INRNIE files

National Intelligence Estimate1

secret

NIE–83

Conditions And Trends In Tropical Africa

the problem

To assess the strategic importance of Tropical Africa and to estimate [Page 72]probable long-range trends and developments in the area and their strategic consequences.*

conclusions

1.
The strategic importance of Tropical Africa arises chiefly from its supply of such materials as uranium, cobalt, diamonds, and columbite; from its location with respect to sea and air lanes in the South Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and Red Sea areas; and from its potential as a site for LOC, staging, and training facilities.
2.
The chief problem in Tropical Africa is that increasing African discontent and demands for self-government, although varying widely in different colonial dependencies, will gradually weaken European control and pose a threat to Western access to Tropical Africa’s strategic resources. Over a long period there will almost certainly be an uneven and uneasy transition from colonial to self-rule.
3.
Recent and impending political changes in British West and British Central Africa, Italian Somaliland, and the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan will stimulate elsewhere the growth of African sentiment for self-government. Particularly in the British dependencies, Africans will make increasing demands for self-government without regard for differences in the stages of development of the various territories. Interracial tensions are almost certain to grow, especially in British East and British Central Africa.
4.
Despite the present weakness of the Communists, their influence and numerical strength will increase. As African unrest grows, various African groups are likely to welcome assistance from any quarter. Communist efforts in the long run probably will have greatest effect [Page 73]upon the more advanced Africans—young intellectuals, nationalist activists, and labor group members—to whom Communism might appear as an aid in weakening European control.
5.
The breakdown or overthrow of existing authority is nowhere imminent in Tropical Africa. We believe that the colonial powers will undertake the policy adjustments and retain the security capabilities necessary to prevent discontent from erupting in large-scale revolt over at least the next decade. However, such adjustments probably will not keep pace with African demands, and varying degrees of unrest and even sporadic violence are likely, especially in areas of heavy white settlement. Emerging self-governing territories, such as the Gold Coast and Nigeria, probably will also experience considerable instability.
6.
Prospective disorders in Tropical Africa probably will require additional commitments of European forces, but not to a degree which would seriously burden the metropoles. Such unrest probably will hamper but will not prevent Western use of military facilities in event of war.
7.
In the short run, Tropical African exports of strategic and essential raw materials will increase as development programs are completed. Over the longer run, however, disorder and unrest are likely to impair the production and transport of such materials. Of the important producing areas, the Belgian Congo probably will be the most stable, while British West Africa and probably British Central Africa will become less dependable sources of supply.

discussion

I. Strategic importance of Tropical Africa

8.
Economic. Tropical Africa is important to the West primarily as a producer of raw materials, particularly minerals. The Belgian Congo, the Rhodesias, and the Gold Coast are the most important producing areas. The most important strategic commodity is uranium, of which the Belgian Congo is a major source. Tropical Africa also supplies over 75 percent of Free World production of cobalt, industrial diamonds, and columbite, and from 10 to 25 percent of manganese, tin, vanadium, copper, chrome, cadmium, and graphite. It provides over 65 percent of Free World requirements of cocoa and sisal, and 80 percent of palm oil. Moreover, the area is almost the sole world supplier of several materials of highly specialized usage, such as strategic-grade chrysotile asbestos. Mineral production in Tropical Africa would become much more important were the Free World denied access to Indian manganese, Turkish and New Caledonian chrome, and Malayan and Indonesian tin.
9.
Tropical African exports of strategic minerals probably will be increased substantially by new developments either underway or soon to be started. These will enlarge the supply of: (a) copper and chrome from Central Africa once the rail link from Southern Rhodesia to Lourenco Marques is completed; (b) iron ore from West Africa; (c) copper and cobalt from Uganda; and (d) manganese from the Belgian Congo and French Equatorial Africa. Most of the aluminum needs of the UK could be met from the Gold Coast if the Volta River project is successfully completed.
10.
The major Tropical African colonial powers—the UK, France, Belgium, and Portugal—gain various economic advantages from their dependencies. They enjoy protected markets for their goods and have acquired raw materials and food at advantageous prices. Their Tropical African territories account for about 10 percent of their total foreign trade, except for the Portuguese colonies, which account for about 15 percent of Portugal’s combined exports and imports.
11.
Among the African colonial powers, the UK and Belgium derive the most substantial economic benefits from their colonies. Since World War II, gold and dollar earnings probably have been the most important of such benefits to the UK. As a result of strict control by the UK of imports into its African dependencies from the dollar area these territories earn annually a dollar surplus equal to the value of one-fourth of all UK imports from the US. The only other net earner of gold and dollars is the Belgian Congo, but its contribution to Belgium is on a much smaller scale. The UK and Belgium, and to a lesser extent the other metropoles, also can save dollars by importing from their colonies goods which otherwise would have to be purchased in hard currency areas. The substantial sterling balances (equivalent to about $2 billion) of the British dependencies—which in effect have been credits extended to the UK and the sterling area—normally would be drawn down by the dependencies but for British exchange and trade control policies.
12.
Metropole investments in Tropical Africa—estimated at $5 billion at present value—are only a small percentage of total metropole overseas investments. Loss of their African investments by the colonial powers would not be a critical financial blow, even to Belgium and the UK. However, loss of the resources of the colonies or drastic disruption of their over-all trading pattern would necessitate substantial adjustments, especially in the economies of the UK and Belgium.
13.
Military. In event of general war, bases in Tropical Africa would be an important factor in the control of the South Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and Red Sea, especially if the Suez Canal and Middle East bases were denied the West. In that event Tropical Africa could provide air and naval facilities to support Western lines of communication [Page 75]and could afford a safe haven for staging, training, and supply bases.§
14.
A large reservoir of military manpower exists in Tropical Africa, but its utilization would depend on Western training and equipment as well as on political conditions in the area. We believe that approximately 300,000 troops from French West and French Equatorial Africa could be made available for employment in Africa or overseas in event of general war. About 125,000 British West African troops served during World War II; an equal number probably could be made available in a future war, if newly independent or autonomous territories felt disposed to cooperate with the Western Powers. About 230,000 British East African troops served during World War II; although that number might be available again, a large proportion of these troops might be required to deal with local disorders and to preserve the security of the region. Probably neither British Central Africa nor the Belgian Congo could provide significant forces for use beyond their boundaries. The relatively ineffective Ethiopian army is to be reorganized with the assistance of a US military mission, with the objective of creating an M-Day force of about 53,000 men. In event of war Ethiopia could probably raise additional forces.
15.
Native internal security forces, augmented by European officers and NCO’s, appear adequate to preserve order in most territories at present. In event of general war or disorders as serious as the Mau Mau outbreak, however, European units would be required in support of local troops in many areas. Some Western forces would almost certainly be needed to protect LOC facilities established in Tropical Africa.

