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Letter from the ANC Youth League (Transvaal) to the Secretary [Ruth First] of the Progressive Youth Council, March 16, 1945

Dear Madam,

We beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 9th instant with enclosures, for which we are gratefully indebted to you.

Regarding your request or invitation that we affiliate with your Council, we wish to state in reply that: (a) We are the African National Congress Youth League and as such we are bound to keep within the precincts of the policy of the African National Congress. We cannot without the sanction and approval of the African National Congress enter into any affiliation, alliance or entente cordiale with any other Youth organisation, (b) We fear that there is a yawning gulf between your policy or philosophic outlook and ours. We are devoting our energies to the preparation for the greatest national struggle of all time, the struggle for national liberation. Our stupendous task is to organise, galvanise and consolidate the numerous African tribes into one homogeneous nation. We are alarmed and startled by the bitter and painful realisation that these 150,000,000, African blacks have for centuries slumbered or lain dormant in this dark Continent. We consider that the hour has now struck that these black African masses as an organised powerful force be made effective or that their voice be heard and felt in international affairs.

We support the co-operation of all Non-Europeans on certain issues in this Country. But we maintain that Africans can only co-operate as an organised self-concious [sic] unit. Hence co-operation at the present juncture or stage is premature. It can only result in chaos, ineffective action and mutual jealousies, rivalry and suspicion. In consequence, therefore, and by reason of the premises, we do not see our way clear towards affiliation with your Council.

These observations, however, are not meant to incapacitate us from sending a delegate or two, as interested spectators to your World Youth Week Celebrations on the 23rd instant.

Thanking you.

We beg to remain,

Yours truly,

[no signature shown on copy]