (‘blocification’) engulfing
more and more aspects of international relations that would result in reduced
areas of manoeuvre for a small country. A strong UN, that could handle and
solve conflicts, would counter-act this, as would initiatives from non-aligned
The scope of the study
This study has been carried out in the light of Denmark’s position in the global
political landscape as a Western and a Nordic country—but also as a unique
country with its own specific features. It concentrates on aspects of how Denmark, along with the other Nordic countries, took a different path from most
other Western countries, and on issues where Denmark differed from its Nordic counterparts. Thus, it will not focus for instance on the establishing of Danish anti-apartheid movements and their campaigns in the early 1960s; this
process was stronger and took place at an earlier stage in other countries. Neither will it go into detail about how Denmark joined UN initiatives initiated by
other countries such as the sanctions on Rhodesia in 1966 nor the arms boycott on South Africa in 1978.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
The centre of the study is Denmark’s official financial support to victims of
apartheid, and how this support was expanded and came to include national
liberation movements. Other Nordic countries did likewise, in different ways,
but as a whole, this policy was exceptional among the Western countries. Also,
the study will deal with official trade sanctions, how Denmark developed from
a hesitant passive supporter to a leading initiator.
These are issues that underline official national policy, although it should be
noted that the intention of the study is not to promote official policy as a subject of principal importance over public involvement. Public and individual
involvement in Denmark was prominent throughout the period; it provided the
public with information about the conditions in Southern Africa and worked
to persuade the international community and Danish authorities to take action.
However, this study will put emphasis on the official decision making layers of
society because this is where we find the battlefield for initiatives that carried
the heaviest political weight, both domestically and internationally.
Popular movements and their initiatives were important, but they were not
unique for the Nordic countries, let alone for Denmark. What was unique was
the official political outcome of their efforts. In this capacity, the initiatives,
actions and considerations of the popular movements will be investigated and
The study is also concerned with factors and processes leading to change. In
times of change, the nature of such factors and their relative influence become
increasingly visible. Also, situations of change, and of having to make one’s
argument heard, lead—or forced—those involved to consider and sharpen their
A major point of departure is the decisions and considerations made by the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. New material is presented; thanks to the privileged
access this project has had to confidential and previously unpublished Ministry
archives, concerning the allocation and administration of official Danish financial support. In this material we find reflections on conflicting factors, hesitations and reservations put on paper. Some issues may in retrospect seem rather
obvious, but to contemporary decision makers and administrators, support to
the distant Southern African region was unexplored territory with unknown
determinants and conflicting factors to consider.
The study has also had the opportunity to go through records of involved
NGOs, such as Ibis (former WUS-Denmark), DanChurchAid, Mellemfolkeligt
Samvirke, Namibia-75, Programme to Combat Racism—Denmark (Kirkernes
Raceprogram), the National Committee South Africa Action (LSA) and the
Copenhagen South Africa Committee (SAKK). Finally, the project has studied
the archives of the late Minister of Foreign Affairs, K. B. Andersen, and parts
of the Social Democratic Party’s ‘Committee of Foreign Affairs Issues’.
In addition, some research has been done into Southern African material, to
put the impact of Danish policy and the debates concerning it, into perspective.1 Though this may seem nationally introspective to some, the study wishes
to clarify how Danish actions and reactions to events, developments, problems,
conflicts and repression in Southern Africa came about. Hopefully, it will also
serve as a Danish contribution to the international history of the struggle
against racism and colonialism.
This is a new field of research and a lot of the material has never before
been analysed. This requires a certain amount of documentation and outlining.
Some readers will perhaps regret this and find the study too descriptive. However, to include too much information rather than too little has been a deliberate choice. A modest request is that this may serve as an invitation, or even a
provocation, for others to engage in this rich historical field and to supplement
this study by producing alternative or conflicting analyses. Such an an initiative
will be most welcomed.
1. As a supplement to the regional interviews by the joint Nordic project (Tor Sellström: 1999a) the
study has interviewed former representatives to the Nordic countries of SWAPO (Ben Amathila)
and ANC (Lindiwe Mabuza). In addition, contemporary press clippings from Southern Africa
have been studied that comment on significant developments in the Danish policy.
Chapter 2
Out of Anonymity: The Apartheid Appropriation
In 1964/65 Denmark established a special humanitarian budget allocation,
nicknamed ‘the Apartheid Appropriation’ that for 30 years was Denmark’s
official financial contribution to the struggle for national liberation in Southern
Africa. After a number of major campaigns by Danish organizations to boycott
products from apartheid South Africa, the government made a first, one-time
allocation administered like other international humanitarian support cases.1
The Apartheid Appropriation was meant ‘to end the anonymity’ of Danish
support in the 1960s, and it succeeded.
Through the Apartheid Appropriation, support soon expanded from small
humanitarian grants to South African students in exile, along the lines of UN
recommendations, into an annual several million kroner entry in the government’s annual budget in the 1970s. In a close relationship with Danish NGOs,
it gradually gained political significance, and from 1971 it even provided a
channel for almost bi-lateral relations with national liberation movements
struggling for independence throughout Southern Africa.2
In addition to the Apartheid Appropriation, Denmark fronted political initiatives in the UN, co-ordinated with the other Nordic countries, and, as in other
countries, private Danish organizations mobilised and lobbied for support of
the Southern African liberation struggles. Yet, it was the official financial support in the form of the Apartheid Appropriation that developed differently
from the other countries. And the debates and decisions concerning its establishment and its use highlight the various Danish positions on the conditions in
Southern Africa and on possible Danish action. In this chapter we will look at
the early beginnings of the Apartheid Appropriation.
1. The Ministry filing number for the appropriation and the committee, ‘6.U.566’—the main
source for this study—reflects the origin of the appropriation: Filing group ‘6’ contains war
issues, sub-group ‘U’ stands for ‘wounded, prisoners of war, civil victims, the Red Cross’. 566 is
the number among those individual cases.
2. The first official title of the appropriation was ‘Appropriation to Humanitarian and Educational
Aid to Victims of Apartheid through International Organizations’. After a few years it was
changed to ‘ Oppressed Groups and Peoples in Southern Africa’ instead of ‘Victims of Apartheid’, and in 1972 it was added: ‘..and through Liberation Movements’. The ‘Apartheid Committee’—the body that in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs allocated these
funds, was first officially named ‘The Advisory Committee to the Minister Concerning Support
to Victims of Apartheid’. It was an ‘advisory committee to the Minister’ of individually selected
persons ‘with insight in conditions in South and Southern Africa’, in practice persons involved in
Danish NGOs. The appropriation and the committee were soon nicknamed ‘the Apartheid
Appropriation’ (‘apartheidbevillingen’) and ‘the Apartheid Committee’ (‘apartheidudvalget’),
even if they also dealt with racism in Rhodesia and Portuguese colonialism in Angola and
Out of Anonymity: The Apartheid Appropriation
A few weeks after going into exile,
ANC president Oliver Tambo spoke at
the Social Democratic May Day rally
in 1960. Here after the speech with
Prime Minister Viggo Kampmann.
(Photo: Polfoto)
1960: Consumer boycott and Oliver Tambo’s first visit
On March 21 1960, people gathered in the Johannesburg suburb of Sharpeville, to demonstrate peacefully against the pass laws inflicted on the black population by the South African apartheid regime. The South African police
opened fire and 69 demonstrators were killed and 186 wounded. In Denmark,
as elsewhere, the event became the turning point for public awareness of the
political situation in Southern Africa. Big headlines in the international and
Danish press made people in Denmark conscious of conditions that were not
acceptable to their own dominating humanitarian and political ideals. Irrespective of their political background, the Apartheid society, built on formalised
racial differentiation and the power of the security forces, reminded the Danes
of the German Nazi occupation of Denmark, only 15 years earlier.
In December 1959 the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
(ICFTU) of Western social democratic trade unions, morally condemned South
Africa’s racial policy and recommended its members to launch a consumer boycott, in a joint campaign with the British Anti-Apartheid Movement and the
ANC. The trade unions in all the Nordic countries met in Stockholm, and on
January 20, 1960, they agreed to follow the ICFTU recommendations. On
March 30, the Danish Trade Union Confederation (TUC) (Landsorganisationen De Samvirkende Fagforbund—LO) invited its members, along with Danish
consumers and importers, to boycott South African products for a period of
two months; April and May. On March 31, Jens Otto Krag, the Social Democratic Minister of Foreign Affairs, evoked the Sharpeville massacres and
denounced apartheid in Parliament for the first time. He also said that Denmark would support plans for an extraordinary UN assembly on South Africa,
should the ongoing negotiations in the UN Security Council not lead to a positive result.1
On May 1, Oliver Tambo, the recently exiled Vice President of the ANC,
spoke at the Social Democratic workers’ First of May rally in Copenhagen. He
told his audience that this was the first time he had spoken to a white audience,
and he thanked the Danish workers for their support. He compared the apart-
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Oliver Tambo speeks to workers at the B&W Shipyard in Copenhagen, 2 May 1960. (Photo: Polfoto)
heid situation to Hitler’s Nazi regime and stressed that a trade boycott, targeting South African products, would be the greatest contribution Denmark could
make to supporting the struggle. Tambo did not focus on the strict economic
effects of such a boycott and he did not talk of state sanctions, but emphasized
the political importance of millions of people in the free world individually taking measures to isolate South Africa. The following day Tambo spoke to 3,000
workers at the Burmeister and Wain shipyard, Denmark’s largest employer at
the time. He appealed to the workers to support protest actions against South
Africa and expressed his hope to establish contacts with workers’ movements
in the West. He had lunch with Prime Minister Viggo Kampmann and met with
the ‘Arbejderbevægelsens InformationsCentral’, a social democratic body monitoring communist party and union activity in Denmark.1
The Danish consumer boycott in April and May was a success, supported
by a substantial part of the Danish population. It placed South Africa in the
centre of the public debate. Tambo’s visit coincided with and was confirmed by
a constant flow of news reports from South Africa. Reports of detentions, torture and arbitrary shootings of protesters by a racist regime, horrified many
Danes and mobilized backing for the consumer boycott. In turn, the boycott
highlighted developments in South Africa.
1.Trade Union Information Bulletin no 34, March 1960 (LO newsletter). Aktuelt, 1 April. Berlingske Tidende, 2 April 1960. The UN Security Council when discussing South Africa and Sharpeville and in its Resolution 134 of April 1, unanimously called upon South Africa to ‘bring about
racial harmony’, as its apartheid policy was seen to endanger international peace and security, if
continued. United Nations, 1994, p. 244–45.
1. Aktuelt, 2 and 3 May 1960. Interview with Lindiwe Mabuza, 15 July 1997. Interview with
Kjeld Olesen, 21 August 1997. Tambo’s flight was late and he was rushed to the May Day rally
by taxi by the young party official (and later Minister of Foreign Affairs) Kjeld Olesen. Another
taxi from the same company was parked behind the stage to report on how they were makring it
through the city.
Out of Anonymity: The Apartheid Appropriation
ANC President Oliver Tambo meets
with Minister of Foreign Affairs Kjeld
Olesen in 1980. Olesen was Tambo’s
host during his first visit to Copenhagen in 1960. (Photo: Polfoto)
The boycott was backed even by major supermarket chains such as ‘Irma’ and
the cooperative ‘Brugsen’. However, the Danish trade volume with South
Africa was limited in absolute figures and the economic impact of the boycott
insignificant. Its main effect was to put apartheid racism on the political agenda
in Denmark.1
During the campaign, consumer boycotts were considered an instrument for
individuals and independent/private organizations, not for the state. The campaign was arranged by the Danish TUC (LO), with the participation of political parties, including the ruling Social Democratic Party, and organizations
such as the Danish Youth Council (Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd—DUF, an
umbrella organization for political, sport, scout etc. organizations). Tambo’s
official host was ‘Arbejdernes Fællesorganisation’, a coordinating body of the
Social Democratic Union and party branches in Copenhagen. The NGO Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke (MS) ran a fund raising campaign to support victims of
apartheid through British/South African Christian Action /Treason Trial, later
known as the International Defence and Aid Fund (IDAF).2 DUF called for
Denmark to break diplomatic relations with South Africa if the country did not
end apartheid, but in 1960 it was not argued that the state should impose sanctions or take unilateral action other than within the UN framework.3
1962: The Nordic countries in the United Nations: ‘No more Abyssinia’
The Sharpeville massacre was followed by two years of unrest and oppression
in South Africa. As a result, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution
1. Aktuelt, 1 April and 2–3 May 1960; Berlingske Tidende, 2 April and 2 May 1960; Løn og Virke
nos. 5, 8-10, 1960.
2. Originally established in 1953 by Canon John Collins at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, Christian Aid/ Treason Trial supported legal defence for those arrested in South Africa and gave support to their families.
3. DUF Lederbladet 19:3 and 19:5, 1960; Kelm-Hansen, 1981.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
1761 on November 6, 1962, stating that the South African government was
responsible for the situation. It invited UN member states to take measures
against the country, including breaking off diplomatic relations and imposing
full trade and communications sanctions. A number of countries, mainly in
Africa and Asia, responded to this recommendation and isolated South Africa,
whereas countries in the West did not. The resolution was passed with 67 votes
to 16 and 23 abstaining. The Nordic countries abstained.1
Resolution 1761 further requested the UN Security Council to follow up on
the recommendations. This resulted in the Security Council establishing the
‘Special Committee against Apartheid’. The Committee met for the first time in
April 1963 and submitted reports in May and July that documented the buildup of South Africa’s army and police forces. It also recommended the Security
Council to consider South Africa ‘a threat’ to international security. Only a
Security Council resolution could lead to mandatory measures for all UN member states, according to Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
In response to an appeal from a meeting of African states in May 1963, the
Security Council further adopted Resolution 181 on August 7, after a oneweek discussion of the South Africa question. The resolution condemned South
Africa’s apartheid policies and its harsh measures to enforce them. There was
some commitment among member countries to take further initiatives against
the country (such as the Kennedy administration’s unilateral decision in August
1963 to impose a US arms embargo), but Resolution 181 did not make measures mandatory, as the Special Committee had recommended. It called for a
stop in arms shipments, but not for comprehensive trade sanctions, although
the formal framework to do so had actually existed since 1960. As a consequence of Sharpeville, the Security Council Resolution 134 of that year had
introduced the possibility of mandatory international measures, stating that:
‘the situation in South Africa, if continued, might endanger international peace
and security’.2 But in 1963, the Security Council could not agree to follow up
on this, nor on the General Assembly Resolution 1761 recommendations of
1962, despite the fact that the situation had actually both ‘continued’ and
become aggravated.
The position of Denmark and the other Nordic countries on UN involvement against apartheid was positive, even if they abstained from voting in
favour of Resolution 1761. Prior to the 1962 UN session, the Nordic Ministers
of Foreign Affairs had agreed on this position in Helsinki on September 12–13,
at one of their regular meetings to discuss and coordinate international policy.
They argued that even if a majority in the General Assembly favoured sanctions, they would be meaningless as long as they did not involve South Africa’s
major trading partners, Great Britain, the USA and France. They wanted to
1. Thre were several UN reports and resolutions inviting South Africa to abandon apartheid, but
Resolution 1761 was the first to list international measures to put pressure on the country.
United Nations, 1994.
2. United Nations, 1994, p. 244–45.
Out of Anonymity: The Apartheid Appropriation
counter the risk of developing a situation similar to when the League of
Nations sanctioned fascist Italy after its invasion of Abyssinia in 1935, sanctions that turned out to be ineffective and eventually undermined the League.
For twenty years this was official policy in all the Nordic countries, and well
into the 1980’s it was pursued by a majority of the political parties in the Danish Parliament, including the Social Democratic Party.
As reported by the Danish Social Democratic daily ‘Aktuelt’, the Nordic
governments had had the opportunity to consult Oliver Tambo on this issue
when he visited the Nordic countries for the second time in August 1962,
shortly before the Helsinki meeting.1
After visiting Oslo and Stockholm, Tambo was received in Copenhagen by
Prime Minister Viggo Kampmann, Minister of Foreign Affairs and future Prime
Minister Jens Otto Krag, as well as future Minister of Foreign Affairs Per
Hækkerup. The meeting left no doubts about ANC’s call for economic sanctions by the international community, yet, ANC seems to have hesitated about
appealing directly to the governments for state measures. In Oslo, Tambo had
addressed the ‘Afro-Scandinavian Youth Congress’ where 200 Nordic youth
representatives met with over 100 students from African organizations and
nationalist movements. Tambo appealed to the Nordic participants to campaign for economic sanctions, to ‘convince the youth to convince their governments and people...’.2 In Sweden, ANC stressed its request to isolate South
Africa in a direct letter of September 4, 1962. The letter was signed by ANC
President Albert Luthuli and American civil rights leader Martin Luther King
and addressed to the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Östen Undén. He,
however, never responded.3
The meetings with Tambo did not convince the Nordic Ministers to impose
government measures to isolate South Africa economically or diplomatically.
As mentioned above, they agreed to abstain from voting in favour of Resolution 1761, and after its adoption by the UN, the Nordic countries did not use it
as a basis for action. In short, the Nordic policy concerning isolation of South
Africa was not to act ahead of the UN, but to follow. Minister of Foreign
Affairs Per Hækkerup later explained that the Nordic common stand was not
only based on the conviction that UN decisions on sanctions would not be
effective unless they were made mandatory by the Security Council. They also
did not consider it appropriate, in accordance with the internal hierarchy of the
UN, to let the General Assembly interfere with Security Council affairs.4
Instead of official sanctions, the Nordic countries preferred to start supporting
the victims of apartheid financially.
1. Aktuelt, 25 August 1962.
2. Tambo’s speech in Oslo, quoted in Eriksen (ed.) 2000, p. 21.
3. Letter from Luthuli and King, see Sellström 1999a, p. 184–85. Sellström here also quotes a letter
from Tambo of September 5 expressing how satisfied he was with his Nordic tour, including his
reception in Denmark.
4. Hækkerup, 1965, p. 86. Aktuelt, 25 April 1963.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
1963: Answers to a UN appeal
From March to May 1963, the Danish youth council DUF carried out a second
information, boycott and fund raising campaign. The campaign came as a
result of discussions and resolutions at the ‘World Assembly of Youth’ (WAY)
meeting in August in Århus, Denmark and the above-mentioned Afro-Scandinavian Youth Congress in Oslo in September 1962. DUF’s member organizations represented a wide political spectrum, but its activities were strongly
influenced by Social Democratic youth and student organizations, and coordinated with similar activities in the other Scandinavian countries.
DUF mobilised through its many member organizations, addressed the general public through the press and appealed to 51 organizations, including the
political parties, the Danish employers’ association (Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening—DA) and the TUC (LO). To advise consumers, DUF published lists of the
South African products they wanted people to boycott, and although the Danish market was not significant to South Africa, this campaign, like the one in
1960, was important for mobilising and the spreading of information.1 The
fund raising was handled by the NGO umbrella organization South Africa
Fund (‘Sydafrikafonden’), a Danish branch of the British based International
Defence and Aid Fund (IDAF).2
The Social Democratic Youth organization DSU (Danmarks Socialdemokratiske Ungdom) translated and published a booklet by the exiled South
African activist Abdul Minty, on South African history and the conditions
under apartheid. The book invited both ‘housewives and governments’ to boycott the country. It also included a DSU statement denouncing the apartheid
regime as a parallel to the German Nazi regime and—going further than
Minty’s text—requested the government to not only use diplomatic channels
but also introduce sanctions against the country, in accordance with the UN
General Assembly Resolution 1761.3
Of the 179 members of the Danish Parliament, 100 signed an appeal to
‘support DUF’s call for the boycott of South African products’. It should be
noted that this appeal was aimed at individuals, and it should not be seen as a
first step towards official sanctions. The Chairman of the Socialist People’s
Party (SF), Aksel Larsen, asked Prime Minister Jens Otto Krag in parliament if
he would ensure that no government institutions bought South African products. Krag replied negatively, stating that ‘... the Nordic governments fully
agree that... [sanctions]...should only be launched if they are effective and in
1. The campaign reached even conservative middle class homes such as the one of this writer,
whose parents stopped buying the family’s favourite ‘KOO’ marmalade and started discussing
2. Aktuelt, 2 March and 2 May 1963; Politiken, 2 May 1963; DUF Lederbladet nos. 1–4, January
to July 1963.
3. Minty, 1963, p. 12 and 18.
Out of Anonymity: The Apartheid Appropriation
M/S Lommaren leaves Copenhagen harbour
with its cargo of South African fruit still on board,
during the Boycott South Africa campaign, July
1963. The ship had previously been refused
access to Århus harbour and was finally
unloaded in Sweden, from where the fruit was
sent to Denmark by truck and ferry.
(Photo: Peer Pedersen/Polfoto)
accordance with international law—otherwise it will only lead to embarrassment, like the action towards Mussolini taken by the League of Nations’.1
Dockers in Copenhagen and Århus were the first to try to boycott South
African products collectively. From July 1, no South African goods were
unloaded in the main harbours of Denmark. When the Swedish steamer ‘Lommaren’ called at Århus, with 169 tons of South African fruit for the Danish
market, it was not allowed to unload. It sailed on to Copenhagen with the
same result. It finally had to land its cargo in its home port of Gothenburg,
where the fruit was loaded on trucks and transported to Denmark by ferry. The
Danish employers’ organization DA argued that the dockworkers’ action was
technically a strike, and the Court of Arbitration agreed. The workers unsuccessfully referred to the situation in South Africa, claiming that they had merely
executed a policy that was supported by everybody, including the 100-member
majority in parliament. 34 workers from Århus and Copenhagen were individually fined DKK 35, and their trade unions in Copenhagen and Århus were
fined respectively DKK 8,000 and DKK 3,000.
Sanctions remained a question confined to the individual sphere, but there
was growing public criticism of the Nordic governments not supporting UN
Resolution 1761, not imposing any state measures and not breaking diplomatic
relations with South Africa. The official policy was criticised from the left but
also from within the ranks of the ruling Social Democratic party. Youth and
students who had participated in the Århus and Oslo conferences in 1962 and
organized the consumers’ boycott in 1963 were particularly critical. Former
1. Aktuelt, 23 May 1963.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Consumer boycott against South Africa: Social
Democratic Youth picketing at a fruit shop, 1964.
International Secretary of the Social Democratic youth and students’ organizations (DSU and Frit Forum) Henning Kjeldgaard commented in the Social
Democratic daily Aktuelt:
Denmark has expressed its sympathy with the cause... but our politicians do nothing!...
The official reason has been that it would damage the status of the UN if a resolution
could not be carried out, because South Africa’s major trading partners will not impose
sanctions. This does not at all seem trustworthy...we have previously and without problems voted for another UN resolution that could not be carried out: On Hungary in
The next day Minister of Foreign Affairs Per Hœkkerup rejected the argument
in a commentary article repeating the Nordic official policy that unilateral
Nordic sanctions would damage the UN.
Meanwhile the situation in South Africa deteriorated. Popular protests
increased, as did mass detentions without trial. Eight highly profiled leaders of
the ANC, among them Nelson Mandela, were accused of 221 acts of sabotage.
These events compelled the Nordic governments to take their policy on South
Africa one step further.
At their regular coordination meeting, in April 1963, the Nordic Foreign
Ministers issued a communiqué that condemned the racial policies of South
Africa. Six months later, in September, they agreed on making a move in the
UN. In a statement at the General Assembly, on 25 September 1963, Danish
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Per Hækkerup, condemned apartheid on behalf of
1. Aktuelt, 24 and 25 April 1963. In retrospect Kjeldgaard comments: ‘In the Social Democratic
network we saw it as our role to put pressure on the government. Then it was up to the Ministers to work out a government policy’. Kjeldgaard, interview, August 1997.
Out of Anonymity: The Apartheid Appropriation
the Nordic countries, and recommended that the UN assisted in developing a
peaceful solution for South Africa, while at the same time maintaining the pressure. Hækkerup stated that the white minority needed ‘a way out’ that would
dampen its fear of losing control of the country. The UN should not only provide the ‘stick’, in the shape of diplomatic and economic pressure, but also a
‘carrot’ for the white minority, by recommending a positive transformation of
the South African society. The initiative led to Security Council Resolution 182
of December 4, 1963, which repeated the call for a non-mandatory arms
embargo, and made the Secretary-General establish a UN ‘Expert Committee’
to research the options for a future South Africa, chaired by Alva Myrdal from
Sweden. On December 16, the General Assembly further adopted Resolution
no. 1978B which, based on reports from the Special Committee against Apartheid, stated that families of persecuted persons in South Africa were in need of
assistance. The resolution asked ‘the Secretary-General to seek ways and means
through the appropriate international agencies... and invite member states to
contribute generously to such relief and assistance’.1
1964: Denmark’s first financial support
In February 1964, the Danish embassy in Washington wrote to the Danish
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen and asked if Denmark had any
plans for supporting young South Africans in exile. The embassy had received a
request from the Scandinavia Desk in the US State Department stating that:
‘the Department would be greatly appreciative if the Danish government could
supply information regarding Denmark’s efforts... to support South African
students in exile.’2
In late December 1963, the Danish Ministry administration considered a
grant similar to a Norwegian contribution of NOK 250,000 to the Defence and
Aid Fund (IDAF). The Ministry found that Norway was acting in accordance
with the UN General Assembly resolutions 1881 and 1978B.3 They requested
the South African Government to end the ‘Rivonia Trial’ against Mandela and
the other ANC opposition leaders, and invited member states to provide relief
and assistance to families of politically persecuted people in South Africa. The
administration anticipated that the matter would soon be raised as a political
issue in Denmark as well. This, however, did not happen, neither in the political nor the public sphere. As a result, the Ministry had taken no action before
the inquiry from Washington in February started a process that was at first
administrative rather than political.
The American request was handled by the Political Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a Ministerial body that handles international relations
1. United Nations, 1994, p. 265, 270.
2. Letter from the US State Department to the Danish Embassy in Washington, 20 February 1964,
MFA 6.U.566.
3. Memo, 30 December 1963. MFA 6.U.566. The Norwegian grant was later increased to 500,000.
Eriksen (ed.), 2000, p. 36–37.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
on a daily basis and is responsible for contacts with the Danish embassies.
They discussed the issue with the Ministry’s new secretariat for Denmark’s
technical development assistance to third world countries, the ‘Sekretariatet for
Teknisk Samarbejde med Udviklingslandene’ (Technical Secretariat for Development Assistance, TS, renamed ‘Danida’ in 1968). On April 9, a reply to the
embassy was drafted; clarifying that the Danish government had no plans for
supporting education for South Africans in exile, and neither had private organizations such as the Danish ‘Anti-Apartheid Committee’. This draft reply was
stopped by the Head of Office and given an appendage explaining that ‘the
matter seems suitable for further considerations. It appears ... that the Norwegian ini-tiative makes sense and is appropriate for us to follow. Shouldn’t this
issue be discussed at a higher level?’1
On April 20, Mandela gave his famous speech at the Rivonia trial, stating
that the ANC was fighting for a democracy that would not result in black domination. The speech was reported in the international media and strengthened
international support for the ANC cause. April 20 was also the date when the
Myrdal ‘Expert Committee’ presented its report to the UN, suggesting ways to
establish a democratic South Africa for all citizens. It recommended a UN educational programme for non-white South Africans and considered possible
measures to impose sanctions against South Africa if the country did not take
any steps towards dismantling apartheid.
On April 28, a revised reply was sent to the Danish embassy: ‘So far no
Danish initiatives have been taken to support these students. In the light of the
Norwegian initiative we are, however, considering—in the first place within the
Political Department—any background and possibilities for Danish contributions in this field’.2 By the end of June, the Ministry further notified the
embassy that the TS was working on the issue and was preparing a proposal to
its Board to support South African students in exile through ‘an Organization
that calls itself International University Exchange Fund (IUEF) of the International Student Conference’.3
The Ministry administration was beginning to explore this new field of
operations and engaged itself in establishing background information for an
official view of the situation. IUEF was one possible partner considered, and
eventually became a major channel for Danish and Nordic support until 1979.
When the TS-Board held its next meeting on October 14, it allocated the first
official Danish funds to victims of apartheid, through IUEF. The amount was
DKK 200,000 (approx. USD 25,000), to be used for the education of refugee
1. Letter from the Ministry to the Danish Embassy in Washington, 9 April 1964. Not sent. MFA
2. Letter from the Ministry to the Danish Embassy in Washington, 28 April 1964. MFA 6.U.566.
3. Letter from Technical Secretariat to the Danish Embassy in Washington, 27 June 1964. MFA
Out of Anonymity: The Apartheid Appropriation
1965: Institutionalising Danish support: The ‘Apartheid Appropriation’
During 1964, international hopes faded concerning the South African government’s intentions to enter into any kind of dialogue about reform, as suggested
by the Myrdal Expert Committee. In June, UN Security Council Resolution
191 unsuccessfully invited South Africa to grant amnesty to political prisoners,
including the Rivonia convicts who had been imprisoned on Robben Island,
and to give its response to the Expert Committee proposals. Alternatively, a
UN educational programme for refugees would be established. Subsequently, in
October 1964, the UN Special Committee against Apartheid issued an appeal
to all member states to support the victims of apartheid, and specifically recommended IDAF, Amnesty International, Joint Committee on the High Commission Territories and World Council of Churches (WCC) to help dependants of
detained, imprisoned and executed persons, refugees and other victims.1
The Political Department in the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
responded by asking the Technical Secretariat for Development Assistance (TS)
to consider supporting such activities on a more permanent basis, as the IUEF
grant in 1964 had been a one-time donation. The TS considered the possible
character and format of such aid, but had to conclude that such a regular
arrangement ‘would not fall within the definition of ‘technical assistance’ as
stipulated in the Danish Technical Assistance Act, and… TS therefore has to
refuse to fund it’. Consequently, a special allocation would have to be made.2
As part of some overall considerations of Denmark’s international political
profile, the Political Department established in a memorandum, on January 21
1965 that Danish support ought to be ‘less anonymous’ and more consistent
from now on. IUEF practice was to pool funds and help students from all African countries and not only South African refugee students, and this made the
Ministry discuss the possible use of more channels. The fact that Norway, Sweden and Finland had either embarked on similar support, or were intending to
do so, was also taken into consideration.3
On January 27, the Ministry internally discussed supporting refugee students through the Danish Refugee Council and contacts were also made with
the Danish Youth Council (DUF), one of the organizations that had played a
central role in the 1963 consumers’ boycott. DUF was a member of and acted
as the secretariat for the South Africa Fund (‘Sydafrikafonden’), a Danish
branch of IDAF, that worked to raise money. When the Ministry learned that
Sweden had granted USD 200,000 to victims of apartheid, they asked the Danish embassy in Stockholm to inquire into what purposes, through which channels and where—inside or outside South Africa—the Swedish money would be
utilised. By mid-February it was established that Sweden had granted USD
1. United Nations, 1994, p. 283–85.
2. Request from Political Department to TS, 8 December 1964. Response from TS, 15 December
1964. MFA 6.U.566.
3. Memo, 21 January 1965. MFA 6.U.566.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
100,000 to IDAF and the World Council of Churches (WCC) respectively. The
money was to be channelled through Swedish organizations.1
In March the Ministry of Foreign Affairs drafted a request to the cabinet's
internal committee on financial issues—a ministerial body coordinating fiscal
discipline—to go ahead and apply for DKK 500,000 from the Standing Parliamentary Finance Committee (Finansudvalget). The amount was calculated in
consideration of the 1964 grant to IUEF of DKK 200,000 and the fact that the
total would equal USD 100,000, half the Swedish allocation and more than the
Norwegian one of NOK 250,000. In the application it was argued that Denmark, through this separate budget allocation, ‘should give its support more
directly, in order to avoid anonymity of Denmark’s contributions’.2 On March
16 the Cabinet Committee approved the DKK 250,000 to be granted to a new
appropriation in the annual budget, in order ‘to provide official support to victims of apartheid, like Norway and Sweden.’ The other half of the suggested
DKK 500,000 was to be allocated as ordinary development assistance from TS
funds—the Danish development assistance allocation—and given as support to
the new UN Education and Training programme for South Africans. The UN
Programme was considered to fit into the framework of Danish ‘technical assistance’, and was going to be implemented in countries where Denmark already
had bi-lateral relations. For the bureaucracy this ‘fifty-fifty’ procedure had the
convenient side effect that the overall costs were reduced by 50 per cent, as the
TS allocation was already part of the existing budget.3
Out of anonymity
In June 1965, the Minister of Foreign Affairs took the application for an
appropriation of DKK 250,000 to the Parliamentary Finance Committee, referring to the Cabinet decision of March 16. The Minister motivated the application by drawing attention to the UN resolutions from 1963 and 1964, the
Norwegian and Swedish grants from 1963 and 1964, the public backing of the
issue, and the procedure from the 1964 grant of DKK 200,000 to IUEF.4 The se
four points indicate a typical pattern for how this kind of support would be
explained during the next thirty years: ‘UN wants us to do this’, ‘our neighbours do the same thing’, ‘we have public backing’, and ‘what we do is a continuation of existing procedures’.
1. Internal note, 27 January 1965. Announcement from the Swedish mission to the UN, 28 January
1965. MFA 6.U.566. Announcement from Sweden’s UN mission about a $200,000 grant to victims of apartheid, 28 January 1965. Dispatch from embassy in Stockholm on allocation of
grant, 19 February 1965. MFA 6.U.566. On IDAF and its role as a channel for international
funding, see: Reddy 1986, United Nations Centre against Apartheid, 1978, and: Collins, Southern Africa: Freedom and Peace, Internet reference.
2. Draft request to the cabinet committee for financial issues, 9 March 1965.
3. Note, Political Department P.J.1, 11 February 1965. MFA 6.U.566.
4. Appropriation Application (‘aktstykke’) No 467 of 1965/66 to the Standing Parliamentary
Finance Committee, 21 June 1965 (in some listings dated 11 October). Printed in ‘Finansudvalgets Aktstykker’.
Out of Anonymity: The Apartheid Appropriation
Further, the application underlined that it ‘seemed natural and desirable
that Danish efforts in the UN for the settling of the apartheid issue were backed
by Danish financial support to victims of apartheid’. The new appropriation
was described as humanitarian, as support ‘to victims of the South African government’s apartheid policy, mainly intended for the education and training of
young South Africans, especially of those in exile’. It was suggested that the
funds could be channelled through UNHCR, WCC, IDAF and possibly the
Zambian Red Cross. The application was approved on October 21, 1965.
This was the first and, for seven years, the last time the Apartheid Appropriation was discussed directly by members of parliament. Until 1972, when Minister of Foreign Affairs K. B. Andersen expanded the volume and use of the
Apartheid Appropriation, the Appropriation was part of Denmark’s general
humanitarian allocations. In these years, a pattern of how, to whom and
through whom the funds would be allocated was established, i.e. the substance
and practices of the Ministry administration and of the advisory ‘Apartheid
Committee’, later established to administer the allocation.