II. Over-all problems and trends in Tropical Africa

16.
One of the world’s least developed areas, Tropical Africa is in process of economic, social, and political transformation, although the pace of this development varies widely in different territories. Nearly all African societies are in relatively rapid transition from isolated subsistence to money economies, and a few are rapidly moving from tribal organization to national states on the Western model. Increasing Western investment in Tropical Africa and the area’s expanding contact with Western culture, especially in the postwar period, have upset primitive social and economic organization and are producing native aspirations largely incompatible with colonial status. Growing tension and unrest are gradually weakening European control in certain areas and pose a prospective threat to Free World access to Tropical Africa’s resources. The colonial powers are confronted with the major problems of making the adjustments necessary to allay spreading African discontent, and of winning the cooperation of native regimes once they [Page 76]come to power, while at the same time preserving the degree of control necessary to prevent disorders and continue the flow of raw materials necessary for the well-being of both Africa and the West.
17.
Tropical Africa’s nearly 8,000,000 square miles (roughly the size of North America) and approximately 135,000,000 people are distributed among more than thirty separate territories administered (except for South West Africa and independent Liberia and Ethiopia) by six European powers. The territorial divisions imposed by European politics bear almost no relation to geographic, social, and economic factors. Political boundaries cut across climatic zones, natural features, language groups, and tribes; the Moslem northern portion of Tropical Africa blends southward into pagan, pseudo-Christian, and Christian areas; peoples with Hamitic blood have migrated into Negro areas and created mixed racial groups. This diversity, added to existing tribal antagonisms and to the ignorance and political indifference of the great majority of natives, retards the growth of sentiment for nationhood in most territories.
18.
Economic Problems. Tropical Africa is poor in developed resources. The soil is generally low in fertility, and is deteriorating through misuse and natural erosion. Mineral fuels are almost entirely lacking, and the great resources of water for power and irrigation are still largely undeveloped. Access to the interior is made difficult by the scarcity of navigable river routes, of rail and road transport, and of adequate harbors along the West coast. Labor productivity is low because of climate, pests, disease, malnutrition, lack of training, and the reluctance of Africans to undertake regular employment. There is also widespread maldistribution of labor; in several territories the over-concentration of Africans has created serious local population pressures. Over-population in rural areas further impoverishes the soil, since most natives are still engaged in primitive subsistence agriculture.
19.
Increase of Tropical Africa’s productivity will require costly and time-consuming programs to improve the health and capabilities of the people, as well as large-scale capital investment in transportation and production facilities. Colonial governments are undertaking extensive development programs, and are attempting to avoid the social and economic dislocations which characterized earlier concentration on raw material production. However, the speed with which development can take place will be limited by the deficiencies in physical and human resources described above. Moreover, because of the probable shortage of local funds available for both public and private [Page 77]investment, Tropical Africa will continue to require relatively large amounts of outside capital if the present pace of development is to be continued. The metropoles probably will not be able to increase significantly their current financial contributions because of their own economic requirements. Existing and potential African unrest also tends to discourage investments from other non-African sources. Thus further public and private investment programs will have to be supported largely from additional revenue derived from foreign trade. However, with a continuing fall in world prices of African exports, the outlook for any great expansion in investment programs becomes increasingly dim.
20.
Social Problems. European efforts to improve communications have ended the isolation of many tribes, and world demands for raw materials have changed the economic pattern of many areas. The enforcement of European concepts of law and order has weakened the authority of tribal government, and artificial political boundaries have been substituted for those based on tribal organization. These developments have increasingly undermined the tribal basis of Tropical African society. A few Africans now live almost entirely according to Western patterns, but large numbers have achieved only a partial transformation and are given support and guidance by neither the old social pattern nor the new. Many of those Africans who so far have been relatively unaffected will be increasingly drawn into new ways of life by continued development.
21.
Thus traditional African social relationships centering around tribal organizations are being gradually replaced by new institutions of the Western type, in the direction of which most Africans play little or no part and toward which they feel little or no obligation. The transition is complicated by the mixing in a new political relationship of African societies once isolated from and hostile to each other. The problems of adjustment are especially difficult in those territories, such as Kenya and the Rhodesias, where both Africans and Europeans must be fitted into a single political system.
22.
The most disruptive force in this gradual realignment of African society is the growth of new socio-economic classes—wage laborers, cash farmers, and educated well-to-do Africans—which have benefited most in a material sense from contact with the West. In most areas, these groups are dissatisfied with their position vis-à-vis the whites, and with the lack of recognition of their new economic status in terms of social standing and political authority. They will agitate increasingly for greater power and prestige. Those in a position of leadership will influence their illiterate and apathetic fellows to support their demands.
