23. Memorandum of Discussion at the 438th Meeting of the National Security Council0

[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda items 1–2.]

3. U.S. Policy Toward West Africa (NSC 5818;1NIE 70–59;2NSC 6001;3 NSC 6005;4 Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated March 15, 19605)

Mr. Gray presented NSC 6005 to the Council. (A copy of Mr. Gray’s Briefing Note is filed in the Minutes of the Meeting and another is attached to this Memorandum.)6

Secretary Herter said the divergence of views described by Mr. Gray and reflected in the split paragraphs of NSC 6005 was a difference of emphasis similar to the differences revealed in discussions on [Page 94] Libya and the West Indies.7 He read the following extract from Paragraph 2 of NSC 6005:

“West Africa is probably the fastest changing area in the world today. New countries are springing up with startling rapidity and the people of the area are determined that control of West Africa will be firmly in West African hands.”

Secretary Herter said he concurred completely in the statement he had just read. The happenings of the last eighteen months in Africa were quite startling. For instance, Belgium had agreed to grant independence to the Congo this June, a concession which would have been unthinkable a year ago. This concession had stimulated desires for independence among other countries of Africa. Africa thus presented a picture of a changing situation and a battleground of the first order. In fact, he would prefer that the countries of Africa not become independent quite so fast. Despite his wishes, however, in the next decade the membership of the UN would increase to 100 nations, 49 of which would be members of the Afro-Asian Bloc. Consequently, the Soviet Bloc and the Afro-Asian Bloc voting together could control the UN. If we continued to bank on the UN as we had in the past, we must make every effort to hold the emerging African nations on our side of the fence. He felt he must emphasize the uncertainties of the situation and insist that the U.S. not put itself in a straitjacket so far as assistance is concerned. He would like to try to get the former metropoles to give greater assistance to the new African nations. He felt this was a question of degree rather than one of basic substance; the Planning Board could work out the language for the paper. Mr. Gray said he shared Secretary Herter’s view that this was a question of degree. Secretary Anderson also shared the view that the question was one of degree, but felt the language was also important because language was a guide to the operators. He said the two problems we had to worry most about in the future were the problems of farm prices here and our balance of payments abroad. Secretary Anderson felt the balance of payments problem was a world-wide problem in which the whole world had a stake. Our balance of payments situation had recently improved, but this did not mean that we could brush the problem aside for the future. We should insist that other countries do their share in providing assistance to the underdeveloped regions. Countries such as the U.K. were not interested in providing assistance to Latin America, which was regarded as a U.S. preserve, but the U.K. [Page 95] had great interest in Africa. Prime Minister Macmillan after his trip to Africa8 had said that the U.K. must contribute to economic assistance to that continent and a recent U.K. White Paper had emphasized British economic aid to Africa. If we want the metropoles to assume part of the burden of assistance, we must induce them to assume this burden in areas in which they are interested. Secretary Anderson was not proposing that the U.S. isolate itself from West Africa. He was willing to give assistance to Guinea and Liberia as special cases. The majority, however, wanted an overall exception from Basic Policy (NSC 5906/1),9 which had recognized this very problem. Secretary Anderson felt that the splits in NSC 6005 could be easily resolved on a basis of saying to the European countries, “This situation in Africa is your primary obligation.” He did not want to subscribe to the idea that the interests of European countries in nations becoming free and independent were different from our interests. He did not want to agree to a blanket exception. He did want to indicate to the European countries what we felt they should do regarding assistance to Africa.

Secretary Herter said it appeared to him that there was no basic disagreement between the Departments of State and the Treasury. Admiral Burke felt that the words used by Secretaries Herter and Anderson in describing this problem were preferable to the words used in NSC 6005.

The President recalled that in conversations with him, European representatives had said that they must put all their efforts in matters of assistance into the areas of their former colonies or possessions. Both Macmillan and De Gaulle had made observations along these lines. If we were to get the cooperation of the European nations, we would have to get it with respect to areas where these nations have the biggest interests and the greatest obligations. While reserving our right to tender our assistance if necessary, we should put responsibility for assistance to Africa on the U.K. and France.

