Memorandum Prepared in the Department of State1
U.S. Assistance to Agricultural Development in Africa
As is the case in other areas of the free world, the United States is interested in and has been helping to facilitate the economic development of Africa. The United States believes that the sound development of Africa is in the interest of all other areas of the free world in as much as the strengthening of the African economy will necessarily contribute to the welfare of the entire community of free nations. The United States is cooperating in the economic development of dependent overseas territories of European countries in Africa through the Technical Assistance Program and the Overseas Development Program administered by the Economic Cooperation Administration.
A number of the Overseas Development projects in Africa are for road building and land reclamation. The first objective of these projects is to raise the standard of living of the local populations, and only [Page 1233] at a later stage of development will products move into export in competition with products from established sources. Specific mention is made in the projects of the Overseas Development Program of plans for increasing the production of meat, rice and sugar, but no mention is made of coffee or cocoa. Officials of ECA with whom the matter has been discussed state that assistance to agricultural projects is being limited, increasingly, to those which contribute directly to the defense program by developing local food supplies for workers engaged in strategic materials production in isolated areas.
The United States has given no financial assistance, either through the Technical Assistance Program or the Overseas Development Program, to any project designed primarily to increase the production of coffee in areas outside the Western Hemisphere. Should projects looking to such assistance be proposed by non-Western Hemisphere countries they will, of course, be considered on their merits. It is the intention of the Government of the United States, however, in the administration of its programs of economic and technical cooperation in the different areas of the world to coordinate the administration of these programs with the objective, among others, of giving full consideration to the interests of established producers of specific commodities and avoiding excessive production of such commodities.
The source text bears no indication of authorship, but the memorandum was probably prepared in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, possibly by Assistant Secretary of State Edward G. Miller. The source text appears in the files as an attachment to a letter of September 14 from Miller to Brazilian Minister of Finance Horacio Lafer then visiting Washington. Miller’s letter, which he personally drafted, read as follows:
“In accordance with our conversations, I have the honor of transmitting to you herewith a memorandum with regard to United States programs of technical and economic cooperation in Africa and other areas of the world outside of the Western Hemisphere, with particular regard to the possible effect of such programs on Brazil.
“The enclosed memorandum has been approved by the appropriate officials of the Department of State, including the Technical Cooperation Administration, and of the Economic Cooperation Administration so that the Memorandum may be taken by you as representing the policy of the United States Government.”
Miller’s letter indicates the memorandum printed here was cleared with TCA, NEA, and ECA.
Brazilian criticism of United States aid to colonial African territories had been the subject of a conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Willard L. Thorp and Brazilian Ambassador Mauricio Nabuco on April 20, 1950. During that conversation, Nabuco “implied that the United States was being both shortsighted and unfair in neglecting Latin America while giving aid to African dependent territories which are competitors of Brazil in the export of raw materials.” Thorp’s reply to Nabuco was that Brazil seemed to have “an exaggerated and mistaken idea of our aid to Africa and pointed out that the metropolitan countries do not welcome any direct participation of the United States in their territories. Direct aid can go only to Liberia, the Union of South Africa and Ethiopia.” (Memorandum of conversation by Randolph A. Kidder, Officer in Charge of Brazilian Affairs, April 20, 1950: 870.00.4–2050)↩