Bandung Conference

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Bandung Conference
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{{short description|1955 meeting of Asian and African states}}{{Use dmy dates|date=April 2019}}(File:Gedung.Merdeka.jpg|thumb|The venue in 1955)(File:Musium KAA.jpg|thumb|The building in 2007; it is now a museum of the conference)The first large-scale Asian–African or Afro–Asian Conference—also known as the Bandung Conference ()—was a meeting of Asian and African states, most of which were newly independent, which took place on 18–24 April 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia.WEB,weblink Final Communiqué of the Asian-African conference of Bandung (24 April 1955), PDF, Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l'Europe, The twenty-nine countries that participated represented a total population of 1.5 billion people, 54% of the world's population. Bandung Conference of 1955 and the resurgence of Asia and Africa {{webarchive|url= |date=13 May 2012}}, Daily News, Sri LankaThe conference was organised by Indonesia, Burma (Myanmar), Pakistan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and India and was coordinated by Ruslan Abdulgani, secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.The conference's stated aims were to promote Afro-Asian economic and cultural cooperation and to oppose colonialism or neocolonialism by any nation. The conference was an important step towards the eventual creation of the Non-Aligned Movement. Both India and the People's Republic of China sought to claim the leadership of the emerging Asian–African nations; Chinese Premier and Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai was the political personality that most impressed delegates, along with the host of the conference, Indonesian President Sukarno.Dick Wilson, Zhou Enlai" A Biography (1984) pp 200–205In 2005, on the 50th anniversary of the original conference, leaders from Asian and African countries met in Jakarta and Bandung to launch the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP). They pledged to promote political, economic, and cultural cooperation between the two continents.


India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru was a key organizer, in his quest to build a nonaligned movement that would win the support of the newly emerging nations of Asia and Africa. Nehru first got the idea at the Asian Relations Conference, held in India in March 1947, on the eve of India's independence. There was a second 19-nation conference regarding the status of Indonesia, held in New Delhi, India, in January 1949. Practically every month a new nation in Africa or Asia emerged, with for the first time its own diplomatic corps and eagerness to integrate into the international system. Mao Zedong of China was also a key organizer, backed by his influential right-hand man, Premier and Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai; although Mao still maintained good relations with the Soviet Union in these years, he had the strategic foresight to recognize that an anti-colonial nationalist and anti-imperialist agenda would sweep Africa and Asia, and he saw himself as the natural global leader of these forces as he, after all, had also led a revolution in China marked by anti-colonial nationalism.Jung Chang and John Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story, pp. 603-604, 2007 edition, Vintage Books At the Colombo Powers conference in April 1954, Indonesia proposed a global conference. A planning group met in Bogor, Indonesia in late December 1954 and formally decided to hold the conference in April 1955. They Had a series of goals in mind: to promote goodwill and cooperation among the new nations; to explore in advance their mutual interests; to examine social economic and cultural problems, to focus on problems of special interest to their peoples, such as racism and colonialism, and to enhance the international visibility of Asia and Africa in world affairs.M.S. Rajan, India in World Affairs, 1954–1956 (1964) pp 197–205.The Bandung Conference reflected what the organisers regarded as a reluctance by the Western powers to consult with them on decisions affecting Asia in a setting of Cold War tensions; their concern over tension between the People's Republic of China and the United States; their desire to lay firmer foundations for China's peace relations with themselves and the West; their opposition to colonialism, especially French influence in North Africa and its colonial rule in Algeria; and Indonesia's desire to promote its case in the dispute with the Netherlands over western New Guinea (Irian Barat).{{cn|date=April 2019}}Sukarno, the first president of the Republic of Indonesia, portrayed himself as the leader of this group of states, which he later described as "NEFOS" (Newly Emerging Forces).Cowie, H.R. (1993). Australia and Asia. A changing Relationship, 18. His daughter, Megawati Sukarnoputri headed the PDI-P party during both summit anniversaries, and the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo during the 3rd summit was a member of her party.{{cn|date=April 2019}}On 4 December 1954 the United Nations announced that Indonesia had successfully gotten the issue of West New Guinea placed on the agenda of the 1955 General Assembly,United Nations General Assembly, Report of the First Committee A/2831 plans for the Bandung conference were announced in December 1954.Parker, "Small Victory, Missed Chance" (2006), p. 156.


