12. Telegram From the Mission at the United Nations to the Department of State0
770. Re: Developments in Africa.1
Scarely a day goes by without my contacts at UN vividly impressing me with rapidly evolving revolution in Africa. Troubles in Algeria, French Congo, Belgian Congo, Nyasaland and Kenya are out in the open, with rumors of trouble in Angola and Mozambique. Events seem to be moving faster than was thought likely six months ago. While British have an evolutionary spirit, events may go too fast even for British. The emotional and unrealistic attitude of French towards Algeria will add fuel to the flames.
Under these circumstances it behooves the US to think of its own interests in the African continent and the catastrophe which we would confront if Soviet Communism established itself there strongly. We should try to do what we can to: prevent this and to be in a position so that we will be regarded as the friends of those who are coming to power in the future. It is in the long range interests of our European friends that we be in this position.
I suggest therefore that Acting Secretary designate a special representative who would first visit the colonial offices and then travel throughout Africa, especially to the troubled areas. Algeria may well be a special case.2 His directive would be to express American concern with existing troubles to the official and to see whether there is anything that US could do to be helpful.
Such a mission should put us in a better position in Africa and should get us valuable information on which to base our future policy.
I realize that US has over the years exerted quiet, but effective pressure on colonial powers. But we now need something more visible that the masses in Africa would regard as friendly even though the special representative would carry out his mission discreetly and [Page 44] would avoid steps in trust or non-self-governing territories to which the administering powers could take exception.3
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770.00/3–1759. Confidential. A notation on the source text indicates that the telegram was repeated for comment to 22 posts by EUR and AF on March 23.↩
- The Department had requested posts in Africa “to report promptly and fully circumstances surrounding all disturbances their areas with particular reference external stimulus and/or exploitation from Commie bloc, UAR or Nkrumah’s Pan Africanism.” Although the timing of the various outbreaks was considered coincidental, the Department believed Communist exploitation of the incidents to be inevitable. (Circular air-gram G–441, March 3; ibid., 770.00/3–359)↩
- Telegram 773 from USUN, March 17, instructed that the phrase “(Excluding, of course, Algeria)” be deleted in favor of (“Algeria may well be a special case”). (Ibid., 770.00/3–1759)↩
- In a memorandum to the Acting Secretary, April 4, concurred in by representatives of EUR, IO, and by Robert Murphy, Satterthwaite advised that “all of our posts have replied to Ambassador Lodge’s suggestion in a negative manner.” (Ibid.) Acting Secretary Murphy advised Lodge that his suggestion would be held in abeyance. (Telegram 825 to USUN, April 17; ibid.)↩