Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  43 / 84 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 43 / 84 Next Page
Page Background






he Angolans had put me alone in

a guest house somewhere in the

suburbs of Luanda awaiting the

beginning of talks where the United

States planned to trade off a warming

of relations with the Popular Move-

ment for the Liberation of Angola

government in return for removal

of Cuban forces from Angola. This

was an opening we had been preparing for some time via the

presidents of Gabon and Congo (Brazzaville), and I was primed

and anxious to begin my secret mission. Neither Washington

nor Luanda wanted publicity at this stage.

As night fell and boredom set in, there was a knock at the

door. Expecting my Angolan contact, I was surprised to see the

British ambassador, who formally represented U.S. interests,

but who wasn’t supposed to know I was in town.

Travels with

The Champ in

Africa, 1980

The late Muhammad Ali was a diplomat extraordinaire,

as this firsthand account of a mission to Africa attests.


Ambassador Lannon Walker, now retired and working as

a consultant, served some 38 years in the Foreign Service,

mainly in north and sub-Saharan Africa, but also in

Vietnam. In Washington, D.C., he held the positions of

director of the Office of Central African Affairs, senior deputy assistant

secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs and acting deputy inspec-

tor general, among others. In the mid-1960s, he led the Young Turk

reformist movement, which took over AFSA in 1967. He later served

as U.S. ambassador to Senegal, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.


President Jimmy Carter greets Muhammad Ali at a White House

dinner in 1977. Three years later Ali toured Africa at Carter’s

request to enlist support for a boycott of the Summer Olympics

in Moscow.