Bishop Thomas Kelly, general secretary of the US Catholic Conference, has told President Jimmy Carter in a letter that he "completely supports" US policy on Africa to downplay major power confrontation and concentrate on helping African nations solve their own problems.
The USCC "will be happy to support specific measures which you and the Congress may take in the future as the announced policy becomes a reality," he said. Bishop Kelly said he wanted to "express my apprpreereiaiation" for a recent statement on African policy by Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Mr Vance had said that US policy will be to assist Africans to settle their disputes peacefully and to help resolve the problems which create instability and the excuse for external intervention.
"The people of each nation in Africa should be in control ar
their own destinies, but at the same time they need cooperation and support from the United States and others."
The letter came shortly after the president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco, urged Carter not to allow disputes over the Soviet role in Africa to threaten arms control talks with the Russians.
The two statements indicate support for Vance in internal administration debates with Zbigniew Brzezinski, the president's national security adviser, who has favored a harder line on Soviet and Cuban intervention in Africa.
Bishop Kelly said that despite "some serious complaints" about restrictions on religious freedom in Angola, he was encouraged by Vance's statement that the United States would deal with the established government there.