Domestic and international attention
The Apartheid Appropriation did succeed in making Danish policy ‘less anonymous’, both domestically and internationally. Its creation was reported and discussed in the Danish press, and the Danish Youth Council (DUF) issued a press
release approving the decision. The UN Secretary General also announced his
gratitude for the contribution to the UN Education Programme.1
IDAF, however, interpreted the Danish decision too positively and in a letter
to the Danish embassy in London they thanked Denmark for its contribution
of GBP 12,500 (equivalent to the total Danish grant of DKK 250,000). IDAF
board member, Gunnar Helander from Sweden, wrote a similar letter to the
Ministry in Denmark. IDAF had been informed through DUF about the new
Danish allocation, but they got it wrong. Denmark never allocated the whole
amount to IDAF. Even if Sweden in January had decided to support IDAF, and
the UN ‘Special Committee’ had recommended the organization in its appeal in
October 1964, IDAF was only one of several candidates considered by the
Danish Ministry.2
The Ministry had taken note of a news article reporting that the Dutch government had decided to support IDAF, and attached the following commentary: ‘If the Dutch can support Defence and Aid with NFL 100,000, we shall
also have to do something.’ But the Ministry also paid attention to a debate in
the Dutch parliament about the ‘political nature’ of IDAF and the involvement
of its founder John Collins in the anti-nuclear ‘Ban the Bomb’ movement, and
1. Aktuelt, 18 June 1965. DUF press statement 18 June 1965. Letter 19 July 1965 from UN Secretary-General. MFA 6.U.566.
2. Berlingske Tidende, 14 June 1965. Dispatch from letter thanking for GBP 12,500 to Defence
and Aid, 23 June 1965. Letter from Helander to MFA 14 October 1964.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
whether or not this would stop the Dutch grant. But the Dutch aid was
approved and the Danish embassy in The Hague could report wide popular
support in Holland for IDAF.1
When Collins and Helander understood that no decision had yet been
taken about how the new Danish grant would be allocated, IDAF applied for
support, targeting prison education and school fees for children of detainees.
These IDAF activities all corresponded well with the framework of the
Apartheid Appropriation.2
The new Danish grant also received attention from another audience where
it was meant to ‘end anonymity’—the South African public. When the news of
the Danish contribution to IDAF was made public on June 16, it followed in
the footsteps of the Dutch grant, which had received strong official and public
reactions in South Africa. According to South African Minister of Foreign
Affairs Hilgard Muller, IDAF paid the legal expenses for convinced communists and murderers attempting to overthrow the lawful South African government. Denmark’s decision to follow the Dutch example in contributing to
IDAF was on the seven o’clock radio news the same day, and on the front page
of the ‘Rand Daily Mail’ the day after. The Danish community in South Africa
protested to the consulates in Johannesburg and Cape Town. They also cabled
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen claiming that to support IDAF,
a fund for apartheid opponents in exile, would be considered ‘an unwarranted
attempt to interfere with the internal affairs of a friendly country’. The Ministry replied that the main purpose of the decision was to support education for
exiles and ‘that the humanitarian background should be emphasized’.3
This is an early indication of the flexible character of the Danish support. It
had two faces, one political and the other humanitarian. Technically, what
Denmark actually supported in 1965 and the years to come were humanitarian
activities: education, aid to the un-supported families of prisoners, legal assistance, and later health, food supplies etc. But the mere providing of such
humanitarian aid to opponents of the apartheid system (and allowing them
access to rights denied them by apartheid) was per se a political act. Thus, the
reactions of the South African public indicate the political impact of the Apart1. Dispatches from Danish embassy in the Hague 22 June, 9 July and 1 September 1965. In the
July one is noted: ‘It seems that the Dutch Foreign Ministry has a certain uncertainty as to
whether the Fund or its administration is sufficiently convincing in its claim not to have relations
with front organizations’. MFA 6.U.566. For more information on IDAF and Collins, see note 1
on p. 21.
2. Application from IDAF /Collins to Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 8 November 1965. MFA
6.U.566. A total of DKK 66 million from the Apartheid Appropriation was granted directly to
IDAF over the years; also, a substantial part of the allocations to UN funds went to IDAF. See
3. Dispatch from the Danish Consul-General in Johannesburg, 17 June 1965. Cable from The
Danish Committee 25 June 1965. Reply via the consulate in Cape Town, 2 July 1965. MFA
6.U.566. Later, the Consulate informed the Ministry that the ‘Danish Committee’ was dominated by junior civil engineers working for a Danish company awaiting a large contract in South
Out of Anonymity: The Apartheid Appropriation
heid Appropriation. At the same time, the humanitarian form of the support
could, when considered appropriate, be used to neutralise the very same political impact, as shown in the Ministry reply to the Danish community in South
The ANC branch in exile in Tanzania had also noticed the Danish move
and asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about support possibilities. The Ministry explained that no decision had yet been made on how the funds would be
allocated, but that the new appropriation would be distributed bi-laterally—
not via the UN. Investigations were made that eventually led to the ANC not
receiving any support. In a copy of one such report (without reference) on the
ANC and the educational assistance it received, the Ministry underlined sentences stating that:
ANC… has large numbers of scholarships to the Communist countries… ANC is now
led by a group of serious men who are strongly committed to the left. They are training,
and if only Communist countries will offer enough student places, sizable cadres of men
will tend to agree with their political analysis (some of course will reject it). If the West is
trying to compete, it has until now lamentably failed in the perfectly respectable activity
of offering education to refugees… 1
ANC had launched its armed struggle against the South African regime in
1961, and for Denmark it was not possible to fully assess the character and
intentions of the organization. ANC President Chief Albert Luthuli was a person held in high esteem, not to mention that he was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 1961, and Oliver Tambo had made a positive impression during his visits
to Copenhagen in 1960 and 1962. On the other hand, the fact that Tambo,
Nelson Mandela and the rest of the younger and more radical generation of
ANC leaders had launched the armed struggle just a week after Luthuli
received his Nobel Prize is not mentioned in the ministerial files. However,
Denmark only wanted to support humanitarian activities, not what was termed
‘political’ organizations or organizations that might be identified as leftist or
terrorist. This could disrupt the image of Danish support as strictly humanitarian and would narrow the flexibility to profile support as humanitarian or
political, according to the context.
Allocation and distribution: NGOs and the ‘Apartheid Committee’
When Minister of Foreign Affairs Per Hækkerup in June 1965 applied to the
Finance Committee for the Apartheid Appropriation, he also suggested forming an ‘Advisory Committee regarding humanitarian and educational aid to
victims of apartheid’ to administer it in cooperation with the secretariat for
development assistance (TS). The members of the committee—(soon nicknamed ‘the Apartheid Committee’) were supposed to be representatives from
Danish NGOs with knowledge of South Africa, ‘a concept similar to an
1. Reply to ANC Secretary General, ANC, Dar-es-Salaam, 15 July 1965. Undated news clipping,
filed December 1964. MFA 6.U.566.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
arrangement established in Norway’, and the committee was supposed to allocate the funds to educational and humanitarian activities, along the lines formulated in UN resolutions and appeals.1
In November and December the Ministry considered possible candidates
for the committee. A list of 19 organizations was put together, all considered to
have the relevant background information and contacts in South Africa. Eventually, eight organizations were invited to join the committee.2
Sydafrikafonden (The South Africa Fund—a committee working to raise
funds for IDAF), the Danish students’ council (Danske Studerendes
Fællesråd—DSF) and the Danish youth council (DUF) had all played central
roles in arranging public activities and campaigns, and they had also developed
significant networks, internationally and in South Africa. Together with the
Danish Refugee Council (Dansk Flygtningehjælp) they were suggested from the
start as possible channels for the appropriation.
Of the remaining 15, three more were invited to the first meeting: ‘AntiApartheid Kommiteen’ (The Anti-Apartheid Committee), Folkekirkens
Nødhjælp (DanChurchAid—DCA) and Amnesty International Denmark. The
former was associated with the British Anti-Apartheid Movement and was part
of the South Africa Fund together with DSF and DUF. DanChurchAid was a
church-based relief and aid organization, associated with the World Council of
Churches (WCC), founded in 1922. Around 1960 it shifted its focus from
Europe and started supporting victims of the conflicts in Congo and Algeria
and carried out ‘Bread for the World’ fund raising campaigns in Denmark.
WCC and Amnesty International had been among the organizations recommended by the UN as channels for support to victims of apartheid.3
The last candidate to be invited to join the ‘Apartheid Committee’ was Danmarks Internationale Studenterkomité (DIS—International Students Committee-Denmark), in its capacity of being the Danish representative and secretariat
for the World University Service (WUS) based in Geneva. WUS supported education for non-whites through the organization SACHED (South African Committee for Higher Education) in South Africa.
Representatives of the Ministry and the TS were also ‘de facto’ members of
the ‘Apartheid Committee’, and a TS official—often the Head of Office—
chaired Apartheid Committee meetings, usually accompanied by other officials
from the TS and the Political Department.4 TS came to act as the secretariat for
1. Appropriation Application (‘aktstykke’) No 467 of 1965/66 to the Standing Parliamentary
Finance Committee, 21 June 1965 (in some listings dated 11 October). Printed in ‘Finansudvalgets Aktstykker’.
2. Notes, 24 November, 10 December and 15 December 1965. Memo 15 December 1965. MFA
3. ‘Appeal to Member States by the Special [UN] Committee... ’, 26 October 1964. The appeal was
a specification of the appeal in the General Assembly Resolution 1978 B of 16 December 1963
to find ‘ways and means of providing relief and assistance’. UN 1994, p. 270, 284–85.
4. This was meant to prevent conflicts with other foreign policy initiatives in the field. Also, decisions on allocation. made by the Committee were to be approved by the Political Department.
Out of Anonymity: The Apartheid Appropriation
the ‘Apartheid Committee’, receiving the applications and researching background information etc. The Committee became a unique mix of a ministerial
body (which it was never designed to be in the first documents) and an NGO
forum that allocated funds among themselves or to their international associates.
This structure was not the result of a formal decision. It grew from the practice established by the TS. No bylaws were ever formulated to stipulate the
duties, mandate or criteria for membership of the Apartheid Committee or the
Ministry administration. In the beginning, the Apartheid Committee was supposed to be the administrative body for the Appropriation. The TS, however,
took over the administration and established the Committee as ‘an advisory
committee to the Minister’ in memoranda, minutes from meetings etc. This
arrangement was never disputed. The TS officials chaired the meetings on the
Minister’s behalf, summoned the members, formulated the agendas and wrote
the minutes. NGO members gave their opinions, made policy proposals and
commented upon allocations, on a general level.
The prominent role of the Ministry in defining the practices and framework
for the Committee meant that its decisions never left Ministry control. It also
prevented potential conflicts inherent in this paradoxical structure: the individual members of the Committee were appointed because of their knowledge of
and contacts with movements in Southern Africa, but the NGOs they represented were also the same institutions that applied for funding from the Appropriation. Had it been a more independent body, the Committee would easily
have been suspected of merely distributing funds among themselves. This could
have led to accusations of misuse. As ‘an advisory committee’ the ultimate
responsibility remained with the Minister.
This set-up secured that the recommendations of the Committee always
stayed harmoniously within the framework defined by the Ministry, and subsequently they were nearly always followed. Of course, realities in Southern
Africa sometimes changed after funds had been allocated, and this sometimes
affected the procedures. Such situations were handled by the Ministry administration, which sought the approval of one or more committee members. The
decisions were then confirmed at the next meeting.1
Yet, there were frequent uncertainties about and changes in the procedures,
mainly during the first years. As an example the ‘Apartheid Committee’ was
during the first period described in minutes etc. as ‘representing’ the Danish
private organizations, a formulation in accordance with Hækkerup’s application to the Finance Committee in 1965. Later, when the Apartheid Appropriation and the Committee became a more controversial issue in Danish domestic
politics, it was emphasised that its members were personally appointed by the
1. One remarkable exception occurred in 1974, as we shall see in Chapter 4, after the Angolan liberation movement FNLA forwarded an application in 1973 for support to a number of health
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Minister and were not included as NGO representatives, on the grounds that
the Apartheid Committee was an advisory body to the Minister. When NGOs
wanted to change what they considered ‘their’ members, a formal procedure
was developed whereby the NGO applied to the Minister, asking for individual
X to become a member rather than individual Y, and the Minister appointed
that person. The procedure indicates the lack of formal structures. The Ministry more than once had to check with its own previous practice before a new
member was appointed.
No Minister ever met with the Apartheid Committee or was directly in contact with it. The Committee communicated with the Minister through notes
and memos. The Minister expressed his views through the officials present at
the Apartheid Committee meetings.
Beneficiaries: Three broad categories
The Apartheid Committee met for the first time on January 4, 1966, at the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was chaired by the TS Head of Office. The
meeting discussed the 1965 appropriation application of DKK 250,000 to the
Parliamentary Finance Committee, as this was the closest to a founding document for the Committee. Possible suitable activities inside and outside South
Africa were discussed for potential support. The Committee assumed the number of South African refugees in exile to be no more than 2,000, and that sufficient international funds were already available to assist them. It recommended
that Denmark should rather fund activities inside South Africa, that were experiencing difficulties in finding donors because of international hesitation to
assist organizations ruled illegal or unwanted by the South African regime. It
was agreed that IDAF played a central role inside South Africa and would be
an interesting channel for funding. The World Council of Churches (WCC)
channelled parts of their funds through IDAF, and Amnesty International Denmark supported IDAF-Durban. The Apartheid Committee also anticipated that
the planned UN ‘Trust Fund for South Africa’ would probably use IDAF channels.1
The representative from the Danish ‘Anti-Apartheid Kommiteen’, Niels
Munk-Plum, stressed that he considered himself a spokesman for ‘more militant elements in [...] South Africa’. He knew several exiled politicians and
wanted to know if they could be recognised as channels for educational support. The Ministry officials expressed hesitation about supporting political
organizations if other and ‘more neutral’ channels were available. But they
would not totally exclude the option.
Apart from strategic demarcations of position, the first meeting predominantly discussed possible methods and channels for assistance, and it provided
information to help the evaluation of the various applications the Ministry had
1. The UN Trust started its activities in February and IDAF did become a main beneficiary. Minutes, meeting 4 January 1966. MFA 6.U.566.
Out of Anonymity: The Apartheid Appropriation
received. In November 1965 IDAF had sent an application for support of
prison education and school fees for children of detainees; IUEF applied on
behalf of St Mary’s College for refugees in Roma, Lesotho; the Danish Students’ Council (DSF) and World University Service International (WUS-I)
wanted to support bursaries from the South African Committee for Higher
Education (SACHED) in South Africa; the International Refugee Council of
Zambia (IRCOZ) applied for support to the resettlement of refugees and transit transport through Zambia; the World Council of Churches applied via DanChurchAid for humanitarian aid projects inside and outside South Africa; and
the Danish Refugee Council wanted to support the Peter Coxan-committee
(later ‘Ephesus House’) working with education for refugee students in Swaziland.
After the meeting the Ministry concluded that Danish support should fall
into the following three categories:
1. education inside South Africa,
2. education for refugees, and
3. other sorts of assistance to refugees. 1
The TS looked into the Nordic equivalents to the Danish ‘Apartheid Committee’, and arranged a meeting with the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council and with an official from the Swedish Government Aid agency
SIDA.2 They provided details about Norwegian and Swedish support, and at
the meeting the three countries exchanged information and experiences, in particular about Coxan in Swaziland, IRCOZ in Zambia and high schools in
Lesotho and Botswana that all three countries were considering supporting.
Through Danish staff at a development project in Zambia, research was also
done on IRCOZ and on the refugee organization ‘International Rescue Committee’ in Botswana led by a Commander Cunningham, who was reported to
have expressed that ‘communists and the likes should be sent back to [South
African Prime Minister] Vervoerd who knows how to deal with them’. IRCOZ
was judged positively, whereas Cunningham’s organization was never discussed
TS then suggested that Denmark should support the following:
— IDAF and SACHED on ‘education inside South Africa’,
— Peter Coxan’s committee in Swaziland on ‘education for refugees’,
— IRCOZ under the umbrella classification ‘other sorts of assistance to refugees’.
1. Memorandum. 27 January 1966. MFA 6.U.566
2. Minutes form meeting, 2 February 1966 after visit to Copenhagen by Vilhelm Bøe, General Secretary of Norwegian Refugee Council (‘Norsk Flyktningeråd’) and Chairman of the Norwegian
‘Spesialutvalget for Sørafrikansk Flyktningeungdom’ (the equivalent to and model for the Danish ‘Apartheid Committee’) and by Thord Palmlund, SIDA (the Swedish government development assistance agency), Secretary for SIDAs Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance. MFA 6.U.566.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Finally, it was decided to support the WCC for purposes covering all three
This proposal was discussed at the second meeting of the Apartheid Committee on February 11, and was approved by the NGO members. In terms of
volume, the Committee agreed to allocate DKK 100,000 to IDAF, 62,000 to
WUS, 54,000 to the Coxan Committee and 34,000 to IRCOZ. Support to the
WCC was agreed on in principle, but postponed to the 1966/67 budget year as
the WCC application was of a very general character, and a more detailed one
was expected the following year.2
The second Apartheid Committee meeting also discussed the framework for
future allocations. The TS sketched the guidelines: The original application
from the Minister to the Finance Committee was not to be taken too literally.
The intention behind the application had not been to restrict allocations to refugee and/or education purposes, the Ministry explained. Accordingly, the Ministry informed IDAF that it could also apply for funds to support legal aid
inside South Africa.
Not surprisingly, the NGOs agreed that there should be as few restrictions
as possible. They also agreed on the three support categories put forward by
the Ministry, but maintained that South Africans inside South Africa were in
the greatest need, and that the number of refugees who had fled the country
was limited. The NGOs also wanted to assist the political struggle in Rhodesia
and the Portuguese colonies. The Ministry agreed to consider this, and two
years later the appropriation was expanded to cover the whole region, starting
with scholarships to Rhodesian students. Finally, the NGOs suggested that the
allocations were made public, hoping that it would strengthen public awareness and the organizations benefiting from the allocations would be recognised
as partners by a Danish ministerial body.3
The TS Board was informed about the Apartheid Committee allocations at
its next regular meeting a week later, on February 18, 1966. The Board was the
body formally in charge of all development assistance, but as the Apartheid
Appropriation was a separate allocation on the annual state budget, the TS
Board had no formal influence. Formally, the TS now had an independent function as the secretariat for the Apartheid Committee and the Apartheid Appropriation. Some coordination was needed, especially during the first years, when
TS funds supplemented the Apartheid Appropriation.
Volume 1965–1971
The Apartheid Appropriation ended the ‘anonymity’ of Danish aid to Southern
Africa, but it was not the only allocation to the region in 1965/66. As shown,
1. Note to the Minister. 4 February 1966. MFA 6.U.566.
2. Minutes, meeting 11 February 1966. MFA 6.U.566.
3. Ibid. Announcing allocations in detail would remain restricted, as the Ministry wished to keep
domestic criticism of Ministers as low as possible.
Out of Anonymity: The Apartheid Appropriation
DKK 250,000 from TS funds went to the new UN ‘Educational programme for
South Africans’ under the Secretary General. Yet another DKK 250,000 of TS
funds also went to IUEF, through a similar procedure to the 1964 grant. The
total amount given in 1965/66 totalled DKK 750,000. Over the coming years
the Apartheid Appropriation grew slowly but steadily. In 1966/67 the amount
was at DKK 300,000, and it then grew annually by DKK 100,000 until 1970/
71 when it reached 700,000. Then, in 1971/72, the Appropriation jumped to
DKK 1,5 million.1
The real increase was in fact bigger than these figures indicate. Some activities first funded by the Apartheid Appropriation were later transferred to TS
budget lines as regular bi-lateral or multi-lateral development assistance, up to
1973. This was the case with scholarships and assistance to UN programmes.
This procedure continued for some years. From 1974 all Danish allocations to
Southern African were integrated into the expanding Apartheid Apropration.2
Another interesting multi-lateral budget-line item was support to the refugee ‘Mozambique Institute’ in exile in Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania. Sweden had
started supporting it in 1966, and invited other Nordic countries to do likewise. In 1968 Denmark allocated DKK 430,000 as multi-lateral support
through the UNHCR, and again allocated 500,000 in 1970 and 1971 before
the allocation was funded from the Apartheid Appropriation from 1972. As
the money was allocated as development assistance, approved by the TS Board,
it was not discussed by the Apartheid Committee. Nor is it found to have been
discussed politically or in public. It must be concluded that this support to education of exiles in Tanzania, as one of several multi-lateral allocations, did not
concern anybody although it went to activities of a liberation movement. As
such, this support was not a result of NGO initiatives like the 1971 support to
an ambulance to MPLA nor of political initiatives like the large scale support
to liberation movements from 1972.3
Establishing a track for the future
The double nature of the Apartheid Appropriation, as both humanitarian and
political, existed from the beginning. The declared intention to end the ‘anonymity’ of Danish assistance was clearly political: through the Apartheid
Appropriation Denmark openly stated its disapproval of apartheid racism and
its repressive consequences. Its creation was a signal to Pretoria, to liberation
movements and to the South African public about Danish views. Internationally and in the UN, Denmark, together with the other Nordic countries, pro-
1. Figures from TS/Danida’s annual reports and development assistance applications to the Standing Financial Committee. For further details, see tables.
2. For support to the UN funds, WUS and IUEF scholarships, education for refugees in Swaziland
and the Mozambique Institute, see tables for UN, WUS, IUEF and for Danish Refugee Council.
3. On support to MPLA and other national liberation movements, and Foreign Minister Hartling
later referring to the Institute see Chapter 3.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
filed itself as an advocate of human rights, a critic of racism and oppression
and a supporter of resolutions and other actions by the UN system.
In other contexts the humanitarian and non-political character was emphasised: the funds allocated through the Apartheid Appropriation went to the
education of refugees and other activities that enjoyed universal consensus. Not
even the Danish community in South Africa, criticising the Danish initiative of
interfering with the internal affairs of another country, nor the white South
African public, could openly object to educational programs helping desolate
fellow human beings to educate themselves. This aspect was central in the way
Denmark responded to these groups.
This contextual shift of emphasis, between political and humanitarian, was
repeated when domestic criticism of Danish assistance grew in the 1970’s, in
particular from the conservative opposition in Danish politics. And when official policy was criticised by the left, for being too weak, the political character
and political impact could again be stressed.
Chapter 3
‘To’ or ‘Through’? Denmark Supporting National
Liberation Movements
From the beginning, Danish official support to Southern African NGOs
enjoyed wide domestic consensus, regarding both its humanitarian substance
and its political perspective. In 1971, the support gradually began to include
national liberation movements engaged in political and military struggle
against the Southern African regimes. At first this was hardly noticed by anyone outside the Apartheid Committee and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Only later, from the end of 1971 and onwards, was the political dimension of
the humanitarian support highlighted and used politically on the international
scene. It then attracted national and international attention and was intensely
debated by the domestic opposition.
The Social Democrat K. B. Andersen, Minister of Foreign Affairs from
1971–73 and 1975–78, was a key figure in this development and he more or
less came to symbolise the more active Danish approach, intended to put more
political pressure on the Southern African regimes.
But K. B. Andersen never actually changed the key procedures or the core
‘substance and practice’ of the Danish support. It was in fact his predecessor,
the liberal Minister of Foreign Affairs (1968–71) Poul Hartling, who started
supporting the national liberation movements. Hartling represented the centreringt ‘VKR-Government’ that at this point had been in office for three years.
1971: The first grant to a national liberation movement
On January 28, 1971, the Apartheid Committee was routinely gathered to discuss how the following year’s Apartheid Appropriation funds should be allocated. The national liberation movements SWAPO, ZANU and MPLA, from
what are now Namibia, Zimbabwe and Angola, were among the applicants.1
All the NGO representatives on the committee recommended accepting
these applications as ‘they [the national liberation movements] carry out
important humanitarian activities that well benefit those in need of help’.2 The
NGOs argued that the movements could channel Danish humanitarian assistance to liberated areas and refugees in exile. The three applications were made
in rather general terms, seeking funding for medicine, school materials etc. The
1. ZANU application 2 February 1970, MPLA application 16 December 1970, SWAPO application of 23 December 1970. MFA 6.U.566.
2. Minutes from meeting of the Apartheid Committee 28 January 1971 (no date). MFA 6.U.566.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Ministry, represented by Danida (formerly the Technical Secretariat for Development Assistance (TS)), did not make any reservations or comments at the
meeting. In accordance with usual practice, the largest allocations were granted
to existing refugee, legal aid and scholarship programmes, through IUEF, WUS,
IDAF and DanChurchAid. But the Apartheid Committee also decided to set
aside DKK 50,000 to ZANU and/or SWAPO through IUEF, and 50,000 to
MPLA through WUS. The funds were to be released if and when sufficiently
detailed applications were received through these NGOs.1
After the meeting other parts of the Ministry administration expressed some
anxiety as to whether or not this kind of support to national liberation movements would be in accordance with the existing lines of practice. The Political
Department in the Ministry commented that ‘Support to liberation movements
constitutes an innovation’.2 After considering what was known about the
movements in question, the relevant UN resolutions and Per Hækkerup’s original description of the purpose of the Apartheid Appropriation, the Political
Department concluded that such support would still lie within the four criteria
listed for Danish official assistance:
— No military assistance,
— Confirmation by UN that the support would not violate other countries’
internal affairs,
— Neighbouring countries accepting transport through their territories and
— OAU acknowledgement of the movements in question.3
It was concluded that the existing practice of supporting humanitarian activities through the Apartheid Appropriation would not be jeopardized, as long as
the NGOs involved would ‘convert’ the Ministry funds into medicine, food aid
and relevant utensils before it reached the liberation movements so that Danish
cash could not be used for military purposes. It was also discussed whether it
would be diplomatically well advised to communicate this decision directly to
the movements and if they, technically, would be best advised to apply through
Danish or international NGOs. The Ministry feared that direct letters to the
movements could be interpreted as official Danish recognition, and that the
movements would use the exchange to strengthen their international position.
However, as the Ministry had already written to ZANU on a previous occa1.Internal Ministry note 2 March 1971 listing the allocation recommendations made. MFA
2. Internal notes by the Political Department, 18 February, 5 March and 10 March 1971. MFA
5.Q.293, also filed under 6.U.566. About the three liberation movements it was noted: ‘MPLA is
one of the three most important freedom movements in Angola and is supported mainly by Eastern countries and so-called progressive African countries... ZANU is one of two rivalling freedom movements in Southern Rhodesia. ZANU, operating mainly from Tanzania, is mainly
supported by China. ZANU is recorded to have conducted minor active guerilla activities
against the illegitimate Smith regime. SWAPO is one of the freedom movements in Namibia; it
represents the largest and most densely populated part of Namibia.’
3. Regarding Hækkerup’s appropriation application, see Chapter 2.
‘ T o ’ o r ‘ T h r o u g h ’ ? D e n m a r k S u p p o r t i n g N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n M o v e m e n t s 43
sion, it was decided that direct letters from the Ministry would not be inappropriate.1
The Ministry’s hesitation shows that there was no full political recognition
of the national liberation movements at this point in time. It was against official policy to do anything that could be interpreted as an official recognition of
the movements. On the other hand, the decision to support them was an indirect recognition of the importance of their humanitarian and educational activities.
Only MPLA responded to the letter from the Danish Ministry. In July 1971,
through WUS-Denmark, it delivered a detailed application for an ambulance, a
Land Rover, worth DKK 50,000.2 To release the money would not cause any
administrative problems, as the allocation was already prepared through the
Apartheid Committee’s decision in January and later approved by the Political
Department in the Ministry. But, once again, there were second thoughts. The
ambulance could quickly be stripped of its medical equipment and used for
military purposes that would violate Danish principles of not providing arms
or equipment to parties in conflict. The Ministry wrote: ‘If Portuguese authorities learned this, they could argue that Danish arms exports policies are not
being administrated objectively’.3 They feared it would damage the Danish
long-term position regarding the need for peaceful solutions to colonial conflicts in Africa. Consequently, the Ministry suggested that the money should be
used for medicine and medical equipment instead of an ambulance. Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Poul Hartling, agreed with the Political Department on this
reservation and approved the modification of the MPLA allocation.4
WUS-DK was informed about the decision but disapproved. They tried to
bypass it by sending a request to Minister of Culture and Development Assistance, Kristen Helveg Petersen. The Apartheid Appropriation was under the
Minister of Foreign Affairs and was not Petersen’s responsibility, so the move
would probably have failed. However, general elections were called in September, before the two Ministers even had the chance to discuss the matter. After
the change of government, the Stockholm based MPLA representative to the
Nordic countries visited Danida in November to discuss possible support to
MPLA, and he asked if the 50,000 could be used for the ambulance as well as
for medical equipment. A few hours later, after seeking approval from the new
Minister of Foreign Affairs, K. B. Andersen, Danida responded positively.5
The Political Department established that the grant was to be considered,
that it was humanitarian in substance, and would benefit individual victims of
1. Internal notes by the Political Department, 18 February, 5 March and 10 March 1971. MFA
5.Q.293, also filed under 6.U.566. Note of 22 March 1971. MFA 5.Q.293.
2. Application from WUS/MPLA 27 July 1971. MFA 6.U.566.
3. Internal note Political Department,, 6 August 1971, with Danida (formerly the TS) continuation
of 24 September. MFA 6.U.566/8
4. Internal note in Danida (former TS) 28 July 1971.
5. Note 4 November 1971 on visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Nordic MPLA representative A.A.Neto the same day. MFA 6.U.566.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
The first Danish support to a natonal liberation movement, a Land Rover ambulance for MPLA in Angola,
on a tour around Denmark to acknowledge the joint donations from the ‘Afrika-71’/WUS-campaign and
the conservative/liberal government, 1971. (Photo: Ibis)
Portuguese colonialism and warfare. It was not a grant to cover running costs
for the MPLA. Technically, the MPLA was considered to be a contractor, a second link together with WUS-DK, channelling the humanitarian aid between the
Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the individual refugee.1
In other words, the grant was presented as business as usual. In fact,
nobody outside the Ministry administration and the members of the Apartheid
Committee took any notice, as the formal procedure had not been changed.
However, the fact that MPLA itself would run the ambulance, outside the
direct control of WUS-DK, actually made this grant more ‘direct’ than those
following K. B. Andersen’s political expansion of the appropriation in the years
to come.
The MPLA grant can be seen as an indicator of a general political goodwill
towards the liberation movements, from across the political spectrum in Denmark. The question is if it represented a genuine change of position—indicating
a positive attitude towards supporting the movements as an administrative
arrangement, but negative about getting too much public attention about it. If
so, the explanation may be that for the Danida members of the Apartheid
1. Exiles or internally displaced persons in Angola.
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Committee, the humanitarian substance of the MPLA allocation was so obvious that they did not consider it a radical change of procedure.
According to internal documents from the Political Department the MPLA
allocation, ‘[was] not presented to the Minister, in accordance with previous
practice’.1 The Committee’s decisions were labelled ‘recommendations’ (‘indstillinger’) and could thus be considered advice to the Minister.2 This indicates
that the Apartheid Appropriation was politically relatively uncontroversial
until March 1972. It represented quite a modest amount of money, and its
humanitarian purposes were backed by a broad political consensus. It is not
uncommon for Ministry officials to be in charge of issues that are not considered politically hot, even if they are formally the Minister’s responsibility.
With the MPLA support, this changed. The Political Department was made
aware of the grant on February 18, 1971, and three weeks later Danida gave a
written summary of the Apartheid Committee’s meeting on January 28. On
March 5, the Political Department concluded that the political implications of
the support ‘seem to go beyond previous government policy. Laying the matter
before the Minister seems necessary at this stage...’3
On one copy of the TS summary it is underlined in pencil that the MPLA
and ZANU/SWAPO allocations will be given ‘through WUS’, ‘through IUEF’
and as ‘humanitarian work’. The note is also marked ‘to be put before the Minister’.
On March 10 the Political Department summarised its hesitation in a note,
stating ‘..the critical point is that support remains only 1) for humanitarian
purposes and 2) through international organizations.’ On March 19 the word
‘agree’ is added, with Minister Hartling’s signature.4
Denmark and its Nordic counterparts
Denmark was not the only country considering assistance to the Southern African liberation movements in the beginning of the 1970s. Sweden had already
started supporting PAIGC in Guinea Bissau and was planning on expanding.
Norway was debating a similar move. When the Nordic Ministers of Foreign
Affairs met for their bi-annual meeting in Stockholm, April 1971, the Danish
Minister of Foreign Affairs Poul Hartling expressed his concerns about
whether or not supporting national liberation movements in their struggles
1. Internal note 18 February 1971. MFA 6.U.566.
2. As shown in Chapter 2, the procedure until 1971 was that the Apartheid Committee proposed
the annual allocations to the TS/Danida board. Then Ministry officials handled the administrative details concerning the grants, before the Minister signed the final application to the Financial Committee. Hækkerup’s original application for the appropriation stated that ‘administration [of the allocation]... should be left to a committee of representatives...’ and even if there
is no direct conflict between this wording and the actual procedure, it is still rather remarkable
considering its official status as ‘advisory to the Minister’, as showed for instance in minutes
from the meeting 28 January 1971. MFA 6.U.566.
3. Note 2 March 1971. MFA 6.U.566.
4. Note 10 March 1971. MFA 5.Q.293.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
against recognized governments was in conflict with international law. At the
same time he expressed the importance of providing humanitarian aid to liberated areas where government channels would be of no help. This dilemma
reflected the struggle going on in his Ministry, trying to decide if, and how they
should support MPLA, ZANU and SWAPO.
Andreas Cappelen, the newly appointed Norwegian Minister of Foreign
Affairs, announced that Norway planned to support liberation movements and
wanted to strengthen its criticism of Portugal’s colonial policy, partly within
NATO. Norway looked favourably at applications for health and educational
assistance to liberation movements in the Portuguese colonies. It is not clear if
Cappelen actually meant that the Norwegian assistance would be going
directly ‘‘to’ the movements’, but what Cappelen said was that such assistance
would follow previous patterns of allocation procedures. Until 1973, this
meant Norwegian support would continue to be channelled through UN,
IDAF, Norwegian and international NGOs.1
In Norway, a ‘Special Committee for Refugees from Southern Africa’ had
been established in 1963 to administrate official funds for humanitarian purposes to victims of apartheid. As shown in Chapter 2, this committee served as
a model for the Danish Apartheid Committee. But whereas the Danish committee gradually developed to handle more forms of support from the Apartheid
Appropriation, the Norwegian one remained strictly humanitarian, supporting
mainly schools for exiled South Africans and IUEF scholarship programs. The
UN ‘Education and Training programme for Southern Africa’ and ‘Trust Fund’
channelled the money, and some limited assistance to IDAF was funded directly
from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Norwegian Refugee
Council served as the secretariat for the ‘Special Committee’ until 1972 when it
was taken over by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (and not by the official development agency NORAD). NORAD, however, had decided in 1970 that refugee
groups and activities run by ‘organizations and movements working for
national and social liberation’ should not be excluded from receiving regular
development assistance. This included liberation movements in liberated areas.