23.
Political and Racial Problems. One result of these developments has been the growth in many areas of African demands for more self-government. [Page 78]Africans making these demands have been stimulated by and have found justification in recent and impending political changes in British West and British Central Africa, Italian Somaliland, and the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. UN consideration of the problems of several Tropical African territories, as well as South African racial issues, gives international publicity to African discontent and encourages further local appeals against the colonial powers. Moreover, nationalist agitation in North Africa, Libya’s attainment of independence, and the anti-Western activities in the Middle East all play a role—if a minor one—in arousing the Tropical African’s concern with his political and social status.
24.
The growth of sentiment for self-government varies widely in Tropical Africa. At present such sentiment is extensive in British West Africa, negligible in the Portuguese colonies and the Belgian Congo, and generally confined to small numbers of educated, urbanized Africans in most other important areas. However, developments in one area rapidly become known in other parts of Africa despite the scarcity of modern communications; for example, the progress toward self-government in the Gold Coast2 is widely known in the Tropical African territories. Particularly in the British dependencies, Africans increasingly will demand similar advances toward self-government without regard for differences in the stages of development of various territories, or for differences in population pattern. Since a basic principle of British colonial policy is to increase the participation of Africans in their governments, British policy will have an unsettling effect on the dependencies of the other colonial powers.
25.
The chief political problem facing the European colonial powers, therefore, will be that of reconciling European interests with increasing African demands for self-government. However, in an atmosphere of growing local pressures for rapid reform, it will be difficult for even the most liberal territorial governments to obtain widespread native understanding and support for their gradualistic policies and programs. In many areas, a few leaders probably will be able to collect substantial followings of politically unsophisticated Africans for sometimes violent demonstrations against the policies of colonial governments, even when those policies are in the interests of the native population. Throughout Tropical Africa political affairs will remain unsettled and local crises, such as the Nyasaland riots and the recent deposition of the king of Buganda (a native kingdom in Uganda) by the British,3 will continue to occur with little advance warning.
26.
An integral part of the growth of African demands for self-government is the increasing dislike of white control and mistrust of [Page 79]white leadership in much of Tropical Africa. Interracial tension has appeared throughout Tropical Africa, although it varies with the number and power of white settlers and with the degree of social disorganization produced by the impact of Western civilization. The primary attention given in most areas to the development of European rather than African enterprise and the fact that some of the best land is in the hands of white settlers have created animosity, which is greatly heightened by social discrimination, particularly in the British areas. We believe that over the long run interracial tension throughout Tropical Africa will increase.
27.
Communism so far has had little impact on Tropical Africa. Despite the opportunities presented by the dislocation of African society, racial conflict, and political unrest, Communist influence thus far has been only incidental in the rise of anticolonial sentiment. The principal obstacles to the spread of Communism are: (a) its aspect as a white movement; (b)the small proportion of industrial and urban workers, and the small size of the intelligentsia; (c) the multiplicity of languages, tribes, and cultures; and (d) the opposition and close surveillance of Tropical African governments. Recognizing these obstacles, the Communists largely refrain from attempts to spread Communism per se through ideological conversion.
28.
The only organized Communist party is the insignificant one in Madagascar. The only party that was ever an important front (the Democratic African Rally in French West and French Equatorial Africa) openly broke with the Communists in 1950; since then its leadership and orientation have clearly been anti-Communist, although some Communist members remain in this organization. Some active Communists are known to reside in French areas and there probably are a few in urban and mining areas of the Congo, British East and British Central Africa, and Mozambique; their present influence is almost certainly small. The Mau Mau terrorist movement in Kenya presents an excellent target for Communist exploitation; however, we have no conclusive evidence of Communist influence in the movement. Although certain nationalists from several colonies have been exposed to Communist influence, probably none of the principal nationalist leaders is a Party member. Communists have had some success in infiltrating labor unions, especially in French areas, but apparently are not now dominant in union activities in any territory.
29.
Notwithstanding the present weakness of the Communists and the many obstacles to their activities, we believe their influence and numerical strength will increase. Their probable short-term aims are to undermine Western prestige in Tropical Africa, weaken and subvert local European authority, and portray Soviet Russia as the champion of Africans in the fight against “discrimination” and “exploitation.” As African unrest grows, various African groups are [Page 80]likely to welcome assistance from any quarter. Communist efforts in the long run probably will have greatest effect upon the more advanced Africans—young intellectuals, nationalist activists, and labor group members—to whom Communism might appear as an aid in weakening European control.