Mr. Dulles believed it was difficult to generalize because so much depended on circumstances. If an African nation achieves independence on the basis of cordial relations between it and the metropole, then the metropole can render effective assistance to the new nation. On the other hand, if independence is achieved under conditions of strain and bitterness, the newly independent nation will not wish the help of the metropole. Mr. Dulles felt the situation in the Congo might develop in either direction. He believed the paper should be flexible. Secretary Herter agreed that flexibility in our policy was needed. He [Page 96] added that the UN might help to cover the contingency where a new nation afraid of domination by the former metropole preferred assistance on a multilateral basis.

Mr. Gray said that he had felt in the preparation of this paper that the State representatives had made the assumption that whatever the metropoles did would be inadequate, while Treasury and Budget had thought this assumption was too sweeping. A revised paper might contain a statement of general principles followed by guidance providing that the U.S. should consult with the U.K. and France to ascertain what assistance is needed in Africa and what assistance it is possible for the U.K. and France on the one hand and the U.S. on the other to give. State representatives, however, had pointed out that there was a hazard in this consultation; conferring with other nations about assistance to Africa might be equivalent to inviting them to ask us to provide more assistance. The President said that the nations we consulted might ask us to provide funds to them which they could in turn give to the newly independent countries. Mr. Gray said this might be good grounds for not consulting the U.K. and France, but he was reminded of the discussion of Libya, during which the Council directed that we should consult with the U.K. regarding assistance to Libya. Perhaps we were making too many easy assumptions about the situation, while failing to communicate with other countries to find out what could be done. The President agreed that we must consult with other nations if we were to be successful in achieving a cooperative effort by the industrial nations to help the underdeveloped nations. Mr. Dillon said that discussions on this subject had been held with the U.K. and France last fall. These countries no longer want us to channel funds to the new nations through them. In other words, there had been a dramatic shift in the attitude of the British and the French. The French had indicated they would welcome a coordinated approach to the problem of assistance to African countries. Mr. Dillon said a meeting on this subject was now scheduled for April 15 in Washington.10 He agreed with Mr. Dulles that our policy should be flexible. We should obtain the maximum degree of assistance from the European nations, but we should tender assistance ourselves when necessary. The President felt the conference referred to by Mr. Dillon would be helpful. Mr. Dillon said that France had said it would maintain its assistance to Africa after independence on the same scale as before independence, but would need some aid from us in the form of Development Loan Fund assistance. The President said it was possible that the European countries could pour enough assistance into a single African country to make that country very prosperous and thus have a great effect on other African countries. He added that he did not [Page 97] believe the difference between the divergent views in this paper could be measured as exactly as the Financial Appendix to NSC 6005 seemed to indicate.

Secretary Anderson wished to make two more observations. In the first place, during the next decade there would be no such thing as an adequate amount of assistance. In the second place, it was more important to the Free World for the U.S. to maintain a sound position as the world’s reserve banker than it was for the U.S. to give a billion or so more in assistance. We must avoid giving the world the impression that we are overstepping our capabilities. Secretary Herter said he could appreciate the anxiety that assistance to West Africa might become an additional burden on the U.S. However, he felt our total assistance burden was one problem, while the distribution of our total assistance was another problem. Secretary Anderson said the European nations would not help in Latin America or Japan. If we induced the European countries to provide assistance, such assistance would be provided only in the areas of their greatest interest.