A government ‘white paper’ from the end of 1971 confirmed this, with references to the many UN resolutions in the field, but due to a change of government in 1972 it was not decided by parliament until February 1973.2
1. ‘Uddrag af ‘Resumé av förhandlingarna vid det nordiska utriksministermötet i Stockholm den
26–27 april 1971’’. MFA 6.U.566. Memo: Nordisk samrådsmøte 26. mai 1971 and attached
table of Norwegian assistance, 1969–1971. At the coordination meeting Norwegian officials
said that the applications they had received from liberation movements were for educational and
heath activities similar to the Mozambique Institute in Tanzania, but within liberated areas in
Guinea Bissau and Mozambique. Mixing support to the Institute established in exile and activities in liberated areas inside the Portuguese colonies did not help Danish decisions. MFA
2. On the Norwegian debate, see Eriksen (ed.), 2000, pp. 49–56 and attached table of Norwegian
assistance, 1969–1971.
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At the same meeting Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Torsten Nilsson,
explained that there was wide political backing in Sweden for support to
national liberation movements. Sweden had already transferred its first direct
official humanitarian aid to the liberation movement in Guinea Bissau in the
annual budget 1969/70, and Nilsson said that the Swedish support was
increasing and was soon going to include MPLA in Angola.1
Nilsson had been in favour of funding national liberation movements for a
long time. In April 1967 the Social Democratic party branch (‘Arbetarekommun’) in Stockholm, chaired by Nilsson himself, had adopted a resolution and
a statement—the latter formulated by Nilsson—that ‘requested the government
to increase economic support to the liberation movements of the Portuguese
colonies’. This was in an addition to the existing support to Frelimo’s Mozambique Institute in Tanzania.2
On December 10, 1968, Nilsson gave a speech at a seminar, stating that the
Swedish state would support liberation movements. As a party member Nilsson had personally been involved in formulating the request, but the reply was
given in his position as Minister. The speech was published in a press release
and widely discussed in Sweden in the following days, and it was immediately
reported to Denmark by the Danish embassy in Stockholm.3
In February 1969, during a debate in the Danish parliament, the Left Socialist Party (‘Venstresocialisterne’) asked Minister of Foreign Affairs Hartling to
start supporting national liberation movements struggling against Portuguese
repression. They also referred to Nilsson’s December speech. Hartling replied
that ‘Denmark worked and supported within the UN framework and according to the UN Charter... and had supported the Mozambique Institute through
the UNHCR’.4
A few weeks after the new Danish Social Democratic government took
office in October 1971, the Prime Minister, the Minister for Trade and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, K. B. Andersen, travelled to Norway and Sweden,
mainly to discuss and coordinate the attitude on the European Economic Community (EC) that Denmark was in the process of joining. During the meetings
with the governments in Oslo and Stockholm there was also time for Andersen
to discuss support to Southern Africa with his colleagues.
1. ‘Uddrag af ‘Resumé av förhandlinggarna vid det nordiska utriksministermötet i Stockholm den
26–27 april 1971’. MFA 6.U.566. Memo: Nordisk samrådsmøte 26 mai 1971.
2.The Stockholm initiative was referred to by Bengt Ahlsén, member of the party branch and
Chairman of the Stockholm South Africa Committee, in an undated letter to Niels Munk-Plum,
Chairman of the Danish Anti-Apartheid Committee who, as a member of the Apartheid Committee forwarded a copy to the Ministry in letter of 1 May 1967. MFA 6.U.566.
3. Letter of 10 December 1968 from the Danish Embassy in Stockholm to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs with copy of press release with Nilsson’s speech. For more on the Swedish debate, see
Sellström 1999a, p. 234ff.
4. Folketingets Forhandlinger 19 February 1969. About the first—and rather unnoticed—support
to Frelimo ‘Mozambique Institute’, see Chapter 2, p. 37.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
In Norway, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thorvald Stoltenberg,
informed Andersen that the Norwegian government had moved a proposal to
grant NOK 700,000 for printing equipment, medical equipment etc. to
national liberation movements, in addition to the existing humanitarian grant.
He also explained that the Norwegian government had reluctantly agreed to
Telli Diallo and the OAU-delegation’s wish that an OAU conference on liberation in Southern Africa could be held in Oslo. It had been emphasized to the
delegation that Norway did not want to be involved as organizer or host, but
might contribute financially together with the other Nordic countries. Andersen said that the Danish Social Democratic party had been informed by Diallo
that representatives of the Social Democratic parties in other countries would
be among the organizers. He did not like the idea, and the two governments
agreed that the Nordic UN associations should be involved along with the
World Council of Churches and other NGOs, rather than the governments.1
In Stockholm, the new Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Krister Wickman, informed Andersen about Swedish assistance to PAIGC in Guinea Bissau
and MPLA in Angola. At the most, Swedish assistance to national liberation
movements in Africa had totalled SEK four million. Sweden contributed
between SEK one and two million for medical and educational equipment to
the PAIGC, and Portuguese reactions to the support had been few. Sweden had
suffered no cancellations of business orders or other economic consequences.
Wickman further explained that supporting the PAIGC and MPLA had never
given any administrative problems. Also, in terms of international law, it was
official Swedish policy that there was not much difference between support
given directly to a liberation movement or through international organizations.
The UN organizations supported the national liberation movements, and
Sweden’s position was that ‘as long as the UN General Assembly can support
the movements, so can Sweden’. Regarding the proposed OAU conference,
Sweden was generally very positive about the idea, but did not intend to ‘provide sponsorship’. It would rather give a minor financial contribution.2
These meetings provided Andersen with information that allowed him to
continue to push for an increase in Danish support to national liberation movements. Sweden already did support them, and Denmark’s NATO partner Norway seemed to be following suit. Administratively, Sweden had no bad
experiences with the movements, and politically Sweden’s way of referring to
UN General Assembly Resolutions—that could otherwise have been disputed
because they were not unanimous and only partly confirmed by the Security
Council—was a particularly useful reference for Denmark.
1. Minutes from meeting 25 October 1971 between Norwegian Minister of Trade Per Kleppe,
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Thorvald Stoltenberg and Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs
K. B Andersen. MFA 6.U.566.
2. Minutes from meeting 26 October 1971 between Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Krister
Wickmann and Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs K. B. Andersen. MFA 6.U.566.
‘ T o ’ o r ‘ T h r o u g h ’ ? D e n m a r k S u p p o r t i n g N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n M o v e m e n t s 49
K. B. Andersen later referred to the Norwegian and Swedish support in parliamentary debates, but in his 1983 memoirs he does not. He does not mention
any Nordic inspiration for the Danish Social Democratic party programme of
1969 either. At this point, in 1983, the cold war of course dominated the political debate while support to national liberation movements had ceased to be a
core political issue.1
Danish NGO initiatives: ‘Afrika-71’
By 1971, the NGO and grassroots initiatives on South and Southern Africa
from the first half of the 1960s had lost pace. The apartheid regime seemed to
have managed to clamp down effectively on internal protests. News from
South Africa no longer made headlines in Europe like it used to. Events in Rhodesia were not considered significant enough to interest more than a few. Its
‘Unilateral Declaration of Independence’ from Britain in 1965 and the subsequent UN sanctions in 1968 had drawn some attention, but the issue focused
on international law and did not have much public appeal. The ‘new left’ had
its eyes on national liberation and anti-imperialism in Vietnam, rather than on
The Danish organizations concerned with Southern Africa continued to be
the ones established in the first half of the 1960s: the Anti-Apartheid Committee, the Danish Youth Council (DUF) and the umbrella structures South Africa
Fund and the Council for Southern Africa (Fællesrådet). The consumer boycott
campaigns in 1960 and 1963 had successfully mobilized the Danish public, but
a later major fund raising and information initiative only managed to draw
about the same amount that had been invested in the campaign.2
The money was distributed through IDAF (the South Africa Fund was the
Danish branch of IDAF) and the individual committee members then paid the
deficit out of their own pockets. This experience did not inspire other fund raising initiatives. However, the magazine ‘Sydafrika Kontakt’, started by the AntiApartheid Committee, continued to be published, and was taken over by the
Council for Southern Africa from 1967.3
At its General Assembly in 1968, held in Uppsala, Sweden, and its Central
Committee meeting in Canterbury, England the following year, the World
Council of Churches (WCC) established the ‘programme to Combat Racism’.
Later, in 1972, a Danish branch was established, called the ‘Kirkernes Raceprogram’. The initiative came late, considering the events in South Africa in the
1960s, but in Denmark it served as a continuance between the media focus on
the big trials against ANC and other leaders in the mid-1960s, and the renewed
media interest after the Soweto uprising in 1976.4
1. See Chapter 5.
2. See Chapter 2 about popular attention on Southern Africa in the 1960s.
3. Interview with Ole Bang 12 May 1997.
4. Talk with Leif Vestergaard, April 1997, see also Chapter 4.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
The left’s anti-imperialist stand on Vietnam, however, indirectly helped in
opening Danish eyes to the anti-colonial struggles in Southern Africa. The antiAmerican protests of Danish youth and students were partly incited by the feeling that Denmark wrongly sided with American imperialism through its membership in the military alliance NATO. Critics held that the alliance also
legitimated fascist regimes in the NATO countries Greece and Portugal, and
Portuguese colonialism.
The Danish Students’ Council (DSF) played a central role in the new left,
and as the student constituency of DSF was radicalised by the student protests,
the DSF leadership also changed. The new leaders saw the struggle against
imperialism and exploitation in the third world as part of the radical struggle
within Denmark, against NATO membership, the arms race and even against
what was considered the capitalist content of university textbooks. Danish progressive students experienced African guerrilla fighters as their brothers in
arms, and this provided a basis for mutual solidarity. Support to African liberation struggles was perceived as more that just ‘aid’. A defeat of imperialism in
Africa would also weaken the same forces in Denmark.1
One of the DSF activities was the World University Service-Denmark (WUSDK), a branch of WUS-International until 1970. Through DSF, WUS-DK
became one of the NGOs represented on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’
Apartheid Committee from the start in 1966, actively advocating an increase of
the annual allocations from the Apartheid Appropriation. WUS-DK was
funded both from the Apartheid Appropriation and through Danida. These
funds were channelled mainly through WUS-International for SACHED and
other scholarship programs in South Africa and Rhodesia.2
The radicalisation of the Danish students’ movement, as well as the year
1971 being declared International Year for Action against Racism by the UN,
made WUS-DK decide that they wanted to create a framework for more active
political solidarity work. At the WUS-International assembly in 1970 in
Ibadan, Nigeria, WUS-DK proposed that the organization should start supporting the liberation movements in its next four-year programme. The proposal was not adopted because such a decision would endanger the ongoing
scholarship programmes in South Africa and Rhodesia. Consequently, the Danish delegates reorganized WUS-DK as an independent organization on their
return to Denmark. No longer a branch of the international organization, they
considered themselves affiliated with WUS-International. In this position WUSDK would be free to support liberation movements without damaging WUSInternational’s programs, which WUS-DK could still continue to raise money
for.3 Together with the high school students’ organizations (Danske Gym1. Interview with Peder Sidelmann, 3 December 1996, and talk with Klaus Wulff, 17 September
2. DKK 242,000 from the Apartheid Appropriation 1966–69 plus Danida funding scholarships for
refugees in exile.
3. Interview with Peder Sidelmann, 3 December 1996.
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nasieelevers Sammenslutning, DGS) and Internationalt Forum (IF—the youth
wing of the Danish UN-association (FN-Forbundet)) the ‘new’ WUS-DK
started preparing a one-year information and fund raising campaign about racism, colonialism and neo-colonialism in Southern and Eastern Africa, called the
‘Afrika-71’ campaign. ‘Afrika-71’ approached national liberation movements
in Southern Africa for contacts and information material. Since most of the
other Danish organizations supported activities in South Africa and Rhodesia,
‘Afrika-71’ decided to focus on the Portuguese colonies. Denmark’s partnership
relations with Portugal through NATO and EFTA made this a rational choice,
both morally and as a point of departure for the domestic information campaign. Of the liberation movements in the three Portuguese colonies, Frelimo in
Mozambique already had a well-established relationship with Sweden and
received Swedish support, and PAIGC in Guinea Bissau was outside of the
Southern Africa sphere. The Angolan movements FNLA and MPLA were contacted, and MPLA was ‘found to be the least regionally focused’, the one with
the best national backing—and ‘as the decisive factor the one that gave the best
MPLA also had specific programs and plans for their humanitarian and
educational work and could identify needs for health equipment including a
mobile clinic/ambulance, agricultural implements, ‘bush school’ facilities in liberated areas and the upgrading of its ‘4 de Feveiro’ secondary school in exile in
Congo Brazzaville. The MPLA Secretary of Organization and Training, Lúcio
Lara, was also willing to come to Denmark from Brazzaville and boost the
In the ‘Afrika-71’ campaign, WUS was in charge of the research on and
contacts with the liberation movements. ‘IF’ was in charge of the information
policy. Of the three organizations behind the campaign, ‘IF’ was the only one
with individual membership. Several of their members were both enthusiastic
and had in-depth knowledge of Africa and issues like racism and colonialism.
The high school students (DGS) worked on the fund raising, including an
arrangement at the end of November called ‘Operation Day’s Work’, where
high school students all over the country contributed the equivalent of one
day’s wages to a humanitarian purpose.3 This was the second time ‘Operation
Day’s Work’ was arranged in Denmark, and the former government had
already decided upon ‘Afrika-71’ as one of the receivers.4
Most Afrika-71 campaign activities took place from September to November 1971. The campaigners arranged seminars and had specialized lecturers
touring the country, including high schools. The tour started with Börje Matt1. Ibid. Politiken, 17 October 1971. ‘Afrika-71 Evalueringsrapport’ by Otto H. Larsen. Internal
evaluation sent to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, May 1972. MFA 5.Q.293.
2. Interview with Lúcio Lara in Sellström 1999b, pp. 18–21.
3. The first Danish ‘Operation Day’s Work’ was arranged in 1969, raising money for a Unesco
School Project in Zambia.
4. Politiken, 15 September 1971. Kristeligt Dagblad, 22 October 1971.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
son from Finland, speaking at the University of Copenhagen about his experiences from areas in Angola liberated by MPLA, about their civil activities and
about the Portuguese use of chemical weapons. A week later Abdul Minty,
Political Secretary in British Anti-Apartheid Movement, gave a lecture about
South African imperialism in the region and explained how arms supplies from
Western Europe would help South Africa to undermine possible NATO measures to prevent Portugal from using NATO equipment in Africa. In October,
the ANC scholar Ruth First toured Denmark for five days and gave lectures
about the situation in South Africa and how apartheid interacted with Portuguese colonialism in a situation resembling Vietnam.1
The campaign produced a newsletter on the anti-colonialist struggles and
initiatives of national liberation movements in the region and of the independent governments in the front-line states. The paper included contributions from
the Danish political parties. They all denounced apartheid and spoke favourably about Danish humanitarian assistance in general, but only the socialist parties emphasized the political role of the liberation movements and promoted
Danish contacts and support.
Afrika-71 also published a book with economic and political background
information about the situation and history of Southern and Eastern Africa.
The book tried to answer two questions: ‘What is it like in Southern Africa?’
and ‘Why is it like that?’. Part of the answer to the last question was that ‘Denmark is engaged in a military partnership with Portugal in NATO and an economic one in EFTA. The ruling class in Portugal benefits greatly from
Portuguese affiliation with these organizations as arms supplies from or via
NATO countries help continue the war in Africa—and Portugal enjoys preferential arrangements in EFTA’.2
The book further expressed hope that
knowledge of the conditions may contribute to understanding Denmark’s role as a minor
pawn in the overall game that allows brutal oppression and exploitation of the people in
certain countries whereas those in other countries are overwhelmingly confident with
society structures that are considered natural, but are based on exploitation of peoples in
for instance Southern Africa.
Finally, posters and giro-forms were printed and distributed for information
and fund raising:
... It is no longer sufficient to rely on pressure on Danish authorities to make them radically re-consider Danish involvement in Southern Africa. We shall have to make extraparliamentary steps—to support liberation movements out of our own pockets... Every
day we hesitate to contribute will make it more difficult for those who struggle to remove
1. Politiken, 15 and 24 September and 7 and 13 October 1971.
2. Bislev et al. 1971, Foreword (no page numbering) and p. 69.
‘ T o ’ o r ‘ T h r o u g h ’ ? D e n m a r k S u p p o r t i n g N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n M o v e m e n t s 53
fascism with arms and afterwards to eradicate poverty and ignorance... Schools must be
built..., devastating diseases must be fought... and food must be produced through agricultural production in liberated areas. 1
Twenty local study, information and fund raising groups were established
across Denmark along with similar groups in many of the high schools. They
discussed the Afrika-71 book, organized for one of the five Afrika-71 poster
exhibitions that toured the country to be displayed at the local library, facilitated the touring lecturers, collected money and handed out information material in the street. As an example, even the small town Haslev, south of
Copenhagen, was visited by Ruth First and the Swedish journalist Knut
Andreassen, who had travelled in areas in Guinea Bissau liberated by PAIGC.
The theatre group ‘Rimfaxe’ made a play about the conditions in the Portuguese colonies, performed at schools and in the streets. And at the end of the
campaign the MPLA Land Rover ambulance, funded mainly from the Apartheid Appropriation, toured Denmark with the drama group and a poster exhibition.2
In October an OAU delegation, headed by Secretary General Telli Diallo,
visited the Nordic countries. They stopped in Denmark to mobilize political
backing and financial support for the OAU’s increased efforts against Portuguese colonialism, initiated at a meeting in Lagos in December 1970. The delegation met twice with the Afrika-71 campaign and a possible private Danish
committee for support to the OAU was discussed. The delegation had more difficulties arranging meetings with Danish government representatives, as Denmark was in the process of installing a new government after the September
general elections. However, the new Prime Minister Krag and Minister of Foreign Affairs K. B. Andersen, together with the Director of the Ministry, received
the delegation as one of their first official assignments. Telli emphasized the
importance of the role the Nordic countries played in the UN and that the
OAU countries intended to coordinate resolutions etc. with the Nordic group.
He proposed that Denmark should support the OAU’s own funds for support
to national liberation movements, as well as the public committee for support.
Andersen promised to consider this, but it never materialized. The main reason
was that the liberation movements in question later expressed that they preferred direct assistance. They were also concerned about the lack of resources
of the OAU administration for handling such funding.3
1. ‘Afrika-71’ campaign ‘newspaper’, giro material, posters etc. Internal WUS memo by Knud-Erik
Rosenkranz 4 September 1979 summing up previous WUS campaign experiences, Ibis 26.1 and
28.1. ‘Afrika-71 Evalueringsrapport’ MFA 5.Q.293. Afrika-71 posters were designed and produced by the socialist collective of artists ‘Røde Mor’.
2. Næstved Tidende, 6 September 1971. Kristeligt Dagblad, 22 October 1971. For Knut Andreassen’s trip to Guinea Bissau with MP Birgitta Dahl, see: Sellström 1999a, p. 431.
3. Report 2 January 1971 from the Danish embassy in Lagos to the Ministry, referring to the OAU
meeting and resolutions in Lagos 9 to 12 December 1970. MFA 5.Q.293. Politiken, 10 and 11
October 1971. Minutes, 12 October 1971: Meeting between OAU delegation (General Secretary
Telli and Algerian ambassador Shadal) and the Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. MFA
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
On October 28, the ‘Afrika-71’ campaign arranged a conference with representatives from each of the political parties in parliament at the University of
Copenhagen. The campaign tried to get the Minister of Foreign Affairs to participate, but he declined. The representative of the Social Democratic Party
declared that Denmark should criticize Portugal more firmly, and that the party
was preparing direct support to humanitarian and educational activities of the
liberation movements. ‘Swedish and Norwegian experience showed [that] such
support was possible’, he said. The amount of Danish support was not settled
yet, and ‘a decision about whether or not some of the funds should be channelled through OAU would be a matter of OAU administrative efficiency in
this respect’.1 As agreed with Afrika-71, Lúcio Lara visited Denmark in
November. He participated in seminars and press meetings. He also met with
Danida, and discussed the idea of building a new secondary school for exiled
students in Congo Brazzaville. Danida responded that official Danish assistance to the project was possible, but would require an application with more
details about the project and its administrative procedures. Lara’s visit was not
high profiled. While in Copenhagen he stayed with WUS activist and Afrika-71
Campaign Secretary Peder Sidelmann on the university campus and used public
transport to get around.2
The campaign managed to raise a total of DKK 446,000. DKK 343,000
came from the high school students’ Operation Day’s Work in October. The
rest was contributions by some 1500 individuals, and the combined result was
considered quite substantial.3 It reflects a re-vitalized focus on Southern Africa
in the general public, linked to the left’s mobilization on Vietnam and the perceived need for international solidarity against the mechanisms of imperialism
and neo-imperialism at play. Unlike in the 1960s, the issue at stake was not primarily violations of human rights by South Africa’s apartheid regime, but the
situation in the Portuguese colonies. In this sense Afrika-71 was a campaign
‘closer to home’ than the campaign in the 60s, as one of the main motivating
factors was the role and responsibility of Denmark’s political and economic
alliance with Portugal. The Afrika-71 campaign also coincided with a change
of attitude in the Social Democratic Party, a development that had been going
on since 1969. When the party took office in October 1971, the campaign was
encouraged to go ahead. WUS, IF and DGS had the moral and political convic-
1. Internal ministerial notes describing the Afrika-71 seminar 28/10. 28 October 1971, MFA
5.Q.293 and 2 November 1971, MFA. 6.U.566.
2. Ministerial note 30 November 1971, minutes from visit to the Ministry by Lúcio Lara and Klaus
Wulff. MFA 6.U.566. Interview with Sidelmann, 3 December 1996. On the Congo school
project, see below.
3. Kristeligt Dagblad, 22 October 1971. Information letter August 1973 to Afrika-71 campaign
contributors. WUS 10.1.
‘ T o ’ o r ‘ T h r o u g h ’ ? D e n m a r k S u p p o r t i n g N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n M o v e m e n t s 55
tion that something needed to be done, and this developed into concrete action
in an environment of political possibilities and financial prospects.1
The Social Democrats and the national liberation movements
At its 30th party congress in June 1969 the Social Democratic Party had
adopted a so-called ‘Action programme’ to profile itself on domestic and international issues while in opposition. The programme pledged the party’s support to national liberation movements and to their struggle for political,
economic and social independence in a number of countries, South Africa,
Rhodesia, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea Bissau and Vietnam.2
The issue was given high priority. In a section called ‘Denmark and international relations’ the support for liberation movements followed the paragraph
on the United Nations and preceded issues like general development assistance
and continued NATO membership. K. B. Andersen later explained in his memoirs that the focus on national liberation movements was a recognition of
‘world history [..] no longer being confined to Europe’, after World War II.3
The Nazi Germany occupation of Denmark during World War II was not a distant experience, and the Danish resistance movement played an important role
in the Social Democratic Party’s way of understanding and morally siding with
the movements in Africa.
Domestic political currents were also an important context for the 1969
Social Democratic congress. The end of the 1960s and the 1970s was marked
by political left wing mobilization, especially among students and youth. USA
was strongly criticized for its involvement in Vietnam and its role as ‘the world
policeman’. Inspired by the Vietnam War, ‘Solidarity with oppressed peoples of
the Third World’ had become a political slogan. Students’ manifestations often
included attacks on imperialism in South East Asia, Latin America and Africa.
The NATO military alliance was considered a tool for imperialism, and the
Danish membership was questioned. Denmark had joined the alliance in 1949,
for a period of twenty years. In 1968, students occupied the University of
Copenhagen and the same year a fraction of the People’s Socialist Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti) seceded and formed a new party, the Left Socialist Party (Venstresocialisterne). This had eventually led to the fall of the SF-supported Social
Democratic government the same year. The Social Democratic Party had come
under pressure from the new left and was forced to strengthen its positions
including issues like international relations and solidarity. Last, but not least
1. Letter 24 October 1971 from ‘Afrika-71’ to Minister of Foreign Affairs K. B.Andersen referring
to a meeting between Wulff and Sidelmann with Andersen in June 1971, four months before the
change of government. MFA 5.Q.293.
2. Det nye Samfund: 70ernes Politik (‘A New Society: Policy of the 1970s’). The section: ‘Danmark
tilhører Verden (‘Denmark belongs in the World’).
3. Andersen, 1983, pp. 14–16.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
the party was in opposition and subsequently in a much freer position to formulate a radical policy than it would have been in government.1
During 1969 and 1970 the Left Socialist Party repeatedly proposed that the
Danish parliament should officially recognize the African national liberation
movements and financially support them, but without backing from other parties.2
During the budget debate in the winter 1970 – 1971, discussing the budget
of 1971/1972, the Social Democratic Party proposed an increase of the Apartheid Appropriation by DKK 5 million, 3.5 million more than the 1.5 million
suggested by the government. At the third and final budget reading, on March
30, the proposal was raised again, but not passed.3
On September 21, 1971, general elections were called. A new Social Democratic government was formed, under Jens Otto Krag. The Prime Minister presented the government’s programme in parliament on October 19, and in his
inaugural speech he announced that the government intended to ‘expand the
humanitarian and educational support to oppressed peoples and groups
through international organizations and liberation movements’.4
During the following parliamentary debate there were no comments on this
particular issue from the conservative and liberal parities in the outgoing government. The immediate reaction came from other quarters. The NGO campaign ‘Afrika-71’ was just starting, and welcomed the pledge to support
liberation movements, but, as could be expected, considered it too modest:
‘The Social Democratic Party has previously proposed that 5 million be allocated to liberation movements, but that will not suffice.’ ‘With our Afrika-71
campaign we will focus on how unbalanced this is out of a development assistance budget of between 600 and 700 million. Liberation movements have
since 1961 proved to be the only and the most efficient organizations to change
conditions in the developing countries… In less than ten years Frelimo in
1. Politisk Revy no 118, 21 February 1969 and no 130, 29 August 1969. The magazine ‘Politisk
Revy’ became a forum for the new left. Upon the killing of Frelimo President Eduardo Mondlane
it ran articles in 1969 on Portuguese colonialism emphasising the importance of NATO equipment, along with an interview from The Guardian with Amilcar Cabral from the Guinean liberation movement PAIGC, listing aircraft models supplied by NATO member countries and used
in Portugal’s colonial struggle. An issue later in 1969 had an interview with MPLA representative Humberto Traca under the heading ‘NATO struggling against us’.
2. Question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs 19 February. Foreign Policy debates 29 May 1969
and 19 February 1970. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1968–69, 4165 and 7154. Folketingets
Forhandlinger 1969–70, 3707.
3. During the opening of the budget debate 10 December 1970 the Social Democratic Party proposed that the parliament should ‘recognise the right of liberation movements in Africa, Asia
and Latin America to fight for independence and also for economic and social justice.’
Folketingets Forhandlinger 1970/71, F 2267. Together with the People’s Socialist Party (SF) the
Social Democrats moved an amendment (no. 68) to allocate 5 million extra ‘for humanitarian
relief work in the form of support to liberation movements’. This was repeated during the final
budget reading on 30 March 1971. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1970/71, F 5231.
4. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1971–72. F 34.
‘ T o ’ o r ‘ T h r o u g h ’ ? D e n m a r k S u p p o r t i n g N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n M o v e m e n t s 57
Mozambique have built more schools in liberated areas than the Portuguese
colonial regime did in centuries’.1
Liberation movements with human faces: ‘But, we knew them’
K. B. Andersen describes and explains Denmark’s support to national liberation movements in his memoirs as follows: ‘Now, why all this interest for
Africa? Because... the white man has made so many mistakes in Africa that it
has been important for me to try to understand the liberation struggle, not in
an East–West perspective but on the basis of its own background and premises’.2
The main point for Andersen is that liberation movements in Southern
Africa were nationalist, not communist. Their cause, he explains, was not to
create a communist society as a replica of the Soviet Union or China, but to get
rid of colonialist oppression or state racism. He sees this as a just cause, in line
with Danish general support to de-colonization and with the Danish struggle
against the German occupation during World War II. Finally, he was certain
that the movements would, eventually, succeed. On these grounds Denmark
was morally obliged to support the struggle:
As Minister, I was often criticized for promoting support to liberation movements... [as
they were said to be] non-democratic, communist infiltrated movements. The point that I
repeatedly made was that we would not be doing Western democracy any favours by
turning our backs on the liberation movements. On the contrary: it would send them
directly into the arms of communism. 3
To Andersen, supporting the national liberation movements was not supporting a global communist movement that the West—and certainly the Social
Democratic movements in the West—was against. On the contrary: if the West
failed to meet its obligations, the movements would have no other option but
to look for help in communist countries, and with conditions or propaganda
attached, the movements might be influenced or forced or cheated into forming
communist societies. K. B. Andersen pointed to Egypt as an example of how a
developing country could become part of the Soviet sphere of influence. The
West had denied Egypt the agreed financial assistance to build the Aswan Dam,
which made Egypt turn to Moscow for help. In Andersen’s opinion it was not
only morally wrong but simply also politically unwise of the West not to assist
the movements. It is with some satisfaction that Andersen quotes US Secretary
1. MFA 6.U.566. Kristeligt Dagblad, 22 October 1971. Interview with Peder Sidelmann, 3 December 1996.
2. Andersen 1983, p. 49–59. A politician’s memoirs must be expected partly to serve as retrospective conclusions to justify political decisions. However, Andersen’s writings stand the test when
details and general analyses are compared to primary sources, and they bring forward arguments
for why the Social Democratic party took on this policy.
3. Ibid, pp. 14–50. Political commentator Carl Otto Brix in a biographical essay on Andersen as
Minister of Foreign Affairs describes the two focus areas in his time in office to be: the relations
to Africa and developing counties, and adjusting Denmark’s foreign policies to the EC before
and after joining in 1972. Brix, 1994.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
MPLA President Agostinho Neto with Social Democratic Party Secretary and later Minister of Foreign
Affairs K. B. Andersen in a Copenhagen restaurant in 1970. (Photo: Hans Strømsvik/Polfoto)
of State Henry Kissinger for expressing his regrets to Andersen about not having given Africa priority, nor having been able to understand the situation as a
complex fight against colonialism and racism rather than a cold-war situation.1
Personal contact with leaders of the liberation movement was crucial in
reassuring Andersen and the Social Democrats that the movements were
nationalist and not communist. MPLA President Agostinho Neto has a prominent place in K. B. Andersen’s memoirs. Andersen was elected Party Secretary
in January 1970, and in that capacity he hosted Neto’s visit to the Danish
Social Democratic Party the same year. Neto toured the Nordic Social Democratic Parties, mainly on the initiative of the Swedish party and the Social Democratic Youth in Sweden.2 Andersen was clearly impressed:
Neto made a strong and remarkable impression... through his dignified appearance and
well-considered opinions. He was also known for his often-gentle poetry about the liberation struggle and about its victims... I also remember Neto’s wise answers at a press conference during his visit. Against the background of the harsh press debate during Neto’s
visit, about the horrifying and aggressive people of whom he was said to be the leader, it
1. Andersen 1983, p.20.
2. For Neto’s visit to Sweden and first official Swedish contacts with MPLA, see Sellström 1999a,
p. 424–429.
‘ T o ’ o r ‘ T h r o u g h ’ ? D e n m a r k S u p p o r t i n g N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n M o v e m e n t s 59
is interesting to study the nature of the requests he made: medicine, sheets, powder milk,
agricultural implements and clothing for children, women and old people. 1
Most of the Social Democratic Party shared the impression of the liberation
movements as pre-dominantly nationalist, not communist.2 Their main aim
was seen as humanitarian. They wanted social and economic development,
which, however, was not possible before national liberation was achieved.
Contact with the movement leaders was also facilitated by the increase of UN
resolutions from 1960 and onwards that made such meetings possible according to international law. The reference to the Danish resistance movement
1940–1945 helped the struggle for independence to be seen as legitimate. ‘We
knew them’, as Kjeld Olesen, former party official and Minister of Foreign
Affairs puts it. Olesen organized Oliver Tambo’s visit to Denmark in 1960 and
Steen Christensen is another example. The Secretary of the Social Democratic ‘Workers’ Solidarity Fund’ (established at the 1969 Social Democratic
party congress) had studied in Britain in 1967, together with exile members of
ZANU, including future post-independence Ministers. His impression is that:
[The liberation movements’ communist rhetoric] ‘could be applied as it would
suit specific international situations. It was possible to get support from the
Soviet Union or from China if you said the right things and that is what they
did. But—as far as I know them—they would never dream of setting up ‘people’s communes’ in Zimbabwe or in South Africa’. ‘Knowing these people over
many years, it is obvious that they wanted their national independence.’4
1. Andersen 1983, p. 17. Poems by Neto were published in Denmark in Per Wästberg’s anthology
‘Afrika Fortæller’ in 1962, translated from the Swedish version from 1961. When the prominent
periodical ‘Den Ny Verden’, specialising in global social, economic and cultural issues started in
1964, it published Neto’s poems in its first issues. Den Ny Verden. 1.1, 1.2 (1964), 2.1 (1965).
2. Ibid. K. B. Andersen also refers to leaders of African states in his memoirs. Nyerere is quoted for
expressing that the perception is wrong that African liberation movements are communist, and
for quoting the ‘Lusaka Manifesto’ that ‘the peoples of Mozambique, Angola and Portuguese
Guinea are not interested in communism or capitalism, but in their freedom’. The Lusaka Manifesto (printed in Legum and Drysdale, 70: p. C41ff) though adopted in April 1969 is not referred
to by Andersen as background for the Action Programmeme of the Social Democratic Party
from June 1969.
3. ‘We had talks till late in the night during his visits, including about the resistance movement in
Denmark. The ANC was not controlled form Moscow. Communists were very active in the
ANC, but they were so in the Danish resistance movement during World War II... Together with
K. B. Andersen I talked to Neto, he was no communist but a great humanitarian... The liberation movements used a lot of rhetoric but behind that we knew better... They could not mobilise
on ‘democracy’ in places where there had never been democracy, they had to formulate an ideological basis about oppression and social injustice and how you get rid of that... Many built on
an ideology inspired by marxism, but so did the Danish Social Democratic Party in its early
days.’ Interview with Olesen 21 August 1997.
4. Interview with Steen Christensen 9 January 1997. Christensen became the Social Democratic
International Secretary 1980–1984, and Party General Secretary 1984–1997.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Minister of Foreign Affairs, K.B. Andersen announces his expansion of the Danish humanitarian support to
national liberation movements in Southern Africa, November 1971. (Photo: Scanpix/Willy Lund)
‘Millions to African freedom struggle’
The drafting of the new government’s annual budget for 1972/73 started while
K. B. Andersen was still visiting Norway and Sweden and while ‘Afrika-71’
was busy with its campaign activities. The new government wanted to allocate
DKK 6.5 million (about USD 1 million) to the Apartheid Appropriation and
have its budget line name changed to include the national liberation movements. On his return, Andersen discussed the expansion of the Appropriation
with the administrative heads of the Ministry. They saw no formal problems in
supporting the movements using normal Danida procedures, as long as the
appropriation did not go to ‘un-specified’ support, such as administration.1
In mid-November, after Andersen had participated in the annual UN General Assembly, he called a press conference upon his return and announced the
expansion of DKK 5 million to be allocated ‘to African liberation movements’.