III. Selected regional problems and prospects

30.
British West Africa (the Gold Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Gambia). The UK’s basic colonial policy of encouraging education and advancing natives toward self-government at whatever pace each dependency appears able to handle has received fullest expression in West Africa. The success or failure of this approach probably will influence strongly political development elsewhere in Tropical Africa. While over the long run probable instability in British West Africa may threaten its pro-Western orientation, in the short run there is no prospect of disturbances seriously inimical to Western interests.
31.
In the Gold Coast and Nigeria, the natives have advanced further toward self-government than in other Tropical African dependencies, in large part due to: (a)the existence of economic resources especially exploitable by Africans; (b)the virtual absence of white settlers; (c)relatively long and extensive contact with Western culture; and (d)the adaptability of British policy under African pressure for political advance. The UK has allowed far-reaching postwar constitutional revision in response to increasing political demands in all British West African territories, but especially in the Gold Coast and Nigeria, where African capabilities and aspirations have been highest. As Africans in these dependencies move toward independence, they face two major political problems: how to share power among themselves and how to exercise it.
32.
The Gold Coast probably will move directly toward full self-government within the next few years because nationwide acceptance of Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party leadership gives at least a temporary basis for an all-African government. The party system in the Gold Coast is only partially developed, but has reached the point where even members of the central legislature elected by tribal institutions acquiesce in national party control.
33.
In Nigeria, on the other hand, it is unlikely that sufficient national unity will develop within the next few years to make possible a strong central government. Nigeria is four times larger than the Gold Coast and has six times its population. Under the federal constitution, the representation of the Islamic Northern Region is equal to that of the non-Islamic Eastern and Western Regions combined. Strong ethnic, cultural, and political differences exist in the territory. The relatively advanced Eastern and Western Regions believe themselves ready for self-government, while the backward North depends [Page 81]greatly on the British administration and fears domination by the other two regions if the UK were to grant Nigeria early independence. Thus no national parties have yet emerged in Nigeria. However, in the two southern regions pressure for early self-government is exerted by political parties based on tribal groupings—Azikiwe’s National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons in the predominantly Ibo Eastern Region, and Awolowo’s Action Group in the Yoruba West. The UK is meeting this pressure by granting increased self-government to each of the three Regions, while trying to establish effective federal institutions. The emergence of a unified Nigeria will largely depend on the speed with which the Northern Region can develop a capacity for self-government that will enable it to protect its interests against the Eastern and Western Regions without reliance on the British Colonial Office. However, there is at least an even chance that the southern regions will secure self-government independently of the North.
34.
In any case the British West African territories probably will attain self-government before their peoples acquire enough capable administrators and technicians, and funds for social and economic development. Therefore, the effectiveness of their governments will be limited and public confidence in those governments and their leaders will be shaken. When the superficial unity created by nationalist demands disappears, African leaders probably will attempt to explain their difficulties by blaming “foreign intervention.” This eventually will almost certainly result in efforts to eliminate the remnants of British influence. However, these territories probably would be willing to remain within the British Commonwealth. They would seek to join the UN, but would avoid membership in any multilateral Western military association. Nevertheless, they might be willing to allow Western economic and strategic use of the area, though only in return for large and immediate benefits.
35.
Eager to assert their independence, West Africans increasingly will attempt to develop and control their resources themselves, however incompetently. Expansion of their economies may be hindered by their suspicion of foreign financial interests, and they may finance development with the agricultural stabilization funds which constitute their main protection against a fall in world prices. To the extent that they are willing to accept foreign capital and technical assistance, they will probably seek to minimize the danger of exploitation by a single country by drawing on a number of foreign sources.
36.
West African UN Trust Territories (British Togoland, British Cameroons, French Togoland, and French Cameroons).4 A number of proposals have been made to redesign the boundaries of British and [Page 82]French Togoland and Cameroons in order to: (a)create a United Togoland; (b)set up a United Cameroons; (c)establish a single and united territory for the Ewe tribe now divided between both Togolands and the Gold Coast; (d)join British Togoland to the Gold Coast; or (e)annex British Cameroons to Nigeria. The last two proposals are the most likely to be carried into effect; each trust territory already is closely integrated administratively with the adjoining British colony. If a self-governing Gold Coast obtains control of British Togoland, it may also demand, with doubtful success, control of French Togoland, thereby embittering its relations with France. The Ewe are not likely to win their territorial demands since they—like all other major groups in these trust territories—cannot agree on what they desire. Moreover, their proposed area does not possess sufficient economic strength to stand by itself. Of the four trust territories, the French Cameroons alone has sufficient economic strength to be self-supporting.
37.
