A randomized, open trial involving 260 Tanzanian children, aged 1-5 years, with acute Plasmodium falciparum malaria was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of the combination antimalarial CGP 56697 (artemether and benflumetol), and to compare it with chloroquine, the standard drug used for malaria treatment in the Kilombero area. Children who had received rescue medication within the first 48 h or had a negative slide at the same time were excluded. Seven-day parasitological cure rates were 94% (95% CI 88-97.5) for CGP 56697 and 35.4% (95% CI 25.9-45.8) for chloroquine. Using the same definition, the 14-day parasitological cure rates were 86.4% (95% CI 78.5-92.2) for CGP 56697 and 10.3% (95% CI 5.1-18.1) for chloroquine. Gametocytes were more effectively suppressed by CGP 56697 than by chloroquine. There were no major adverse events with either drug. CGP 56697 is highly efficacious against P. falciparum in this area of Tanzania. The study contributes to the discussion on treatment strategies, particularly whether chloroquine may still fulfil its role as first-line drug in an area of high malaria transmission and very high levels of chloroquine resistance.