The newspapers reported it under headings such as ‘Million Kroner Support to
African Freedom Struggle’.2 Interestingly, it did not raise any political or public
debate at this stage. In a letter to the members of the Apartheid Committee the
1. Internal note 2 November 1971 with section of draft budget. Internal note 8 November 1971 on
discussion 3 November between the Minister, the Director of the Ministry and the Heads of
Departments for Danida and for the Political Department about Apartheid Appropriation procedures. MFA 6.U.566.
2. Berlingske Tidende, 18 November 1971. Aktuelt,18 November 1971.
‘ T o ’ o r ‘ T h r o u g h ’ ? D e n m a r k S u p p o r t i n g N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n M o v e m e n t s 61
Ministry wrote that the new government’s initiative would mean ‘a new Apartheid Appropriation’.1
The way these changes were presented, and the fact that they had been
included in the government’s inventory of new policies, shows that Andersen
and the new government considered them a substantial political innovation, or
at least wished to present them as an innovation. On the other hand, the
response Andersen got from his senior officials at their meeting on his return
shows that the administration did not. Given the allocations already agreed
upon to make a grant to the MPLA (and ZANU and SWAPO) at the beginning
of the year and the considerations that followed, this is not a surprise.2 At the
meeting, Andersen agreed that the substance and practice of the Apartheid
Appropriation would stay largely unchanged.
The Apartheid Appropriation was now four times as large as in the previous budget. The question of whether the plan for such an expansion was ‘just’
quantitative or if it was qualitatively an innovation—‘a different appropriation’ with a different, wider purpose— is central to the nature of Denmark’s
official support to Southern Africa. The expansion can be measured in two
ways: on its actual ‘substance and practice’ that did not change much, or on its
political impact that did develop. If seen as a continuation of the existing support, the assistance was still humanitarian, an indication that Denmark still
pursued the policy started in 1964. If seen as an innovation, it meant that Denmark had embarked on a new and more high-profil policy.
Already during its preparations, the administration in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs envisaged confusion about this two-sided nature. To clarify matters, the Ministry administration produced an internal memorandum outlining
the background and defining the future practice for the allocation. This document was later used as a reference for what could be supported and what could
not. Previous support from the Apartheid Appropriation was described, including the 1971 grants to MPLA and ZANU/SWAPO and the international law
implications were discussed. Non-interference was stated as a basic principle
for Danish foreign policy, but it was considered ‘justifiable to maintain’ that
this principle would not be violated by humanitarian assistance to Southern
Africa, as ‘UN Security Council resolutions invite member countries to provide
support or at the least specify that oppression ought to cease’. The Minister’s
formulations were analysed, and the document concluded that ‘the new appropriation’ would technically be a continuation of previous support. It could,
however, be considered a step beyond existing practice in terms of working
relationships, as the support could now be channelled through liberation move-
1. Letter 29 November 1971 from the Ministry to members of the Apartheid Committee. MFA
2. See p. 43
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
ments in addition to international organizations, as long as ‘direct contributions in cash to the movements’ was avoided.1
What should be noted is that according to the memo, the ‘humanitarian and
educational’ support could now be ‘channelled through organizations and
national liberation movements’, but not to either category.2 The organizations
were seen as vehicles for support to individual beneficiaries. After this overall
assertion, the memorandum states that the full title of the Apartheid Appropriation, including the new amendment ‘...and to liberation movements’, implies
three possible procedures for allocations:
a) to international organizations for support of their own activities;
b) via international organizations to humanitarian and educational activities of national
liberation movements and
c) directly to national liberation movements, to their humanitarian and educational
This shows that the practical administrative procedures actually did allow for
support ‘to’ and not through the receiver. But the conclusion does not:
‘Whereas the first two options do not require any special control, the latter
does as regards Danish authority control with the correct utilisation of the
funds’. This would mean that ‘direct contributions to liberation movements
would not be an option’. In other words, the latter of the three options was in
reality not considered relevant, despite the fact that the changed title for the
allocation referred to international organizations and liberation movements as
equal options for assistance. With these definitions the Ministry administration
established that the ‘substance and practice’ of official Danish assistance would
not be changed.
The memorandum was communicated to K. B. Andersen who did not make
further comments, although its conclusions narrowed what was expressed in
the 1969 Social Democracy working paper, in the government’s opening speech
in October and at his own press conference in November. However, Andersen
would soon make good use of the memo’s narrower definitions.
The memorandum came to define the future Danish support to Southern
Africa. It specified that allocations would take place according to the existing
procedures and criteria. However, in the public as well as the political debate
there was a strong understanding that national liberation movements would
from now on receive funding. This confusion is apparent in the most inconsistent use of the prepositions ‘to’, ‘through’, ‘via’ or ‘direct’ in the debates that
followed. No distinctions were made to clarify if the liberation movements
were beneficiaries, channels for support or partners, whereas the Ministry
1. Memorandum, 10 December 1971: ‘Humanitær og uddannelsesmæssig støtte gennem befrielsesbevægelser’ (‘Humanitarian and Educational support through national liberation movements’)
MFA 6.U.566. The Security Council Resolutions referred to were 277 (1970) on Rhodesia, 269
(1969) on Namibia, 282 (1970) on South Africa and 290 (1970) on the Portuguese colonies.
2. Ibid. The italicizing here of prepositions and in the following text is done in this study for the
purpose of analysing the character of Danish support.
‘ T o ’ o r ‘ T h r o u g h ’ ? D e n m a r k S u p p o r t i n g N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n M o v e m e n t s 63
memorandum had established that practice would continue to be the latter.
The debates would focus on whether or not Denmark should support, or was
supporting, the liberation movements directly.1
Reactions to Andersen’s expansion
Andersen expanded the volume of the Apartheid Appropriation, but did not
change its form or nature. His loud announcement of the expansion created
quite some political turbulence domestically, but it also helped Denmark draw
international attention to the situation in Southern Africa and the role played
by the liberation movements. The double nature of the appropriation was
important to Andersen, because it provided political space on the international
scene, and at the same time protected him from domestic criticism, by underlining the humanitarian and educational purposes of the appropriation.
From March 6 to 20, 1972, just before the third reading of the budget in
parliament, K. B. Andersen visited Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia to discuss
Danish development assistance and other relations between Denmark and
these countries, as well as the situation in Southern Africa in general. At a press
conference he seized the opportunity to announce the expanded Apartheid
Appropriation, which he presented as new and as support ‘to’ the liberation
movements. In Tanzania, he also visited the Mozambique Institute and met
with Frelimo and the OAU Liberation Committee. In Zambia he met with the
In the Tanzanian–Danish communiqué, released as a press statement, K. B.
Andersen said that ‘the Danish government and people support the legitimate
attempts of peoples in Southern Africa to liberate themselves, and intend to
continue herewith’.3 The Tanzanian press complimented Andersen for having
shown more interest in Africa’s biggest problem than any previous visitor on
the same political level. In Zambia, Andersen emphasized in speeches and
interviews that Denmark believed in self-determination of the South African
1. Budget proposal 30 November 1971, Folketingets Forhandlinger 1970/71, D1.
2. Minutes from meetings 8-9 March 1972 between K. B. Andersen and OAU Assistant Executive
Secretary Ahmed Sidky, between K. B. Andersen and Janet Mondlane and between Andersen
and Samora Machel. Minutes from meeting 13 March 1972 between Andersen and Agostinho
Neto. MFA 5.Q.293.
3. Press release (Danish version) 10 March 1972. Reuters news agency telegram 10 March 1972
quoting Tanzanian newspaper The Nationalist the same day. MFA 5.Q.293.
4. Manuscript for speech: Response to Zambia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs E. Mudnenda at reception 13 March 1972. KBAaba. Cable 14 March 1972 from Danish embassy in Lusaka referring
to Andersen’s speech. MFA 5.Q.293. President Kaunda welcomed the Danish policy as it was a
Western country and said it could strengthen those in the liberation movements that sought to
avoid Eastern dominance. ‘MPLA and Frelimo are genuinely independent movements that have
worked to remain free of Eastern influence. This is part of the reason why OAU have backed up
these two movements. Minutes 14 March 1972 from meeting the same day between President
Kenneth Kaunda and Minister of Foreign Affairs Andersen. MFA 5.Q.293.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Director of the FRELIMO Mondlane
Institute in Dar-es-Salaam, Janet
Mondlane, meets with Minister of
Foreign Affairs, K.B. Andersen, in
Copenhagen, 29 March 1972.
Andersen had visited the Institute a
few weeks earlier during his trip to
East African countries where he
announced Danish support to
national liberation movements. Denmark supported the Institute from
1968 following an invitation from
Sweden. (Photo: Polfoto)
Portuguese newspapers—largely controlled by the government—strongly
condemned K. B. Andersen’s statements, his visits to Frelimo and the Mozambique Institute in Dar-es-Salaam. Andersen was an issue in the Portuguese press
for several weeks, and the Danish embassy in Lisbon received several threatening letters. Portuguese criticism was further fuelled when Janet Mondlane, the
Director of Frelimo’s Institute, visited Andersen in Copenhagen immediately
after he returned home and on March 28 asked for arms assistance from the
West in an interview on Danish TV.1
In South Africa the opposition newspaper ‘The Star’ quoted K. B. Andersen’s statements under big headlines: ‘Terror Groups offered R12 mill’. The
paper had got the figures wrong, as this was the equivalent of the total Danish
development aid. South African opposition spokesman Japie Basson criticized
Denmark, and the Chairman of the ruling Nationalist Party’s Foreign Affairs
Group, Paul van der Merwe called the grant ‘abhorrent’. A newspaper editorial
headed ‘Utterly Foolish Action’ called the support ‘naive’ and ‘blood money’,
as it would prevent peaceful solutions. Another editorial in ‘The Star’ with the
heading ‘Something Rotten’, denounced the grant but also emphasised that the
harsh apartheid measures would have to be softened in order to prevent more
countries from giving up hope of peaceful solutions. In ‘The Cape Times’ Prime
Minister John Vorster and head of opposition, Sir de Villiers Graaff, both
denounced ‘the Danes’ guerrilla grant’, and ‘The Argus’ ruled out that support
would be humanitarian: ‘Money given to terrorists is money for murder’.
1. Cable 13 March 1972 from Danish embassy in Lisbon quoting newspaper editorials in Diario de
Noticias 11 March 1972 and Epoca 12 March 1972. MFA 5.Q.293. Report 5 April 1972 from
the embassy describing official, diplomatic and public reactions in Portugal. MFA 6.U.566.
‘ T o ’ o r ‘ T h r o u g h ’ ? D e n m a r k S u p p o r t i n g N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n M o v e m e n t s 65
South African newspaper advertisement denouncing
Danish support to national liberation movements.
March 1972.
South African individuals sent some of these clippings to the Danish Consulate
representatives with comments like: ‘You should be ashamed of your country.’1
The news travelled the world. Nigerian newspapers quoted the Tanzanian
press. The Danish ambassador in Cairo reported from a visit to Ethiopia that
OAU Secretary General Telli Diallo acknowledged Denmark’s support and that
the Portuguese reactions were on the front page of the Ethiopian press. The
Swedish daily ‘Sydsvenska Dagbladet’ quoted the strong Portuguese and South
African reactions and explained the Portuguese rage as being because Denmark
and Portugal were members of the same military and trade alliances, NATO
and EFTA.2
On March 17, while Andersen was still in Africa, the Portuguese ambassador visited the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs claiming that the liberation
movements were communists and bandits, and that he had been called home
for consultations. The Ministry Director answered by evoking the ‘substance
and practice’ of the support and explained to the ambassador that the Apartheid Appropriation was meant for humanitarian and educational purposes and
that cash allocations were not granted, from fear that they might be misused
1. Report 20 March 1972 from Danish embassy in Johannesburg and consulate in Cape Town,
with news clippings from 16 and 17 March. MFA 5.Q.293.
2. Report 11 March 1972 form the Danish embassy in Lagos. Clipping from Swedish newspaper
Sydsvenska Dagbladet 18 March 1972. Report 29 March from Danish embassy in Cairo on visit
to Addis Abeba. MFA 5.Q.293.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
for arms purchases. The ambassador did go home, but he soon returned, and
later made no further official protests.1
In Denmark the first news comments on Andersen’s announcements in
Africa were quite positive. The conservative daily newspaper ‘Berlingske
Tidende’ praised the Danish ‘humanitarian and educational support to resistance movements’ that, together with the general development assistance, gave
Denmark international goodwill. The term ‘resistance’ rather that ‘liberation
movements’ was a positive echo of the Danish resistance movement during
World War II. The daily newspaper ‘Politiken’ criticized the Portuguese press
for ignoring that the Danish support was meant for educational and humanitarian purposes. This was the first time the domestic press paid any real attention to the Apartheid Appropriation since the Prime Minister had announced
his plans to support the liberation movements in October 1971.2
On March 19 an editorial in ‘Berlingske Tidende’ found however that Denmark should refrain from supporting liberation movements. On the 27th an editorial in the tabloid ‘B.T.’ told K. B. Andersen ‘to keep his nose out of Africa’
and asked how it could be guaranteed that the support was not spent on arms.3
In the budget debate in parliament on March 23 and in a letter to the editor
in B.T. on March 29, K. B. Andersen explained the ‘substance and practice’ of
the expanded Apartheid Appropriation in detail, trying to rectify the impression his statements in Africa had made of Denmark giving support to the liberation movements. This was not enough to end the political and public debate,
partly due to Andersen. Even when he explained the ‘substance and practice’ of
the Apartheid Appropriation expansion, he kept referring to its political
nature, as he had done since his first press conference in November 1971. It
was the high profile political side of the Apartheid Appropriation that had such
strong effects internationally, and that also fuelled the domestic debate.
Andersen tried to explain that the ‘substance and practice’ would remain
largely unchanged, and emphasized how this was in continuation of earlier policy. MPLA, SWAPO, ZANU and the Frelimo Mozambique Institute had
already received support under the former Liberal (‘Venstre’) government.
In April 1972 the debate re-erupted with the news that Danish exports to
Portugal and South Africa had been affected. Two industrial orders had been
cancelled. The Confederation of Danish Industry wrote to the Prime Minister
and demanded that the government covered the losses. Individual private companies wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and criticized the Danish policy,
and the Danish Chamber of Commerce demanded that Danish support must be
changed. The Chairman of the Danish Metal Workers Union, the Social Democrat Hans Rasmussen, requested the Social Democratic government to give up
its policy as it could jeopardize employment in Denmark. The government
1. Note, Minutes 17 March 1972 from meeting the same day between Portugal’s ambassador to
Denmark and Director of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. MFA 6.U.566.
2. Berlingske Tidende and Politiken, 12 March 1972.
3. B.T. 29 March 1972.
‘ T o ’ o r ‘ T h r o u g h ’ ? D e n m a r k S u p p o r t i n g N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n M o v e m e n t s 67
rejected the protests, and in the end it appeared that the two export orders in
question had been lost before K. B. Andersen’s trip to Africa, and had nothing
to do with Denmark’s policy.1
Still, the public was divided. Some newspapers believed that the expansion
of the Apartheid Appropriation meant that Denmark would now give support
to national liberation movements. They saw the movements in a cold war context, as communists and terrorists, and criticized K. B. Andersen for pursuing a
costly policy with no other effects than to ruin Danish exports. Others based
their opinion on the fact that the ‘substance and practice’ remained unchanged,
and agreed with K. B. Andersen’s three arguments: that civilians (in exile, in
liberated areas or in prison because of political activities) should not be denied
humanitarian or educational assistance because they were in contact with or
members of liberation movements; that the cold war arguments did not apply
to the African movements; and that any possible negative effects on Danish
trade were insignificant compared to the moral obligations of the matter.
Interestingly, Poul Hartling, the Chairman of the Liberal Party (Venstre)
and K. B. Andersen’s predecessor, criticized the government in public as well as
in parliament for ‘directly supporting national liberation movements’ and for
allocating funds that could not be controlled. Under the former government
‘money to liberation movements was solely channelled through international
organizations’, he explained, unaffected by Andersen’s explanation in parliament three weeks earlier that the ‘substance and practice’ would remain
unchanged.2 Hartling—like many others—was confused by Andersen’s choice
of preposition in ‘support to liberation movements’ and it indicates a shift
internally in Venstre from the policy it had pursued in government to a more
critical attitude while in opposition.
Parliamentary debates: ‘To’ or ‘through’?
The annual 1972–1973 budget was passed on March 23,1972, including the
increase of the Apartheid Appropriation from DKK 1.5 to 6.5 million. In addition, its budget line title was changed to include the liberation movements.
During the debate in the Standing Parliamentary Financial Committee, the liberal and conservative opposition parties moved an amendment where the previ-
1. Information, 4 and 12 April. Jyllandsposten, 12 April. Politiken, 12, 14 and 16 April. Børsen,
13 and 17 April. Berlingske Tidende, 28 April. Letter from Rasmussen to Prime Minister Krag 4
April 1972, answer from Andersen to Rasmussen 8 April. Rasmussen had been approached by
Knud Tholstrup, owner of a major company fearing to lose the order for gas facilities for Portugal. In his reply, Andersen offered to meet with Tholstrup to discuss the issue. Letter 22 June
1972 from Knud Tholstrup thanking Andersen for telephone conversation inviting him to a
meeting which he declines. KBAaba, Box 21. Letter 13 April 1972 from the Danish Chamber of
Commerce to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Letters 19 April 1972 from Prime Minister Krag
to Director of the Confederation of Danish Industry Arnth-Jensen and from K. B. Andersen to
the President of the Chamber of Commerce Dan Bjørner. MFA 5.Q.293.
2. Børsen, 13 April 1972.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
ous year’s volume and formulation were maintained, but a majority of the
three other parties rejected this.1 The budget line now said that support could
be given ‘through liberation movements’ and in the presentation of the
adjusted budget proposal at the start of third reading, the Social Democratic
spokesman said that ‘in accordance with the policy of the Social Democratic
party the government is proposing to make funds available for humanitarian as
well as educational assistance to oppressed peoples and groups, [and] that the
assistance can be channelled through international organizations as well as
through liberation movements’.2
The debate never got beyond the confusion about the two words ‘through’
and ‘to’. The written text said ‘through liberation movements’, but K. B.
Andersen continued to refer to it by saying ‘to liberation movements’. A
spokesman of the liberal opposition party ‘Venstre’ argued that their amendment to maintain existing practice was the result of ‘not wanting to give [funding] to liberation movements—it will be difficult to choose between competing
movements, it will hardly be possible to control the use of donated funds and it
would be a violation of the principle not to give government funding without
the consent of the government of the receiving territory’.3
Andersen reminded parliament that the opposition’s suggested amendment
would prevent ‘the government proposal to give support directly through liberation movements’. He underlined that it was not an innovation ‘to give such
support through liberation movements’, and reminded parliament that ZANU,
SWAPO and MPLA had already received support ‘to humanitarian activities’,
although ‘via private international organizations’. ‘Now such funds can also be
channelled via liberation movements’, Andersen continued.4
The confusion continued in parliament a month later in a two-day general
debate about Denmark’s foreign policy. In his presentation, K. B. Andersen said
that Denmark was going to increase the humanitarian and educational support
to oppressed peoples and groups ‘through international organizations or
directly through liberation movements.’ He underlined that the governments of
Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia had all emphasised ‘the political and psychological significance it would have if a Western country—and even a NATO member—would make such a step’.5
The Conservative spokesman quoted the former Director of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, saying that ‘conflict in a foreign country would always have to
1. Budget proposal and amendment no 74 by ‘Venstre’ and ‘Konservative’, Folketingstidende
1971/72 D1. Parliamentary proceedings, third and final reading on 23 March, Folketingstidende
1971/72, F 4067–4173. Interestingly, in August 1971, before the change of government, then
Minister of Foreign Affairs Poul Hartling had found DKK 2 million to be an appropriate volume
for the appropriation for the coming 1971–1972 budget. Internal note 22 March 1972, MFA
2. Third reading, 23 March 1972. Folketingstidende F 4068.
3. Parliament proceedings 23 March 1972. Folketingets Forhandlinger F 4099.
4. Ibid. and F 4160–61.
5. Parliament proceedings 19 April 1972. Folketingets Forhandlinger F 4953–54.
‘ T o ’ o r ‘ T h r o u g h ’ ? D e n m a r k S u p p o r t i n g N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n M o v e m e n t s 69
be fought between the parties without any interference from other governments... For this reason the Conservative Party was against changing existing
principles for assistance so that it would now come to include humanitarian
assistance to liberation movements’. Venstre’s spokesman, former Minister of
Foreign Affairs Poul Hartling said that it had previously been Denmark’s policy
to support refugees. What the present government was introducing was support even to the liberation movements within their home territories. Hartling
referred to Andersen’s formulations at the press conference back in November
and during his trip to Africa. Hartling refused to accept the actual budget text
as superior to Andersen’s previous oral statements, a compromise that might
have mitigated most of the conservative and liberal criticism. Venstre also
found that distributing official funds behind the backs of ‘the actual governments’ was a violation of the principle of non-interference, which could not be
accepted, ‘regardless of the fact that Venstre dissociated itself from the
Andersen replied that UN Security Council Resolutions denouncing the racist and colonial regimes as illegitimate, provided a platform for Denmark to
extend its support to liberation movements, without violating principles of
non-interference. The support would not be unique. African countries were
providing similar support and so were Norway and Sweden, and with larger
amounts than the Danish allocation. Andersen also asked Hartling ‘what official backing he had when he allocated funds to MPLA, SWAPO and ZANU via
IUEF and WUS as Minister of Foreign Affairs’. But on this point even Andersen
was mistaken. Hartling’s previous allocations had never been to national liberation movements.2
Hartling then pointed at the inherent confusion in Andersen’s argument.
‘On one hand the Minister claims that the government is merely doing what
previous governments were doing, on the other the argument is ‘we are doing
something new’.’ If ‘the new’ appropriation really was an innovation, Hartling
was against it. If it was not, he saw no reason to criticize the government, ‘but
then again, there would be no basis for the political profiling that has been
done on the issue, neither in Africa nor domestically’, he said. ‘If the Minister
can’t see this difference he really is an old horse as there is a clear distinction in
This was a precise analysis and could have clarified things. But the fact that
in the discussion Hartling ignored the fact that liberation movements were
involved when he had allocated funds prevented the confusion from being
1. Conservative spokesman Østergaard in parliament proceedings 20 April 1972. Folketingets
Forhandlinger F 5048. Ambassador Nils Svenningsen in Berlingske Tidende, 13 April 1972. Parliament proceedings 20 April 1972. Folketingets Forhandlinger F 5062-64.
2. Parliament proceedings 20 April 1972. Folketingets Forhandlinger F 5105–07 and F 5113–15.
3. Ibid. F 5128–29.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Andersen did refer to what we may call the ‘to or through’ debates in his
1983 memoirs. And even more than ten years later, Andersen mixing things up
maintains the confusion. He writes that the expansion of the Apartheid Appropriation ‘included allocations also to national liberation movements’ and that
this had taken place even under Hartling, although he subsequently maintains:
‘These were very modest allocations and it had not, as we suggested, been
directly to the liberation movements but via international organizations—not
government to government [or movements].’1
But in ‘substance and practice’, money was never distributed to the national
liberation movements. Funds were never given directly to them and they were
never the primary project partners for the Ministry. Neither had this been the
case under Hartling. What Hartling had started, and what Andersen consolidated was that support to NGOs with refugees as the beneficiaries could now
sometimes take place in collaboration with the movements.
Dolisie: NGOs favoured over Unesco
WUS-Denmark’s and the ‘Afrika-71’ campaign had successfully introduced the
Portuguese colonies and their national liberation movements—especially the
MPLA—into the Danish debate. It coincided and interacted with K. B.
Andersen and the Social Democratic Party’s move to begin supporting national
liberation and the timing proved to be good for both.
Since the end of the 1960s, the MPLA had worked to establish educational
facilities similar to Frelimo’s Mozambique Institute in Tanzania. For 2–3 years,
MPLA had unsuccessfully tried to get funds from Unesco or OAU. MPLA
wanted to develop their ‘4 de Fevereiro’ school started in exile in Congo Brazzaville in 1965, and they had already been assigned a building site by the Congolese government near the town of Dolisie. WUS-Denmark was told about the
plans soon after it had made contact with MPLA by mid 1971, and the plans
were made part of the information strategy of the Afrika-71 campaign.
WUS presented the plans to K. B. Andersen and the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, and discussed them further with Lúcio Lara when he visited Denmark
in November to participate in ‘Afrika-71’. The Ministry’s response came a
week later at a meeting with Lara and Klaus Wulff from WUS. The plans and
budgets for the project were found to be too sketchy, but the Ministry said it
would welcome an application for the 1973/74 budget. After the meeting,
WUS suggested to Lara that it could help MPLA produce a detailed application
and work as MPLA’s partner. Lara went to Sweden and met with the Swedish
official aid agency SIDA and a preliminary agreement was made. SIDA would
1. Andersen 1983, p. 23–24.
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Visit to the MPLA refugee school in Dolisie, Congo, by MPLA President Agostinho Neto and Secretary of
Organisation and Planning Lúcio Lara in 1973. WUS Representative Peder Sidelmann (later UNICEF manager
of the school) and Construction Manager Karl Johan Holt (to the right) show the visitors the site.
(Photo: Peder Sidelmann)
fund the school’s running costs after its completion, through Unesco as the
project partner.1
During the Afrika-71 campaign WUS had recruited architects, civil engineers, draughtsmen and other technicians who supported the campaign and
wanted to do solidarity work. They established themselves as a voluntary planning group within WUS and in March 1972, WUS leader Peder Sidelmann and
one of the architects visited Congo where they had meetings with the Congolese government and the MPLA. They measured the building site, researched
available building materials and prices, had meetings with the Congolese
authorities etc. and collected necessary information for a professional project
This coincided with Andersen’s trip to Africa and his meeting with Agostinho Neto in Lusaka; they did not discuss the Dolisie project as such, but
Andersen mentioned Danish uncertainties about supporting liberation movements and wished to know Neto’s opinion about possible channels of funds.
Neto was delighted about Danish support to MPLA and mentioned the need
1. Ministry notes 22, 24 and 30 November about the MPLA project and Lara’s visit to the Ministry 30 November. MFA 6.U.566/8. WUS Newsletter 1 August 1972 describing the ‘Angola Institute’ and its background. WUS 16.1. ‘Afrika-71 Evalueringsrapport’. Internal evaluation of the
campaign, no date, sent to Danida start of 1972. MFA 5.Q.293.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
for medical assistance in the liberated areas in Angola, but he did not comment
on the possible channels for the assistance.1
Soon after his trip to Congo, Sidelmann met with Danida and reported that
the findings in Congo had proved to be good for the project and that planning
was going ahead. He also said that SIDA had been approached for support but
had not responded, but he did not mention that he had met a fact-finding mission from Unesco also investigating the building of the MPLA school at
Dolisie. Danida said that it was generally positive about the project, that it
would soon call a meeting of the Apartheid Committee to discuss it and the
possible allocation of funds from the Apartheid Appropriation and that it
would contact SIDA to coordinate the support from the two donors.2
WUS had their hopes up, but on April 26, 1972, WUS was told at a meeting
in Danida, with the participation of SIDA and Unesco, that it had been decided
that Unesco should build the school. SIDA Director Stig Abelin explained that
they preferred to cooperate with Unesco rather than with WUS and did not
expect MPLA to have any preferences. SIDA was hesitant to give a lot of
money to a young and inexperienced organization and also wished to involve
Unesco in working with the national liberation movements. WUS objected that
its estimated price was 75 per cent of Unesco’s, that its project preparations
had come far in comparison to Unesco’s and that the MPLA wanted construction to start as soon as possible. Danida had not made up its mind, but said it
trusted WUS to be able to handle the project.3
The coming weeks were busy, both for WUS and for Danida. Danida recognised that SIDA had administrative preferences for Unesco, because the money
could then be allocated from existing budget lines whereas the WUS option
would mean finding extra money. SIDA rated WUS-Denmark as ‘private persons’, and they did not have any procedure for donations of this kind. Danida
also understood the point that involving Unesco would mean a politically
important breakthrough in the involvement of UN bodies working with
national liberation movements.
It was SIDA that had financed the Unesco mission to Dolisie that WUS met
in Congo. MPLA had sought funding for the school for some years and there
had now been a breakthrough in two quarters. Altogether, Danida was positive
about Unesco building the school, as it would be administratively safer, also in
1. Minutes 14 March 1972 from meeting in Lusaka 13 March between K. B. Andersen, Agostinho
Neto and Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mudenda.
2. Interview with Afrika-71 Secretary Peder Sidelmann, 3 December 1996. Letter 7 April from
WUS to the Ministry summing up the Dolisie project process and asking for a meeting. Minutes
of meeting 19 April 1972 between WUS and Danida. MFA 6.U.566/8. The Apartheid Committee had met on 14 March and allocated about DKK 1.5 million of the coming 1972/73 budget,
equal to the previos year’s budget, but had postponed allocated the new extra 5 million. Minutes, no date. MFA 6.U.566.
3. Interview with Sidelmann, 3 December 1996. Minutes from meeting 26 April at Danida with
SIDA, Unesco and (the last half of the meeting) WUS. MFA 6.U.566/8. There is no correspondence between Danida and SIDA in the material for the one week period between WUS’ visit to
Danida on 19 April and the meeting on 26 April.
‘ T o ’ o r ‘ T h r o u g h ’ ? D e n m a r k S u p p o r t i n g N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n M o v e m e n t s 73
the light of some recent critical comments from the audit department about
lack of detailed planning of some construction projects. However, if schedules
were kept to, WUS would be cheaper and faster than Unesco, but so far no
detailed plans had been presented. This uncertainty made K. B. Andersen
approve the Unesco option in early May, provided that WUS would still have
some part to play in the project, for instance as supplier of teaching materials
to the school. Later, SIDA informed Danida that it was prepared to cover all
expenses, both the construction and the running costs, through Unesco, to get
the project going.1
WUS recognized SIDA’s argument about its lack of experience and suggested to Danida on May 7 that a project board be established with veteran
NGOs in the Apartheid Committee, who had agreed to monitor WUS’ management of the project. The next day, after weeks of working late hours by the
working group of architects, WUS submitted final project plans and an application for DKK 3.24 million for construction of the Dolisie project, with a full
budget of DKK 4.85 million. Further, the volunteer architects asked their
employers to write a statement confirming that the quality of the project was in
no way inferior to a commercial project. This was followed up by a meeting in
Danida with representatives from the employing companies. Finally the
involved architects in the working group made it clear that they for professional reasons and reasons of principle could not accept their work being
handed over to and likely changed by Unesco.2
Political action followed. MPLA wanted a quick start of the construction
work, whether it was to be WUS or Unesco that would manage the project, and
had informed Danida about this in April. After its disappointments at the April
26 meeting with Danida, SIDA and Unesco, WUS needed stronger MPLA references and contacted Lúcio Lara to arrange that Agostinho Neto send a telex, in
which he specifically emphasized that MPLA wanted WUS to carry out the
project. MPLA also asked SIDA to inform Danida that MPLA preferred WUS,
as it seemed to be faster than Unesco. In mid-May the Apartheid Committee
met again and discussed the Dolisie project. Danida presented an estimate saying that choosing Unesco would be safer, would guarantee the participation
and contributions of SIDA and would involve Unesco in working with the liberation movements. But the NGO members of the committee backed the WUS
option and recommended it to the Minister with the arguments that WUS
would be cheaper, that Unesco would probably waste the plans already made,
that much of the public backing behind the project—as had manifested itself in
1. Internal notes 4 and 10 May 1972. MFA 6.U.566 and internal notes 8 and 17 May and 14 June
1972, MFA 6.U.566/8.
2. Letter from WUS to Danida 7 May 1972. WUS 16.4. Application from WUS to Danida 8 May
1972 MFA 5.Q.293. Letters from Krohn and Hartvig Rasmussen to WUS 10 May and to Danida 1 June 1972 confirming the quality of the planning project. WUS 16.4 and MFA 6.U.566/8.
Note 14 June 1972, MFA 6.U.566 and 17 May, MFA 6.U.566/8. The project board came to
include representatives from Danida, WUS, the WUS planning group and one of the architect
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
the ‘Afrika-71’ campaign and fund raising—would be lost, that it seemed certain that SIDA would still fund running costs after the completion, and that
WUS and the Danish Refugee Council threatened to reconsider their financial
inputs to the project as it would lose its public appeal if the support ‘went to
Unesco rather than directly to MPLA through WUS.’1
Armed with these arguments Klaus Wulff and Peder Sidelmann from WUS
visited K. B. Andersen in early June, in their opinion the only person who
would be able to change the decision about giving the money to Unesco. They
argued that WUS would be morally obliged to go back and inform its contributors, the Afrika-71 campaign participants, the press and the public that the collected funds could not go to the project in the form in which it had been
presented during the campaign. The Danish government seemed to trust a UN
organization more and was not interested in contributions from volunteers and
popular NGOs. A week later WUS was summoned to a new meeting with
Danida and was informed that WUS would build the school after all.2
Dolisie became WUS-Denmark’s first development project and laid the
foundation for its future as one of the major development Danish NGOs. SIDA
and Danida’s concerns about WUS not being able to handle the complex construction project were proven wrong. After a slow start, where containers
shipped to Dolisie were emptied of equipment and filled with sand by Portuguese authorities during a stop that the ship made in Lisbon, there were no serious problems in the construction process. On the other hand, it was not fast
either, and building the school took three years instead of the planned two.
However, it was cheaper than expected. DKK 250,000 remained when construction was finished, and with Danida and the Apartheid Committee’s
approval, the money was used for building an extra block for housing more
students. Even then there was money left to return to Danida.3
After the school was completed Unesco ran it with SIDA funding and—at
the request of MPLA—with Sidelmann as its administrator. In 1973, WUSDenmark became engaged in another major pre-independence project with
MPLA. WUS was asked to assist with the transport of humanitarian aid still
1. Letter from MPLA Committee Director Lúcio Lara 5 April 1972 to Danida. MFA 5.Q.293. Letter from WUS to Danida 7 May 1972. WUS 16.4. Interview with Peder Sidelmann 3 December
1996. Minutes, no date, from meeting of the Apartheid Committee 18 May 1972. MFA
2. Neither the Neto telex nor material on the meeting between WUS and Andersen was found in
files available for this study; information from interview with Sidelmann, 1996.
