126. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, February 14, 19571
- Chinese Communist and Chinese Nationalist Representation at the Gold Coast Independence Ceremonies March 3–10
- Sir Harold Caccia, K.C.M.G., British Ambassador
- Mr. Robert Murphy, Deputy Under Secretary
- Fred L. Hadsel—AFS
In expressing concern about the fact that the Gold Coast had invited the Chinese Communist regime but had failed to invite the Chinese Nationalist Government, Mr. Murphy pointed out, and Ambassador Caccia concurred, that any action which would enhance Communism in Africa was detrimental to the interests of both the United States and Great Britain. He recognized that the presence of the Chinese Nationalists but not the Chinese Communists would present certain problems to the British Delegation, but he noted that the presence of the Communists without the Nationalists presented equally serious problems to the United States. He knew that the Vice President was concerned about this situation, and he hoped that matters would not develop to the point that the Vice President would have to consider cancelling his plans to attend the celebrations. Since he knew that the United Kingdom and the United States were agreed on the general objective of curbing of Communist influence in Africa, he wondered if it would not be possible for the two Governments to work out a practical solution to the problem.
In response, Ambassador Caccia affirmed his complete sympathy with the general objective of preventing the expansion of Communist influence in Africa. He stated, however, that his Government had provided the Gold Coast with a list of countries with which the United Kingdom had diplomatic relations, and that it was on this basis that the Gold Coast had prepared its list of invitees. He recalled the concluding paragraph of his instructions from London on this subject which said that his Government proposed to take no further action in the situation.
It developed during the ensuing conversation that there existed a difference of information as to the exact situation. The Department understood from the messages it had received from London and Accra that the Gold Coast had initially intended to invite the Chinese Nationalist Government but that it had deferred to the [Page 370] desires of the United Kingdom. Moreover, the Department had learned that the Prime Minister presently understood the complications of the present situation and was willing to extend an invitation if it were not for the position of the United Kingdom. The Ambassador, however, reported his impression that the British Government had not taken an active role in the final list of invitees but had merely provided the Gold Coast with a list of countries with which the United Kingdom had diplomatic relations.
Mr. Murphy suggested that one way out of the impasse would be for the Gold Coast to send an invitation directly to the Chinese Nationalist Government, thus avoiding any embarrassment to the United Kingdom and yet achieve the desired result. In order that this be done, however, it seemed highly desirable, or even necessary, that London make clear to its Governor in Accra its acquiescence in such a solution. The Ambassador suggested at some length that affirmative action would be very difficult for his Government and that he feared lest the reputation of the United States might suffer if such an invitation were extended and if it were known, as would inevitably be the case, that the United States had been influential in this action. Mr. Murphy felt that any such embarrassment to the United States was less significant than the complications which might ensue if the Chinese Communists alone came to Accra and had a resulting free hand for subversive activities. He indicated that while we would prefer to work through and with the British on this question and would ask the American Consul General in Accra to keep in touch with the British Governor, we felt that the suggested solution of a direct Gold Coast invitation would remain the best way out of the dilemma. When queried as to his reaction concerning a further approach in Accra on this question, the Ambassador responded that his Government would like to stay out of the matter as much as it could. Commenting upon the widespread pleasure which existed when it was announced that the Vice President would attend the ceremonies, the Ambassador now hoped that his attendance would not be made conditional upon a solution to this problem entirely to the liking of the United States. Mr. Murphy reaffirmed the Department’s feeling that it would be much better to avoid participation of the Chinese Communists but that under present circumstances the best solution would be invitations to both Chinese Governments. He thought that the question of double representation in Accra could be handled both by the United Kingdom and the United States Delegations.
The Ambassador agreed to report these views to his Government. He was obviously without official knowledge as to what position his Government would take, but he continued to be of the [Page 371] opinion that if the present position were maintained his Government would not take any further action.
At the close of the conversation, the Ambassador handed Mr. Murphy an invitation to certain Departmental officials to join with the British Embassy in a ceremony in honor of the achievement of Gold Coast independence on March 6, 1957.
After returning to his Embassy, Ambassador Caccia telephoned Mr. Murphy to suggest that the Department of State approach his Government in London directly on this problem, and Mr. Murphy agreed to telegraph the Embassy in London.2