327. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Aid to Guinea


  • The Under Secretary
  • Mr. Telli Diallo, Ambassador of Guinea
  • Mr. Lamine Sylla, Secretary of the Guinean Embassy
  • Mr. Graydon Upton, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
  • AF—Mr. Penfield
  • U—Mr. Leddy
  • AFST. A. Cassilly

The Ambassador began by announcing he did not intend to go to Addis Ababa on June 15, as previously planned, and would return to Conakry only if his negotiations with U.S. officials seem to warrant his personal consultations with President Toure.

The Under Secretary outlined the contents of an Aide-Mémoire proposing U.S. assistance (attached).1 He said he realized the importance the Guineans attached to the Konkoure Dam and observed that the most significant first step would be to up-date the present plans for this project. The question of the survey was under study at this time and we hoped in two or three weeks to give the Ambassador more definite news on this matter.

Mr. Dillon stressed the importance of prompt Guinean action on the offer of 7,000 tons of rice under Section 402 of the Mutual Security Act. Perhaps the Guinean Government did not fully appreciate the urgency of meeting the June 30, 1960 deadline for FY 1960, but the U.S. Government would have to act soon so that the 7,000 tons of rice and one million dollars could be set aside for this purpose.

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The Guinean Ambassador expressed the profound gratitude of his Government for this generous offer. He assured Mr. Dillon that Guinea appreciated the Section 402 offer and he would telegraph Conakry that night concerning the need for prompt action. Mr. Diallo expressed the hope that, given the lack of organization in the Guinean Foreign Ministry, the Department would explain to him (at the same time Ambassador Morrow was approaching officials in Conakry) the significance of major U.S. démarches in Guinea. He could then support Mr. Morrow’s efforts in Conakry by telegram from Washington and perhaps help his Government understand some of the aspects of diplomacy that might be taken for granted in more experienced countries.

As far as the Konkoure Dam was concerned, the Ambassador declared that Guinea placed primary importance on this project and he looked forward to discussing the dam again with Mr. Dillon in two or three weeks.

Also, the Ambassador reported that he had been engaged in continuous discussions with ICA in a very friendly atmosphere concerning a possible bilateral agreement. Mr. Diallo said he believed he understood now the reasons why ICA was insisting on certain points and he hoped the ICA representatives understood why the Guinean Government had raised the objections it had. After Guinea’s independence, there had been a sudden vacuum when French technicians were withdrawn. Since then, many of these positions have been filled by foreigners who have not been accorded any special privileges. If the Guinean Government should now make an exception for American technicians, it would be difficult to explain this to the other foreigners who have been there all along.

The important point, however, is that we are convinced of U.S. good will, and are anxious to cooperate with the United States, the Ambassador declared. We want to thank you not only for this present aid offer, but also for previous assistance from the U.S. and the invitation to President Toure.

(In leaving, the Guinean Desk Officer informed the Ambassador that, since negotiations were still under way, he hoped the Guinean Government would make no announcement now of this aid offer. The Ambassador agreed to this request.)

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770B.5–MSP/6–1060. Confidential. Drafted by Cassilly.
  2. Not printed. It stated that the U.S. Government was prepared to offer Guinea approximately 7,000 tons of rice, valued at $1 million, under Section 402 of the Mutual Security Act and a local currency sales program valued at $7.5 million for a 3-year period beginning July 1 under Public Law 480, and that it had under study the question of the Konkoure Dam survey. It further stated that the United States was prepared to discuss making available commodities such as jeeps, tractors, cement, and peanut oil, subject to funds being made available by Congress, that it was prepared to offer technical assistance, subject to the conclusion of an agreement, and that Guinea was eligible for aid projects in the fields of education and training under the Special Program for Tropical Africa and was eligible to apply to the Development Loan Fund and the Export-Import Bank for capital funds on a loan basis. It expressed the hope that Guinea would consider joining the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund.