21. Circular Instruction From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices 1



  • Pan African Conference
For your guidance, the Department believes that the holding of a conference of independent African states is a natural development which should not be discouraged even though it may be premature and will in all probability be turned into a forum for the denunciation of colonialism and all its works.
The Department hopes that, as the occasion may arise, posts in participant countries will express the view that while the Department welcomes all new developments in the field of international cooperation, it hopes that controversial issues involving friendly [Page 69] countries not participating in the conference can be minimized. In particular, we would question the value of raising the Algerian and Suez questions in such a conference.
A conference of the eight independent states in Africa2 in exclusion of the dependent areas (which comprise 87% of the population and 70% of the land in Africa South of the Sahara) cannot hope to come to grips with the enormous economic and social problems confronting the continent as a whole, and the United States would like to hope that future conferences of this nature could include representatives of the dependent areas3 and the metropolitan states concerned. We do not, of course, believe it desirable to put forward this position publicly at this time, but it may be useful in informal discussions of the subject.
The Department would appreciate information as it becomes available regarding:
The reaction of the invited states to Nkrumah’s proposed agenda.
What, if any, observers will be invited.
The role Egypt will play.
Whether Algerian nationalists will be invited either as participants or observers.
The composition of the various delegations.
The views of the metropolitan powers (UK excepted—their views are known).
The views of the indigenous leaders in the dependent areas.
The Department attaches considerable importance to this matter and would welcome the views of the addressee posts on the role the United States should or should not play.4 The Department also wishes to be kept informed of all developments on a continuing basis.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770.00/7–1057. Confidential. Sent to Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Algiers, Brussels, Cairo, Capetown, Casablanca, Dakar, Dar Es Salaam, Durban, Elisabethville, Johannesburg, Kampala, Khartoum, Lagos, Leopoldville, Lisbon, London, Lourenco Marques, Luanda, Madrid, Monrovia, Nairobi, Paris, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, Rabat, Salisbury, Tangier, Tripoli, Tunis, Yaounde, Mogadiscio, Asmara, and Rome.
  2. The First Conference of Independent African States was held in Accra April 15–22, 1958. In addition to the host country, Ethiopia, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, the Sudan, and the United Arab Republic (Egypt) were represented.
  3. Nkrumah also sponsored the All-African People’s Conference in Accra December 8–13, 1958, which drew delegates from 28 countries and observers from a number of other nations. It came almost one year after the Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Conference which Nasser hosted in the last week of 1957.
  4. Despatch 49 from Lisbon, July 30, reported that any encouragement of such a conference would damage relations with Portugal and make more difficult the use of Portuguese territories by U.S. armed forces. (Department of State, Central Files, 770.00/7–3057)