Editorial Note

In an address delivered on June 27 before the Institute on Contemporary Africa at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, George C. McGhee, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs, discussed Africa’s role in the “free world.” McGhee spoke of the Communist threat to Africa, the preparations for self-government by African peoples, recent political developments in-British West Africa, economic development programs sponsored by the European powers, Economic Cooperation Administration aid to the African dependencies, and American assistance through the Point Four program. McGhee said in part:

“Immediate independence is, however, not the cure for all colonial problems. The United States Government has always maintained that premature independence for primitive, uneducated peoples can do [Page 1224] them more harm than good and subject them to an exploitation by indigenous leaders, unrestrained by the civil standards that come with widespread education, that can be just as ruthless as that of aliens. Also, giving full independence to peoples unprepared to meet aggression or subversion can endanger not only the peoples themselves but the security of the free world.

“It is, however, the traditional policy of the United States to support orderly movements toward self-government. We have followed with interest, therefore, the efforts of the various European governments over the years to promote the political, economic, social, and educational advancement of the peoples in African territories and the spread of genuine African nationalism. African nationalism derives in part from the acute nationalism prevalent in other parts of the world and, in part, is a reaction to foreign propaganda against colonialism. It is also derived, however, from an emerging belief that Africans as such must stand together.”

For the full text of McGhee’s address, see Department of State Bulletin, July 16, 1951, pages 97–101.