(File:Conference Hall Gedung Merdeka.jpg|thumb|Plenary hall of the conference building)Major debate centered around the question of whether Soviet policies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia should be censured along with Western colonialism. A memo was submitted by 'The Moslem Nations under Soviet Imperialism', accusing the Soviet authorities of massacres and mass deportations in Muslim regions, but it was never debated.BOOK, Schindler, Colin, Israel and the European Left, 2012, Continuum, New York, 205, 978-1441150134, A consensus was reached in which "colonialism in all of its manifestations" was condemned, implicitly censuring the Soviet Union, as well as the West.WEB,weblink Bandung Conference – Asia-Africa [1955], Encyclopedia Britannica, 10 February 2019, China played an important role in the conference and strengthened its relations with other Asian nations. Having survived an assassination attempt on the way to the conference, the Chinese premier, Zhou Enlai, displayed a moderate and conciliatory attitude that tended to quiet fears of some anticommunist delegates concerning China's intentions.Later in the conference, Zhou Enlai signed on to the article in the concluding declaration stating that overseas Chinese owed primary loyalty to their home nation, rather than to China – a highly sensitive issue for both his Indonesian hosts and for several other participating countries. Zhou also signed an agreement on dual nationality with Indonesian foreign minister Sunario. World observers knew little about the new Chinese communist government, and participants and journalists closely watched Zhou. He downplayed revolutionary communism and strongly endorsed the right of all nations to choose their own economic and political systems, including even capitalism. His moderation and reasonableness made a very powerful impression for his own diplomatic reputation and for China. By contrast, Nehru was bitterly disappointed at the generally negative reception he received. Senior diplomats called him arrogant. Zhou said privately, "I've never met a more arrogant man than Mr. Nehru."H.W. Brands, India and the United States (1990) p. 85,Sally Percival Wood, "‘Chou gags critics in BANDOENG or How the Media Framed Premier Zhou Enlai at the Bandung Conference, 1955" Modern Asian Studies 44.5 (2010): 1001–1027.Sarvepalli Gopal, Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography, Volume 2: 1947–1956 (1979), pp 239–44.Dick Wilson, Zhou Enlai" A Biography (1984) pp 200–205


(File:Asian-African Conference Participants.svg|thumb|480px|The 29 countries attending the Asia-Africa Conference.)(File:NAM Members.svg|thumb|480px|Member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (2012). Light blue states have observer status.){hide}columns-list|colwidth=22em| {edih}, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (April 2008)|}}Some nations were given "observer status". Such was the case of Brazil, who sent Ambassador Bezerra de Menezes.


A 10-point "declaration on promotion of world peace and cooperation," incorporating the principles of the United Nations Charter was adopted unanimously:
  1. Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the charter of the United Nations
  2. Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations
  3. Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations large and small
  4. Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country
  5. Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself, singly or collectively, in conformity with the charter of the United Nations
  6. (a) Abstention from the use of arrangements of collective defence to serve any particular interests of the big powers (b) Abstention by any country from exerting pressures on other countries
  7. Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country
  8. Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration or judicial settlement as well as other peaceful means of the parties own choice, in conformity with the charter of the United Nations
  9. Promotion of mutual interests and cooperation
  10. Respect for justice and international obligations.JOURNAL, Jayaprakash, N D, India and the Bandung Conference of 1955 – II, People's Democracy – Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), XXIX, 23, 5 June 2005,weblink 7 February 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 11 March 2007, dead,
The final Communique of the Conference underscored the need for developing countries to loosen their economic dependence on the leading industrialised nations by providing technical assistance to one another through the exchange of experts and technical assistance for developmental projects, as well as the exchange of technological know-how and the establishment of regional training and research institutes.