3. Letter 26 July from the Danish ambassador to Congo (based in Zaire) reporting from his visit to
the Dolisie school. His impression about planning, the quality of construction, the enthusiasm
and working relations between WUS, MPLA and the Congolese authorities was positive—‘it is
my clear impression that work is seriously and enthusiastically carried out’. WUS 16.4. Auditors
examined the Dolisie books in 1974 and had no comments. Audit reports 31 August and 2 September 1974. WUS 16.4. Application 11 November from WUS to Danida for using surplus for
extra construction, WUS 16.4; approved by the Apartheid Committee in 1974 included in
appropriation application (Finansudvalgets Aktstykker) no 58 of 1974/75. Letter 16 March
1977 from WUS to Danida with closing financial reporting. WUS 16.4.
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stored in the port of Dar-es-Salaam, which could not be distributed to refugee
camps in Zambia at the border with Angola. The aim of the project was to
deliver vehicles and mechanical equipment and provide education for drivers
and mechanics for the driving and maintenance of the vehicles. WUS applied
for funds from the Apartheid Appropriation, but with the advice of K. B.
Andersen the focus was predominantly humanitarian, focusing on supplying
clothes, blankets, medicine etc. to the refugee camps. The vehicles and training
were a component linked to it for transportation—and could afterwards serve
to move the stored goods waiting at Dar-es-Salaam. The project began in 1974
and continued after the Independence of Angola in 1975.1
WUS-Denmark had good contacts with the MPLA from the start, and the
MPLA and Lúcio Lara’s readiness to take the inexperienced students from
WUS-Denmark seriously, were crucial for the fund raising for the exile school
in Congo, both as a boost to the enthusiasm and documentation during the
‘Afrika-71’ campaign and for convincing the Minister and the Danida administration in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. By setting good administrative standards it paved the way for other projects supporting national liberation
movements through NGOs. When domestic criticism later arose, it was possible for K. B. Andersen and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to document administrative control of the Apartheid Appropriation funds. In addition, WUS
acquired funding and the Apartheid Committee got access to necessary contacts, documentation and useful channels.
The political nature of Andersen’s expansion: Limits for change
The double-sided nature of the Apartheid Appropriation, serving both a
humanitarian and a political purpose, remained in place after the expansion in
volume. The Apartheid Appropriation had never been ‘un-political’. In fact it
had been created as a political response to events in South Africa in the 1960s,
and there was wide consensus that Denmark should contribute with humanitarian support and advocate such support in a way that gave it maximum international bearing, in the UN and on the individual regimes. But, supporting the
national liberation movements was the borderland of Danish support. Poul
Hartling had supported an MPLA ambulance and education in exile, because it
fitted what administratively was considered ‘humanitarian’ assistance. Technically this was an innovation, but it was not combined with any public profiling.
Therefore, it had not been subject to any political controversy.
Under K. B. Andersen the Danish support developed differently. He did not
change it technically—but increased its volume and changed its title. He
included it in Denmark’s international profile and, thus, made a political manifestation out of it.
1. Interview with Sidelmann, 3 December 1996. Minutes from Apartheid Committee meeting 2
April 1974, no date. MFA 6.U.566.a.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Going further would not have been possible for Andersen and for the Social
Democratic minority government, had they wished to. Andersen’s first
announcements, such as his November 1971 press conference, indicate that he
considered funding the liberation movements more directly. But in parliament
and among the public there was no majority for such a politicised support,
which would have meant a breach with Denmark’s principles of working for
‘peaceful conflict resolution through negotiations’. Supporting liberation movements with cash for their general running costs, or diplomatically supporting
armed struggles was not politically possible for Denmark. The liberation movements often sported dogmatic Marxist rhetoric similar to that of the Soviet
Union and other opponents of the Danish alliance in cold war Europe. On the
other hand, there is no doubt about the political and popular humanitarian
consensus in Denmark against racism and colonialism, and the support for
alleviating and—to some extent—preventing the devastating economic and
humanitarian consequences of these systems. In parliament, even K. B.
Andersen’s critics agreed with this.
The role of K. B. Andersen’s political expansion in 1971/72of the Apartheid
Appropriation should, however, not be underestimated. Contemporary understanding in the public debate, even among politicians, administrators and
NGOs, was that ‘liberation movements could now be supported’. Even if the
‘substance and practice’ of the appropriation did not change, both supporters
and adversaries of Andersen’s policy conceptualised the debate in terms of
being ‘for or against the support of liberation movements’. This illustrates that
K. B. Andersen’s contribution in developing Denmark’s role towards Southern
Africa is significant. He created a political profile for Danish humanitarian support, and gave it the maximum international effect possible on the regimes
responsible for racist and colonialist oppression in the region.
Chapter 4
1974: Political Struggle and Stalemate
Internationally as well as domestically, K. B. Andersen politicised the Apartheid
Appropriation. South African politicians and newspapers even believed for a
time that all Danish development aid would now go to ‘guerrilla movements’.
Presidents Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, whom
Andersen had visited in March 1972, probably knew better, but praised Denmark for making a clever and righteous move. Similar reactions came from the
UN Apartheid Committee. Denmark made friends.1
But domestically, the political expansion of the Apartheid Appropriation
was heavily criticised. It was commonly believed that Denmark, through
Andersen’s expansion in 1972/73, had started to fund national liberation
movements directly. Andersen’s critics argued that these movements were communist terrorists, receiving arms from the Soviet Union to attack legal institutions in sovereign foreign states. Few other than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and the organizations involved in the Apartheid Committee knew how to analyse the administrative technicalities, and K. B. Andersen continued to add to
the confusion by repeatedly saying ‘support to liberation movements’ in his
statements to the Danish press. But the practice remained the same: aid was
still administered by the international and Danish NGOs in control of cash,
purchases and decisions; they remained the accountable parties vis-à-vis the
Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And the substance of Danish support
remained humanitarian, though the activities now sometimes took place on the
initiative and in cooperation with national liberation movements.
In public and in parliamentary debates the practical and ideological sides of
the Apartheid Appropriation were mixed up. This problem perpetuated itself
even when Andersen’s critics came to power in 1974, and set out to roll back
Andersen’s expansion.
Continued growth of the Apartheid Appropriation
From DKK 6.5 million in 1972/73, the Apartheid Appropriation was increased
to DKK 8,45 million in the annual government budget for 1973/74 (April to
March). The Apartheid Committee held its seasonal meetings in May and July
1973 and recommended that the bulk of the allocation (DKK 5.656 million)
should go to previously supported organizations: IDAF, IUEF and WUS-International educational programmes. In addition, the UN Trust and Education
1. See Chapter 3.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Funds and the Mozambique Institute in Dar-es-Salaam received funding from
the appropriation. In terms of administrative practice this was new. Since 1967,
support to the UN funds and to the Institute had been given as regular development aid through Danida (or its predecessor TS).1 Another new item was the
funding of WUS-Denmark for a food aid and transport project involving Angolan refugees in MPLA camps in Zambia. The recommendations were forwarded unchanged to the standing Financial Com-mittee in Parliament, as the
Minister’s appropriation application. The application was approved on August
Simultaneously, it was learned that DKK 1.7 million allocated to the ongoing WUS-Denmark/MPLA school construction project in Dolisie, Congo (see
Chapter 3) would have to be postponed to the following year.3 This meant that
DKK 1.09 million had not yet been allocated by the end of the financial year.
How this money should be used was discussed at two meetings of the Apartheid Committee on October 1 and November 13, 1973. A number of applications were approved. The major beneficiaries were the South African Students’
Organization (SASO) through IUEF and WUS-International, an extra grant to
the WUS-Denmark/MPLA school at Dolisie to construct more buildings, and
to IDAF and FNLA in Angola.4
The FNLA application was the most controversial and the committee discussed it quite extensively. FNLA had so far not been funded by Denmark.
However, the organization had recently been recognised by the OAU, an
important prerequisite for Danish assistance, in connection with attempts by
Tanzania and other African countries to unite the Angolan liberation movements MPLA and FNLA. In December 1971, FNLA leader Holden Roberto
had visited Denmark and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in 1972 the organization forwarded a rather vague application for financial support that was
later refused.5 The Danish Ambassador to Zaire however visited FNLA in
1973 and recommended support to FNLA and the Ministry invited the move-
1. See Chapter 2.
2. Appropriation Application no. 629 of 9 August 1973. ‘Finansudvalgets Aktstykker’ 1972/73.
Note, no date, August 1973, on Financial Committee approval. MFA 6.U.566.
3. Minutes 9 May and 19 July 1973 from meetings of the Apartheid Committee the same days.
MFA 6.U.566.
4. Note, 12 October 1973 on Apartheid Committee allocation recommendations made on 1 October. MFA 6.U.566. Minutes 15 October and 5 November 1973 from meetings in the Apartheid
Committee, 1 October and 13 November 1973. MFA 6.U.566.a.
5. Notes, 10 December and 22 December 1971 on visits to Danida and to the political department
P.3. of FNLA delegation (president Holden Roberto, Nordic Representative Mateus Neto,
Henddrick Vall Neto, Samuel Abrigada, Xavier Lubota. FNLA described their positions in
Angola, their refugee camps, school and health facilities in Zaire and asked for humanitarian
assistance. Dispatch 24 March 1972 from Danish embassy in Zaire to the Ministry with
attached FNLA ‘Angola Development Plan 1972–75, Projects Searching for Aid’ handed over by
Holden Roberto to the Danish Ambassador in Kinshasa during a visit to the embassy the same
day. Message 3 July 1972 to the embassy to inform FNLA that its requests could not been met in
want of a specific application. MFA 6.U.566/11.
1974: Political Struggle and Stalemate
ment to produce a more detailed application for school equipment, which they
did in September 1973.1
WUS was not happy about supporting FNLA. During the ‘Afrika-71’ campaign they had tried to contact them, but received no response. In their view,
Holden Roberto and his delegation had not made a good impression during
their visit to Copenhagen in 1971, using expensive hotels and rented cars,
while MPLA Representative Lúcio Lara had been happy with the local bus.2
WUS and other Apartheid Committee members argued that FNLA did not
allow visitors to their liberated areas, and they felt uncertain about who the
organization actually represented and if the civil activities it carried out on the
ground had any significant volume.
Ministry officials argued that OAU recognition, together with UN Security
Council Resolutions, formed the basis for Danish support. The Apartheid
Appropriation was supposed to be a politically neutral, humanitarian facility
and supporting only MPLA could be seen as political side-taking by Denmark
now that the formal situation of the two movements was the same. All the
NGO members recognised that FNLA met the formalities, and in the end the
Ministry officials’ reasoning was accepted. It was agreed to recommend an
allocation of DKK 100,000 to FNLA. 3
New government
At the time of these meetings Denmark was preparing for general elections on
December 4. This interrupted the regular Apartheid Committee routine, as a
new parliament had to be formed before the recommendations of the Apartheid Committee could be used for an application to the Standing Financial
Committee to release the money, whether by K. B. Andersen or someone else.4
The elections turned the Danish political landscape upside down and produced a parliament representing ten different parties, five of them new. The
Liberal Party (Venstre) formed a weak minority government, and on December
19 Prime Minister Poul Hartling and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ove Guldberg
took office. The government was supported only by two minor parties, the
Centre Democrats (Centrum-Demokraterne) and Christian People’s Party
1. Note 31 August 1973: Meeting in the Ministry between Danish Ambassador to Zaire and Danida. The ambassador estimated the number of FNLA refugees in Zaire to be 400.000, and found
the facts that Roberto was meant to be president of a united FNLA and MPLA, the recent recognition by Tanzania in that connection, plus the backing from Zaire as signs that FNLA was
becoming the dominant Angolan liberation movement should the FNLA/MPLA cooperation fail
to be indicators of FNLA’s importance. He recommended Denmark support not only MPLA.
Application, 27 September 1973 from FNLA. Note 19 September 1973: Request to UNHCR
that found FNLA as worthy of Danish support as MPLA. MFA 6.U.566/11.
2. Interview with Peder Sidelmann, 3 December 1996.
3.See note 4 on previous page.
4. Note 28 November 1973 describing how the Apartheid Committee recommendations of 1 October and 13 November had to await elections and the forming of a new government and standing
financial committee. MFA 6.U.566.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
(Kristeligt Folkeparti), and its power base was mainly that other parties had
not been able to produce a different majority coalition.
Along with the right wing Conservative Party (Konservative Folkeparti),
Venstre had led the opposition in the former parliament, and had fronted the
criticism of K. B. Andersen’s expansion of the Apartheid Appropriation and the
Apartheid Committee. Now, Ove Guldberg inherited the Apartheid Appropriation, the Apartheid Committee, and the question of how to distribute the
remaining DKK 1 million of the 1973/74 allocation. Previously, Venstre and
Konservative had often voted against the allocations in the Standing Financial
Committee. However, when the major part of the 1973/74 allocation had been
approved before the elections in August 1973, they had abstained. This had
been interpreted internally in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a sign of the
expanded Apartheid Appropriation having become less controversial.
To brief the new Minister, the Ministry produced a memorandum on the
background, size and practices of the Apartheid Appropriation.1 They listed
the ‘established guidelines due to political circumstances’ for the appropriation
to be as follows:
— the allocations are not subject to any geographical restrictions, but UN
Security Council Resolutions on Southern Africa, to secure that the UN
Charter principle of non-interference is not violated, in practice restrict support to the Southern African region,
— Denmark’s overall principle is that conflicts should be solved through negotiations rather than armed struggle. This prescribes that national liberation
movements do not receive support in cash that may be used for buying
— Denmark does not choose between rivalling liberation movements in an
area, but uses recognition by the OAU as a prerequisite for support,
— a neighbouring host or transit country must accept the passing of Danish
support through its territory, and
— supporting a liberation movement does not mean recognition of that movement in terms of international law.2
The memo also specified the activities supported in the current financial year
(the DKK 5.656 million already allocated, plus the 1.7 million set aside for the
WUS/MPLA Dolisie school) and provided the recommendations the Apartheid
Committee had made for the remaining one million in October/November. The
technical budgeting details, like the reshuffle between the financial years, were
1. The change of government was an occasion to describe and define practices of the Apartheid
Appropriation, as by-laws or formal statutes had never been produced. The closest to a ‘founding document’ was Minister of Foreign Affairs Per Hækkerup’s first Appropriation Application
to the Standing Financial Committee in 1965. See Chapter 3.
2. Memorandum 18 December 1973 summing up practices, political background and current status of the Apartheid Appropriation and the Apartheid Committee. MFA 6.U.566.
1974: Political Struggle and Stalemate
explained, as they were in each of the appropriation applications to the standing Financial Committee.
A different conclusion
In January 1974, Ove Guldberg revealed his views on how funds should be
allocated. He—‘the new government’—was not against ‘educational and
humanitarian aid to oppressed peoples or groups who are victims of apartheid’.1 This formulation is a copy of the Apartheid Appropriation title and signals that Guldberg did not question the existence of the appropriation: ‘Such
assistance was also practised by the Right/Liberal coalition government of
1968–71’, he continued and stated no plans to reduce the appropriation. The
government was, however, concerned with how the funds were utilized and if
there was sufficient control to prevent misuse. Guldberg emphasised that the
appropriation should not function as assistance to national liberation movements, but provide educational and humanitarian aid to the victims of apartheid. He did not feel confident that the liberation movements spent existing
funds in ways that Denmark could approve of, and he therefore preferred the
remaining DKK one million to be paid as an advance instalment to IDAF, as he
trusted an international organization to be more accountable.
On the basis of the mentioned Ministry memo of December 18, Guldberg’s
decisions are interesting. The document outlined how Denmark had never provided cash support and it specified what educational and humanitarian activities were carried out by which NGO, whether they worked independently,
through their international networks or with a national liberation movement.
Part of the reason why Guldberg wanted a change of practice anyway, may be
found in the continued confusion of the ‘to’ or ‘through’ debate (as discussed in
Chapter 3). When K. B. Andersen expanded the Apartheid Appropriation it
was announced—also by Andersen himself—that funds might now also go to
national liberation movements. However, when he amended the title of the
Apartheid Appropriation, it was with the phrase ‘... or through liberation
movements’. When allocations started, the practice was yet more indirect:
through NGOs that in some cases cooperated with a liberation movement.
This was clearly explained in the December 18 memo.
If Guldberg actually did fear that Danish funds were distributed ‘to’ the
movements, he must have suspected that Danish NGOs deliberately misused
funds. Apparently, he did not suspect this to apply to international organizations like IDAF. Yet, the Danish control of organizations like IDAF or IUEF
was weaker than the control of the Danish NGOs involved. IDAF pooled their
funds from different donors, and substantial sums, for legal aid and maintenance for families of detainees etc, were more or less secretly sent into South
Africa. IDAF had been banned in South Africa since 1966 and to a large extent
1. Note 15 February 1974 referring to the extraordinary Apartheid Committee meeting 12 February where Guldberg’s views were communicated to the committee. MFA.6.U.566.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
K. B. Andersen and Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Ove Guldberg, disagreeing on
Danish support to MPLA, February 1974.
(Photo: Scanpix/Willy Lund)
had to rely on personal relations. Consequently it was very hard to audit IDAF
in a traditional manner.
Guldberg however never mentioned any indications of misuse by Danish
NGOs nor did he give any specific reasons for suspicion. Thus, the motive for
his hostility, which neither reduced or abolished the appropriation, nor dissolved or changed the Apartheid Committee, seems unclear and will be discussed below.
Guldberg’s policy was communicated to the Apartheid Committee at an
extraordinary meeting on February 12, 1974. The Committee regretted that
their original recommendations would not be accepted, but suggested a compromise leaving about DKK 500,000 for IDAF, while the rest of the surplus
million would be allocated to projects it was considered would suffer severely
from a halt in the support. However, a week later Guldberg decided that all of
the remaining money would be forwarded to IDAF. Apart from the fact that it
would now become harder to control and verify the use of the money, another
consequence was that the grant to FNLA, which the Ministry administration
had argued hard to have included, was cancelled.1
1. Ibid. with continuation 20 February 1974 that Guldberg the same day had decided to grant all
of the remaining DKK one milllion to IDAF. Minutes 13 March 1974 from extraordinary meeting 12 February of the Apartheid Committee. MFA 6.U.566.a. The allocations that the Apartheid Committee wished to maintain were: IUEF information and training in South Africa, WUSI slum health education in South Africa and WUS-DK construction of extension at MPLA school
in Dolisie, Congo.
1974: Political Struggle and Stalemate
NGOs concerned, but not alarmed
On March 20, the Standing Financial Committee in parliament approved Guldberg’s appropriation application allocating all the money to IDAF. The formal
application mentions that the Apartheid Committee had recommended a different use of the funds, but that the Committee had approved the changes.1
There are no indications that the Apartheid Committee did actually
approve of this deviation from its own recommendations. At the meeting in
February 1974, the Committee had disagreed with Guldberg’s plans and proposed a compromise. On March 16, the Committee repeated its regrets in a letter to Guldberg explaining that it had always made consensus decisions and
that previous Foreign Ministers had always approved its former recommendations.2
It is remarkable that this is the Apartheid Committee’s only reaction. For
the first time the Committee had been over-ruled. At their next meeting, on
April 2, no comments were made and no concerns expressed. At this point, the
Committee might not have taken Guldberg’s position too seriously, since no
specific allegations had been made of misuse of funds, and because the Minister
had chosen to let IDAF receive the money.3
Next year’s applications were discussed and some of them recommended to
the Minister. Apart from some minor changes, the list was an update of the
Committee’s recommendations the previous year. The newcomers were a
World Council of Churches (WCC) agricultural programme for food aid to
Angolan refugees, OAU food, health and educational programmes for the
Angolan and Mozambiquan Movements (including FNLA) and the UN fund
for the planned Namibia Institute in Zambia.4
The political parties supporting the Apartheid Appropriation in its existing
form did not react to Ove Guldberg’s initiative either. Almost all parties represented on the Standing Financial Committee, including the Social Democratic
Party, voted for Guldberg’s choice of granting IDAF the remaining million.
Even K. B. Andersen, now a central figure in the opposition, did not react, and
the incident is not mentioned in his memoirs.
One reason may be that the new government inherited the national budget
for 1974/75 from the previous Social Democratic government and accepted the
built-in increase in the volume of the Apartheid Appropriation, from DKK
8.45 million to 12.4 million. The new government must have known that a
1. Appropriation Application no. 226, 11 March 1974. Finansudvalgets Aktstykker 1973/74.
2. Letter 16 March 1974 from NGO members of the Apartheid Committee accompanying pamphlet produced by the NGOs describing support funded by the Apartheid Appropriation. The
letter is an implicit reference to the Right-Liberal coalition government of 1968–71, where the
current Prime Minister Poul Hartling served as Minister of Foreign Affairs. MFA 6.U.566.
3. None of the interviewed Apartheid Committee members or administrators of activities funded
by the Apartheid Appropriation remember having any reason to suspect that the overruling of
the Apartheid Committee was more than a one time incident. For instance, Max Kruse 14 January 1997, Arne Piel Christensen 14 May 1997 and Peder Sidelmann 3 December 1996.
4. Minutes (no date) of meeting of the Apartheid Committee 2 April 1974. MFA 6.U.566.a.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
majority in parliament would have voted against a reduction, since the increase
was mainly the result of previous multi-lateral development assistance being
integrated into the Apartheid Appropriation, such as some IUEF and WUS
scholarship programmes for refugees in neighbouring countries.1
Initiatives for public action
While Ove Guldberg and the Apartheid Committee started their tug of war
about how Danish official funds should be allocated, NGOs outside the Apartheid Committee worked to mobilise public attention and debate on Southern
Africa. In comparison to the Vietnam movement, the NGO and grass roots initiatives seeking to focus the political and public debate on Southern Africa
were few and involved few people. Their background was church based and/or
springing from the ‘New Left’ student movement.
When the World Council of Churches (WCC) established its ‘Programme to
Combat Racism’ (PCR) in 1968/69 it also launched a ‘Special Support Fund’ in
collaboration with national liberation movements, and invited individual member churches to contribute.2 DanChurchAid (DCA) set aside funds for this purpose, but the board, in order ‘not to confuse humanitarian and political
support’, had withdrawn the allocation.3 During 1971 the church community
discussed plans to establish a Danish branch of PCR, but it was still considered
controversial for established church based organizations to support liberation
movements. Instead, ‘Kirkernes Raceprogram’ (KR) was launched at the beginning of 1972 as an independent organization.4
The founders and activists of KR came from a small group of theology and
political science students and young graduates at the University of Århus. The
conscientious objector Leif Vestergaard was assigned the responsibility for KR
by Århus Ecumenical Centre, which also provided the facilities for the organization and continued to fund Vestergaard part time from 1972–74. KR’s main
activity was information and it produced a presentation folder, a poster and a
booklet on racism from a theological perspective. In connection with a major
scout jamboree, KR distributed a pamphlet on racism, living conditions and
liberation movements in Southern Africa, and arranged a poster exhibition. KR
also gave lectures in local church communities, held a seminar for church and
youth leaders, and hosted visits by the Namibian Anglican Bishop in exile
Colin Winter, Head of PCR Baldwin Sjollema and WCC General Secretary
1. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1973/74, F1113 and D1 (1st session); F 4374, D553 and B4 (2nd
session). Minutes, 13 March 1974. MFA 6.U.566.a.
2. See Chapter 3.
3. The ‘Special Fund’ allocated in 1970 and 1971 funds to all the major national liberation movements in Southern Africa (including FNLA, UNITA, ZAPU and ZANU), to PAIGC and to nonracist organizations in the Americas and Asia. Support was given to humanitarian and educational activities and explicitly without any control measures.
4. Kirkernes Raceprogram, annual report Jan 1972–Feb 1973. LV. Memorandum by Langhoff, no
date, on the launch of KR and its background. KR. Interview with Leif Vestergaard, April 1996.
1974: Political Struggle and Stalemate
Philip Potter. In its first year KR raised DKK 30,000. The money went to the
WCC’s ‘Special Fund’ and was administrated by the Copenhagen Diocese.1
WCC recommended sanctions against South Africa, and KR also started to
focus on trade. In March 1974 a report called ‘Danmarks aktier i [shares in]
Apartheid & Co’ was published—a detailed documentation of Danish business
involvement in South Africa. A lot of the material was collected by KR member
Jørgen Lissner, who had travelled under cover in South Africa and met with
trade unionists. More information was collected in Danish business registers
Through Lissner’s local trade union connections, KR discovered that the
Durban branch of the major Danish trading company ‘East Asian Company’
(EAC) paid even lower wages than the official South African minimum. KR
members started to buy individual shares in EAC, which gave them the right to
speak at the company’s annual General Meeting, held on March 27. For two
whole hours, a group of ‘shareholders’, amongst them Bishop Torkild
Græsholt, managed to direct the attention of the one-day Assembly to EAC’s
activities in South Africa. They suggested reforms, abolition of ‘starvation
wages’, better conditions for the workers and negotiations with trade unions. A
counter-motion from the EAC board stopped the discussion, but in the course
of the next 9 months, the wages were raised by 30 per cent. The event was
widely covered by the press, and attention was also drawn to EAC and other
Danish companies violating UN sanctions on Rhodesia from 1968. The Public
Prosecutor started to investigate the EAC branch in Salisbury, but no charges
were filed. The branch was technically not violating sanctions, as it was neither
into international transactions nor transferred funds to or from the main office
in Denmark.
In the following years similar actions were carried out at every EAC General Assembly, now requesting EAC to withdraw from and boycott South
Africa. This escalation started after the South African Council of Churches
(SACC) encouraged KR to start working for sanctions.3 In 1972 the WCC
asked its member churches to pressure national businesses to give up investment in South Africa, and in 1973 it had published a pamphlet: ‘Time to Withdraw—Investments in Southern Africa’. It was, however, fundamental for KR
that its actions should be based on direct information and recommendations
from church and other contacts inside South Africa.4
After having included sanctions in its policy, KR started picketing against
South African commodities in shops, at the wholesale vegetable market etc. As
a variant, individual members of KR got themselves elected to the boards of
1. Kirkernes Raceprogram, annual report Jan 1972–Feb 1973. LV.
2. Kirkernes Raceprogram: ‘Danmarks Aktier i Apartheid og Co’, 1974. Interview with Max
Kruse, 14 January 1997.
3. Politiken, 8, 9, 19, 21 and 28 March and 10 and 13 April 1974, 23 March 1975, Kristeligt Dagblad, 1 April 1977, Ekstra Bladet, 1 April 1978. Knudsen, 1989.
4. Conversation with Leif Vestergaard, April 1996.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
several branches of the cooperative supermarket ‘Brugsen’, the biggest Danish
chain of supermarkets. They convinced members of local branches, and later a
majority at the national Brugsen Annual General Meeting, to stop selling South
African commodities. Through picketing and information activities KR was
also successful in stopping the supermarket chains ‘Irma’ and ‘Dansk Supermarket’ from selling South African products. Through its information work,
lectures in local parishes and in the church network, KR was a successful campaigner in parts of the Danish society that were otherwise not in contact with
solidarity work.1
After a visit of the international ‘Namibian Caravan’ in Denmark, from
October 9–12, 1973, a handful of the Danish activists established ‘Aktionsgruppen Namibia’ (‘The Namibia Group’) to inform about the political and
humanitarian consequences of the South African occupation. The Caravan had
toured Europe in October and November 1973 to inform about the political
and social conditions in Namibia and to appeal for Western involvement on the
basis of Namibia’s status as a UN Trusteeship. In Copenhagen, an ad hoc
group of small NGOs arranged street theatre, a public meeting, a press conference and a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs K. B. Andersen and in
Århus KR had coordinated a similar programme.2
From the very beginning the Namibia Group focused on the Danish Fur
Centre Auctions, the Northern Europe trading centre for the important
Namibian export item, ‘Swakara’ pelts. At the annual exhibition and auctions
of the Danish Fur Breeders Association in February and March 1974, the campaigners put up a four-panel exhibition board and handed out information
leaflets at the entrance of the exhibition hall, based on a report the Namibia
Group had made about the Danish fur trade. A press conference was held at
the exhibition with the participation of Ben Amathila, the SWAPO representative to the Nordic countries and Germany, and Ove Jensen, a local MP and
member of the board of the Danish Fur Centre.3
The Namibia Action Group continued its activities after its action against
Swakara fur sales. As a follow up of the detention of ten SWAPO leaders in
February 1974, the group distributed postcards for individuals to send to
Prime Minister John Vorster requiring the release of the SWAPO leaders, and
other political prisoners. By the end of March it hosted a new visit by SWAPO
1. Interview with Max Kruse, 14 January 1997.
2. The ‘Namibia Caravan’ was an international group of people based at the ‘European Work
Group’, Gross Heere, West Germany. It visited ten countries with the caravan. After the tour it
became the ‘Namibia Transnational Collective. Namibia Caravan Report—October-November.
29 January 1974. KG.
3. Open letter 21 February 1974 from the Namibia Group to Danish Fur Centre Auctions.
Namibia Group presentation pamphlet, 25 February 1974. KG. Demokraten 25 February 1974.
Talk with Kirsten Gauffriau, 18 March 1997.
1974: Political Struggle and Stalemate
Representative Ben Amathila and organized meetings with the press and with
press and with political parties, including former Minister Andersen.1
When UN Commissioner to Namibia, Sean McBride, visited Denmark in
May 1974, to meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ove Guldberg, representatives of the Danish Parliament and the Danish government, the Namibia
Group arranged a public meeting at the ‘Ecumenical Centre’ where McBride
informed about Namibia. The group also helped to arrange a TV-interview on
national television, led by journalist and Social Democratic MP, Lasse Budtz.
And in May, the Namibia Group met with the standing Foreign Policy Committee in Parliament (Folketingets Udenrigsudvalg). Here, it presented a paper
recommending Denmark to become member of the UN council for Namibia, to
contribute financially to the UN Institute for Namibia in Lusaka, to officially
support SWAPO and officially condemn the harassment of SWAPO in
Namibia. It is interesting to note that these requirements, which were based on
McBride and SWAPO information, did not include sanctions but were limited
to a call for more indirect support of SWAPO and diplomatic pressure.2
Later in 1974, the Namibia Action Group played an active role in establishing a working partnership with a variety of political and church organizations,
to organize a ‘Namibia-75 Campaign’. This was an information campaign
aimed at the Danish public about political and social conditions in Namibia, a
fund raising campaign for SWAPO refugee camps in Zambia, for the ‘Black
Educational Association’ and cooperation between SWAPO and church organizations in Namibia. A ‘Namibia Seminar’ was held on 8–9 February 1975 with
the participation of Ben Amathila from SWAPO and Peter Jones from the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR).3
Pressure from the right
When Ove Guldberg’s initiative to maintain the volume but change the channels of the Apartheid Appropriation was finally challenged, the reaction did
not come from the supporters of the Appropriation. The critic was the ultra
right wing newcomer ‘Fremskridtspartiet’, a populist party that for the first
time had entered parliament on promises of tax reductions and budget cuts.
1. Invitation from the Namibia Action Group to political parties 24 March 1974. Press statement
27 March 1974. Printed postcard to Prime Minister Vorster April 1974.
2. Letter 14 May 1974 from Namibia Action Group to Lasse Budtz, Danish Broadcasting.
Requests 29 May 1974 from the Namibia Group to Parliament, presented during an interview
with the Standing Foreign Committee the same day. KG.
3. Among the participating organizations were the students’ ‘Trinitatis’ parish, IFOR-Denmark,
the Danish Communist Party, the Liberal Party’s Youth Organization (VU), the Danish Youth
Council and individuals e.g. Knud Erik Rosenkrantz from WUS. Namibia-75 presentation letter
2 May 1975. Minutes, no date, from seminar 8–9 February 1975. KG. The campaign was
financed with funds from member organizations and from Danida’s information funds. At first,
the applications were turned down, but through direct correspondence with K.B Andersen the
money was granted in January 1975 after he became Minister of Foreign Affairs again. Letter 29
January 1975 from Andersen to Kirsten Gauffriau of Namibia Action Group. KG.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Fremskridtspartiet was the second biggest party and fiercely opposed to development assistance. It was the only party voting against Guldberg’s IDAF allocation in the Finance Committee in March, and in a parliamentary question
hour in April, Fremskridtspartiet’s Holger Lindholt asked Guldberg if the Minister could guarantee that funds from the Apartheid Appropriation went to
humanitarian and educational aid and not to military purposes.1
The question was based on a special edition in the magazine ‘Sydafrika
Kontakt’ on Angolan partners of the ‘Afrika-71’ campaign. Among the articles
was one by WUS-activist and Campaign Coordinator Peder Sidelmann on
MPLA’s educational strategies. He quoted an MPLA policy paper on how academic and practical skills ‘were combined in the education, to link it to the revolutionary process and to production... Therefore, education will include
training in the use of arms in the defence of villages and in the principles of revolutionary organization, next to mathematics, physics, history etc.’2 The paragraph followed a description of the plans for two MPLA schools in exile in
Congo and in Zambia, the former being the WUS school project in Dolisie.
Guldberg replied on April 24. He said that Apartheid Appropriation funds
were allocated exclusively for humanitarian and educational purposes, in
accordance with UN and OAU directions and with no payments in cash to liberation movements. In the debate that followed, Lindholt referred to Sidelmann’s article—which was not mentioned in his question nor in its motivation—as proof of Danish funds being used for guerrilla training. He further
indicated that WUS financial reporting was incomplete, making it possible to
misuse funds for military purposes. Apparently, Guldberg was not prepared to
discuss Sidelmann’s article and he merely repeated the existing principles and
technicalities concerning the administration of the appropriation. Further, he
made clear that nothing was missing in the financial reporting, but that he
would continue to see to it in the future.3
Apart from Guldberg and Lindholt, the only other MP who participated in
the debate was Bent Honoré from Christian People’s Party (Kristeligt Folkeparti), one of the two minor parties that supported the Venstre government.
Honoré urged Guldberg to inform parliament about any missing reporting, as
he saw this as a crucial point in the debate. Guldberg promised to do so, but he
did not mention anything about his own critical attitude towards the appropriation. It is interesting how Guldberg responded in a very similar manner to the
way K. B. Andersen had done.
Holger Lindholt’s question drew some public attention and newspapers
began to write about how the Apartheid Appropriation had been increased in
1. Note 17 April 1974: Question to Minister Guldberg by Lindholt, with text of Guldberg’s answer.
MFA 6.U.566.
2. Sydafrika Kontakt, No 3, 1972.
3. Question to Minister of Foreign Affairs by Linholdt, debated in Parliament 24 April 1974.
Folketingets Forhandlinger 1973/74, F 5474 to 5478.
