Editorial Note

Representatives of the Governments and African administrations of Belgium, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Portugal, Southern Rhodesia, the Union of South Africa, and the United Kingdom met in Nairobi, Kenya, August 21–31, for the African Defence Facilities Conference. The Conference, convened by the Union of South Africa and the United Kingdom, sought to reach agreement in principle on the facilities required for the movement of troops and supplies on the lines of [Page 1228] communications between the south of Africa and the Middle East in time of war or emergency. The United States accepted an invitation to send observers to the Conference (see note of July 11 from Ambassador Jooste to the Secretary of State, page 1224). The United States observers were Angus Ward, Consul General at Nairobi; Colonel John J. Davis, Army Attaché at the Embassy in South Africa; and Colonel Edwin A. Bland, Air Attaché at the Embassy in South Africa. Egypt declined an invitation to participate in the Conference, presumably because Egypt was not prepared to participate in any conference with the United Kingdom unless British troops were withdrawn from Egyptian soil. For Consul General Ward’s report on the opening session of the Conference on August 21, see telegram 14, August 25, from Nairobi, infra. Ward’s 12-page despatch 69, September 5, from Nairobi constituted a summary account of the work of the Conference and its Land Transport, Steering, and Sea Transport Committees which Ward observed. (770.5/9–551) Ward assumed that Colonels Davis and Bland would report to the Department of Defense on the work of the other Committees (Air Transport, Telecommunications and Mail Facilities, and Movement of Personnel and Supplies). Copies of the official Report of the African Defence Facilities Conference, document ADF (51) 13, August 30, 1951, and the attached recommendations of the six Conference Committees, comprising 26 pages in the source text, were transmitted to the Department of State as an enclosure to despatch 68, September 3, from Nairobi. (770.5/9–351) A copy of the official report was formally delivered to the Department of State under cover of a note of November 19 from South African Ambassador Jooste to the Acting Secretary of State. (770.5/11–1951)

Joint Weeka No. 10, September 7 from Pretoria, reported that the Nairobi Conference ended with all the participating countries in unanimous agreement on the points discussed. The Conference’s recommendations were to be put before the various participating governments for approval and implementation. The facilities for implementation were to be discussed at a subsequent conference. South African Defense Minister Erasmus expressed high hopes for the future of Africa through the conference, and he informed the American attachés who served as observers at the conference that he was most pleased with progress and results reached. (745A.00 (W)/9–751)