British Central Africa (Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland). Over a long period the greatest threat to Western interests in Tropical Africa is likely to arise in British Central Africa. This area possesses the largest group of European settlers and is influenced most strongly by racial issues in the neighboring Union of South Africa. Central Africa has become one of the most important African sources of strategic materials. Its rapid economic expansion, involving large-scale white immigration and the formation of a detribalized native urban class, has complicated political development and aggravated labor and racial tensions. The pressure which the white settlers are exerting on the British Government is forcing the UK to tend toward acceptance of settler dominance in Central Africa.
38.
The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, which is expected to be in full operation by early 1954, represents a new form of political organization designed to reconcile the interests of Africans and white settlers. The effectiveness of the Federation in coping with this racial problem will be closely observed both in and beyond Africa as a test of whether a harmonious, self-governing, multiracial society can be created in Tropical Africa. However, it will be difficult to create a feeling of partnership between a dominant minority composed of 200,000 whites and a 6,300,000 African majority which fears exploitation. The federal constitution gives the whites control of the legislature, and British promises that native interests will be protected by the Colonial Office have not been sufficient to reassure the Africans.
39.
We do not believe that the Europeans who dominate the federal government will take sufficient action to convince Africans of their good intentions. The Europeans believe the economic advantages brought by federation will benefit the natives to such an extent that Africans will be reconciled to a white-controlled federal government. [Page 83]However, for the foreseeable future, federation will be of greater benefit to European than African interests. With the main functions of government firmly in European hands, the areas of principal economic development will be those of primary benefit to the white settlers. Africans will benefit somewhat from any increase in general prosperity, but they will almost certainly consider their share negligible compared to that of the white settlers. In any depressed economic situation Europeans would probably use their political power to minimize decreases in their own share of the national income.
40.
The Federation’s European leaders appear sincere in their desire to avoid a racial policy based on the principle of “apartheid.” However, because of self-interest, it is unlikely that racial partnership will ever reach the stage where the senior partner voluntarily grants equal status to the junior. The majority of Africans may temporarily appear reconciled to federation, but a hard core of dissidents probably will continue to agitate against it. Within the next decade the basic African-European conflicts probably will erupt in sporadic violence.
41.
British East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, and Zanzibar). So long as Tanganyika retains its UN Trusteeship status, no political federation is feasible for these territories, despite white settler demands for closer association. However, a measure of economic union does exist. UK Colonial Office control of East Africa is likely to continue for some years. Racial tensions and the need for economic development are East Africa’s major problems.
42.
In Kenya, the chief immediate problem is the outbreak of violence perpetrated by the Mau Mau, a fanatic secret society composed of members of the Kikuyu tribe. While the British eventually will suppress the organized terrorist activities of the Mau Mau, Kenya will recover very slowly from the shock of the conflict and a serious native problem will remain. Lands allotted to the natives are inadequate to support the increasing population; many natives are forced to leave these lands and are unable to find other employment. British efforts to make more land available meet the double obstacle of white settler reluctance to yield any of the fertile highlands and the high cost of clearing other land. Thus the Africans in Kenya face a deterioration in their economic situation. Neither Africans nor white settlers are psychologically ready for the adjustments necessary if further friction and violence are to be avoided. Moreover, both groups are suspicious of the intentions of the Indian population. The struggle among these three groups and the struggle of the groups with the UK for a larger share in the colony’s government will be prolonged and bitter. Furthermore, because of its limited economic base, Kenya will remain dependent on considerable outside assistance, especially if resettlement and educational programs are to be undertaken on the scale required to solve its long-term problems.
43.
Owing in part to less acute economic pressures and the smaller non-native population, there are good racial relations in Tanganyika and Uganda. These good relations are likely to continue unless an economic crisis occurs. However, probable continuing friction in Kenya will test severely interracial harmony in these neighboring territories.
44.
The rapid growth of British East Africa’s Indian community is regarded by the territorial governments and the white settlers as a menace to European predominance and as a threat to economic opportunities for African natives; many Africans share the latter view. The Indian population in 1948 was 168,500 about four times as large as the European. Its rapid growth is the result of high birth rates and extensive immigration, though the latter has declined following restrictive legislation in 1948. Large numbers of Indians have long been resident in East Africa and are strongly entrenched in the business community. They object to economic, social, and political discrimination in favor of Europeans. However, only a small but probably growing radical group of Hindus is vigorously articulate against the territorial governments on that issue.
45.
Most Indians are politically inactive and will continue to avoid close collaboration with dissident Africans. They fear that African anti-European sentiment eventually might become antiforeign and endanger Indian interests. However, the radical Indian elements will seek increasingly to collaborate with Africans to make common cause against white domination, probably on the pattern of South Africa, unless their demands for greater political representation are satisfied. The Government of India has voiced in the UN and elsewhere its intense interest in the Indian community’s welfare, and may raise the question in the UNGA. India probably regards East Africa as a future sphere of influence and may increase its attempted intervention in African affairs. It is possible that, as many whites in East Africa believe, New Delhi is providing guidance for local Indian political leaders. Thus the presence of the Indian population complicates solution of East Africa’s racial and political problems and creates a source of international friction.