1974: Political Struggle and Stalemate
the new budget. The following day, Sidelmann explained in an interview that
the MPLA policy paper quoted by Lindholt applied to schools in liberated
areas within Angola, in order to defend them from Portuguese attacks. No such
training took place at the Dolisie secondary school in Congo. Although it was
clear from the article that Sidelmann referred to an MPLA report about its education policies in general, he had not specified that Dolisie was an exception as
regards the clause on military training. Lindholt, in a letter to the editor,
rejected Sidelmann’s interview statement and maintained that the quote from
the article proved that Dolisie conducted military training.1
Guldberg suspicious of the Apartheid Appropriation
In June 1974, Ove Guldberg informed the Ministry that he wished to change
the practice of the Apartheid Appropriation funds being channelled through
private organizations. He disapproved of the role played by the organizations
involved that ‘seemed to be infected by people with certain political standpoints’. He found that ‘they had a tendency of multiplying into chains of institutions which made the aid still more indirect’. Guldberg concluded that he
wanted to do away with these arrangements, and with the Danish administration of individual projects. He preferred using multilateral organizations such
as the UN. It did not trouble him that one effect of this move would be to end
Danish support to education, legal aid and social programmes inside South
Africa, Namibia, Rhodesia and the Portuguese colonies. Support would be
restricted to Southern Africans in exile, since the UN could not work inside
countries where the formally recognised governments did not allow it.2
The Ministry started to work on this change of policy. Telegrams were dispatched to Danish representations at, or near, UN headquarters, to inquire
whether FAO, UNESCO, UNHCR or the special UN programmes for Southern
Africa could handle increased funds. UNHCR, the UN Trust Fund and the UN
Educational and Training Programme replied positively. The UNHCR could
work with the national liberation movements in exile, but it was emphasised
that the UN Educational Programme could not take over support to scholarships inside the territories. The Ministry went through the previous year’s allocations and the current year’s Apartheid Committee recommendations from
April, to analyse which activities would be able to continue with funding
through UN bodies, and which would not. The change of policy would mainly
affect the scholarships and social programmes within the territories, whereas
1. Politiken, 25 April and 1 May 1974.
2. Note, 17 June 1974 referring to Guldberg’s scepticism of NGOs as channels for Danish official
funds and intentions to channel all funds through the UN. MFA 6.U.566.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
support to Frelimo, MPLA, FNLA and PAIGC educational and social activities
could continue to receive Danish funds through the relevant UN bodies.1
Along the new lines, the Ministry produced Appropriation Application no
435 for the Finance Committee for 1974/75, for the first time overruling the
Apartheid Committee. The Finance Committee received it from the Minister on
July 31. The existing UN allocations were doubled or trebled and some of the
humanitarian assistance—like food, medicine, teaching equipment—were supposed to be distributed ‘through liberation movements recognised by the
OAU’. The usual NGO channels were no longer to be used. Some activities,
not fitting the new model, were ended, whereas other activities were continued—some with reduced allocations.2
Formally, the proposal implied a change of channels, not of beneficiaries.
‘Oppressed peoples or groups’ were still mentioned in the appropriation title as
the targets for allocations, and also in the motivation section of the Appropriation application. On the contrary, it specified that parts of the support should
go to facilities administrated and controlled by national liberation movements.
Guldberg’s initiative was not based on how the Apartheid Appropriation
funds could be allocated most effectively. It is difficult to see how the use of UN
administrative bodies would be ‘more direct’ than previous practices. The point
was to get around the Danish organizations, although Guldberg never pointed
to any specific example of the ‘political attitude’ that concerned him about the
NGOs, nor examples of funds having been misused. On the other hand, he had
1. Note, 27 June 1974 discussing the consequences of changing the practice of Apartheid Appropriation allocations, with appendix. It was predicted that the Apartheid Committee would have
a very limited role to play, but that dissolving it would lead to political criticism. The suggested
increase in allocations to the UN Trust Fund from 0.6 to over 3 million would make Denmark
the largest donor. MFA 6.U.566.a. Cables 2 July 1974 to missions in Rome, Paris, Geneva and
New York requesting information whether FAO, UNESCO, UNHCR or the UN Programmes
for Southern Africa could channel increased funding. Note, 4 July on visit the same day to the
Ministry of UNHCR Director for Refugees Ole Volfing. Cable 23 August from the Danish mission to the UN that the UN education programmes could use more funds, but would not be able
to channel support to within South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Portuguese colonies. The
UN Trust Fund channels included IDAF and WCC, some of the organizations that Guldberg
mistrusted as ‘agencies’. Memorandum 5 July, final version 26 July, listing 1974/75 allocations
as suggested 2 April by the Apartheid Committee with notes on what future UN channelling
could support them or if support would cease. MFA 6.U.566.
2. Note, 28 June 1974 on Guldberg’s approval of a new practice of allocating Apartheid Appropriation funds. MFA 6.U.566.a. The UN Trust Fund was to receive DKK 1.5 million and the Education and Training Programme 3 million compared to DKK 0.6 and 0.85 million, respectively,
in 1973/74. Grants to UNHCR would be increased to DKK 3.7 million from 1.5 million and the
WHO, WFP, UNICEF and UNESCO were to receive DKK 0.5 million each. To be continued
were the educational programmes for refugees funded through the UN ‘Education and Training
Programme for Southern Africa’, UNHCR and UNESCO instead of IUEF and WUS-I (including
the MPLA Dolisie School for the remaining two years of construction work). The WFP and
UNHCR were to become channels for food aid and equipment to refugee camps administerted
by the liberation movements. Also, some legal assistance, maintenance and other social programmes inside South Africa, Rhodesia and the Portuguese colonies were continued indirectly
on a reduced scale through the UN Trust Fund. The Fund—unlike other UN bodies—channelled
support through international NGOs such as IDAF and WCC.
1974: Political Struggle and Stalemate
not taken into account that the new arrangement would make Denmark the
dominating donor to UN funds and result in the overall turnover of these bodies increasing sharply, and possibly beyond their capacity.1
The initiative was also a consequence of the criticisms by Guldberg and his
Liberal party against K. B. Andersen in 1972–73. The critique had been aimed
at Andersen’s political announcements of giving to the national liberation
movements, rather than at the ‘substance and practice’ of the Apartheid
Appropriation. Thus, the initiative was mainly aimed at changing the political
profile of the support and Guldberg now had to manoeuvre between critics
both from the Fremskridtspartiet right and the Social Democratic left side of
the political landscape.
Fighting the minister
In the morning of July 26, 1974, the Apartheid Committee met and was
informed about Guldberg’s decision. The Committee was shocked, and expressed their ‘lack of understanding for the rationale’ behind the initiative.2 In
the afternoon the NGO committee members met again without the Ministry
officials and produced a letter to the Minister questioning the decision. They
emphasised that there had never been any reason to question how the NGOs
used the funds, that the UN would not be able to take over many of the activities in Southern Africa, which consequently would have to be stopped, and that
it was questionable if the UN had sufficient capacity and contacts to secure that
the support reached the beneficiaries.3
On August 1, the same day the Standing Financial Committee received his
appropriation application, Ove Guldberg expressed his intentions to change
the channels for the Apartheid Appropriation in a commentary in the daily
‘Politiken’.4 He stressed how difficult it was to control funds with several
minor allocations, and the subsequent risk of military misuse by the liberation
movements. The supporters of the Apartheid Appropriation in its existing form
then started a massive campaign against Guldberg in the press, using the same
arguments against him as the Apartheid Committee had.5 From the other side,
there were right wing letters to editors that saw Sidelmann’s article as documentation of Danish official funds being used for military training and held
WUS responsible for this misuse. One referred to an internal report in the Ministry that allegedly documented such misuse and Fremskridtspartiet criticised
Guldberg for not abolishing the Apartheid Appropriation: ‘Does the increased
1. Note, 27 June 1974. MFA 6.U.566.a
2. Minutes (no date) from Apartheid Committee meeting 26 July 1974.
3. Note 26 July 1974 on meeting of the Apartheid Committee the same day. 6.U.566.a. Letter 26
July to the Minister of Foreign Affairs from Apartheid Committee members, in: Minutes, 21
August 1974. MFA 6.U.566 DanChurchAid executive meeting 12 August 1974. FKNår.
4. Politiken, 1 August 1974.
5. Letters to the editor, for instance: Politiken, 4 August, Kristeligt Dagblad, 6 August, B.T. 7
August, Aktuelt, 7 August, Frederiksborg Amtsavis, 12 August 1974.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
support to Africa mean that the governing Right-Liberal party ‘Venstre’ had
become socialist? If not, the Prime Minister had better explain.’1
The discussion in the Standing Finance Committee was originally scheduled
for August 12, but instead the Committee declined to approve the application
and requested Guldberg to explain why the Danish policy would need to be
changed. The supporters of the Apartheid Appropriation in its existing form
even convinced the Standing Foreign Committee to have Guldberg explain
what in its request called ‘changes of principle’ in Danish foreign policy.2
Explanations and withdrawal
On September 13, Ove Guldberg explained to the Foreign Committee that
Peder Sidelmann’s article on education and military training had come to his
knowledge when Holger Lindholt had asked questions in Parliament in April.
Guldberg said the article had made him uncertain, although he previously had
been confident that Denmark’s assistance to liberation movements was never in
cash. According to him, any doubts about the Apartheid Appropriation might
threaten the image of all Denmark’s technical and development assistance. To
avoid this, he wanted to change the support channels, even though he wished
to continue to support the same activities as before, including those of the liberation movements.3
This is a very different position from what Guldberg had communicated to the
Apartheid Committee in January, and from his reasoning in the March application
to the Finance Committee about transferring the remaining 1973/74 Apartheid
Appropriation DKK one million to IDAF. It is the background and motivation for
Guldberg’s initiative that seem to be the reason for this incoherence.
Interestingly, the discussion in the Foreign Committee did not touch upon
the core of Guldberg’s UN alternative: that it was supposed to be more transparent than the existing procedures.
K. B. Andersen was one of the members of the Foreign Committee. Not surprisingly, he argued that public debate had fully clarified that the MPLA did
not use the Dolisie school for arms training, and that Sidelmann’s article had
said no such thing. That aside, Andersen had no problems with arms training
inside liberated areas in Angola, in order to defend schools from attacks from
Portuguese forces. Secondly, Andersen asked Guldberg for documentation or
examples that could justify his suspicion against the NGOs. He referred to a
discussion in June in the Foreign Committee where Guldberg had described
1. For instance: B.T. 13, 21 and 27 August 1974. There is no report or references to a report documenting WUS misuse of funds in Ministry files, and it is not mentioned by Guldberg as support
for his proposed change of practice for the Apartheid Appropriation.
2. Request 12 August from the Standing Parliamentary Financial Committee to Minister of Foreign
Affairs for further motivation for a change of practice in allocating the Apartheid Appropriation. MFA 6.U.566.
3. Internal minutes made by Danida from a meeting of the Parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee, 13 September 1974. MFA 6.U.566.
1974: Political Struggle and Stalemate
WUS in positive terms, quoting the Danish Ambassador to Zaire who visited
Dolisie in July 1973 and April 1974. His reports had been very enthusiastic
about the concept of the project, the progress made and the general results.
K. B. Andersen also referred to recent audits of the WUS office in Copenhagen
as well as Dolisie, showing that no misuse had taken place.1
Finally, K. B. Andersen felt that Guldberg should have discussed his urge to
change the procedures with the Foreign Committee before submitting his
appropriation application to the Finance Committee. He said that the application which ‘no longer meant supporting national liberation movements directly
represented a fundamental change in Danish foreign policy’. But on this point,
Andersen was either mistaken or polemic. Guldberg’s initiative would not
reduce the directness of the support, as funds had not been given ‘to’ the movements anyway (see Chapter 3).
The Kristeligt Folkeparti representative Bent Honoré, member of the Foreign Committee as well as the Finance Committee, found that ‘it was time for
other solutions than the one Guldberg had suggested’. He recognised that Guldberg had been concerned about Sidelmann’s article, but found that there was
no evidence to support that military training took place at Dolisie.
The meeting ended with Guldberg promising to forward documentation
about eventual misuse of funds channelled through NGOs, plus a copy of the
Apartheid Committee’s recommendations and the reports from the Ambassador to Zaire. Only the latter were sent, along with a note from Guldberg
repeating that his initiative did not include any fundamental change of Danish
policy but was solely a matter of changing the channels. This was the same
response as he had given to the Financial Committee in August.2
An interesting point is that Guldberg never made any real efforts to convince Bent Honoré about the possibility of misuse. Kristeligt Folkeparti was
one of the two minor parties that had pledged support to the fragile minority
government, and Honoré held the decisive vote on both the Finance and the
Foreign Committees. Guldberg should have been prepared for Honorés scepticism. Honoré had contacted him in July, explaining that he had personally
investigated the allegations forwarded by Holger Lindholdt in April. Honoré
had read audit reports and he had met with Klaus Wulff from WUS and Johannes Langhoff from the diocese of Copenhagen, representing the Danish Programme to Combat Racism (Kirkernes Raceprogram) in the Apartheid Committee. This had convinced him that no money had been spent for arms purchases and that no military training took place at Dolisie. In his answering letter, Ove Guldberg maintained his general views on the difficulties involved in
controlling and auditing the use of the funds. He also expressed doubts about
1. Ibid. The Ambassador’s reports from visits to Dolisie, 3 August 1973 and 30 April 1974. Also
filed under September 1974. MFA 6.U.566. Reports on audit control of WUS’ Dolisie project 31
August in Congo and in Denmark 2 September 1974. WUS 16.4.
2. Memo, no date, with response to the Standing Financial Committee’s request of 12 August
1974. MFA 6.U.566.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Wulff and Langhoff being able to guarantee that no misuse took place. But
Guldberg never made any real efforts to address Honoré’s clear concerns.1
On September 20, the Finance Committee met again to consider the appropriation application. It soon became clear that a majority wanted to turn down
the application. Only the right wing parties supported it, whereas the Social
Democratic Party reiterated its criticism of Guldberg’s initiative, followed by
the left wing and centre parties. Honoré repeated that he was still not convinced about the alleged risks of misuse, as no documentation had been presented to him. This being the central point in the Minister’s rationale for
changing practices, Honoré’s conclusion was to maintain his vote against the
application. The Finance Committee refused it, and recommended the Minister
to continue allocating funds according to existing practices.2
By the beginning of October, the Ministry drafted a second application to
the Finance Committee, this time largely following the recommendations made
by the Apartheid Committee in April. Interestingly, it was conveyed to K. B.
Andersen who had led the opposition against Minister Guldberg. After discussing it with Arbejderbevægelsens Solidaritetsfond (The Workers Solidarity
Fund—see Chapter 3), WUS and the Social Democratic MPs, Andersen had a
meeting with Ministry officials to give his comments. The proposal was discussed at an Apartheid Committee meeting on October 30, and not surprisingly, the Committee only had minor comments to what was basically their
own proposal. The next day, the final version was sent to the Finance Committee that approved it at its next meeting on November 13. And so, the Apartheid
Appropriation was back to its old lines of practice.3
Political positions
When K. B. Andersen had expanded the scope of the Apartheid Appropriation
in 1972, it was debated and criticised, in particular by Liberals like Guldberg
and Hartling as well as the Conservatives. The two main issues had been that
national liberation movements were communist or dominated by communists,
and that the members of the Apartheid Committee and their international contacts were predominantly socialist sympathisers.
When Guldberg took office, it would not have been surprising if he had
wanted to cut the links to the liberation movements, change the composition of
the Apartheid Committee, or even dissolve it. In this perspective, Guldberg’s
1. Letter 10 July 1974 from MP Bent Honoré to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, letter 25 July 1974
from Ove Guldberg to Honoré. MFA 6.U.566. Today, Honoré remembers likewise: ‘I could not
see from the documents I received that the allocation was used as Guldberg feared.’ Interview
with Honoré 13 May 1997.
2. Note 20 September 1974 accompanying the Standing Financial Committee’s rejection the same
day of appropriation application no 435. MFA 6.U.566.
3. Note 8 October 1974, draft appropriation application. Minutes 28 October 1974 from meeting
with K. B. Andersen discussing note 8 October. MFA 6.U.566. Minutes, no date, Apartheid
Committee meeting 30 October 1974. FKNra. Appropriation Application no 58, Finansudvalgets Aktstykker 1974/75.
1974: Political Struggle and Stalemate
initiative in 1974 was remarkably low key. It did not mention the national liberation movements’ possible communist affiliations and it only indirectly dealt
with the political affiliations of the Apartheid Committee members.
A more radical move might have proven easier to get through parliament or
the Financial and Foreign Policy Committees than the vague allegations about
how funds were possibly misused. To convince the small centre parties in parliament was crucial for the acceptance of Guldberg’s appropriation application.
Several liberation movements produced texts and made speeches with a procommunist rhetoric that Guldberg could have used as documentation, and
unlike the Social Democrats the centre parties did not have personal relations
with Neto, Tambo or others that could counter a claim that the movements
were communist.
It is possible that Guldberg, when considering the Apartheid Appropriation
set-up and its allocation practice in March and April 1974, had understood
that K. B. Andersen’s politically well advertised 1971/72 expansion in reality
had meant only minor changes. Andersen had explained these facts in detail in
Parliament, but this had been largely ignored by his critics, including Guldberg.
They had focused on the international interpretation—the one that had been
acknowledged by African presidents and which had upset the regimes in Pretoria, Salisbury and Lisbon—that liberation movements were to be directly supported. Andersen’s critics could not, or would not, distinguish between the
international ‘political profiling’ and the actual ‘substance and practice’ of the
move. Consequently, there was not much for Guldberg to reverse when he succeeded Andersen. To revise the 1972 expansion would have been an important
manifestation to Ove Guldberg and Venstre, and a general political blow to
Andersen’s Africa policies. But the criticism backfired and Guldberg had to find
a different focus.
Concerning the Apartheid Committee, Ove Guldberg’s initiative would not
have dismantled it, but bypassed it politically and financially. The Committee
would have been restricted to making recommendations for allocations within
the UN system and, by and large, to only support Southern Africans in exile.
On the other hand, it would still have been an influential reference on how the
funds should be advocated among the various activities within the UN framework, including a continuous support to the liberation movements. As a matter
of fact, several of the UN institutions that Guldberg attempted to boost support to supported liberation movements in exile. On the other hand, Guldberg’s proposal could have served as a political platform for the Apartheid
Committee to find and specify liberation movement activities and to earmark
funding for them, through the UN organizations.1
1. Although the UN could not fund activities against the acceptance of a territory’s government,
the UN Trust Fund gave money to IDAF, mainly for legal assistance in South Africa. See Reddy
1999. Out of a total of DKK 10.2 million, the declined Guldberg appropriation application of
30 July 1974, which was turned down, included an allocation of 1.5 million to the UN Trust
Fund of which most would have gone to IDAF.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Financially, the Danish NGOs and their international networks would have
suffered by no longer being the main channels for Apartheid Appropriation
funds. Some NGOs had many other activities, but to others, such as WUS Denmark, it would have been a serious blow. Ove Guldberg’s initiative would have
outmanoeuvred the NGOs in the Apartheid Committee and especially those
with relations to the new left and student movements.
In his memoirs K. B. Andersen describes the day when Ove Guldberg’s application was rejected as ‘a beautiful day’.1 To him, it probably was, because the line
he had introduced in 1972 was being continued. However, the struggle with
Guldberg and the narrow margin with which the Apartheid Appropriation supporters had won, also illustrates the limits for any further expansion. It
explains why Denmark in 1974, and after, kept following a practice that basically had been established as early as in 1965/66, when the Apartheid Appropriation was started as a small humanitarian facility. Even if the allocations
were increased from 1978, by between DKK 5 and 10 million per year, the
practice was never changed, for instance along the lines of other Nordic countries that supported national liberation movements in cash, including for general running costs.
In February 1975 the liberal Venstre government resigned, after only 13
months in office. K. B. Andersen took over from Ove Guldberg as Minister of
Foreign Affairs in a new minority Social Democratic government. Although
Guldberg’s initiative had not been approved, the political struggles over the
political identity of the Apartheid Appropriation had fixed the front lines of
Danish policy towards Southern Africa and the national liberation movements
at a stalemate for the rest of the 1970s and well into the 1980s.
Andersen remained Minister until mid-1978 when he was appointed
Speaker in Parliament. There were still skirmishes along this fixed front line
concerning the Apartheid Appropriation and Danish Africa policy in general.
For instance, Andersen was highly criticised when he received Frelimo’s Marcelino dos Santos in April 1975 as a state representative (as a member of Mozambique’s transitional government), when Denmark recognised Angola’s MPLA
government in February 1976 or when Andersen in November 1977, during a
visit to Brazil, declared his recognition of Angola’s right to request the assistance of foreign—Cuban—troops, just like West Germany had approved the
presence on its territory of American, British and French troops after World
War II.2
In his memoirs, K. B. Andersen quotes President Neto for thanking him
when they met at Angola’s Independence Anniversary in 1976. Neto was grateful for the continuity of Denmark’s support and the positive attitude towards
1. Andersen, 1983.
2. KBAaba, Press cuttings, Vol I–VI (1975–1978).
1974: Political Struggle and Stalemate
MPLA despite changing Danish governments. ‘I refrained from explaining how
this continuity had been maintained’, Andersen writes, referring to the struggle
with Ove Guldberg.1
When it comes to making internationally noticed statements, Andersen’s
unspoken thoughts are right. But what Andersen misses is that he and Guldberg had a number of things in common. Like Andersen’s own expansion of the
Apartheid Appropriation in 1971–1972 had been of a political nature, Guldberg’s initiative was also an attempt to change its political content rather than
its ‘substance and practice’. Guldberg’s initiative would not have been the end
to Danish support to MPLA and other liberation movements. Danish Africa
policy could no longer have kept the same high political profile, but it would
not have meant much for the financial continuity.
1. Andersen 1983, p. 33.
Chapter 5
Sanctions: Denmark’s Shift from Hesitant to Decisive
In 1986, Denmark became the first Western country to impose full sanctions on
South Africa, after maintaining for decades that such measures had first to be
taken by South Africa’s largest trading partners to have any effects. The process
leading to sanctions began around 1978 and constitutes a second phase of Denmark’s involvement in the struggle for liberation in Southern Africa. The interacting factors behind the process were the new international focus on events in
South Africa after the Soweto uprising in 1976, increasing public and NGO
pressure, a stronger UN commitment, plus, as the determining factor at the
domestic political level, a change of attitude in the Danish Social Democratic
Until 1978, the Danish debate focused on support through the Apartheid
Appropriation, in particular support concerning national liberation movements. The debate reflects the dual nature of the Apartheid Appropriation,
with the Ministry officials and NGO members on the Apartheid Committee
running the administrative side, largely unruffled by the sometimes passionate
political debates. The process leading to sanctions did not have this double
dimension. It developed in the political realm only, without any interference
from the administrative level. Danish sanctions were a result of the political
debate that took place in parliament at a specific point in Danish political history, and of the continuous public pressure in the media and by the NGOs.
South Africa back on the agenda
For twenty years it was Nordic and Danish official policy that sanctions against
South Africa were useless and even damaged the good cause if they did not
include South Africa’s major trading partners Great Britain, USA and France.
This meant that the Nordic countries did not apply UN General Assembly resolutions that were made over the years, but awaited—and worked for—a mandatory decision from the Security Council. This had been Nordic policy since
1962, decided by the Nordic Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and it was followed
by a majority of political parties in the Danish Parliament, including the Social
Sanctions: Denmark’s Shift from Hesitant to Decisive
Democratic party. A minority of smaller socialist parties suggested changing
this policy from time to time, but without success.1
Danish trade with South Africa was modest during the 1960s and the early
half of the 1970s. Exports consisted mainly of machinery, and fluctuated with
the signing of major individual contracts such as equipment to cement factories. Fruit was the main imported item, South Africa being the biggest supplier
of foreign fruit in winter and spring.2 But in 1976, Danish power companies
started to buy South African coal. After the oil crisis in 1973, prices had gone
up dramatically and parliament decided that Danish fuel imports should no
longer be dominated by oil. Danish power companies went looking for suppliers, and at the same time South Africa was investing heavily in coal mining and
exporting facilities. From a modest start of 21,000 tons in 1976, Danish purchases from South Africa increased to 384,000 tons in 1977 and 836,000 tons
in 1978.3
This development coincided with South Africa once again becoming a political issue in Denmark. For ten years, only a few events in South Africa had
reached the headlines in the international and Danish press. From a Danish
perspective it seemed unlikely that apartheid would fall in any foreseeable
future. As described in Chapters 3 and 4, the debates concerning Southern
Africa concentrated mainly on what kind of support Denmark should provide,
and to whom.
The Soweto uprising in 1976 changed this, and brought new dynamics into
the situation in South Africa. Protesting students, the harsh reactions by the
South African government and pictures of dead students upset the Danish public. People read in the newspapers about ‘Bantu Education’ and the dominance
of Afrikaans in the schools. They witnessed the uprising, the strikes that followed, the growing unrest and the killing of Steve Biko in September 1977.
South Africa was back on the agenda in Denmark, as it was worldwide, including in the UN. And suddenly there was a hope for change.
Nordic political response
In March 1977, the Nordic Ministers of Foreign Affairs were gathered in Reykjavik for one of their regular bi-annual meetings. Southern Africa was on top
of the agenda, and the meeting adopted a number of guidelines to coordinate
their policy. The Ministers stated that:
1. See Chapter 2 on how in the 1960s Danish and Nordic focus shifted from sanctions to humanitarian support. For the UN resolutions referred to in this chapter, see: United Nations, 1994. Between
the end of the Rivonia trial in 1964 and Soweto in 1976 there were few proposals in parliament to
take up sanctions, for instance after a large sale of Namibian ‘Swakara’ furs and after three Danish athletes’ participation in the ‘Pretoria Games’, both in 1972. After Soweto, the number of
motions and questions to Ministers etc. increased. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1972/72, F 3538
and F 4925, and Register of Foreign Policy readings in the Folketing, Vandkunsten 9/10.
2. Trade with South Africa was just 0.5 per cent of total Danish imports and exports (1973), Kirkernes Raceprogram, p. 35, 1974.
3. Hove et al. 1985, p. 198.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
— the parties involved in the conflict in Zimbabwe should be brought to negotiating, and
the illegitimate minority regime be replaced by majority rule, in order to secure a
peaceful development;
— the South African occupation of Namibia was illegal. Free elections should be held
under UN control and guidelines, and SWAPO involvement was considered crucial;
— the South African regime’s oppression of the majority of its population was to be
decounced. They encouraged solidarity with the African peoples struggle against the
apartheid system. An arms embargo against South Africa was welcomed. The Nordic
countries also expressed their wish for economic pressure against South Africa, and
for the UN Security Council to take decisions aiming at preventing new foreign investments in South Africa.
— the information efforts of the Nordic volunteer organizations were acknowledged and
fully supported.1
This joint reaction by the Nordic Ministers was a strong signal, but, once
again, they did not challenge the steps already taken by the UN. It was merely a
continuation of the Nordic strategy from 1962, of ‘following the UN’. It was
Danish policy that the Nordic governments continued this line. In the preparations for the meeting in Reykjavik, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
summed up: ‘Denmark has cut off relations with the minority regime in Salisbury and adheres strictly to the sanctions against Rhodesia from 1966. Denmark complies fully with the arms embargo against South Africa called for by
the Security Council’.2 The profile was high on Rhodesia, where the UN had
adopted full sanctions after the Ian Smith regime had declared unilateral independence from Britain in 1965. On South Africa the meeting made a reference
to what steps the Security Council was preparing.
At their next meeting, on September 1–2 in Helsinki, the Foreign Ministers
discussed Southern Africa again. In their final statement, the Ministers again
strongly condemned South Africa’s apartheid regime, and invited the international community ‘to take concrete action to show its solidarity with the struggle against the apartheid system’.3 Compared to the previous statement, this
appeal went one step further. The wording now included indirect pressure, also
on the UN Security Council, to impose stronger measures. With respect to their
own role in the international community, the steps of ‘concrete action’ were
however cautious: the Ministers agreed to establish a Working Group to study
options for a joint Action Programme concerning further economic measures
against South Africa.4
In March 1978, the Foreign Ministers met again, this time in Oslo. On the
basis of the findings of the Working Group established in Helsinki, the Nordic
countries for the first time not only coordinated guidelines for the individual
1. Communique from meeting in Reykjavik, 23 March 1977. MFA 6.U.566.
2. Memorandum 11 March 1977. MFA 6.U.566.
3. Communique from meeting in Helsinki 1–2 September 1977, WUS 11.4.
4. In Denmark, the establishing of the Working Group was by some experienced as a result of
Swedish hesitation as that country’s stronger economic involvement would have stronger domestic economic and employment effects. Interview with Åkjær 24 September 1997. For contemporary documentation on Swedish business involvement, see Magnusson 1974.
Sanctions: Denmark’s Shift from Hesitant to Decisive
countries to follow, but a joint ‘Action Programme’ on a ‘foreign policy’ issue.
It was agreed:
— to prevent new Nordic investments in South Africa;
— to negotiate with Nordic companies to reduce their production in South Africa;
— to request sports and cultural contacts to be terminated;
— to increase support to refugees, liberation movements and victims of apartheid.
It was agreed that other measures should be added at a later stage. 1
The Action Programme was not a call for state sanctions. The agreement covered some, but not all aspects of the relationship with South Africa. Trade was
not mentioned, nor was legislation or other measures to enforce the programme. The Nordic official policy was a call for private action.
However, it was the first time the Nordic countries went beyond UN obligations, and it manifested to South Africa that there were countries in the West
prepared to embark on economic measures. The Danish press described the
Action Programme as ‘going further than previous international sanctions’.
‘Stop Nordic New Investment in Vorster’s South Africa’, one headline said.
‘The programme is a considerable tightening of policies against South Africa
while at the same time being realistic’, newspapers reported. But they also commented that the important thing was what concrete measures were taken as a
follow up of the Action Plan.2
The relatively soft content of the Action Programme shows that the Nordic
countries were still influenced by a concern for what was realistic policy, as
they had been since 1962. Sanctions would not influence Pretoria if imposed by
the Nordic countries alone, and they would harm Nordic industry and business
at a time of economic hardship in the Nordic countries. In Sweden, a commission was established during 1978, to look at what kind of initiatives would not
damage the Swedish economy too seriously.
Coordinating with the EC
In the first half of 1978 Denmark chaired the European Community (EC). At
the conference of Foreign Ministers in Copenhagen, February 1978, British
Foreign Secretary, David Owen, told Danish newspapers that ‘anyone who
thinks the EC should work for sanctions is a fool’.3 This was only a few
months after the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, K. B. Andersen, had
argued in an interview that the EC would lose credibility if it did not follow up
on its verbal criticism of South Africa, formulated at its previous summit in
July 1977.4
K. B. Andersen chaired the Foreign Ministers’ conference, and tried to combine his visions for a stronger EC commitment with considerations of what
1. Communique from Meeting of Nordic Foreign Ministers. Oslo 9–10, March 1978. EE.
2. Politiken and Aktuelt, 11 March 1978.
3. Ekstra Bladet, Politiken. 15 February 1977
4. Information, 26 November 1977.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
could realistically be adopted. In a comment, he reduced the implications of
Owen’s statement to a technical discrepancy on what specific measures should
be taken: ‘Everybody can agree to declare himself against South Africa’s policy’, he stated.1 To K. B. Andersen, the challenge was to find the balance
between formulations that all countries could agree on, but had no consequences, or such that would have binding implications and—therefore—could
not be adopted. Attempts to make the EC agree on any kind of action would
have implications on Denmark’s room for manoeuvre both unilaterally and in
the Nordic forum. Similarly, as preparation for its EC presidency, Denmark
had voted cautiously during the 1977 UN General Assembly compared to previous years. This was criticised by the left wing opposition parties but must be
seen as an attempt to make space for reaching an EC agreement.2
Danish concerns the Foreign Ministers’ conference proved right: The resolutions that could be adopted at the EC summit in June 1978 were limited. The
EC agreed to criticise South Africa for its apartheid racism and for its occupation of Namibia, and confirmed previous proclamations that the regime should
be opposed through economic measures. But no specific interventions could be
agreed upon. It was only agreed to start administrative preparations of possible
sanctions. This procedure was rather similar to the Nordic process started the
year before, when the Nordic Ministers had established their working group
Action Programme.3
Danish policy on the Nordic Action Programme
In November 1977, the Socialist People’s Party (SF) had proposed a motion in
the Danish Parliament, referring to the UN General Assembly sanctions programme of November 9, 1976, and to the increasing Danish coal purchases in
South Africa. It was forwarded to the Foreign Policy Committee and the readings coincided with the Nordic meeting of Foreign Ministers in March 1978.
The SF motion was modified and served as the basis for the Danish action plan
on the Nordic Action Programme that was adopted in its final form on 26 May
1978. The Danish Parliament:
— declared its support for the Action Programme,
— invited the government to work out specific initiatives in accordance with the pro
— requested the government to terminate export credits for South Africa and phase out
the Export Officer based at the Pretoria embassy, and
— requested Danish power companies to stop their coal purchases in South Africa. 4
1. Ibid.
2. MP Steen Folke of Venstresocialisterne summed up Denmark’s voting in the UN in 1977 compared to other years and other countries in a feature in Politiken 2 May 1978.
3. Politiken, Ekstra Bladet, 13 June 1978.
4. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1977/78: A1625, F4892, C637. Bramsen 1990, p. 234. Hove et al.
1985, p. 240.
Sanctions: Denmark’s Shift from Hesitant to Decisive
The original SF proposals to stop Scandinavian Airline Systems (SAS) from flying on South Africa and to stop migration to South Africa did not find sufficient backing by the ruling Social Democratic Party, and were not included.
The motion did not imply any formal legislation, and as such it followed the
traditional pattern of the Nordic attitude on the matter since 1962. The Nordic
countries had likewise abstained from voting in favour of the 1976 UN General
Assembly sanctions programme that SF had used as a reference for its proposal. It was considered too comprehensive, and Denmark once again chose to
follow the decisions made by the Security Council.1
This pattern was to remain in place for a few more years, until political constellations changed and it had been proved that requests and invitations to private business did not influence coal purchases and other economic relations
with South Africa. It also reflects the limited influence the UN General Assembly resolutions in general had on its member states: as long as sanctions were
not mandatory, nations and individual businesses did not consider moral issues
superior to financial matters. The result was a very limited impact on South
Africa’s apartheid politics.
No restrictions on the coal trade
Before its first purchase of South African coal in 1976, the semi-official
regional Danish power company ELSAM had asked the Danish Ministry of
Trade for comments and they were told that there were no restrictions. The
first imports were a success, and there was political pressure in Denmark to
rely more on coal than on oil. Also, the quality of the South African coal was
good, and the prices were low even though the oil crises of the 1970s had created a sellers’ market. Later, after Soweto, ELSAM explained that there had
been no signals or requests from the Danish government not to buy its coal in
South Africa. ‘If we were asked to, the trade would stop immediately’ the
chairman of the board stated to the press.2
In June 1978 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote to the companies doing
business with South Africa. To ELSAM the central formulation was: ‘The government would welcome it if ELSAM could reach the conclusion that it would
serve ELSAM’s own interests to purchase coal from other producers than South
Africa’. However, ELSAM chose to prioritise its business interests. The chairman of the board commented: ‘We have received the letter, but will take no further action. The request is not a prohibition’.3 A few days later, ELSAM signed
a large contract to buy more coal from South Africa.
ELKRAFT, the other major Danish power company, followed and also
bought South African coal. By the end of the 1970s, the two companies to1. During the debate on the SF motion, Foreign Minister K. B. Andersen refused to use the General
Assembly Sanctions Programme of 9 November 1976 as an argument for Danish action, because
Denmark had not voted for it. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1977/78, F4892.
