The Secretary of State to Vice President Nixon

Dear Mr. Vice President: Reference is made to the Joint Resolution of the Congress to extend greetings to the Gold Coast and Nigeria1 (Public Law 667, Chapter 1005, 83rd Congress, Second Session), certified copies of which the Department of State transmitted to the American Consulates General at Accra, Gold Coast and Lagos, Nigeria.2

The Department of State has been informed by the Consulate General at Lagos that a certified copy of the Joint Resolution has been forwarded to the Chief Secretary of the Nigerian Government, who is responsible for the external affairs of the territory, with a request that it be transmitted to the appropriate officer of the new Nigerian Federal Legislature in advance of its first meeting.3

The new Nigerian Constitution became effective on October 1, 1954. It is anticipated that elections under the new Constitution will be held in November next and that the first meeting of the new Federal Legislature will take place in January 1955. It is expected that the procedure will be for the Speaker of the Nigerian Federal House of Representatives to read the Joint Resolution and for the Chief Secretary of the Nigerian Government to then move a suitable message of thanks to the Congress for adoption by the House.

There is enclosed, as indicative of the favorable reception of the [Page 294] Joint Resolution in Nigeria, a copy of an editorial from the Lagos Daily Success of September 2, 1954.4

The Department of State, also, has been informed by the Consulate General at Accra that a certified copy of the Joint Resolution has been transmitted to the Prime Minister of the Gold Coast, through the Governor.5 This procedure was followed as matters relating to the external affairs of the Gold Coast remain in the hands of the Governor until full independence is achieved.

I shall keep you promptly informed of further developments.

Sincerely yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Ben H. Brown, Jr.
Acting Assistant Secretary
  1. Joint Resolution 183, which was passed unanimously by the House and Senate on Aug. 11 and 12, respectively, was signed by President Eisenhower on Aug. 27. Among other things, the Resolution, which appears in the Congressional Record, vol. 100 (83d Cong., 2d sess.), pt. II, pp. 14304–14305, stated that it was the policy of the United States “to encourage efforts toward independence and self-government truly expressive of the desires of the peoples and as they show their capacity to establish and protect free institutions.” In response to a draft of the Resolution which “Resolved, That the Secretary of State is hereby requested to appoint a United States delegation at the appropriate time to represent the United States at ceremonies marking the achievement of complete self-government for these territories,” the Secretary replied that the Department “interprets this provision to mean that such a delegation would be appointed only at such time as the United Kingdom relinquishes its control over the external affairs of those territories.” (745K.02/7–3054)
  2. This was done via airgram 8 to Lagos of Sept. 3, 1954, not printed (745H.00/9–354) and airgram 9 to Accra of the same date, not printed. (845K.47411/9–354)
  3. Not printed; it indicated that the time for self-government and delegations to mark same was in the future as the new constitution was not likely to be reviewed until 1956. (745H.00/9–2454)
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed. The response of the Gold Coast, as expressed by the Legislative Assembly on Oct. 27, was an enclosure to despatch 57 of Oct. 28, from Accra to the Department of State. It stated “‘That this Assembly extends its thanks to the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States for the greetings contained in the Joint Resolution made at the Second Session of the 83rd Congress, and declares that it would welcome most cordially at the appropriate time a delegation to represent the United States at the ceremonies marking the attainment of independence for the Gold Coast.’” (745K.00/10–2854)