United States involvement

For the US, the Conference accentuated a central dilemma of its Cold War policy: by currying favor with Third World nations by claiming opposition to colonialism, it risked alienating its colonialist European allies.Parker, "Small Victory, Missed Chance" (2006), p. 154. "... Bandung presented Washington with a geopolitical quandary. Holding the Cold War line against communism depended on the crumbling European empires. Yet U.S. support for that ancien régime was sure to earn the resentment of Third World nationalists fighting against colonial rule. The Eastern Bloc, facing no such guilt by association, thus did not face the choice Bandung presented to the United States: side with the rising Third World tide, or side with the shaky imperial structures damming it in." The US security establishment also feared that the Conference would expand China's regional power.Parker, "Small Victory, Missed Chance" (2006), p. 155. In January 1955 the US formed a "Working Group on the Afro-Asian Conference" which included the Operations Coordinating Board (OCB), the Office of Intelligence Research (OIR), the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the United States Information Agency (USIA).Parker, "Small Victory, Missed Chance" (2006), pp. 157–158. The OIR and USIA followed a course of "Image Management" for the US, using overt and covert propaganda to portray the US as friendly and to warn participants of the Communist menace.Parker, "Small Victory, Missed Chance" (2006), p. 161. "An OCB memorandum of March 28 [...] recounts the efforts by OIR and the working group to distribute intelligence 'on Communist intentions, and [on] suggestions for countering Communist designs.' These were sent to U.S. posts overseas, with instructions to confer with invitee governments, and to brief friendly attendees. Among the latter, 'efforts will be made to exploit [the Bangkok message] through the Thai, Pakistani, and Philippine delegations.' Posts in Japan and Turkey would seek to do likewise. On the media front, the administration briefed members of the American press; '[this] appear[s] to have been instrumental in setting the public tone.' Arrangements had also been made for USIA coverage. In addition, the document refers to budding Anglo-American collaboration in the 'Image Management' effort surrounding Bandung."The United States, at the urging of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, shunned the conference and was not officially represented. However, the administration issued a series of statements during the lead-up to the Conference. These suggested that the US would provide economic aid, and attempted to reframe the issue of colonialism as a threat by China and the Eastern Bloc.Parker, "Small Victory, Missed Chance" (2006), p. 162.Representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (D-N.Y.) attended the conference, sponsored by Ebony and Jet magazines instead of the U.S. government. Powell spoke at some length in favor of American foreign policy there which assisted the United States's standing with the Non-Aligned. When Powell returned to the United States, he urged President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Congress to oppose colonialism and pay attention to the priorities of emerging Third World nations.WEB,weblink Adam Clayton Powell Jr., 1 February 2015, United States House of Representatives, African American author Richard Wright attended the conference with funding from the Congress for Cultural Freedom. Wright spent about three weeks in Indonesia, devoting a week to attending the conference and the rest of his time to interacting with Indonesian artists and intellectuals in preparation to write several articles and a book on his trip to Indonesia and attendance at the conference. Wright's essays on the trip appeared in several Congress for Cultural Freedom magazines, and his book on the trip was published as (The Color Curtain|The Color Curtain: A Report on the Bandung Conference). Several of the artists and intellectuals with whom Wright interacted (including Mochtar Lubis, Asrul Sani, Sitor Situmorang, and Beb Vuyk) continued discussing Wright's visit after he left Indonesia.BOOK, Roberts, Brian Russell, Artistic Ambassadors: Literary and International Representation of the New Negro Era, 2013, University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, 0813933684, 146–172, BOOK, Roberts, Brian Russell, Foulcher, Keith, Indonesian Notebook: A Sourcebook on Richard Wright and the Bandung Conference, 2016, Duke University Press, Durham, 0822360667,

Outcome and legacy

The conference was followed by the Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Conference in CairoMancall, Mark. 1984. China at the Center. p. 427 in September (1957) and the Belgrade Conference (1961), which led to the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement.Nazli Choucri, "The Nonalignment of Afro-Asian States: Policy, Perception, and Behaviour", Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique, Vol. 2, No. 1.(Mar. 1969), pp. 1–17. In later years, conflicts between the nonaligned nations eroded the solidarity expressed at Bandung.