2. Politiken, 29 September 1977.
3. Socialistisk Dagblad, 2 August 1978.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
gether imported about 30 per cent of the fuel for Danish electricity supplies
from South Africa, about 10 per cent of the total Danish energy consumption.
This was to remain the case until 1983–84. Seen from a South African perspective, Denmark represented about 10 per cent of South Africa’s coal exports.1
ELSAM’s reaction reflects the lack of effect the requests from the UN, Nordic Ministers and the Danish Parliament had on companies and individuals to
voluntarily phase out their economic and other contacts with South Africa.
Revenue and bottom line figures had the upper hand: from 1978 to 1984
Danish exports to South Africa grew from DKK 150 to 700 million and
imports from DKK 224 to 1,263 million (of which coal amounted to DKK
1,129 million), in current prices.2
Public action
After 1976, the increasing number of reported human rights violations in
South Africa, combined with statistics showing that trade relations were
expanding despite expressed political concern, was a paradox that mobilised
individuals and organizations in Denmark. From 1977, local South Africa
Committees were established in several towns by local branches of the socialist
SF and VS parties, local committees of the Danish NGO ‘Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke’ (MS), and by people with links to ‘Kirkernes Raceprogram’ (KR), the
Danish branch of WCC’s ‘Programme to Combat Racism’. They demonstrated
against shops selling South African fruit and agitated for stronger government
measures against South Africa, for boycotts and sanctions. The movement
started at the same time as SF proposed its motion in parliament and as the UN
discussed South Africa and decided on an arms boycott, a few months after the
news of the death of Steve Biko in September 1977.3
The campaign resulted in the large supermarket chain ‘Irma’ and the cooperative ‘Brugsen’ dropping South African products, and in consumer commodity imports going down. Brugsen’s decision was the result of KR members
being elected to the boards of local Brugsen shops. After many of the individual
shops decided on a boycott, a national boycott was proposed at the central
level, and got a majority backing.4 Irma, a private chain, reluctantly made its
decision by the end of 1977. It openly declared that protesters’ campaigning
outside its shops damaged business and that it had no other alternative than to
sanction South African products.5
Danish NGOs, together with labour and other organizations, as well as the
bigger South Africa Committees (SAKs) in Copenhagen and Århus, organized a
major conference on March 17–18, 1978, with the participation of Danish
Ministers and Members of Parliament, ANC and SWAPO representatives and
1. Politiken, 29 September 1977. Buksti, 1979. Hove et al. 1985, p. 198–203.
2. Hove et al. 1985, p. 160. Built on figures from the National Danish Statistical Bureau.
3. Binders 2 and 46. LSA/SAKK.
4. Interview with Max Kruse 14 January 1997.
5. Børsen, 14 May 1979.
Sanctions: Denmark’s Shift from Hesitant to Decisive
Danish and international organizations. This was less than a week after the
Oslo meeting of the Nordic Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and at the beginning
of the UN Anti-Apartheid Year that started a few days later, in memory of the
Sharpeville-massacre on March 21, 1960. Danish Social Democratic Prime
Minister Anker Jørgensen opened the conference, and ANC President Oliver
Tambo and SWAPO Representative Hadino Hishongwa described the situation
in South Africa and Namibia. They asked for assistance to the liberation movements and for a full boycott of South Africa, although they still did not ask
directly for government sanctions. Abdul Minty, from the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, presented a ten-point programme that he invited Denmark to
follow. It called for a stop in private investments, a stop in the increasing coal
purchases, a stop in government export subsidies, visa regulations, sports boycott and stopping flights by the Scandinavian airline SAS. But he did not call
for comprehensive trade sanctions or for an official Danish ban on trade.1
In March 1978, the ‘Landskommiteen Sydafrika Aktion’ (LSA) was established to coordinate NGOs, South Africa Committees, trade unions, party
branches and individuals during a national campaign inspired by the UN AntiApartheid Year 1978. The campaign worked with information, lobbying and
fund raising, often in connection with demonstrations outside shops selling
South African fruit and other products.
The chairman of LSA, Max Kruse, was one of the founders of Kirkernes
Raceprogram, but soon it seemed to many of its individual members and member organizations that LSA was to a large extent run and funded by people and
trade unions connected to the Communist party.2 Social Democratic organizations withdrew from LSA, and Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke introduced conditions for their continued membership. They demanded transparency in the
organization, as well as a veto against LSA initiatives for strikes and picketing.
In 1979, LSA continued to campaign actively, in particular through information on the conditions in Southern Africa and a continuous agitation for
sanctions. Funds were raised and donated to ANC for equipment for its ‘Radio
Freedom’ in Lusaka, and a printing press for the exiled trade union SACTU’s
newspaper ‘Workers Unity’. Local committees in several Danish towns gave the
movement quite a wide national backing, and spectacular actions were carried
out to attract press attention and spread information.
As in the 1960s, the issue of apartheid’s constitutional racism and the violations of human rights were able to mobilise a considerable part of the Danish
public. And people wanted the government to impose official sanctions to isolate South Africa. The public demanded measures that went well beyond the
1. Information, 18–19 and 20 March 1978, Aktuelt, 18 and 20 March 1978. Among organization
representatives were also SACTU President Drake Lekota, E.S. Reddy from UN Center against
Apartheid, South African writer Ruth First and Craig Williamson from IUEF.
2. ‘LSA was clearly dominated by communists, very nice and loyal people whom I have much
respect for and who could really work hard.’ Interview with Max Kruse, 14 January 1997. MSAvisen, January 1979. Interview with former LSA Secretary Janne Felumb 31 October 1997.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
diplomatic requests made by the anti-apartheid representatives from Southern
Coalition Government 1978–1979: Cease-fire on sanctions and support
During 1978, the political constellations in Denmark changed fundamentally.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, K. B. Andersen, resigned in July to become the Parliament Speaker. On August 30, the ‘SV-government’, a coalition between the
Social Democratic party and the liberal Venstre, was formed.
When in opposition, Venstre had strongly criticised K. B. Andersen for the
way he handled the expansion of the Apartheid Appropriation in 1971–72. In
turn, the Social Democratic Party had fought Venstre’s Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Ove Guldberg’s initiative to roll back the expansion during the 1974
Venstre government. On the question of boycott opinions also differed. For
instance when the Danish Parliament adopted the May 26 1978 motion that
Danish policy should follow the Nordic Action Programme on trade and
investment measures, the Social Democratic Party had voted for and Venstre
The new coalition demanded a compromise, and Southern Africa ceased to
exist as a field for political debate. There was a stalemate along the frontline of
Denmark’s support to the liberation movements, and gradually the struggle
died out. Ove Guldberg had left parliament in 1977 and Poul Hartling had
become UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 1978. Minister of Foreign
Affairs in the new government was Henning Christophersen, the new Chairman of Venstre. During the coalition government, Venstre did not bring up
either the Apartheid Appropriation or the Apartheid Committee. Sanctions
were not discussed. Christophersen’s appropriation applications to the Finance
Committee all followed the recommendations of the Apartheid Committee.
The coalition government marked the end of a period starting in 1971,
when the Apartheid Appropriation had been high on the Danish political
agenda. With the independence of Angola and Mozambique in 1975, the controversial support to their liberation movements ended. Soweto had put South
Africa back in the spotlight, but the Danish debate now centred on sanctions
rather than on devloping the Apartheid Appropriation humanitarian support
to Southern African liberation movements. Initially, South African movements
and organizations did not have the same kind of direct contacts with Danish
NGOs and politicians as those of the Portuguese colonies. Such support did not
develop until the mid 1980s when NGOs promoted it in the form of educational support to refugee camps in Tanzania.
After 1978, Denmark’s official support through the Apartheid Appropriation was regularly increased without any significant discussions. From 1974/75
to 1978 the Apartheid Appropriation had only increased from DKK 12.5 to
14.9 million. In 1978 the appropriation only covered nine months, as the financial year was changed to follow the calendar year. And in 1979, the appropria-
Sanctions: Denmark’s Shift from Hesitant to Decisive
tion was raised to DKK 25 million, with reference to the UN anti-apartheid
year and to Danish support lagging behind that of Sweden and Norway. In
1980 it was raised to DKK 35 million, and from 1981, it was routinely
increased by DKK 5 million per year.
On the other hand, the SV-government was not in a position to make any
moves concerning sanctions. In October 1978, when it was learned that
ELSAM had signed new contracts and intended to increase its coal purchases,
the left socialist party Venstresocialisterne (VS) put forward a motion in Parliament based on the 10-point programme that Abdul Minty had promoted at the
conference in March. They proposed that the government should prohibit
investments in South Africa, stop coal purchases immediately, stop sports and
other cultural contacts and within six months end all Danish trade with the
country. Henning Christophersen, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, could
not accept the motion, repeating the motivation from the previous 15 years
that unilateral Danish sanctions would have no effect. The Spokesman of the
Social Democratic Party stated that further Danish steps would have to be
taken in an international context.
One step towards international coordinated action came in September
1978, at the General Debate in the UN, when Henning Christophersen argued
that the arms embargo was hardly sufficient to convince the regime in South
Africa to change its apartheid policy. During a debate in the Danish parliament,
VS pointed to the unlikely prospect of the USA and Great Britain voting for
mandatory measures in the Security Council, and to the fact that Denmark
would not at all stand alone if it did impose sanctions: It would be following
India and other countries in Asia and the Middle East. The statements show
the political positions in Denmark. The social democratic, liberal and conservative parties still followed the pattern of not anticipating effectively coordinated
international action, whereas the socialist parties and the social liberal party
(Radikale Venstre) wished to do so.1
The SV-government was dissolved in October 1979, and a new minority
Social Democratic government took over, without changing the Danish policy
on sanctions. The new government retained the Nordic 1962 position. In the
following years, the left wing opposition forwarded motions and posed questions to the Ministers 14 times. These initiatives were often coordinated with
NGO activities, and often the political parties got background information
provided by NGOs and their international contacts, such as the British and
Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movements and the ‘Shipping Research Bureau’ in
The opposition insisted that the government should follow up on the Nordic Action Plan and legislate against coal purchases, oil transports, and investments and tighter visa regulations, but with no tangible results. In his answer
1. Politiken, 27 October 1978. Foreign Minister Christophersen’s speech in the UN 26 September
1978, SD.upol.aba. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1978/79. S 1038.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
to the last in the series of questions before the next change of government in
1982, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kjeld Olesen explained that ‘Danish efforts
would have to be based on the Nordic Action Programme adopted by the Danish parliament 26 May 1978, meaning that the Nordic countries should work
for proposals in the UN Security Council leading to mandatory boycotts of
trade with South Africa. Another element in the Nordic Programme is requesting that sports and cultural contacts cease’.1
Increasing attention on increasing trade
Danish trade with South Africa had not been significant until it became totally
dominated by the coal imports, as described above. After the modest start in
1976, imports were grew to a rather constant 3 million tons from 1979/80,
about 10 per cent of South Africa’s coal exports worth more than DKK 1 billion. Other Danish trade with South Africa which inceased was shipping.2
From the end of 1979 to the beginning of 1981, Danish shipping lines, especially Maersk Lines, were involved in oil transports to South Africa. After the
Islamic Revolution in Iran and a visit there by ANC, the oil exports to South
Africa from Iran and OPEC member countries in general were stopped. Oil
became a major concern for South Africa, as three quarters of its imports had
been delivered by Iran. A complicated alternative network of suppliers and
transporters was established, and it often worked in secrecy. Maersk was
involved in these transports and is estimated to have transported 20–25 per
cent of South Africa’s oil imports in the years around 1980. As described
above, among the fruitless motions discussed in the Danish parliament in the
same period, it was suggested, in March 1981, to prohibit oil transports and oil
exports to South Africa by law. The motion was not passed.3 Despite this,
Maersk noticed the changing winds and withdrew from its involvement. The
company only participated in one more transport, in 1983.
Danish NGOs and especially the South Africa Committees (SAKs) focused
the public eye on the increasing trade relations. The contradiction between the
clear statements of the Nordic Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and the meagre
results of the softened Danish May 26 1978 motion seemed an obvious paradox to many Danes. It strengthened the NGO notion that legislation on sanctions was necessary.
The typical activity of local SAKs was a combination of public demonstrations, information and lobbying efforts. Actions against shops selling South
African commodities, wholesale fruit markets, offices of importers/exporters
trading with South Africa, or against coal terminals, provided a basis for handing out material and informing the press. The information material was often
1. Reply of 13 August 1982 to question (no 1085, Folketingets Forhandlinger 1981/82) of 6
August. EE.
2. Hove et al., p. 198, based on Financial Times and Danish Bureau of Statistics.
3. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1980–81, B98. Hove et al., p. 228–229. Hengeveld and Rodenburg
(eds) p. 21, 165–168.
Sanctions: Denmark’s Shift from Hesitant to Decisive
based on careful research into statistics on trade, company registers etc., supplemented by international research from the Anti-Apartheid movement in
Britain and others. Research findings were also distributed to politicians. In
September 1979, Bishop Desmond Tutu, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches visited Denmark as the guest of DanChurchAid. At a
press conference on TV he repeatedly defined the increasing Danish coal purchases as ‘disgraceful’. The statement was also noted by parts of the Danish
public that normally considered sanctions as too radical a step, and upon his
return to South Africa, Bishop Tutu had his passport withdrawn.1
A new Government—another new majority
In 1982, the Social Democratic minority government resigned and a conservative-liberal government took over. This was another minority government,
based on the support of the centrist, social liberal party ‘Radikale Venstre’
(RV). RV agreed with the government that solving Denmark’s economic and
financial problems was to have top priority. However, on a number of international and defence issues, RV and the new government disagreed. South Africa
was one of them, as it had been during the previous government.
Simultaneously, the Social Democratic Party, now in opposition, was developing its position on official sanctions. No longer in government the party was
not hampered by the need to balance political measures towards South Africa
with considerations for the fragile Danish economy and unstable political alliances.
To the Social Democrats the Southern Africa question and other international issues also presented an opportunity to bring down the new government.
In Denmark, it was parliamentary tradition that a government resigned when it
faced a majority opposition in parliament on foreign policy and other central
issues. The new conservative-liberal government however soon demonstrated,
during numerous debates and motions, that it was able to bypass this tradition
by simply abstaining from calling a vote when faced with defeat, or living with
the defeat. Because its domestic policy had the necessary backing, the government knew it would not be met with a vote of no confidence, which would otherwise be expected in such situations. The price to be paid was that the
government had to accept that parts of Denmark’s foreign policy were directed
by the opposition, in such cases dubbed ‘the alternative majority’. This is what
opened the way for Danish official sanctions.2
The first example of a parliamentary decision by ‘the alternative majority’ is
from January 1983. During a debate in Parliament, the Social Democratic
1. Tutu 1984, p. 18. Interview with Kruse, 14 January 1997.
2. In particular missile deployment and disarmament issues in Europe became the subject of heated
discussions, and the new Venstre Minister of Foreign Affairs, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, would often
have to travel to NATO meetings and other international fora with a mandate he disagreed with,
but nevertheless chose to live with.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Party moved a resolution that got the expected backing from the government
support party RV, and the two socialist parties, SF and VS. The resolution
stated that the government should set a time limit and request Danish power
companies to phase out their coal purchases in South Africa before 1990.1 The
government spoke against it during the debate, but abstained from voting, in
order not to be defeated on the issue. Not surprisingly the government evoked
the position of previous Social Democratic governments, and their argument
that further sanctions would have to be part of a coordinated UN effort based
on mandatory Security Council resolutions. Otherwise they would only damage the Danish economy. But the Social Democratic Party explained that its
patience had now finally run out because of the continuing coal purchases. The
government survived, the resolution was passed and a new parliamentarian
pattern was set for the coming years.
The following year, visa regulations, illegal arms transport by a Danish ship
and oil transports by Danish shipping lines were debated in the Danish parliament. Despite Denmark’s declared policy against apartheid there were still no
visa restrictions for South Africans coming to Denmark. The Danish press
revealed that Danish ships had been involved in smuggling arms to South
Africa since 1978, despite the ban that Denmark had adopted in connection
with the UN arms embargo of 1977. The Danish Seamen’s Union collected
reports and documentation from its members on shipping activities, including
photos of a Danish coaster entering Durban harbour flying the yellow flag signalling a cargo of explosives and of tankers transferring oil cargoes at sea to
disguise their origin. The Minister of Trade and Industry was asked in parliament to stop oil transports according to the Nordic Action Programme, but the
government was not prepared to take any action. They claimed that the only
result would be to do damage to the competitiveness of Danish shipping.2
In February 1984, the Socialist People’s Party (SF) party moved a new resolution. As a follow up to the January 1983 resolution and the Nordic Action
Programme of 1978, the wording was relatively soft compared to the party’s
position during the debates, but the purpose was to gain support from the
Radikale Venstre and the Social Democratic Party.
The resolution demanded that:
— Danish power companies should report their coal purchases and what initiatives they were taking to follow the 1978 and 1983 requests to gradually
end their purchases from South Africa before 1990;
— the government should make it clear to shipping and oil companies that
trading oil with South Africa was contradictory to Danish legislation;
— the Danish government should work actively against Nordic involvement in
IMF credits to South Africa;
1. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1982–83. F 4511.
2. Hengeveld and Rodenburg (eds) 1995 p. 92, 297. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1982–83: F 7460,
8252, 11283, 13290. 1983–84: F 1514.
Sanctions: Denmark’s Shift from Hesitant to Decisive
— the government should, if necessary through legislation, prevent any new
Danish investments in South Africa;
— flight connections to South Africa by the Nordic airline SAS should cease
The resolution was referred to the Standing Foreign Committee, which
debated it at length. After being modified, it was passed on May 29, with the
omission of the SAS issue and the request that coal purchases should be gradually terminated. The Committee was aware that most other European airlines
had flights to South Africa, with connections to Copenhagen as well as to Sweden and Norway, and that Norway and Sweden were not prepared to stop the
flights of their jointly owned Nordic SAS airline. The Foreign Policy Committee also noted that a ban on Danish tankers would merely lead to tankers from
some other country taking over.1
The government was against the resolution during the first reading, in the
Foreign Committee and during the second and final reading when it was
passed. They repeated the argument that sanctions would have to be international and mandatory. Like the 1983 motion, the SF resolution still used the
word ‘requests’ when talking about coal purchases and oil supplies. But it was
qualitatively new that these requests had a built-in time factor and that parliament had committed itself to passing legislation if the companies did not follow
the requests. Regarding investments, the government argued that there was no
legal basis for the motion, but in response, ‘the alternative majority’ asked the
government to produce such a basis if necessary. The resolution was passed on
the 29th, against the vote of the government.
The following year the government respected the resolution, although it did
not approve of it, and in February 1985 it proposed a bill against new investments in South Africa. It was modified to include Namibia too, and to instruct
Danish companies already involved in South Africa to report regularly on their
activities, wage rates and other conditions for their employees. The bill was
passed in May with the government parties abstaining from the vote.2
Political steps towards Danish sanctions
In the early 1980s, around and after the change of government in Denmark in
1982, South Africa experienced a build-up of domestic protests against the
regime and its violent oppression. In August 1983, the United Democratic
Front was formed as a protest against plans for a new three-cameral constitution in the country, excluding black influence, which was adopted the following
year. Demonstrations, boycotts of local elections and a wave of other protests,
where hundreds were killed, made the regime declare a state of emergency in
July 1985. Thousands were arrested, but this neither reduced the protests nor
the killings. In August, President P.W. Botha declared that the South African
1. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1983–84. B 7, F 1638, F 7137. Sanctions on oil transports had been
requested by the UN General Assembly in 1975, without effect.
2. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1984–85 L 194.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
regime ‘had crossed the Rubicon’ and would never give up racism as its foundation. Internationally, this was seen as Pretoria’s decisive manifestation of not
being prepared to compromise. A Danish editorial analysed the situation as follows: ‘Pressure from abroad and the threat of black demonstrations spreading,
have pushed the development ahead... Botha’s policy will not lead to a democratic South Africa.’1
In September 1984, the Danish daily ‘Politiken’ and the Swedish ‘Dagens
Nyheter’ gave their ‘Freedom Prize’ to Winnie Mandela and Helen Suzman at a
combined conference and ceremony in Copenhagen. Mandela’s daughter,
Zenani Dhlamini, received the prize on behalf of her mother. The main speaker
was rector of Copenhagen University, Ove Nathan, who underlined the need
for solidarity with the struggle against apartheid and referred to European
Nazism in the 1930s and 40s as well as modern racism. Among the panellists
were former newspaper editors Per Wästberg and Donald Woods, ANC Representatives Marius Schoon, Florence Maleka and Lindiwe Mabuza, all of whom
recommended trade and other sanctions against South Africa.2
Danish NGOs and South Africa Committees (SAKs) continued their lobbying and actions. Around 1980, the umbrella network ‘National Committee for
South Africa Action’ (LSA) had lost backing from member organizations frustrated with the influence of the Communist Party. In 1981 it was financially
paralysed after an unexpectedly expensive tour by the ‘Amandla’ performance
group in November 1980.
Instead, especially the ‘Kirkernes Raceprogram’ (KR) and the local SAK in
Århus continued to dig up documentation on the trade between Denmark and
South Africa. Other NGOs were also increasingly active in information and
lobby work, based on their contacts and project activities in the Southern
Africa region, many funded by the Apartheid Appropriation. In 1981, Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke established the coordinating body ‘Fællesmøderne’ (‘The
Joint Meetings’) to help NGOs exchange information and plans and to coordinate contacts with the politicians.3
The NGOs analysed the coal trade, and documented how the low South
African prices were the result of ‘apartheid discounts’ to maintain a market, as
more and more customers phased out their purchases. Thus, as SAK-Århus
pointed out, the argument that Denmark should go for the cheapest coal on the
world market, without making any political considerations was in itself a political free-ride on other countries’ sanctions. In 1985 KR published a comprehensive profile of Danish trade, investments and other economic involvements
in South Africa, a follow up to their pioneer book from 1974.4
1. Politiken, 17 August 1985.
2. Politiken, 1 October 1984.
3. Interview with Janne Felumb, 31 October 1997. Talk with Morten Nielsen, 9 April 1996. Talk
with Claus Bornemann, June 1996.
4. Letter to the editor by Erik Tang of SAK Århus. Politiken, 6 June 1985. KR’s book ‘Byggeklodser til Apartheid’: Hove et al. 1985.
Sanctions: Denmark’s Shift from Hesitant to Decisive
From 1982, SAK-Århus ran a boycott campaign against South African coal
by lobbying the local town council, and during 1985, Århus and other major
Danish towns voted to boycott South African products, referring to the various
resolutions in parliament and to UN Security Council Resolution no 569 of
July 26, 1985. These resolutions were in fact moved by Denmark and France
and invited UN member states to take various measures against South Africa.
There was some discussion if local government bodies were allowed to get
involved in foreign policy, but the initiatives soon got quite a wide local political backing. The point made was that the municipalities, in their function as
individual economic bodies, had to comply with the same parliamentary and
government requests that private companies, shipping lines and power companies were expected to follow. The individual municipality suffered few negative
consequences by omitting South African products from their shopping lists. A
more important side effect was that the local government representatives on the
semi-official Danish power company boards were instructed to pressure the
managements to speed up the phasing out of their South African coal purchases.1
In 1984–85, LSA was re-established as a loose umbrella structure for local
SAKs, and a new active SAK-Copenhagen was established. In the years to
come, it carried out a lot of spectacular activities to inform about the situation
and human rights violations in South Africa, and it was a strong advocate for
Danish sanctions legislation. The actions in Copenhagen were not always legal,
but always based on the self-defined moral foundation that representatives of a
system that did not provide equal rights to its citizens should not expect to
enjoy such rights themselves. In May 1985, South African Airlines and a Danish trading company had their office furniture, typewriters etc. ‘forcibly
removed’ into the streets ‘in solidarity with the three million blacks who had
been deported’, as LSA put it.2
On August 28, 1985, it was reported that a United Democratic Front protest march to the Pollsmoore prison in Cape Town, where Nelson Mandela was
held, had been interrupted by the police leaving several killed, and that UDF
leader Allan Boesak had been arrested the day before. The Copenhagen SAK
demonstrated in the city streets, acting out the Pollsmoore march as a performance.3
In October 1985, the South African consulate in Copenhagen was occupied. A major police force managed to clear the premises before a press conference could be held, but the occupants got hold of the consulate’s codebook,
which was hurried to ANC in Lusaka. 8 activists were sentenced to 60 days of
1. Information, 4, 5, 6 August 1985. Politiken 10 September.
2. Politiken, 3 May, Information 24 May 1985
3. Politiken, 30 August 1985.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Danish activists acted out the Pollsmore march in the centre of Copenhagen, 20 October 1985.
(Photo: Polfoto)
The ‘South Africa Committee, Copenhagen’ occupies the South African consulate in Copenhagen,
30 October 1985, as a protest against South African police arrests at the Pollsmore march. In the morning
the Danish police stormed the consulate and arrested the occupants, but only after files and code books
had been removed and taken to the ANC. (Photo: Gert Jensen/Polfoto)
Sanctions: Denmark’s Shift from Hesitant to Decisive
mitigated imprisonment. Charges were raised to have them pay for the damage, but the lawsuits that could have ruined them individually, were never followed up by the Danish legal system.1
In November 1985, SAK in Copenhagen invited toy manufacturer LEGO to
stop its exports to South Africa. LEGO refused. The unions of kindergarten
teachers and assistants immediately launched a boycott calling on kindergarten
staff to stop purchasing LEGO. Before Christmas, demonstrations were carried
out in shopping centres, in the Copenhagen town hall square etc, to discourage
parents from giving LEGO as Christmas presents to their children.2
The Nordic path
As the conflict in South Africa intensified in 1985, the international attention
increased even more. In March 1985, the Nordic Ministers of Foreign Affairs
met in Helsinki and discussed updating the Nordic Action Programme of 1978.
The initiative came from Norway that had experienced a strong public debate
about South Africa in connection with Archbishop Desmond Tutu receiving the
Nobel Peace Price in December 1984. The other countries backed the proposal,
and Sweden and Denmark referred to their plans for legislation against investments in South Africa.
The Norwegian proposal was to work for more coordinated international
initiatives and to have the Nordic countries carry out a list of measures in the
mean time. These included a stop in investments, and of the SAS flight connections and effective measures to stop private trading and financial connections
between Nordic companies and South Africa. The plan was slightly modified by
the Nordic Working Group of officials that had been established in connection
with the Nordic 1978 Action Programme, and adopted at the Ministers’ next
meeting in Oslo on October 17–18. The revised Action Plan was not radical. It
basically implemented UN Security Council resolutions to ban arms trade, military computers or Kruger-rand gold coins and nuclear cooperation, stopped
Nordic credits to South Africa and banned Nordic investments in South Africa,
as Sweden and Denmark had already decided. The plan requested private businesses to reduce their trade with South Africa or local production in the country,
and finally, it implemented Nordic restrictions on visa regulations and sports, as
well as cultural and scientific contacts. The most important impact of the plan
was the political effect of all the Nordic countries agreeing on the measures and
declaring their wish for effective and mandatory sanctions.3
1. Ekstra Bladet, 30 October, Politiken, 31 October 1985. Talk with Morten Nielsen, 9 April
2. Information, 4 December 1985. ‘Børn og Unge’ no 47, 5 December 1985.
3. Replies 8 May 1985 by Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, EE. Ministry of Foreign Affairs internal note 2 August 1985 on draft Nordic Action Programme of 24 July, MFA 6.U.566. Communique from meeting of Nordic Ministers of Foreign
Affairs 17–18 October 1985, MFA 6.U.566. Information, 19 October 1985.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Within the Danish trade union movement there was a growing demand for
action, in particular from the skilled workers union (SiD). In September 1985
dockworkers considered a boycott against South African coal imports to Danish power companies. In October, SiD announced a boycott on all transport of
South African products, in collaboration with transport workers in Norway
and Sweden.1
It became an issue for the entire Danish Trade Union Congress (Landsorganisationen, LO), and from November 18, 1985, a two and a half month
trade union boycott of South Africa was launched2. The immediate effect was
that a shipment of coal, arriving a week later on a Dutch ship for a power station in the town of Åbenrå, was refused permission to unload under much
media attention.Later, another two ships arrived at Åbenrå and could not be
handled. The boycott was taken to the Court of Arbitration where the employers claimed that according to existing rules, apartheid could not form the basis
for a boycott. There was no ongoing trade conflict in South Africa that Danish
workers could claim solidarity with, and the goals of the boycott went beyond
labour issues. LO claimed that such a strict interpretation of the labour agreements would prevent any action when it was most needed, and that trade
union activities were suppressed by the South African regime.3
Completing Danish sanctions
After the May 1985 bill on Danish business involvement in South Africa, the
opposition parties in the Danish parliament kept asking the government for
further action on the Danish coal purchases.4 On the second day of the new
1985–86 parliamentary session in October, the Social Democratic Party moved
a resolution to impose another round of economic sanctions. These were quite
comprehensive: An embargo on oil trade and transport, measures to quickly
end coal purchases, stop for all other imports by June 1, 1986, and financial
support to ANC and SWAPO, including an ANC representation office in
Copenhagen. In November, the government proposed an alternative motion
that did not specifically ban trade, but included yet another invitation to companies to voluntarily cease their involvements and trade with South Africa.
The motions were debated in parliament and in the Foreign Policy Committee. The Social Democratic proposal was supported, due to the alternative
opposition majority, but the formulations were softened in order to reach a
compromise with the government parties. The proposed economic sanctions
were boiled down to requesting the government to legislate a six months phasing-out of coal imports and an immediate stop to all other trade.
1. Politiken, 10 September 1985.
2. Information, 18 October 1985.
3. Information, 26 November and 7 December 1985.
4. Questions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs from the standing Foreign Policy Committee 30
August 1985. Reply from Minister 23 September, EE. Questions in Parliament 4 and 18 September 1985, Folketingets Forhandlinger 1984-85, S 11960 and 12088.
Sanctions: Denmark’s Shift from Hesitant to Decisive
Support to ANC and SWAPO was not mentioned, as the Committee found
that Denmark already supported them through the Apartheid Appropriation
and that the government was strongly against any additional support. Also,
the Social Liberal Party (Radikale Venstre), that joined the opposition majority
on foreign policy issues but otherwise supported the government, was hesitant
about supporting ANC. On December 13, 1985 the revised Social Democratic
motion was approved in Parliament. The Prime Minister and the Minister of
Foreign Affairs had been quite positive during the process, but in the end, four
of the government parties abstained from voting, as one of the minor government parties (Centrum-Demokraterne) was against any kind of sanctions.1
By December 22, the trade unions had called off the transport boycott,
before the Court of Arbitration could announce whether or not the boycott
was a violation of labour regulations. Even if the unions had a good case on the
moral level, their position was weak in relation to the actual text. The trade
union leaders knew this, and they now announced that the government was
about to impose sanctions through legislation, and that the goals for the boycott had been reached.2
As in 1985, the government ‘behaved’ and produced the legislation required
in the December 13 resolution. On January 30, 1986, it proposed the ‘Bill
against coal imports from the Republic of South Africa’. It was adopted after
the normal readings on May 6 with the votes of the opposition as well as the
government. The bill prohibited coal imports after a six-month period, three
years before the deadline requested by Parliament in 1983.3
On March 21, the government presented the ‘Bill against trade with the
Republic of South Africa’, covering all other imports and exports. Its first reading on April 15 exposed the continued discrepancy between the government
and the opposition majority.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Uffe Elleman-Jensen, opened his speech by
declaring that he proposed the bill without pleasure, and he did not welcome
the backing he knew it would get. In the debate, the government parties regretted that Denmark alone should impose general trade sanctions on South Africa
and move ahead of the other Nordic countries, Denmark’s EC partners and the
UN Security Council resolutions. Economically, they said this was playing into
the hands of Denmark’s competitors, and that the Danish economy, employment and balance of payment would be severely damaged. South Africa, on the
other hand, would barely notice the efforts. The government further referred to
the Swedish position when the Nordic Action Programme was revised in Octo1. Motion B1, Folketingets Forhandlinger 1985–86. Debate 27 November 1985, Folketingets
Forhandlinger 1985–86, F 2918. Reply 9 December 1985 from Minister of Foreign Affairs to
the Foreign Affairs Committee on Danish and other support to ANC and SWAPO. EE. Report
from Foreign Policy Committee 10 December on Motion B1. EE. Interview with SF spokesman
Søren Riishhøj, Land og Folk 12 February 1985. Motion 13 December 1985, Folketingets
Forhandlinger 1985–86, F4674.
2. Information, 17 and 19 December 1985.
3. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1985–86, L 160.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
ber 1985, recommending that the Nordic countries should not legislate on general sanctions. Similarly, Denmark should continue to appeal to companies to
cease their engagements in South Africa voluntarily. The Minister ridiculed the
opposition parties for being out of touch with reality (the Socialist People’s
Party) and out of touch with responsibility (the Social Democratic Party), for
not caring about the loss of business, work places and opportunities to gain
foreign currency.1
The opposition majority in their turn described Elleman-Jensen as being the
one out of touch with reality, expecting to convince Great Britain and the
United States to impose sanctions in the near future. They saw no other options
than getting as many countries and groups of countries as possible to move
ahead and try to motivate others. The opposition recognised that sanctions
would not be without costs for Denmark, but found them to be very modest
compared to the sufferings of the black population in South Africa. They were
also confident that the other Nordic countries would soon follow Denmark’s
example, and—teasing the Minister—they said they trusted him to use his diplomatic skills to bring his Nordic colleagues in line with Denmark.2
After being referred to the standing Foreign Policy Committee, the opposition majority parties strengthened the bill by omitting from the sanctions a
clause that excluded a number of commodities that government found crucial
for Danish industry. Instead they opened up for a two-year period of grace
after the application of the bill. Services were included along with commodities, and oil transports on Danish vessels were explicitly mentioned. The bill in
its new form was passed on May 30, 1986. The government abstained from
voting. As from December 15, trade with South Africa was banned, marking
the final step away from the Nordic 1962 policy of ‘following the UN’.3
A peculiar parliamentary situation
The political developments in South Africa in the 1980s can be described as the
push factor for the Danish sanctions: the increasing volume of information
about human rights violations in South Africa motivated the Danish population and created a pressure on the Danish political system. The public challenged the government and the political parties to take action. But sanctions
were not introduced after Soweto or the killing of Steve Biko in 1976–77 when
there were plenty of reasons for doing so, and when Danish coal purchases
increased dramatically. Events, news reports and global public attention constituted a continuous push factor, but still the official Danish position remained
unchanged from 1962 until 1982. The situation in South Africa landed on the
doorstep of the Danish political system as a result of increasing global atten1. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1985–86 F 9727.
2. Ibid.
3. Reports from Foreign Policy Committee 15 May and 22 May 1986 on Bill L 228. Folketingets
Sanctions: Denmark’s Shift from Hesitant to Decisive
tion, but it was taken or ‘pulled’ inside only through a change of government
creating a peculiar parliamentary situation.
