132. Telegram From the Embassy in Ghana to the Department of State1

183. Reference Embtel 1822 repeated London 3. Today’s meeting with Prime Minister attended by me and representatives of UK, Canada, India, Liberia and France.

I had sent word through intermediary that I earnestly hoped Prime Minister would not tell group that exchange with USSR was imminent or imply he would turn to USSR if West failed to supply capital, but would keep question open until hearing views of group and especially until I could talk with him privately.

Prime Minister opened meeting with some verbal squirming which revealed his awareness of awkward problem he faced. He said he wanted make clear at start he has not yet taken final decision on actual exchange with USSR; that however USSR is pressuring [Page 382] through Ghana High Commissioner in London;3 that he saw little way to hold USSR off much longer as Ghana will within next few days announce exchange with Egypt4 (which must be done to satisfy Arab bloc before Ghana can open in Israel). He then inquired if governments represented at meeting would accept quantitative limitation on their staffs in Ghana so he could set limit on USSR.

UK MacLennan5 said he would have to consult his government and all rest of us took same position. I added a catalog of US specific interest here as contrasted with none for USSR.

General discussion then followed in which Prime Minister virtually said he would prefer not have USSR here at all but saw no valid basis continue hold off. UK MacLennan suggested shortage of qualified personnel as excuse and I followed with example of Australia and Philippines expanding gradually while building up qualified diplomatic corps. I expressed view USSR could not attack this argument merely because Ghana now exchanging with Egypt; that while building up Ghanaian diplomatic corps he could expand old consular formula to cover all commonwealth countries and countries in Africa which could logically include Israel. When Prime Minister perked up at this idea, Indian said USSR could still ask for one way deal pending Ghana’s ability to send mission to USSR, as exemplified by India having representatives from Chile before sending to Chile but on questioning by me he admitted Chile had Consul in India before independence.

Meeting ended by Prime Minister saying he would think it over and in meantime asked group come see him again after we consulted our governments on possible limitation of staffs.

As prearranged I stayed on for private talk with Prime Minister which went off well. He thanked me for my frank personal views supported by my observations in other parts of world that presence of USSR mission here could be highly detrimental to Ghana and rest of Middle Africa which Prime Minister wishes to encourage, and could I felt pose serious question of Prime Minister’s own political future. He said he appreciated my speaking as friend without waiting for or being limited by official instructions. He thought I was right and said he would take another look at whole question on basis of suggested formula.

Prime Minister then told me he would not care what consequences might follow a rebuff to USSR if he could get economic development started. I took this as evidence supporting MacLennan’s [Page 383] belief that Bing–Botsio group pressuring Prime Minister to exchange with USSR. That group may be arguing that it should provide strength in depth for assault on economic front and in extreme could be complete alternative if west should fail to help.

Prime Minister continued that he had written US President and Vice President (Embdes 1456) about Volta and was hopeful of some favorable response. (Since Jackson’s return Prime Minister seems reconciled to idea of beginning with alumina part of project which would cost fraction of complete project. ALCAN has promised consider this and report at early date. If ALCAN decides not proceed, Ghana hopes Reynolds will. Reynolds standing by at moment with its interests represented by Adlai Stevenson who is in touch with Jackson and Gbedemah).

Prime Minister added that with or without Volta he wanted get some other projects (e.g. textile mill) started. I told him we were standing at attention to consider immediately any request he might make for support of reduced Volta project and of any other reasonable project. He expressed his thanks and indicated he might be coming after us after study by his new economic adviser Lewis.7

Today’s talk encourages me believe we might persuade Prime Minister use new formula to postpone indefinitely USSR exchange8 if we can neutralize Bing–Botsio argument by showing there is no need have USSR in reserve for reasonable economic projects.9 If Department concurs I shall proceed along this line without making any specific commitment.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 645J.61/11–657. Secret; Priority. Repeated to London.
  2. Telegram 182 from Accra, November 4, stated that under pressure from the Soviets Nkrumah had promised, at the time of Ghana’s independence, to exchange diplomatic missions and now the Soviets expected him to fulfill his pledge. Flake reported that he had confined himself to delaying the exchange as long as possible. (Ibid., 645J.61/11–457)
  3. Edward O. Asafu-Adjaye.
  4. The first Ghanaian Ambassador to Egypt presented his credentials on May 9, 1958.
  5. Ian Morrison Ross MacLennan, British High Commissioner.
  6. Despatch 145 from Accra, October 24, transmitted two volumes of the Report of the Volta River Preparatory Commission together with covering letters from Nkrumah to Eisenhower and Nixon. (Department of State, Central Files, 711.11–EI/10–2457) The President thanked the Prime Minister for his letter and wished Ghana “success in its efforts to solve its problems and to realize its aspirations for a peaceful, stable and prosperous future.” (Letter from Eisenhower to Nkrumah, Nov. 8; ibid., 711.11–EI/11–1557)
  7. Sir Arthur Lewis.
  8. Two officials from the Soviet Embassy in the United Kingdom arrived in Ghana in November to discuss the trade mission Ghana proposed sending to the Soviet Union the following year. Adu informed Flake, at Nkrumah’s behest, that the Soviets had pressed for an exchange of diplomatic missions and that the Prime Minister had agreed to do so “in due course.” (Department of State, Central Files, 445J.6141/12–457)
  9. In telegram 153 to Accra, November 7, the Department instructed Flake that he should avoid mentioning the Volta Project in informing Ghanaian officials of the U.S. willingness to consider well-conceived and reasonable projects. (Ibid., 645J.61/11–657)