46.
Belgian Congo. The Congo, under paternalistic Belgian control, is one of the least restive colonial dependencies in Tropical Africa. The racial problem is not yet an issue in the Congo, largely because the government has discouraged both European settlement and political advances for either race. Belgium has instituted relatively progressive economic and social programs for Africans but its policy is to keep the area under close metropolitan control. The Belgian Government has an important influence on all industrial developments in the Congo.
47.
However, the administration is aware of growing discontent among detribalized and semieducated Congolese, as well as of the inevitability of local repercussions from events elsewhere in Tropical [Page 85]Africa. The Belgians therefore are planning to permit limited native participation in local government.
48.
In the long run, Belgium is likely to be faced with increased African political and economic demands. The Belgian Government probably would suppress serious political disorders with force. However, if convinced of the strength and inevitability of African pressure, it probably would eventually grant extensive concessions in order to forestall continuing disorders and safeguard Belgium’s economic interests.
49.
French West and French Equatorial Africa. French control of West and Equatorial Africa nowhere appears threatened by the social and political situation. The two federations are members of the French Union and are represented in the French National Assembly and Council of the Republic, as well as in the Assembly of the French Union. However, the territorial governments are controlled by Europeans despite African predominance in the advisory assemblies. France’s colonial policy thus far envisages political and cultural assimilation of these territories to the metropole, with only a gradual increase in African participation in local government.
50.
The great majority of natives outside the few urban centers in French Africa are illiterate and uninterested in political events beyond their tribal areas. Most politically articulate Africans appear to value their connection with France and to look for further advancement within the framework of the French Union. There are many political parties in these territories but, except in Senegal, they are primarily concerned with local issues. The once pro-Communist Democratic African Rally, which is still an important political factor in the Ivory Coast and perhaps in the French Sudan, is now generally cooperative with the French administration.
51.
Nevertheless, as neighboring British West Africa moves further toward independence, small political groups in the French areas are seeking increased local autonomy within the French Union. Over a long period dissatisfaction with French colonial policy may increase to the point where African nationalist leaders will demand full self-government within the French Union, if not complete independence. However, the immensity, isolation, diversity, and poverty of these territories tend to impede the rapid development of any effective independence movement, and encourage regional movements within each federation. Political discontent probably would develop first in relatively accessible and economically important coastal areas of Senegal, the Ivory Coast, and French Guinea, and would spread only very slowly into the interior over a period of years.
52.
Portuguese Colonies (Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea). Widespread political disorders among Africans in the Portuguese dependencies are unlikely in the foreseeable future. The rate of social and economic change has been slow, and there has been little or no African political activity. Portugal is not likely to revise its conservative colonial policies. Interracial relations do not appear to be a significant problem, largely because the basis of political and social distinction officially is not race but the degree of assimilation of metropolitan culture. Forced recruitment of native labor in Angola and Mozambique generates resentment, which, however, probably will find no important outlet. Development of native political consciousness will continue to be retarded by illiteracy, tribal ethnocentrism, and autocratic colonial administration. The fact that some Africans can qualify for Portuguese citizenship and the absence of a color bar also will deter the growth of political opposition to European control.
53.
Liberia. Well into the present century Liberia remained one of the least developed areas in Tropical Africa; the government, controlled by a small “elite” composed of descendants of American slaves returned to Africa, exercised authority over only a narrow coastal strip of territory. In recent years US economic assistance and the development of Liberia’s rubber and iron resources through private foreign investment have opened the interior, broadened the economic base, and involved a small though increasing number of natives in a cash economy. On the other hand, pressures for social and political change are growing only at a slow pace, largely because of the cultural and physical isolation of the communities of the interior. Nevertheless, the process of economic change probably will necessitate eventual adjustments in Liberia’s autocratic system of government. Although the ruling class itself is likely to become divided over the implementation of even limited reforms, the oligarchic character of the government probably will not be significantly changed, at least in the short term. Over the long term, political instability in Liberia will almost certainly increase.
54.
Ethiopia. The federation of Ethiopia and Eritrea is leading to widespread dissatisfaction in the latter area due to Ethiopia’s tendency to ignore the local autonomy assured Eritrea by the UN. The federation increasingly will be dominated by Ethiopia despite Eritrean protests.
55.
The succession to the Imperial throne of Ethiopia traditionally has provoked a dynastic contest, with army control a major determinant of the issue. The chance of temporary disorder whenever the succession question next arises has been reduced, but not eliminated, by the central government’s growing power over the provinces. The territorial integrity of Ethiopia probably will remain intact.
[Page 87]