Asian-African Summit of 2005

To mark the 50th anniversary of The Summit, Heads of State and Government of Asian-African countries attended a new Asian-African Summit from 20–24 April 2005 in Bandung and Jakarta. Some sessions of the new conference took place in Gedung Merdeka (Independence Building), the venue of the original conference. Of the 106 nations invited to the historic summit, 89 were represented by their heads of state or government or ministers.NEWS,weblink Asian-African Conference timeline, The Jakarta Post, 8 September 2017, en, The Summit was attended by 54 Asian and 52 African countries.The 2005 Asian African Summit yielded, inter-alia, the Declaration of the New Asian–African Strategic Partnership (NAASP),WEB, Seniors official meeting,weblink MFA of Indonesia, 1 October 2012, the Joint Ministerial Statement on the NAASP Plan of Action, and the Joint Asian African Leaders’ Statement on Tsunami, Earthquake and other Natural Disasters. The conclusion of aforementioned declaration of NAASP is the Nawasila (nine principles) supporting political, economic, and socio-cultural cooperation.The Summit concluded a follow-up mechanism for institutionalization process in the form of Summit concurrent with Business Summit every four years, Ministerial Meeting every two years, and Sectoral Ministerial as well as Technical Meeting if deemed necessary.

Other anniversaries

On the 60th anniversary of the Asian-African Conference and the 10th anniversary of the NAASP, a 3rd summit was held in Bandung and Jakarta from 21–25 April 2015, with the theme Strengthening South-South Cooperation to Promote World Peace and Prosperity. Delegates from 109 Asian and African countries, 16 observer countries and 25 international organizations participated.

See also



Further reading

  • Acharya, Amitav. "Studying the Bandung conference from a Global IR perspective." Australian Journal of International Affairs 70.4 (2016): 342–357. Online
  • Acharya, Amitav. "Who are the norm makers? The Asian-African conference in Bandung and the evolution of norms." Global Governance 20.3 (2014): 405–417. Online
  • Asia-Africa Speaks From Bandung. Jakarta: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, 1955.
  • Ampiah, Kweku. The Political and Moral Imperatives of the Bandung Conference of 1955 : the Reactions of the US, UK and Japan. Folkestone, UK : Global Oriental, 2007. {{ISBN|1-905246-40-4}}
  • Brown, Colin. 2012. "The Bandung Conference and Indonesian Foreign Policy", Ch 9 in Anne Booth, Chris Manning and Thee Kian Wie, 2012, Essays in Honour of Joan Hardjono, Jakarta: Yayasan Pustaka Obor Indonesia.
  • Burke, Roland. "The compelling dialogue of freedom: Human rights at the Bandung Conference." Human Rights Quarterly 28 (2006): 947+.
  • Dinkel, Jürgen, The Non-Aligned Movement. Genesis, Organization and Politics (1927–1992), New Perspectives on the Cold War 5, Brill: Leiden/Boston 2019. {{ISBN|978-90-04-33613-1}}
  • Finnane, Antonia, and Derek McDougall, eds, Bandung 1955: Little Histories. Melbourne: Monash Asia Institute, 2010. {{ISBN|978-1-876924-73-7}}
  • Kahin, George McTurnan. The Asian-African Conference: Bandung, Indonesia, April 1955. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1956.
  • Lee, Christopher J., ed, Making a World After Empire: The Bandung Moment and Its Political Afterlives. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2010. {{ISBN|978-0896802773}}
  • Mackie, Jamie. Bandung 1955: Non-Alignment and Afro-Asian Solidarity. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 2005. {{ISBN|981-4155-49-7}}
  • Parker, Jason C. "Small Victory, Missed Chance: The Eisenhower Administration, the Bandung Conference, and the Turning of the Cold War." In The Eisenhower Administration, the Third World, and the Globalization of the Cold War. Ed. Kathryn C. Statler & Andrew L. Johns. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. {{ISBN|0742553817}}
  • Parker, Jason. "Cold War II: The Eisenhower Administration, the Bandung Conference, and the reperiodization of the postwar era." Diplomatic History 30.5 (2006): 867–892.
  • Shimazu, Naoko. "Diplomacy as theatre: staging the Bandung Conference of 1955." Modern Asian Studies 48.1 (2014): 225–252.
  • Wood, Sally Percival. "‘Chou gags critics in BANDOENG or How the Media Framed Premier Zhou Enlai at the Bandung Conference, 1955" Modern Asian Studies 44.5 (2010): 1001–1027.

External links

{{Cold War}}{{South-South}}{{Authority control}}

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