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21. Memorandum of Discussion at the 432d Meeting of the National Security Council0
January 14, 1960.
[Here follows a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting.]
1. U.S. Policy Toward South, Central and East Africa (NSC 5818;1OCB Report on NSC 5818, dated September 30, 1959;2NIE 76–59;3 Memo for NSC from Acting Executive Secretary, same subject dated January 11, 19604)
Mr. Gray presented NSC 59205 to the Council. (A copy of Mr. Gray’s Briefing Note is filed in the Minutes of the Meeting and another [Page 74]is attached to this Memorandum.)6 In the course of his briefing Mr. Gray referred to the difference of view as to U.S. objectives toward South, Central and East Africa. The majority of the Planning Board wished to establish three co-equal objectives:
“Maintenance of the Free World orientation of the area, denial of the area to Communist domination, and the minimization of Communist influence therein.” (Paragraph 8)
“Orderly economic development and political progress towards self-determination by the countries of the area in cooperation with the metropoles and other Free World countries.” (Paragraph 9)
“Access to such military rights and facilities and strategic resources as may be required in our national security interests.” (Paragraph 10)
The Treasury Representative on the Planning Board, on the other hand, believed that “maintenance of the Free World orientation of the area and denial of the area to Communist domination” should be primary and the other objectives secondary.
The President said that the wording proposed by the two sides appeared to be identical; it was simply a question of arrangement. He was inclined to agree with the Treasury position because he assumed that if we were unable to achieve our objective of maintaining the Free World orientation of the area and denying it to Communism, we would not want to proceed with our other objectives. In other words, it seemed to him that the two objectives he had just mentioned laid down the necessary pre-conditions for any attempts to realize our other objectives in this part of Africa. Mr. Gray said that the position just taken by the President had been taken in the Planning Board by the Treasury Representative and by Messrs. Gray, Lay and Boggs. Mr. Merchant said the Treasury position was acceptable to the State Department. However, Secretary Douglas believed that in the Cameroons, for example, the U.S. might want to promote economic development and political progress even if Communism did not appear there. The President agreed, but added that if the countries of this area oriented themselves toward Moscow, we would not wish to undertake programs for their orderly economic development and political progress. As he saw it, therefore, maintenance of the Free World orientation of the area and its denial to Communism was the precondition for the remainder of our objectives. He preferred the Treasury version of the objectives.
Mr. Dulles thought the chances of achieving orderly economic development and political progress towards self-determination by the countries of the area were just about nil. In his view there was no chance whatever for an orderly economic development. The President [Page 75]agreed, saying that these countries would be independent long before they achieved orderly economic development or political progress. However, he felt that economic development and political progress in this part of the world must be a U.S. objective whether the countries concerned were independent or not. De Gaulle had told him that within two years there would be 30 independent nations in Africa.7 Mr. Dulles said none of the 30 independent nations referred to by De Gaulle would have the capability of governing themselves. The President agreed with Mr. Dulles’ remark, if South Africa were excluded. The President said that the King of Morocco had told him that U.S. policy should be to help the countries of Africa to become independent and then assist in their development. The President had characterized this position as putting the cart before the horse.8 Bourguiba had a slightly different point of view; he was anxious about Algeria and angry with France about the boundaries at the southern end of Tunisia, but he wanted to resume close relations with France.9 The Vice President said the British had told him that Ghana, although the most viable nation in Africa, had only a 50 per cent chance for an orderly development. The British anticipated that in many countries of Africa such as Nigeria, a South American pattern of dictatorship would develop. The U.S. must avoid assuming that the struggle in Africa will be between Western-style democracy and Communism. We must recognize, although we cannot say it publicly, that we need the strong men of Africa on our side. It is important to understand that most of Africa will soon be independent and that it would be naive of the U.S. to hope that Africa will be democratic. The Vice President added that it was difficult to realize the problems faced by Africa without visiting the Continent. Some of the peoples of Africa have been out of the trees for only about fifty years. Since we must have the strong men of Africa on our side, perhaps we should in some cases develop military strong men as an offset to Communist development of the labor unions. The President agreed that it might be desirable for us to try to “reach” the strong men in Africa. Secretary Anderson felt it might be possible to try the same procedures in Africa that we had successfully used in the Philippines. In his view, an outstanding job had been performed by an American lieutenant colonel10 who was a counsellor to Magsaysay.11 The Vice President said that Nkrumah was being [Page 76]influenced by a former British laborite.12 Most of the African leaders were incapable of exercising power when they obtained it; they needed a great deal of advice. Mr. Dulles said that attempts were being made all around the world to provide necessary advice to native leaders. However, if the advisors become conspicuous they soon lose their utility. The President said he had had a personal experience as an advisor to the Philippine Government. However, he had had good cover in this assignment because attention had been concentrated on the activities of General MacArthur. Mr. Dulles felt it was necessary to work out some method of rewarding the individuals who are assigned to give advice to native leaders. The President recalled that when he was assigned to Washington during World War II, Quezon13 as leader of the Philippine Government-in-exile had sought him out and insisted on giving him a monetary reward for his services in the Philippines. He had, of course, declined this reward. The point he wished to make was that the native governments felt a great need for honest and loyal advice and were generally loyal to those who advised them. The Vice President believed that the quality of U.S. diplomatic representation in Africa was of vital importance. If the quality of our diplomats in Africa were improved, if we sent politically sophisticated diplomats to that area, a tremendous job could be accomplished in orienting the African people toward the Free World.