IV. Outlook for preservation of Western control

56.
The breakdown or overthrow of existing authority is nowhere imminent in Tropical Africa. We believe that the colonial powers will undertake the policy adjustments and retain the security capabilities necessary to prevent African discontent from erupting in large-scale revolutionary violence over at least the next decade. However, such adjustments probably will not keep pace with African demands. Territorial governments probably will not have access to sufficient developmental funds to satisfy economic demands. Moreover, the objective of Africans ultimately will be full equality of status, which in practice would mean domination of the whites by the natives. As a result, occasional outbursts and even some concerted violence are probable, especially in areas of heavy white settlement. Such disorders probably would interrupt economic activity and discourage further private investment.
57.
Over a long period there will almost certainly be an uneven and uneasy transition from colonial to self-rule. Political control by the European powers already is diminishing in the Gold Coast, Nigeria, and Italian Somaliland, and similar trends will almost certainly develop elsewhere in Tropical Africa. Nevertheless, if they so choose, the European powers probably can retain control of their dependencies in the foreseeable future.
58.
Emerging self-governing areas probably will experience considerable instability. Like many newly independent Middle and Far Eastern states, they probably will adopt anti-colonial policies and neutralist positions in the conflict between the Soviet Bloc and the Western Powers.

V. Strategic consequences of probable developments

59.
In the short run, Tropical African exports of strategic and essential raw materials will increase as development plans now in progress are completed. However, production costs of strategically significant raw materials will be increased by African pressures for more social benefits and higher wages. In the longer run, disorder and unrest arising from economic and political causes are likely to impair the production and transport of such materials and to decrease the availability of military manpower. Of the important producing areas, the Belgian Congo probably will be the most stable, while British West Africa and probably British Central Africa will become less dependable sources of supply. As the territories of British West Africa move toward political independence they will want to control, or at least obtain a greater share in the management of their own economic resources; attempts to achieve these ends probably will involve a loss of efficiency and production.
60.
Prospective disorders in Tropical Africa probably will require [Page 88]commitments of European armed forces and matériel beyond present levels, but not to a degree which would seriously burden the metropoles. Such unrest probably will hamper but will not prevent Western use of military facilities in event of war.
61.
Developments in Tropical Africa also are likely to have some external repercussions. The way in which the Western Powers respond to African aspirations and react to prospective disorders may affect Western relations with Arab and Asian countries. These countries increasingly will regard Western policies toward colonial problems as indicative of the Western attitude toward all underdeveloped nations. India probably will continue to denounce the treatment of Asians in Africa. Moreover, African unrest will be used by the Soviet Bloc as a propaganda weapon against the NATO powers.

Appendix A

1951 Production of Selected Commodities in Tropical Africa

(in thousands of metric tons unless otherwise indicated)

Commodity Chief Producers Production of Chief Producers Total Tropical African Production Percentage of Free World Production
A. Minerals
Columbite Nigeria 1. 097 1. 218 94
Belgian Congo . 095
Diamonds (Industrail and gem) Belgian Congo 10, 565. 0* 14, 044. 0* 84
Gold Coast 1, 632. 0*
Cobalt Belgian Congo 5. 9 6. 6 78
Northern Rhodesia 0. 7
Manganese Gold Coast 425. 0 487. 4 24
Copper Northern Rhodesia 314. 1 519. 0 22
Belgian Congo 192. 0
Chrome Southern Rhodesia 144. 1 149. 6 16
Vanadium South West Africa 0. 529 0. 616 16
Tin Belgian Congo 13. 9 23. 0 14
Nigeria 8. 7
Cadmium South West Africa 650. 4 674. 7 12
Graphite Madagascar 18. 3 18. 3 11
Asbestos Southern Rhodesia 70. 5 102. 6 9
Swaziland 31. 7
Uranium Belgian Congo
B. Agricultrual Commodities
Palm Oil and Kernels Nigeria 505. 0 961. 0 80
Belgian Congo 214. 0
Sisal Tanganyika 148. 0 245. 0 68
Cocoa Gold Coast 214. 0 444. 7 66
Nigeria 107. 0
Peanuts French West Africa 780. 0 1, 824. 0 26
Nigeria 470. 0
Coffee 308. 7 13
Rubber Liberia 35. 4 72. 0 4
[Page 89]

Appendix B

Population of Tropical Africa

(in thousands)

