28. Memorandum of Discussion at the 441st Meeting of the National Security Council0

[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda items 1-3. Vice President Nixon presided at the meeting. The following remarks were made during the discussion of item 4, “Future NSC Agenda Items.”]

Mr. Lay asked whether there were any other suggestions for new agenda items. The Vice President said he had an obsession about Africa. Nigeria, Togo and a host of other African countries would soon become independent. He asked whether the Council was satisfied that there was nothing more concerning Africa to be discussed prior to the end of the present Administration, recalling that the President had expressed the desire to leave a neat shop for the next administration. The Vice President said he believed Africa was potentially the most explosive area in the world today because the newly-independent countries there do not know how to administer their affairs effectively. He realized the Council had adopted two papers on Africa recently1 but he felt some basic questions perhaps not covered in these papers, such as whether we would or would not support dictatorships in Africa, would form worthwhile questions for discussion by the Council. Mr. Dillon said the State Department felt that Africa was more important than the NSC papers indicated. He had made a statement emphasizing the political significance of Africa at the last Council meeting and the President had directed that OCB should keep a closer watch on the implementation of our policy toward Africa than it [Page 127] normally kept on the implementation of a country paper.2 The significance of Africa for the future was difficult to state succinctly in a paper. The Vice President believed the recommendations to be left by the President to the next administration as far as Africa was concerned should be in better shape than at present. Mr. Dulles said he too felt strongly about Africa and believed Africa should be added to the list of future NSC projects. The Vice President felt it might be desirable to devote an entire meeting to a discussion on Africa. Mr. Dillon believed the Council might hold the discussion on Africa without having before it a policy paper. The Vice President agreed that discussion should take place on the basis of four or five basic questions prepared by the Planning Board. Mr. Lay said such a paper might focus on long-range problems. The Vice President agreed, saying the long-range problems might include the future orientation of African countries, what countries would become independent, how subversion could be combated, etc. In his view a “battle plan” for Africa was needed.

The Vice President then said he believed it was vitally important that Africa be up-graded with respect to the assignment of U.S. personnel. There was a great tendency to consider that the best U.S. overseas positions were in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Africa was a horrible place but the Department of State, ICA, and USIA needed to send high-caliber personnel to Africa. He realized that State had made some progress in this direction; for example, had established the principle that it would not necessarily send black envoys to the black countries of Africa. Mr. Dillon thought personnel now being assigned to Africa by the State Department was high-caliber. He said the embassies being established in the newly-independent countries of Africa resulted in a requirement for a great many more Foreign Service officers. The Department of State had been unsuccessful in obtaining funds for this purpose from Congress. The Vice President agreed that some Congressional action, such as complaints about entertainment allowances for Foreign Service Officers, had been disgraceful and a false economy. Mr. Dillon said that politics was involved; the State Department had asked for only $50,000 more but had been given only $10,000 accompanied by a three-page dissertation on liquor. The Vice President believed that we must realize that our information officers and diplomats need to take three hours for lunch. Mr. Allen said one pressing need in Africa was more buildings for offices and living quarters. Mr. Gates said his knowledge of Africa was limited but he felt a Point Four type program was ideally suited to Africa. He believed the people of Africa would respond to programs emphasizing [Page 128] human relations such as medical care, assistance in growing better crops, etc.3

[Here follows discussion of unrelated subjects.]

Marion W. Boggs
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Boggs.
  2. Documents 22 and 27.
  3. See Document 25.
  4. In NSC Action No. 2219–b (4), April 14, the NSC concurred, subject to Presidential consideration, in the proposal that a “Discussion Paper should be prepared analyzing the national security implications of long-range developments regarding Africa.” (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council) NSC Action No. 2220, also April 14: “Noted the Vice President’s statement of the continuing necessity for assigning high-caliber U.S. personnel to posts in Africa.” (Ibid.)