53. Briefing Paper Prepared in the Consulate at Kampala1


[Here follow questions and answers concerning the Uganda National Congress, East African federation, the Asian community, and the Kabaka of Buganda.

13. Question: In the Consulate’s view, what should be the general policy of the United States toward Uganda?

Answer: The total results of British administration in Uganda to date are certainly laudable. The stated aim of conducting Uganda along an orderly and well-conceived path to self-government of a “primarily African state” is fully deserving of American support. The British view that Uganda needs more than four additional years of preparation for self-government is correct. Any effort on our part to urge establishment of a target date would be unproductive and largely meaningless in the circumstances. A growing number of British officials have come to realize that African political pressure will determine the rate of advance more and more and force the final concession of self-government well in advance of fulfillment of even the minimum program of preparation considered essential by the U.K. Faced with this prospect against the background of sharply curtailed British financial resources for economic development and education, the U.K. will find it increasingly necessary to turn to the U.S. for assistance. To the extent that we are able to respond, it would seem that it is in this area that we might bring constructive influence to bear which would assist the British and at the same time win African support for American policies and for close association with the West.

With time growing short it will be necessary to single out the most urgent requirements in preparing Uganda for independence and to concentrate on them during the few remaining years. Perhaps the most serious gap to be filled is that of secondary education and training in technical, business and administrative skills. The shortages are acute and make Africanization of the Civil Service, for example, an impossible task at the moment. In many areas only one [Page 209] child in one hundred is able to proceed from primary to secondary school. At the next level the cream is taken into Makerere College where the emphasis is on arts, pre-law and pre-medicine. The manpower essential to run the country is simply not being trained but this fact will most certainly not retard African political pressure.

Since it is in the American interest to assist in promoting the emergence of a stable and united Uganda, a good case can be made for directing all American aid, governmental and private, which might be allotted to Uganda into secondary and technical education. The British system of educating the elite might over thirty or forty years provide the spread of talent required but it is not geared to the much shorter timetable for self-government now inevitable in Uganda. In addition to providing the necessary technical and administrative skills, mass education at the secondary level would have a very beneficial effect in softening inter-tribal and inter-regional rivalry and creating national consciousness. The demand for education on the part of the African is insatiable. What can be done by the United States to assist in this—teachers, books, grants for simple school buildings—should, in the opinion of the Consulate, be a matter for most serious consideration.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 110.17–HO/11–2757. Confidential. Prepared for Julius C. Holmes and Charles N. Manning, who were concerned with administrative matters relating to U.S. posts in Africa. On October 6, they embarked on a 10-week tour of Africa to undertake a study for the Secretary of State. The Consul at Kampala, Peter Hooper, Jr., met with them at Nairobi on November 20. Hooper considered the briefing paper to be a useful summary of the Ugandan situation; he sent it to the Department as an enclosure to despatch 50, November 27.

    The paper consists of a series of questions and answers.