Mr. Gray then resumed his briefing on NSC 5920. When he referred to Paragraph 25, which provided that the U.S. would discourage the development of an arms race in this portion of Africa, the President asked whether we had not had a similar policy in Latin America. Mr. Gray said our Latin American policy was somewhat different because of hemispheric defense requirements; and the President agreed there was a difference.
Mr. Gray referred to the Financial Appendix to NSC 5920 which showed that technical assistance to South, Central and East Africa would total about $6 million for the period 1960-1963, while economic assistance would total about $5 million for the same period. The Vice President asked whether $6 million for technical assistance and $5 million for economic assistance over three years was enough. Mr. Merchant said that a Special Africa Fund for special technical assistance on a regular basis was under consideration as part of the Mutual Security legislation for 1961. The President said he was very much in favor of the Africa Fund. Mr. Merchant wondered whether Paragraphs 26 and 27 of NSC 5920 would not to some extent impede the operation of the Africa Fund. Mr. Riddleberger said that it was anticipated that $25 million would be requested for the Africa Fund for the next [Page 77]fiscal year. The President believed we should encourage missionaries, teachers and doctors to go to Africa. Mr. Gray felt that the point raised by Mr. Merchant was covered in Paragraph 27, which provided that the U.S. would be prepared to provide U.S. technical and limited related assistance. The term “limited related assistance” was intended to cover the Africa Fund.
Mr. Gray then reported that at the last Planning Board meeting on NSC 5920 it had been agreed that in view of the rapidly developing situation in the Belgian Congo, the Council might find it necessary to update some portions of the draft statement of policy dealing with that area.14 He asked Mr. Merchant whether the paper as it stood dealt adequately with the Belgian Congo. Mr. Merchant replied that although the paper might be outdated in some minor details, he believed it was adequate. He added that the picture in the Congo, which was confused, difficult and fragmented, had been under study by the State Department. Our Ambassador in Belgium was about to begin discreet talks to see how we might cooperate with Belgium in achieving our aims, which are identical with those of Belgium, without suffering the stigma of supporting a colonial power.15 Mr. Merchant reported incidentally that the recent visit of the King of the Belgians to the Congo had not helped the situation there.16
The President asked Mr. Stans whether he was now an expert on Africa since his trip to that continent.17 Mr. Stans, while disclaiming any expertness, said he had formed the impression that many Africans still belonged in the trees. This was an area where agitators were able to prey on the superstitions of the people to an unbelievable extent. The President remarked that man’s emotions still have control over his intelligence. Mr. Dulles reported that the imminence of independence in the Congo was causing many business men and officials to leave the area. It now appeared that the Congo would become independent this year. There was also some talk of the secession of certain areas of the Congo. Mr. Stans said the seceding parts wanted to form new states by annexing portions of other national areas in Africa.[Page 78]
The National Security Council:18a.Discussed the draft statement of policy on the subject contained in NSC 5920; in the light of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff thereon, transmitted by the reference memorandum of January 11, 1960.b.Adopted the statement of policy in NSC 5920, subject to the following amendment:
Pages 4 and 5, paragraphs 8, 9 and 10: Include the Treasury version on the right as paragraph 8 (renumbering subsequent paragraphs accordingly), and delete the Majority version on the left.c.Noted the Acting Secretary of State’s understanding that the language of paragraph 27 of NSC 5920 would permit the operation in the area covered by this paper of the Special Program For Africa now under consideration, should the Program subsequently be authorized.
Note: NSC 5920, as amended by the action in b above, subsequently approved by the President; circulated as NSC 6001 to supersede those portions of NSC 5818 which relate to South, Central and East Africa (a statement of policy toward West Africa is being prepared by the NSC Planning Board to supersede that portion of NSC 5818 relating to West Africa) for implementation by all appropriate departments and agencies of the U.S. Government; and referred to the Operations Coordinating Board as the coordinating agency designated by the President.