The 21 states of French-speaking Africa attending a Franco-African summit meeting here asked President Valery Giscard d'Estaing yesterday to express their concern over Soviet and Cuban military interventions when he meets in Washington with President Carter later this week.
The request seemed to reflect a growing feeling among the moderate government leaders of black Africa, such as the participants in the Paris conference, that the United States is not active enough in protecting them against Communist-led outside agression.
Ivory Coast President Felix Houphouet-Boigny formulated the request in the name of all the African participants, according to French presidential spokesman Pierre Hunt, acting as spokesman for the conference.
Most of the countries represented at the summit, mainly former colonies of France, tend to be more conservative and pro-Western than elsewhere in Africa, where several leaders have defended Cuban actions on the continent.
Giscard is scheduled to meet Carter later this week after addressing the special U.N. conference on disarmament in New York.
The annual Franco-African summit, which began yesterday and ends today was to center, as usual, on economic development problems of the African countries mostly former French colonies. But the invasion in Zaire overshadowed the planned agenda of the group, which also includes Zaire, a former Belgian colony.
French Foreign Minister Louis de Guiruingaud said on a French staet radio program that France is coming under heavy criticism for its African interventions because ever since the withdrawal of the United States from an active role to counteract agression, "France is the only country that aid its friends."
He said he had ordered the French ambassador in Moscow to protest to the Soviet government against a Tass dispatch saying that French and Belgian forces in Zaire's Shaba Province are subjecting the local population to a reign of terror.
Belgian Premier Leo Tindemanns, meanwhile, moved to patch up his country's strained relations with France.
After days of Belgian government criticism of French military operations, Tindemans called Giscard yesterday to thank him for the French force's action in rescuing the Belgian citizens in Kolwezi.
In an interview for French television, Tindemans said the differences in approach between the two countries stem from the fact that "France is a power in Africa" and that Beglium is a small country that "cannot claim" to conduct an active military policy on the ontinent.
Tindemans said that he told Giscard that a defensive line should be established between Zaire and Angola, where the invaders were based attacking Kolwezi from Zambian terrority.
Tindemans' change in tone apparently reflected the outcry in Belgium slowness in coming to the rescue of the Belgians in Kolwezi. Their accounts of the atrocities committed by the invaders has turned much of Belgian opinion against the government.
The head of the permanent French military mission in Zaire was quoted on French radio as saying that French forces should remain in the country to insure security for the other 1,200 Franch citizens working there.
At the Franco-African summit, Zaire's information minister, Mokolo Wa Mpongo, said that it is "premature" to talk about the Zairian Army being able to take over from the French.
While he denied reports tht members of the Zaire forces went over to the invading rebels, he said there were certainly local townpeople who helped the invaders.
Mpongo said the invaders were able to come in so easily because they came through Zambia, and the Zaire army had concentrated on defending the border with Angola.
The Zairian minister expressed doubt that Cubans were part of the invasion force, although he said the Cubans had trained the rebel forces. "When you make war through intermediaries," he said, "it is certain the the person who is doing the manipulating does not place himself in the front line."
Mpongo said that reports of a 4,000-man inter-African force to replace the French Foreign Legion, which has 600 men in Kolwezi, were also premature. President Omar Bongo of Gabon, the current head of the Organization of African Unity, has announced his intention to propose the formation of a standing African intervention force to fight agressions such as that in Zaire.
At his request, the question was put on the agenda for the final session of the conference today in Versailles.
In a radio interview, Bongo said he favors the creation first on an elite force from French-speaking Africa that would later be broadened into a Pan-African force of the Organization of African Unity.
Although French officials are privatly skeptical about how quickly the contributing states to such a force could agree to act in a crisis, Giscard told the opening session yesterday that France feels "it is up to the Africans themselves, as well as the inter-African organizations, to settle the conflicts of the continents."
He noted that none of the states at the conference had ever been responsible for African wars or violence and that French military help has always been "a limited technical assistance."
"We should refuse to let the politics of blocs ravage Africa," Giscard said in an obvious reference to Soviet and Cuban forces.