Early in 1961, the President of Liberia, the Prime Minister of Nigeria, and the Prime Minister of Sierra Leone decided to act as joint sponsors of a conference of the leaders of all the independent African states for the purpose of promoting inter-African co-operation. Liberia, as the the oldest of the three sponsoring states, graciously offered to play host. The idea was that all the African states that were independent at that time were ipso facto eligible for membership of the conference. This conference would include the small group of independent African states, usually referred to as the Casablanca bloc, consisting of the United Arab Republic, Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Morocco. This group had signed the Casablanca Charter which was a brief document setting out the aims and purposes of the organization, among which were schemes of economic and social co-operation and the establishment of an African High Command for the purpose of self-defense of its members as well as for that of ridding the continent of Africa of all forms of colonialism. When, therefore, the decision was taken by the three sponsoring states to call a Pan-African conference, it was envisaged that all the then independent states in Africa, including the so-called Casablanca bloc states, would attend and take a full part in its deliberations.