Territory Total Population Mid-1951 Estimate Non-Native Population
European Indian Other and not Stated
Ethiopia-Eritrea 16, 000 27. 0 * 16.0
Liberia 1, 600 * * 0. 5
Belgian Congo and Ruanda Urundi 15, 375 70. 0 2. 5 2. 5
British Territories
British West Africa
Gold Coast and Togoland 4, 330 4. 4 1. 0 1. 3
Nigeria and Cameroons 26, 000 7. 0 * 5. 0
Sierra Leone 2, 000 1. 0 * 2. 0
Gambia 280 0. 3 * 0. 1
British Central Africa
Southern Rhodesia 2, 160 152. 0 4. 6 *
Northern Rhodesia 1, 950 37. 0 2. 6 *
Nyasaland 2, 400 3. 8 5. 2 2. 0
British East Africa
Kenya 5, 680 30. 0 98. 0 28. 0
Uganda 5, 190 3. 4 35. 0 2. 3
Tanganyika 7, 830 11. 0 46. 0 13. 0
Zanzibar 270 0. 3 15. 0 49. 0
High Commission Territories
Bechuanaland 290 2. 4 0. 1 1. 1
Basutoland 580 1. 7 0. 3 0. 6
Swaziland 200 3. 2 * 0. 7
British Somaliland 500 * * *
Portuguese Territories
Angola 4, 130 79. 0 * 26. 0
Mozambique 5, 780 48. 0 13. 0 27. 0
Portuguese Guinea 520 2. 3 * 5. 4
French Territories
French Equatorial Africa and Cameroons 7, 610 28. 0 * 1. 5
French Somaliland 55 2. 0 * *
French West Africa & Togoland 18, 210 54. 0 * 45. 0
Madagascar 4, 370 57. 0 17. 0 *
Italian Somaliland 1, 250 4. 0 0 *
Rio Muni (Spanish) 135 1. 5 * *
South West Africa (Union of South Africa mandate) 420 49. 0 * *
Total 135, 215 679. 3 240. 3 229. 0
  1. National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) were high-level interdepartmental reports presenting authoritative appraisals of vital foreign policy problems. NIEs were drafted by officers from those agencies represented on the Intelligence Advisory Committee (IAC), discussed and revised by interdepartmental working groups coordinated by the Office of National Intelligence Estimates of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), approved by the IAC, and circulated under the aegis of the CIA to the President, appropriate officers of cabinet level, and the National Security Council. The Department of State provided political and some economic sections of NIEs.

    According to a note on the cover sheet:

    “The Intelligence Advisory Committee concurred in this estimate on 22 December 1953. The FBI abstained, the subject being outside of its jurisdiction. The following member organizations of the Intelligence Advisory Committee participated with the Central Intelligence Agency in the preparation of this estimate: The intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and The Joint Staff.”

    This estimate was published (circulated) on Dec. 30, 1953. It is one of several documents considered by the National Security Council Planning Board at its meeting on Mar. 3, 1954; see the editorial note, p. 101.

  2. This estimate deals generally with all African territories south of the Sahara Desert and the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, except for the Union of South Africa (covered in NIE–72, 20 October 1952). Only the more important territories are considered individually, however. [Footnote in the source text. For the text of NIE–72, see p. 953.]
  3. British West Africa: the Gold Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Gambia. British Central Africa: Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland. British East Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, and Zanzibar. [Footnote in the source text.]
  4. Appendix A lists Tropical African production of selected commodities. [Footnote in the source text.]
  5. The most important existing military facilities are shown on the attached map. [Footnote in the source text. Map reproduced facing p. 90.]
  6. Appendix B lists Tropical Africa’s territories and their population. The estimated population is about 134,000,000 natives, 675,000 Europeans, and 240,000 Indians; the great majority of non-natives are settled in the eastern half of the area. [Footnote in the source text.]
  7. For documentation on the interest of the United States in the independence of the Gold Coast (Ghana), see pp. 261 ff.
  8. For information on the episode under reference here, see despatch 2044 from Londoi, Dec. 7, 1953, p. 368.
  9. For additional documentation on the West African UN Trust Territories, see vol. iii, pp. 1075 ff.
  10. West Africa: Senegal, French Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Dahomey, French Sudan, Mauritania, Niger, Upper Volta. Equatorial Africa: Gabon, Middle Congo, Ubangi-Shari, Chad. [Footnote in the source text.]
  11. Thousand metric carats. [Footnote in the source text.]
  12. Thousand metric carats. [Footnote in the source text.]
  13. Thousand metric carats. [Footnote in the source text.]
  14. Thousand kilograms. [Footnote in the source text.]
  15. Thousand kilograms. [Footnote in the source text.]
  16. Not available. [Footnote in the source text.]
  17. Not available. [Footnote in the source text.]
  18. Not available. [Footnote in the source text.]
  19. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  20. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  21. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  22. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  23. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  24. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  25. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  26. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  27. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  28. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  29. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  30. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  31. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  32. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  33. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  34. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  35. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  36. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  37. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  38. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  39. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  40. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  41. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]

  42. Not available.

    Note: Total population figures are UN estimates published in April 1953. Non-native popultaion figures are based on reported census and official estimates between 1948 and 1952 with the exeception of the British High Commission Territories and Rio Muni, which are for 1946 and 1942 respectively. Of the non-native population, European includes Americans, and Indian includes Pakistanis and Goans. [Footnote in the source text.]