In late 1980, Social Democratic Minister of Foreign Affairs Kjeld Olesen
said in Parliament: ‘As long as the UN Security Council has not adopted sanctions against South Africa, it is unrealistic that the Nordic countries do it. The
government opposes isolated Danish initiatives, but is willing to work within
the UN to increase international pressure against the white South African
minority regime’.1 This was a comment on the socialist parties’ and the Social
Liberal Party’ attempt to move a resolution on a coal purchase ban and general
The same parties later formed ‘the opposition majority’ together with the
Social Democratic Party, but not until the change of government in 1982.2
No longer in government, the Social Democratic Party adopted the left wing
opposition’s views on sanctions. In terms of mandates, this led to the opposition now constituting a majority in parliament, able to force the government to
work for a policy it was actually against. The opposition controlled the official
Danish policy on sanctions, as well as some other foreign policy issues—notably security and disarmament in Europe. This did not lead to a vote of no confidence to bring the government down, because one of the members of the
‘majority opposition’, the Social Liberal Party (Radikale Venstre) supported its
strict economic and fiscal policy. They did not want a change of government.
This unique parliamentary constellation gave room for the opposition resolutions that propelled the change in the Danish sanctions policy and brought it
ahead of UN requests and mandatory measures, and even ahead of fellow Nordic countries.3
In this sense, Minister of Foreign Affairs Uffe Elleman-Jensen had a point
when he criticised the Social Democratic Party for being ‘out of touch with
responsibility’ when they supported sanctions in 1986. The shift in the party’s
position would not had happen if it had not been a part of the opposition, and
it was yet to happen in the other Nordic Social Democratic Parties. But the
Social Democrats and the rest of the opposition majority also had a point when
predicting that the other Nordic countries would follow Denmark, and that the
Danish move would become something much more than a futile demonstration
only damaging the Danish economy. In September/October 1986 the United
States Congress adopted comprehensive sanctions against the will of ruling
President Ronald Reagan as the second country in the Western world, in a
process somewhat similar to the one in Denmark.
1. Folketingets Forhandlinger 1980–81: Resolutions B20 and B 35.
2. Folketingets Forhandlinger F 1983. Information, 13 November 1980.
3. Interview with Jørgen Estrup, 11 July 1997. Kelm-Hansen,1992.
Chapter 6
Trends and Conclusions
This study has focused on significant shifts in Denmark’s official support to
Southern Africa during the era of colonialism and apartheid. These shifts reveal
what players were around and what factors ultimately proved decisive for the
development of Danish policy. A number of conclusions can be drawn from the
study. First, it shows that the Danish approach can be divided into two main
periods; the first concentrating on financial support to victims of apartheid
(1960–78) and the second on financial and political sanctions (1978–1992).
Second, different actors developed and formed Danish policies in these periods,
namely politicians, state officials, NGOs and other representatives of Danish
civil society. And they played different roles in the two mentioned periods.
Third, the official Danish support and its political impact was of a flexible
nature. The technical/administrative substance of the support on the one hand,
and the political profile on the other, were not always linked, and their development was to a large extent formed by domestic issues.
Main periods
1960–78 official Danish policy towards southern Africa was to develop and
provide financial support to the struggle against racism and imperialism in
Southern Africa. This policy was inspired by public attention and the involvement of NGOs, trade unions, youth organisations, political parties in their
capacity as grass roots structures and of committees established to express solidarity and lobby official policies. The impetus in the first half of the 1960s was
the brutality of the South African regime, as shown in the Sharpeville massacre,
the banning of ANC and PAC and the trials against the political leaders of
these organisations. The news from South Africa gave the Danish public insight
into the racist apartheid system, and most parts of the Danish society
denounced it. This mobilisation was not exceptional for Denmark; apart from
the other Nordic countries it also took place in Britain, Holland, USA and
many other Western countries.
However, only in the Nordic countries did popular mobilisation develop
into official political measures, in the form of systematic official financial support to victims of apartheid. In Denmark, official humanitarian support was
launched in 1964/65 when the Apartheid Appropriation was established. This
humanitarian tool to assist victims of apartheid soon came to include the whole
Southern African region.
Trends and Conclusions
In 1971/72, the support was expanded to also benefit the civil activities of
liberation movements, and at the political level it was to give the support the
maximum international political effect. In 1974, a minority government tried
to limit the influence of Danish NGOs on official policy making, but had to
give this up. At these three points in time Danish official support policies were
debated in public, political arguments were aired and many administrative considerations were made.
In the second important period, from 1978–92, sanctions are the core issue.
The Soweto protests, the death of Steve Biko and the widespread popular protests in South Africa in the 1980s revived the focus on the country, after a
period of relative indifference. A peculiar domestic political situation led Denmark to apply official trade sanctions after decades of maintaining that such
measures were fruitless and would even damage the cause.
Two major groups of actors/participants constituted the ‘Denmark’ that sought
to contribute to national liberation in Southern Africa: official institutions representing the state, and private and popular NGOs.
In brief, the official institutions and the state:
— criticised the Southern African regimes bi-laterally and in international fora
for their colonialist and racist policies;
— financially supported victims of the regimes through international and Danish NGOs. Support was granted to projects/activities run by:
a) National Liberation Movements (NLMs), and
b) Humanitarian and human rights organizations (including church organisations) (e.g. IDAF, WCC, IUEF);
— used the financial support actively as a basis for political pressure on the
regimes in Southern Africa;
— imposed unilateral financial and trade sanctions on Rhodesia and South
Africa but not on NATO/EFTA partner Portugal.
Danish NGOs:
— supported NLMs, and NGOs in Southern Africa with their own limited
— carried out information, documentation and lobby activities, to raise public
awareness of the situation in Southern Africa and to develop and expand
the official support;
— channelled and helped administer official support;
— made and developed direct contacts with organisations and NLMs working
in Southern Africa.
However, this study also shows that alternative classifications are also possible.
In significant periods, the parties involved have to be grouped differently.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
From 1960 to 1978, two sets of players were involved in developing and
providing financial support. One set consisted mainly of politicians and the
press, and these players formed the debate and brought forward the arguments.
Another set were the officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with
the involved group of NGOs in the Apartheid Committee who cooperated in
hammering out the actual support. These sets of players are surprising compared to the more traditional roles of the state institutions and NGOs listed
above. They are also surprising in the light of how little connection there was
between them in some of the major shifts in Danish policies.
We have seen that the political and public debate was remarkably independent of how the support was administered and the funds actually allocated. In
the 1970s the debates were rather fierce, in the press as well as in parliament.
Meanwhile, the actual implementation practice was carried out and gradually
developed at the administrative level, by the Apartheid Committee. These two
sides of Danish support could be called the ‘political profiling’ and the ‘substance and practice’ of the Apartheid Appropriation.
This dual landscape can be seen as the result of the procedures established
for the Apartheid Appropriation and the Apartheid Committee in 1964/65.
Until then, things were more ‘traditional’ with NGOs acting as part of the public sphere, lobbying and campaigning, and the official administration functioning as a vehicle for the political and parliamentary system. It is interesting to
note that the establishing of the Apartheid Appropriation was the result of a
not so unusual process where public debate influenced political decision and
government initiatives.
Through the Apartheid Committee, Danish NGOs came to play a unique
role cooperating with the government and in particular with the administration. Instead of influencing policy from the outside, they became an integrated—though sometimes inspirational—part of how the Apartheid Appropriation was administered. They followed its gradual development closely,
under the authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and usually did not participate in the public debate about it.
It is also significant that when the support was expanded in 1972, it was a
‘new’ organisation (the re-organised World University Service Denmark (WUS)
with a new structure and new people) with highly public activities that became
the channel for the first expanded support. Later, WUS-Denmark was subsequently integrated in the Apartheid Committee structures and procedures. As a
consequence, the NGOs were not a factor that renewed Danish support
between 1964/65 and 1978, when the focus turned to official sanctions.
The period from 1978 was different. Sanctions were debated among politicians, both in the media and in parliament, supplemented with contributions
and arguments from news editors and others. In contrast to the support period,
the same politicians now developed actual policies. The elements were hammered out at the political level; there was not a parallel body with a high level
of detailed knowledge and authority to form Danish sanction policies as there
Trends and Conclusions
had been with support. Parliament formed Denmark’s sanctions. The major
role of the NGOs in this period was their traditional one; to lobby, campaign
and seek to focus the public debate. NGOs were still represented on the Apartheid Committee and participated in allocating the official Apartheid Appropriation funds. New partnerships were established to act as channels for new
activities, and the funding volume was gradually increased. But no new initiatives came from the Apartheid Committee as regards policy developments, the
nature of support or the character of channelling organisations.
Double nature and flexibility
In both periods, Danish involvement in the struggle against racism and colonialism in Southern Africa was simultaneously of a humanitarian and a political
nature. The balance between these two aspects fluctuated over time, and the
specific form of the Danish support, through the Apartheid Committee
arrangement and the involvement of the NGOs, made it very flexible.
Some Danish initiatives were of a strict political nature. They were sometimes covered in the international press, also in Southern Africa and Portugal
where the regimes reacted to the political pressure. A constant minimum official pressure was expressed in the UN and other international fora. This pressure consisted of official denunciations of racism and colonialism and
encouraged the regimes in Pretoria, Salisbury and Lisbon to reform. Domestically, NGO manifestations constituted the public critique of the regimes, e.g.
through inviting prominent representatives from liberation movements to visit
Denmark. These kinds of pressure resemble what happened in other Western
countries, and did not affect the regimes in Southern Africa. One example is
the Nordic initiative in 1964 to make the UN contribute to reform in South
Africa. The attempt received wide international backing, but proved fruitless
because South Africa refused to cooperate at all. Until the Soweto uprising triggered a new momentum for UN initiatives in 1976, the UN was left with minimal influence on South Africa.
Denmark’s humanitarian support consisted of financial assistance to organisations actively opposing the regimes or working to reduce the effects of
oppression. This came to include civil activities of the national liberation movements. Education, health, legal assistance and food aid were the main fields of
support to Southern Africa—including to liberated areas—and to refugees in
exile. The support was of a genuine humanitarian kind, and motivated partly
by the notion that victims of racism and colonialism should not be denied
development assistance similar to what many of the new states in Africa
received. From this point of view the humanitarian support enjoyed a wide
backing in Denmark.
However, supporting humanitarian organisations and the civil activities of
liberation movements in Southern Africa also had obvious political dimensions:
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
— It represented an acknowledgement of the need and moral righteousness of
counteracting the regimes. Thereby, it signalled that Denmark took sides in
the conflicts, denounced the regimes, acknowledged the liberation movements and invited other Western countries to side with them too.
— The humanitarian support also indirectly provided the liberation movements with more resources for their political and military struggle. This
dimension was the most controversial and did, for instance, trigger considerations (and sometimes fierce debates) about whether or not Denmark was
violating international law or, in a cold war bi-polar scenario, possibly supporting communist enemies.
How Danish support developed into having both a humanitarian ‘substance
and practice’ side and a ‘political profile’ side, has to do with the actors
involved, as described above. In substance and practice Danish support developed as a humanitarian facility. This was obvious during the first years of the
Apartheid Committee/Apartheid Appropriation arrangement, and it was still
the case when, in 1971, the first humanitarian support was given through a
national liberation movement. Nobody outside the Apartheid Committee, not
even the sitting right-liberal government, noticed or saw this as a shift away
from humanitarian practice. But from then on, the liberation movements’ share
of the allocations gradually increased.
This development was relatively unaffected by and independent of the high
political profile Minister of Foreign Affairs K. B. Andersen attributed to the
appropriation both internationally and nationally. This dominated the political
debates in the early and mid 1970s. But even if Andersen made loud political
exclamations about the changed objectives of the Apartheid Appropriation, it
did not mean that the ‘substance and practice’ was actually any different from
On the other hand, the debate about the ‘political profile’ of Denmark’s
support took place with only limited reference to the actual ‘substance and
practice’. The political profile must be seen as an independent and rather spectacular aspect of Danish support, developed in Parliament, in the press and in
the public debate.
The double nature of Danish humanitarian support meant that it could be
construed in two ways:
1. as humanitarian aid to refugees and victims of racist or colonial oppression;
2. as assistance to and sanctioning of certain movements involved in military
struggle against independent states.
This is what made Danish official support politically flexible: Denmark could
insist that its support was strictly humanitarian, as was done in its early years,
for instance when Southern African regimes protested that Danish support was
against international law, or in some of the domestic debates. At the same time,
Trends and Conclusions
from the 1970s, Denmark could rightly maintain that it supported national liberation movements with substantial funding. This was emphasised for instance
during K. B. Andersen’s visits to Africa and when Denmark participated in the
increased international criticism of the regimes.
Unpublished material
Eric Erichsen (private collection).
Archive of ‘Folkekirkens Nødhjælp’ (DanchurchAid) in ‘Rigsarkivet’ (The Danish
National Archives), Copenhagen.
FKNår ‘Folkekirkens Nødhjælp årbøger’ (DanchurchAid annals). Unpublished annual collection of minutes, reports, clippings etc, in DanChurchAid, Copenhagen.
KBAaba K. B. Andersen’s archive in ‘Arbejderbevægelsens Bibliotek og Arkiv’ (The Labour
Movement Library and Archive), Copenhagen.
K. B. Andersen’s archive in ‘Rigsarkivet’ (The Danish National Archives), Copenhagen.
Kirsten Gauffriau (private collection, now in 'Rigsarkivet')
Archive of ‘Kirkernes Raceprogram’ (Danish Programme to Combat Racism). At: Ecumenical Centre, Århus.
Archive of the ‘Landskommiteen SydafrikaAktion’ (National Committee–South Africa
Action) and ‘Sydafrika Komiteen København’ (Copenhagen South Africa Committee)
Leif Vestergaard (private collection)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, files:
5.Q.45a: ‘Communism in Africa’
5.Q.293: ‘African Liberation Movements’
6.U.566: ‘Humanitarian and Educational Assistance to Suppressed Groups and Peoples’
6.U.566/1,2,3 etc: Ibid., with special reference to individual receiving organisations.
Archive of ‘Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke’, in ‘Rigsarkivet’ (The Danish National Archives),
Archive of ‘Sydafrika Komiteen Århus’ (Århus South Africa Committee)
SD.upol. Social Democratic Party’s Foreign Policy Committee, in ‘Arbejderbevægelsens Bibliotek
og Arkiv’ (The Labour Movement Library and Archive), Copenhagen.
World University Service–Denmark’s archive. Today: ‘Ibis’, Copenhagen.
Ben Amathila, 20 November 1996, SWAPO Chief Rep to the Nordic Countries and Germany.
Ole Bang, 12 May 1997, General Secretary Danish Refugee Council 1960–65, Vice Chairman
Danish ‘Council for South Africa’, Vice President IDAF 1966–68, Member of the ‘Apartheid Committee’ 1966–93.
Niels Bentzen, 16 April 1996, WUS activist 1977, Project Officer 1978, Member of the ‘Apartheid Committee’ 1976–89 for DSF and WUS.
Arne Piel Christensen, 14 May 1997, General Secretary Danish Refugee Council 1967–1997.
Member of the ‘Apartheid Committee’ 1967–93.
Steen Christensen, 9 January 1997, Member of the board for Workers Solidarity Fund 1969–93;
International Secretary of the Social Democratic Party 1980–84 and General Secretary 1984–97;
Member of the ‘Apartheid Committee’ 1979–93.
Jørgen Estrup, 11 July 1997, MP Radikale Venstre (Social Liberal Party) 1984–2000.
Janne Felumb, 31 October 1997, Coordinator LSA (National Committee on South Africa action)
Bent Honoré, 3 May 1997, MP for Kristeligt Folkeparti 1973–79.
Max Kruse, 14 January 1997, Activist in Kirkernes Raceprogram 1971-78. Chairman LSA 1978–
79. Project Officer in DanchurchAid 1978–85. Member of DCA board 1985–97, Chairman from
1990. Member of the ‘Apartheid Committee’ for DSF 1972–75.
Lindiwe Mabuza, 15 July 1997, ANC Chief Representative to the Nordic countries.
Viggo Mollerup, 3 January 1997, DCA 1964–76, General Secretary from 1966. Member of the
‘Apartheid Committee’ 1966–75.
Carsten Nørgaard, 7 November 1996, Project Officer in WUS 1981–90. WUS Coordinator for
Namibia 1990–96.
Kjeld Olesen, 21 August 1997, MP Socialdemokratiet 1966–79. Minister of Foreign Affairs 1979–
Peder Sidelmann, 3 December 1996, Activist in Afrika-71 and WUS 1969–72, WUS Project Officer
1972–76. Member of the ‘Apartheid Committee’ for WUS 1971–76.
Kjeld Åkjær, 24 September 1997, International Secretary LO (TUC) 1972–93. Member of the
‘Apartheid Committee’ 1974–89.
Christian Balslev-Olesen, February 1986, Activist in Kirkernes Raceprogram 1972–78. Project
Officer in DanChurchaid 1985–88, Regional Representative in Southern Africa 1988–90, General
Secretary from 1990.
Claus Bornemann, June 1996, MS General Secretary, 1978–89, Member of the ‘Apartheid Committee’ 1991–92.
Peter la Cour, 18 August 1997, Chairman of the Conservative Students’ organisation.
Erich Erichsen, 18 April 1996, MS Information Officer 1973–88.
Steen Folke, 18 March 1996, MP, Venstresocialisterne
John Hansen, April 1997, South African refugee, working in ANC office Denmark.
Patricia Hansen, June 1996, Activist in ‘Anti-Apartheid Denmark’ 1976–88.
Kirsten Gauffriau, 18 March 1997, Activist in Namibia Committee and Namibia Campaign,
Flemming Gjedde-Nielsen,14 March 1996, WUS activist, member of board 1981–86. Epesus
House 1985–86. WUS Programme Officer from 1987.
Gorm Gunnarsen, April 1997, Central SAKK/LSA Activist from 1984, Chairman.
Erik Jørgensen, May 1997, Activist in PCR 1984–97, Chairman from 1995.
Poul Jørgensen, 10 June 1997, UFF/DAPP Spokesman. Member of the Apartheid Committee
Christian Kelm-Hansen, 23 May 1996, DUF General Secretary 1955–59, Chairman 1959–62.
Danish Red Cross General Secretary 1959–65. MS General Secretary 1965–69. Board for Development Assistance 1962–89, Chairman from 1975. MP SocDem 1979–90.
Henning Kjeldgaard, August 1997, International Secretary, Danish Social Democratic Youth
1959–60. Danish Ambassador in Dar-es-Salaam and Harare 1983–93.
Claus Larsen-Jensen, September 1996, SiD (Skilled Workers Union) International Secretary 1982–
Barry Levinrad, 2 August 1996, South African refugee 1980–90, working with SACTU-Nordic
office, Copenhagen.
Erik Lyby, June 1996, Activist in SAK-Århus starting 1978. Active in the MS South Africa group,
member of MS board 1979–83.
Morten Nielsen, 9 April 1996, LSA/SAKK Central Activist 1982–93
Peter Schoubye, 27 May 1997, Member of Conservative Students’ Organisation
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Ejnar Søndergaard, February 1997, Activist in SAK-Århus and MS. LSA chairman.
Leif Vestergaard, April 1996, PCR Coordinator 1971–72, Member of DCA Board 1974–95.
Klaus Wulff, 17 September 1996, Afrika-71 and WUS Activist and Programme Officer 1970–78.
Member of Apartheid Committee for DSF and WUS.
Published material
Adler, Elizabeth, 1974, A small Beginning: An assessment of the first five years of the Programme
to Combat Racism. Geneva: World Council of Churches.
Andersen, K.B, 1983, I alle de riger og lande. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
Befrielseskampen i Namibia, 1980. Ulfborg: Tøj til Afrika.
Bislev, Sven, Henrik Jensen and Viggo Plum, 1971, Den Økonomiske og Politiske Udvikling i Det
Sydlige og Østlige Afrika. Copenhagen: Afrika-71.
Bramsen, Christopher Bo, 1990: Sydafrika, Kamp eller Dialog. Copenhagen: DUPI.
Brix, Carl Otto, 1994, “Partisoldaten der blev forladt af kompagni A”, Vandkunsten 9/10, 205.
Buksti, Søren, 1979: Danmarks forbindelser med Sydafrika. Copenhagen: Landskomiteen Sydafrika Aktion.
Christensen, Steen, 1971, Befrielsesbevægelserne i det sydlige Afrika, Copenhagen: SOC.
Christensen, Steen and Alex Frank Larsen (eds), Det lænkede Afrika: 20 kritiske artikler om det
tiltagende opgørt med Venstres politiske og økonomiske dominans. Copenhage: SOC.
Collins, John: Southern Africa: Freedom and Peace: Addresses to the United Nations 1965–1979.
(Collected for the internet at:
Eriksen, Tore Linné (ed.), 2000, Norway and National Liberation in Southern Africa. Uppsala:
Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.
Gunnarsen, Gorm, 1995, Sydafrikas Historie. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
Hengeveld, Richard and Jaap Rodenburg (eds), 1995, Embargo: Apartheid’s Oil Secrets Revealed.
Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Hove, Ole, Jørgen Iversen and Jesper Jørgensen, 1985, Byggeklodser til Apartheid: Dokumentation
af Danmarks økonomiske forbindelser med Sydafrika. Århus: Kirkernes Raceprogram. (Parts
of the book were published in English in 1987, Bricks to apartheid: Denmark's economic links
South Africa. Århus: Kirkernes Raceprogram.)
Hækkerup, Per, 1965, Dansk Udenrigspolitik. Copenhagen: Fremad/AOF.
Kelm-Hansen, Christian, 1981, “Brydningstid—herhjemme og ude i verden”, in: Arskov, Niels
Peter (ed), At politisere ungdommen—Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd 1940–1980. Copenhagen:
Kelm-Hansen, Christian, 1992, “Dansk Sydafrikapolitik”. Speech held at South Africa Conference
5 February 1992. Printed in Orientering fra Kirkernes Raceprogram 3,92.
Kirkernes Raceprogram, 1974, Danmarks aktier i Apartheid & Co. Århus: Kirkernes Raceprogram.
Knudsen, Poul Erik, 1989, “Kirkernes Raceprogram i Danmark—en udfordring til kirken”, In:
Nørgaard-Højen (ed.), 1989.
Knudsen, Poul Erik and Erik Jørgensen (eds), 1988, En evangelikal kommentar til krisen i Sydafrika og Kairos-dokumentet. Århus: Det Økumeniske Fællesråd.
Krag, J.O. and K. B. Andersen, 1971, Kamp og Fornyelse: Socialdemokratiets Indsats i Dansk
Politik 1955-71. Copenhagen: Fremad.
Legum, Colin and John Drysdale, 1970, Africa Contemporary Record: Annual Survey and Documents 1969–70. Exeter: Africa Research Limited.
Lodberg, Peter, 1988, Apartheid og de Lutherske kirke. Århus: Anis.
Magnusson, Åke, 1974, Sverige—Sydafrika : en studie av en ekonomisk relation. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet. (An English abstract was published as: Swedish investments in South
Africa. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet. 1974.)
Marks, Shula, 1999, “Half-Ally, Half-Untouchable”. Paper presented at the conference The AntiApartheid Movement: A 40-Year Perspective. London.
Minty, Abul, 1963, Sandheden om Sydafrika. Copenhagen: Danmarks Socialdemokratiske Ungdom.
Nørgaard-Højen, Peder (ed), 1989, På Enhdens Vej. Copenhagen: Anis.
Reddy, E.S, 1986, Nordic Contribution to the Struggle against Apartheid: Its Evolution and Significance. (An edited version of a presentation made at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, 11
February 1986. Published on the internet at:
Reddy, E.S, 1999, Defence and Aid Fund and the United Nations: Some Reminiscences, Draft
paper submitted to University of Witwatersrand. (Published on the internet at: http://
Schori, Pierre, 1994, The Impossible Neutrality—Southern Africa: Sweden's Role under Olof
Palme. Cape Town: David Phillip.
Sellström, Tor, 1999(a), Sweden and National Liberation in Southern Africa. Uppsala: Nordiska
Sellström, Tor, 1999(b), Liberation in Southern Africa. Regional and Swedish Voices. Uppsala:
Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.
Skovmand, Sven, 1969, FN, Sydafrika og menneskerettighederne. Copenhagen: Dansk Samråd for
Forenede Nationer.
Socialdemokratiet, 1969, Det Nye Samfund—70’ernes politik: Socialdemokratiets arbejdsprogram, vedtaget på den 30. Kongres, juni 1969. Copenhagen: Fremad.
Soiri, Iina and Pekka Peltola, 1999, Finland and National Liberation in Southern Africa. Uppsala:
Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.
Sydafrikakomiteen i København and Afrikagrupperna i Sverige, UDF—fællesfront mod apartheid.
Copenhagen: Sydafrikakomiteen i København.
Tang, Erik, Arne Wangel and Peter Weigelt, 1981, Namibia undertrykkelse og frihedskamp.
Copenhagen: Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke.
Tutu, Desmond, 1984, Skabt i Guds billede. Copenhagen: Folkekirkens Nødhjælp, Det Økumeniske Fællesråd, Kirkernes Raceprogram.
Tøj til Afrika, 1980, Befrielseskampen i Namibia. Ulfborg: Tøj til Afrika
United Nations, 1994, The United Nations and Apartheid 1948–94, New York: Department of
Public Information.
United Nations Centre against Apartheid, 1978, ‘Tribute to Canon Collins’, Notes and Documents, 22/78. New York: United Nations Centre against Apartheid. (Also published on the
internet at:
Wittrup, Steen Stub, 1982, Sort Hverdag Århus: Aros.
Wangel, Arne, 1985, Namibia—Et folks eksistens står på spil Copenhagen: WUS.
Berlingske Tidende
Ekstra Bladet
Frederiksborg Amtsavis
Kristeligt Dagblad
Land og Folk
Næstved Tidende
Socialistisk Dagblad
Social Democratic daily
Independent daily
Conservative daily
Business daily
Independent daily
Liberal regional daily
Independent daily
Right-liberal daily
Christian daily
Communist daily
Liberal regional daily
Social Liberal daily
Daily affiliated to the ‘Venstresocialisterne’ party
Liberal daily
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Børn og Unge
Den Ny Verden
Monthly magazine of kindergarten staff trade union ‘BUPL’.
Third World Research quarterly. Copenhagen: Oversøisk Institut/Institut for Udviklingsforskning/Center for Udviklingsforskning (Centre for Development Research)
Folketingets Forhandlinger
(Parliament proceedings) in Folketingstidende. Published by
Schultz Grafisk, Copenhagen.
Finansudvalgets Aktstykker
(appropriation applications to parliament’s standing Financial
Committee) published by Schultz Grafisk, Copenhagen.
Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd.
Løn og Virke
Trade Union Magazine. Landsorganisationen De Samvirkende
Fagforbund (Danish TUC).
Monthly Bbulletin of the NGO ‘Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke’.
Politisk Revy
Independent socialist monthly magazine on politics and social
issues. 1963–87
Trade Union Information Bulletin Landsorganisationen De Samvirkende Fagforbund. (Danish
Periodical on conflict, politics and history. Copenhagen: Eirene.
Danish Governments 1960–1993
Prime Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Viggo Kampmann
Jens Otto Krag
Jens Otto Krag
Hilmar Baunsgaard
Jens Otto Krag
Anker Jørgensen
Poul Hartling
Anker Jørgensen
Anker Jørgensen
Anker Jørgensen
Anker Jørgensen
Poul Schlüter
Poul Schlüter
Poul Schlüter
Poul Schlüter
Poul Nyrup Rasmussen
Jens Otto Krag
Per Hækkerup
Hækkerup/Hans Tabor
Poul Hartling
K. B. Andersen
K. B. Andersen
Ove Guldberg
K. B. Andersen/A Jørgensen
Henning Christoffersen
Kjeld Olesen
Kjeld Olesen
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
Niels Helveg Petersen
RV, V, K
S, V
K, V, KrF, CD
K, V, KrF, CD
K, V, RV
K, V
S, RV, CD, KrF
Social Democratic Party
Social Liberal Party (Det Radikale Venstre)
Liberal Party (Venstre)
Conservative Party (Det Konservative Folkeparti)
Christian Democrats (Kristeligt Folkeparti)
Center Democrats (Centrum-Demokraterne)
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Table 1. Danish official support from the Apartheid Appropriation via LO (Danish TUC)
South Africa
Table 2. Danish official support from the Apartheid Appropriation via DanChurchAid—
South Africa
12, 945,000
32,787,825 1,040,500 2,433,625
45 ,000
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Table 3. Danish official support from the Apartheid Appropriation via WUS-Denmark (DKK)
South Africa
1976/77 1,186,500
1977/78 1,147,000
Table 4. Danish official support1 from the Apartheid Appropriation via DAF / IDAF and IUEF
DAF (Defence and Aid Fund), soon becoming IDAF (International Defence and Aid Fund), supported legal aid, humanitarian assistance and education to prisoners and their families inside
Southern Africa (1) and in the 1990s university bursaries (2). IUEF (International University
Exchange Fund) provided bursaries to exiles until infiltrated by South African intelligence.
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Table 5. Danish official support from the Apartheid Appropriation via Danish Refugee
Council (DKK)
Exile bursaries
in Swaziland
* = in collaboration with UNHCR.
Institute and Am.
Boavista Hospital*
Table 6. Danish official support from the Apartheid Appropriation via UN Trust Funds (DKK)
Trust Fund for Educational and
South Africa
Training Programme
for South(/ern) Africa
Nambia Institute and
UN Fund for Nambia
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Table 7. Danish official support from the Apartheid Appropriation via various transition
and democratisation organisations in South Africa (DKK)
Union of Occupational Therapists:
– Bursaires
Lawyers for Human Rights
Danish Council of Organisations of
Disabled People:
– Support to ‘Disabled Peoples International’,
South Africa
Various violence monitoring, voter education,
police training etc. in South Africa
Danish Union of Journalists:
– Training of black journalists, South Africa
Danish Centre for Human Rights
and Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke:
– Human rights and legal aid organisations 354,165 1,475,452
Danish Embassy: –To South African NGOs
Table 8. Other allocations from the Apartheid Appropriation (DKK)
Budget year(s):
Organisation of African Unity
– Conference in Oslo, 1973
– Health and Education for Liberation Movements:
Angola Committee, Holland: ‘Facts and Reports’:
Zambia Red Cross: Refugees from South Africa:
PAIGC: Shoes and clothes for children:
‘Anti-Imperialist Solidarity’:
– Transport of 2nd hand clothes to MPLA and Frelimo:
Luthuli Memorial Foundation:
– Health Centre, Tanzania:
International Peace Centre for Namibia:
Africa Educational Trust:
– Bursaries for South African and Namibian students:
ASF (Danish People’s Aid)
– Kurasini Hospital, Tanzania:
– Health Clinic, Dakawa:
– Training Clinic for South African refugees in Angola:
1 285,000
Via SIDA: Nordic Health and Education Programme
for SWAPO, Loudima Angola:
2 800,000
Women and Apartheid Conference, Belgium:
Danish Union of Teachers:
– Support to South African union of Teachers ATASA:
Youth Sports Projects:
Africa National Conference—Zimbabwe:
– Health, education and agriculture:
International Liga for Peace and Freedom:
– Poultry and irrigation project in South Africa:
Lincoln Trust Fund:
– Bursaries for South Africans in Britain:
to South Africa
= National liberation movements
Table 9. Danish official support
to Zimbabwe
to Angola
to Mozambique
to Namibia
to Guinea-Bissau Projects with NMLs 1
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Table 10. Danish official support divided by sources (DKK)
Apartheid Appropriation
Multi- and bilateral development
assistance funds (Danida)
Christopher Munthe Morgenstierne
Name Index
Abelin, Stig 72
Amathila, Ben 17, 86–87
Andersen, K. B. 16, 31, 41, 43–44, 47–49, 53,
55–77, 79–83, 86–88, 91–96, 101–103,
106, 124–125
Andreassen, Knut 53
Basson, Japie 64
Baunsgaard, Hilmar 131
Biko, Steve 99, 104, 118, 121
Boesak, Allan 113
Botha, P. W. 111–112
Budtz, Lasse 87
Cappelen, Andreas 46
Christensen, Steen 59
Christophersen, Henning 106–107
Collins, John 21, 31–32
Dhlamini, Zenani 112
Diallo, Telli 48, 53 65
Elleman-Jensen, Uffe 109, 117, 119
First, Ruth 52–53, 105
Græsholt, Torkild 85
Guldberg, Ove 79–84, 87–97, 106
Hækkerup, Per 23, 26–27, 33, 35, 42, 45, 80
Hartling, Poul 39, 41, 47, 67–70, 75, 79, 83,
94, 106
Helander, Gunnar 31–32
Hishongwa, Hadino 105
Holt, Karl-Johan 71
Honoré, Bent 88, 93–94
Jensen, Ove 86
Jørgensen, Anker 105, 131
Kampmann, Viggo 20, 23
Kaunda, Kenneth 63, 77
King, Martin Luther 23
Kissinger, Henry 58
Kjeldgaard, Henning 26
Krag, Jens Otto 19, 23–24, 53, 56, 67
Kruse, Max 83, 85–86, 104–105, 109
Langhoff, Johannes 93–94
Lara, Lùcio 51, 54
Larsen, Aksel 24
Lindholt, Holger 88–89, 92
Lissner, Jørgen 85
Luthuli, Albert 23, 33
Mabuza, Lindiwe 17, 20, 112
Maleka, Florence 112
Mandela, Nelson 26–28, 33, 113
Mandela, Winnie 112
Mattsson, Börje 51
McBride, Sean 87
van der Merwe, Paul 64
Minty, Abdul 24, 52, 105, 107
Mondlane, Janet 63, 64
Muller, Hilgard 32
Munk-Plum, Niels 36, 47
Myrdal, Alva 27–29
Nathan, Ove 112
Neto, Agostinho 58, 59, 71–74, 78, 95–96
Nilsson, Torsten 47
Nyerere, Julius 59, 77
Olesen, Kjeld 20, 21, 59, 108, 119
Owen, David 101–102
Petersen, Kristen Helveg 43
Petersen, Niels Helveg 131
Potter, Philip 85
Rasmussen, Hans 66–67
Rasmussen, Poul Nyrup 131
Roberto, Holden 78, 79
Schlüter, Poul 131
Schoon, Marius 112
Sidelmann, Peder 50, 54–55, 57, 71–72, 75,
83, 88–89, 91–93
Sjollema, Baldwin 84
Stoltenberg, Thorvald 48
Suzman, Helen 112
Tabor, Hans 131
Tambo, Oliver 19–21, 23, 33, 59, 95, 105
Tutu, Desmond 109, 115
Undén, Östen 23
Vestergaard, Leif 84, 85
de Villiers, Graaff 64
Vorster, John 64, 86, 87, 101
Wickman, Krister 48
Winter, Colin 84
Woods, Donald 112
Wulff, Klaus 50, 55, 70, 74, 93–94
Wästberg, Per 59, 112
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