IO Files

Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Deputy Director of the Office of Dependent Area Affairs (Jones)


Subject: Ewe Problem

Participants: Mr. J. K. Thompson, Colonial Attaché, British Embassy
Mr. J. Jefferson Jones III, UND, Department of State

During my conversation with Mr. Thompson this morning regarding the visit to the United States of the Acting Chief of the External Affairs Branch of the Gold Coast Government, Mr. Michael de Normann Ensor, Mr. Thompson brought up the subject of the joint Anglo-French resolution on the Ewe question.

Mr. Thompson said that he was discouraged at the possibility of arriving at an agreement over this difficult problem. He added that this feeling was intensified by the reports which he had just received from New York setting forth Khalidy’s views as to how the question should be dealt with.

Mr. Thompson said that he strongly doubted the advisability of holding new elections to the Consultative Commission because, in his opinion, a decision of the Council to this effect would set back the education of the Africans in democratic methods by at least ten years. He fears that if new elections to the Consultative Commission are held the African people will be given the impression that if a certain party does not win an election it is not necessary for it to abide by the electorate’s decision but to demand another election.

I replied that while I considered that his argument had some validity, I did not think it was a completely convincing one in the present circumstances. In the first place, I pointed out that in my opinion some differentiation should be made between elections to a Consultative Commission and to a legislative body in any one of the African territories. I added that if the American suggestion for holding new elections in the southern districts of Togoland found general acceptance, we expected to emphasize that the administering powers had agreed to the new elections not from necessity but from out of their desire to be magnanimous so that there could be no doubt that the wishes of the majority of the Ewe people were taken account of in the Consultative Commission. Mr. Thompson said that logically he could understand our position on the matter, but that he was afraid that the average African would be unable to make the distinction between elections to the Consultative Commission and to territorial legislative assemblies.