745H.5 MSP/3–1353

The Consul General at Lagos (Keeler) to the Department of State

No. 220


  • ConGen’s. Despatches No. 623, April 13, 1951;1 No. 50, Sept. 2, 1952;2 No. 146, Dec. 18, 1952.3


  • Visit of MSA Representatives to Lagos; Status of Present MSA Projects in Nigeria; Minutes of Conversations with Nigerian Government Representatives.

Mr. E. A. Bayne, Special Assistant for Overseas Territories, Mutual Security Agency’s European Office, Paris, and Mr. W. C. Dechert, Overseas Territories Officer, Mutual Security Agency, London, visited Lagos February 16 to February 19 and conferred with Nigerian Government officials concerning the status of existing MSA (ECA) projects in Nigeria, as well as possible new projects which the Nigerian Government has had under consideration.

There is transmitted herewith a copy of a briefing Memorandum prepared at the request of the Consulate General by Mr. E. E. SabbenClare, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry immediately prior to the visit of Messrs. Bayne and Dechert.2 This Memorandum outlines the history of the two major existing projects (the Kano-Maiduguri-Fort Lamy Road and the Enugu Colliery) and current suggestions regarding these projects. There are further transmitted herewith copies of minutes of the conversations held between the MSA representatives and representatives of the Nigerian Government on February 17 and 18, at which the existing projects and others which the Nigerian Government has in mind were discussed.2

Along the lines of the Consulate General’s despatch No. 623, of April [Page 282] 13, 1951, it may be reiterated that the major problems, with respect to ECA assistance in Nigeria, have apparently been (1) the rather complicated and slow procedure which proposals must go through, e.g. from the Nigerian Government to the Colonial Office (which may have differing views), (2) the fact that projects have been developed at considerable cost of time and money without ECA representatives being on the ground in the early stages, to determine whether the project is feasible, or indeed possible under our legislation, (3) a certain lack of flexibility as projects develop and merit changes, as in the case of the Enugu Colliery project, and (4) lack of continuing contact between ECA representatives and the local authorities carrying forward approved projects.

The visit of Messrs. Bayne and Dechert was extremely useful in clearing up a number of questions in the minds of Nigerian Government officials. It would be very helpful if this type of visit (but with more time for contacts with Nigerian authorities and actual visits to present and contemplated projects) could be repeated periodically. This, we feel, is essential if the frustrations which hard-working local officials feel they have had in connection with ECA projects are not to carry over into and becloud MSA operations in this country.

Erwin P. Keeler
  1. Not printed; it discussed the attitude of Nigerian officials toward ECA. (103.02 ECA/4–1351)
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed; it dealt with coal mining developments at Enugu, Nigeria and the use to which MSA funds would be put. (745H.5 MSP/12–1852)
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.