Mr. Stans felt the differences of opinion reflected in NSC 6005 were greater than the differences of opinion expressed at the meeting. He read the language proposed by the majority on Page 6 to the effect that probable U.K. and French assistance will be far short of the reasonable needs of their former dependencies. He urged that the Council not adopt this conclusion.11 In support of this view, he cited a recent article in The New York Times, which indicated that France and other countries were putting large sums of money into African territories.12 Mr. Stans then read the split Paragraph 16 of NSC 6005 and suggested that the right-hand column be adopted. Mr. Gray suggested that NSC 6005 be referred back to the Planning Board for revision. He was not happy with the splits in the paper and believed the Planning Board could do a better job in the light of the discussion, although he would not promise that the Board would re-submit a paper which was agreed on in all respects. The President said he wished to press the U.K. and France as hard as possible to give as much assistance as they could; we would take up the slack. He felt that all parties to the discussion were trying to say the same thing. Mr. Gray said more peace and harmony existed at this level of discussion than at the Planning Board. The President said the Council must deal with the big picture.

Mr. Gray then noted that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had proposed the insertion in NSC 6005 of a new paragraph as follows: [Page 98]

“Establish technically competent observers in African countries to keep abreast of military developments.”

The President said he hoped this provision did not mean that we would be sending out more Military Attachés. Mr. Gray said he was afraid the provision would mean more Military Attachés. A paragraph of this kind had been omitted from the policy statement on South, Central and East Africa because the Planning Board had considered the question an operational one and had noted that it was the subject of negotiations between the Departments of State and Defense. Admiral Burke said the proposed paragraph might result in more Military Attachés, but it was broader than this. For example, in Ecuador a tremendous job of technical assistance was being accomplished by one naval officer and five enlisted men. He felt assistance of this kind was more important than monetary assistance. [8 lines of source text not declassified] The President said perhaps Admiral Burke had been talking about obtaining information by sending out persons who rendered assistance to African countries. Secretary Herter said the proposal by the Joint Chiefs of Staff was an operational rather than a policy matter. He added that it was difficult to find individuals who have any knowledge of Africa, as he had once discovered when he had tried to set up an African Institute in Washington. The State Department was now making an effort to train personnel for diplomatic posts in the countries of Africa about to become independent.

Ambassador Burgess said that attempts to reorganize the O.E.E.C. had been directed at inducing the European countries to do a better job of rendering assistance in the underdeveloped parts of the world.

Mr. Gray noted that the JCS proposal on military observers had been discussed by the Council and that Secretary Herter had indicated that it was an operational problem now under discussion between State and Defense.

The National Security Council:13

Discussed the draft statement of policy on the subject contained in NSC 6005; in the light of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff thereon, transmitted by the reference memorandum of March 15, 1960.
Referred the statement of policy in NSC 6005 back to the NSC Planning Board for revision in the light of the discussion at the meeting.

[Here follow the remaining agenda items.]

Marion W. Boggs
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Boggs on March 24.
  2. Document 8.
  3. Document 17.
  4. Document 22.
  5. Enclosure to a memorandum from Lay to the NSC dated February 29. (Department of State, S/PNSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, NSC 6005)
  6. This memorandum transmitted the views of the JCS as set forth in a memorandum to the Secretary of Defense dated March 14. (Ibid., OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385, West Africa Documents, 1960)
  7. Not printed.
  8. The NSC considered “U.S. Policy Toward Libya” (NSC 6004) at its 436th Meeting on March 10, and “U.S. Policy Toward the West Indies” (NSC 6002, subsequently adopted as NSC 6002/1) at its 437th Meeting on March 17. (Memoranda of discussion by Boggs, March 14 and 17, respectively; Department of State, S/PNSC Files: Lot 62 D 1)NSC 6004/1 is printed in vol. XIII, pp. 740749.
  9. Macmillan visited Ghana, Nigeria, the Central African Federation, and South Africa, January 6–February 5.
  10. NSC 5906/1, “Basic National Security Policy,” approved August 5, 1959, is scheduled for publication in volume III.
  11. See Document 29.
  12. The line objected to reads: “In any event, probable U.K. and French assistance will be far short of the needs for outside public assistance which many of the former dependencies feel they will require.”
  13. Reference is to an article by Dana Adams Schmidt in The New York Times, February 3.
  14. Paragraphs a–b constitute NSC Action No. 2199. (Department of State, S/S-NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)