56. Despatch From the Consulate General at Salisbury to the Department of State1

No. 173


  • Visit of ICA Representative, Hyde Buller, to Federation

Begin Unclassified. The visit of Mr. Hyde Buller, Chief of the Central African Division of ICA, to Salisbury (October 27–29) was in the opinion of the reporting officer most useful, both from the U.S. and the Federation’s point of view. As Mr. Buller will be submitting his own report to ICA, the Consulate General does not consider it necessary to report in detail on his visit; however, it may be of interest to summarize it briefly and to submit a few comments on the implications of an expansion of ICA activities on U.S. policy here.

In his day and a half here Mr. Buller had two meetings with a small group of key officials from the Ministries of External Affairs, Treasury, and Commerce and Industry, plus the Prime Minister’s Senior Economic Adviser.2 In these meetings he not only explained ICA policies and procedures but discussed in considerable detail specific problems arising from the Federation’s applications for technical assistance and for loans under the Development Loan Fund. (See ConGen’s Despatch 127, October 2, 1957)3 He also spoke on ICA to a group of about 35 Federal and Southern Rhodesia officials concerned with agriculture, irrigation, mining, education, labor, and other technical fields, and it had been extremely helpful to them to receive information and clarification as to ICA programs and policies.

At the latter meeting two officials invited Mr. Buller to observe the work of their departments so that they could show him the benefits they had already derived from ICA technical assistance. As a result he visited the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, including its nearby research station at Henderson, where he was shown how the Ministry’s work in soil classification and soil conservation has been completely reorganized along American lines as the result of its [Page 216] officials being sent to observe similar work in the U.S. under ICA technical assistance grants. He also paid a visit to the Southern Rhodesia Commissioner of Roads and was shown how road construction methods have been improved as the result of similar grants to highway engineers.

Among the matters discussed at the two small meetings with key officials were the Federation’s applications under the Development Loan Fund, the possibility of assigning an ICA Liaison Officer here, the Federation’s applications for technical assistance in FY 1958 (including an investment adviser), and its estimated technical assistance needs for FY 1959–61. The Federation has already initiated its loan applications (See ConGen Despatch 127) and has submitted its FY 1959–61 technical assistance needs through USOM, London. Other than requesting an investment adviser, it has not submitted any applications for technical assistance under the FY 1958 program. Mr. Buller pointed out that, if the Federation intended to do so, it should lose no time, and the officials concerned indicated that a further submission would be made shortly. End Unclassified.

Begin Confidential. While in applying for technical assistance and development loans the Federation has included projects of direct benefit to Africans, Mr. Buller was impressed by the predominantly European coloration of his discussions. No African was present at any of them; nor did any of the proposed projects involve direct training of Africans by American technicians or the sending of African technicians to the United States. When once or twice he rather tentatively raised such possibilities, the reaction seemed more one of surprise than antagonism, followed by explanations concerning the lack of qualified Africans. While the Consulate General agrees that there are extremely few Africans qualified to participate in ICA technical assistance programs (probably none with the level of qualifications previously required for participants from this country), it agrees with Mr. Buller that the apparently complete lack of consideration of such possibilities by Federal officials is revealing. Not even the propaganda aspect, in the sense of evidence to the outside world of their determination to make “partnership” work, seems to have been considered.

The Consulate General understands it to be United States policy to support the increasing and more effective implementation of the Federation’s stated policy of partnership. The technical assistance and development loan programs of ICA offer opportunities to further such a U.S. policy. It considers, therefore, that while the Federation’s applications for technical assistance and development loans should be examined on their merits, a factor in selecting projects to be aided should be the extent to which they would be of the most direct possible benefit to the mass of the population [Page 217] (96½% African), as well as the extent to which they might include African participation.

Similarly, the Consulate General understands that it is U.S. policy to support “federation”. The ICA programs could exert some influence in this regard, too. In other words, in assessing applications, consideration should be given to the extent to which projects might strengthen the ties between the territories and how they might assist in demonstrating the benefits of federation to the less favored areas, notably Nyasaland.

While the reporting officer is aware of no official formulation of U.S. policy towards the Federation, he believes that in practice it is as described above. Opportunities for furthering such a policy are limited. Expansion of the ICA program in the Federation increases such opportunities somewhat. If, however, the introduction of political considerations into the program should become too evident here, the result would be to decrease U.S. influence. Thus the overall program must be balanced and pay heed to the Federation’s own scale of priorities.

Curtis C. Strong
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 110.402–ICA/11–457. Confidential with Unclassified Section. Passed to USOM/London.
  2. Buller met with the Secretary for External Affairs, H.N. Parry; Deputy Secretary for External Affairs, J.B. Ross; Acting Secretary for Commerce and Industry, T.S. Bell; Under Secretary of the Federal Treasury, R.A. Griffith; the Prime Minister’s Chief Economist, C.H. Thompson; and D.I. Smith of the Ministry of External Affairs. (Despatch 184 from Salisbury, November 18; ibid., 110.402–ICA/11–1857)
  3. Despatch 127 reported that the Federal Government initiated a request for a loan of some £19 million from the Development Loan Fund through Rhodesia House and USOM in London. (Ibid., 745C.5–MSP/10–2557)