Arthur James Siggins on “white imperialism”
British-Bashing Letters in The Afro American (1951)

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | January 4, 2014                    

British colonialism in Africa (slave revolt) “The old order changeth, yielding place to new”, wrote British poet laureate Lord Alfred Tennyson, who died in 1892. That was the year a former slave, John H. Murphy, Sr. founded The Afro American newspaper in Baltimore, Maryland. 59 years later, in a letter about Iran printed in the legendary black-owned publication, which still carries on today, A.J. Siggins opened his anti-colonial note by invoking Tennyson’s famous line.

The writer was actually professional commentator and author Arthur James Siggins (1880-1970). Born in New Zealand, Siggins was a member of the Rhodesian police force and an expert wildlife handler turned writer. His eleven books include Shooting With Rifle and Camera: Filming the Four Feathers - A Big-Game Thriller (1931), A Prosperity Plan: Great Britain, United States of America and Germany (1932), Man-Killers I Have Known (1933), Just Peace (1946) and Sowing the Wind (1947).

Actress Jill Adams While in Tanzania, on location of the motion picture The Blue Lagoon (1923), he met Irish-American film actress Molly Adair, whom he married and had four children with. Their daughter, Jill Siggins (1930-2008), known after her 1951 marriage as Jill Adams, became a successful model, film and television actress, often billed as "Britain’s Marilyn Monroe."

Siggins and family later returned to New Zealand, then Wales, and eventually London, England. And it was from London, at the height of the oil nationalization dispute, that his harshly critical assessment of British foreign policy in Iran was penned.

Siggins, described in a 1944 ANP newswire article as “a wealthy African historian”, was clearly fixated on the independence and self-sufficiency of third world nations, with a particular focus on British colonialism. He wrote many letters to a variety of publications on this topic. For good measure, we have presented three of his relevant letters published in The Afro American’s “What Our Readers Say...” section in 1951.

The question is, why would an affluent Caucasian, residing in the proverbial belly of the beast, be so worked up over British imperialism? Perhaps what he witnessed in Africa shook his conscience unalterably.

The Afro American newspaper - October 27, 1951


January 16, 1951

LONDON–With the coming of 1951 has arrived a tremendous wave of anti-American feeling, spreading throughout the world. Now, the only base of Western civilization is composed of dollars, material resources and industrial efficiency protected not by just laws, but by atomic bombs and other weapons.

With the emancipation of millions of peoples suppressed and exploited by colonialism and color bars, a new era of Christian service will be in sight. The new world rests with the East.



October 27, 1951

London, Eng. – The old order changeth and no matter how many warships and paratroopers Britain landed in Persia, ‘Rule Britannia’ methods couldn’t make oil run if the Persian people remained inactive.

The age of the colored man has started and white imperialism is floundering in defeat.

Unless Europeans are prepared to co-operate under the Declaration of Human Rights with all races and creeds they will gradually be forced back behind their three-mile limits and then many of them will starve while all will deteriorate.

Winston Churchill and his Tories are making political capital out of the Persian “Dunkirk” as they call it. But the big ballyhoo fell flat when the Anglo-Iranian oil company announced that had it had advised the British Government to evacuate Persia.

Urged on by their American masters the Tories are fighting hard to stem “The Rising Tide of Color” that threatens their ill-gotten concessions in Africa and the Pacific and the Indian oceans’ basins.

But the Tories have not a hope of saving white imperialism even if they win the coming election; because, like the Abadan refinery the colonial peoples won’t let the oil or anything else run to enrich alien explorers.

Colonials will use inaction against any action and inaction is the greatest power on earth.



November 3, 1951

London, Eng. – The most hated man in Asia, in the colonial empires and in the Middle East is that of imperialist No. 1, Winston Churchill.

Only those who have seen firsthand the results of imperialism can feel the shame of being responsible for some 60,000,000 human beings in a terrible condition. Illiteracy, under-nourishment, infant mortality and many other diseases permeate the masses like corroding currents.

There is now big talk about restoring British prestige in the Middle East. It might be a good idea to restore British prestige in South, East, Central, West and North Africa first.

Colonial peoples once died by thousands in rebellions against those who tried to enslave them. Today, colonial peoples have a much stronger weapon – the God-given power of inaction.

Through this power they can gain all the Declaration of Human Rights declares they are legally entitled to. More than that, they can complete the Declaration by demanding their land rights and dues.



Related links:

British Blind To New Era In Mid-East | Letter to The Binghamton Press, June 24, 1951

Mossadegh Fights For Oil In Name of Iranian Poor | U.S. News & World Report, July 1951

Minister Louis Farrakhan on the US - Iran Dynamic | “It’s all about oil and power...”

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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