328. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France0

5548. Following based on uncleared memorandum of conversation:2

Under Secretary Dillon and Alphand discussed Konkoure dam project June 24.3 Alphand said French believe that informing GOG now that US intends proceed with study dam project would inevitably leak and therefore have adverse affect elsewhere in Africa, especially in evolving Community. On other hand, France fully aware of interests involved and desirability retaining Boke bauxite deposits for West. GOF proposes that US delay informing GOG for short period and in meantime US and France study means by which public announcement or explanation could be made which would refer to development in West Africa on regional basis. Specifically, French would like mention made of Kouilou plan. Alphand explained that he did not wish imply France sought US aid for Kouilou project but rather that development various projects by different members of West be viewed as part of larger whole.

Under Secretary replied US realizes West African development is interrelated and that Konkoure project cannot be examined in vacuum. Volta, Kouilou, Konkoure and possibly Inga4 are all parts of African development. Said French suggestion re broader announcement is one we ready to study and we see advantages in having mentioned status Kouilou and Volta. We want, however, have announcement made well in advance of Khrushchev visit to Guinea. Therefore, would be useful have French thoughts on broader statement soonest so that we can have matter settled by mid-July.

Ambassador replied that he unsure just how long a delay GOF wishes and promised seek instructions. Felt sure GOF fully aware of advisability having matter decided and dealt with before Khrushchev trip.

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Under Secretary stressed fact that commitment to make study is not tantamount to commitment construct project. Study additionally gives us period of time to think subject through more thoroughly. Also useful have study going on while Khrushchev in Guinea. Noted that we would naturally want to use earlier plans drawn up by GOF as basis for US study. In response to question, said he believes Toure would welcome offer to make study.

Alphand said France would also wish to consider with US use of Boke bauxite. Under Secretary replied that we not sure what influence we would have on this subject but would talk to companies about French position and needs. Noted that, given size of reserves at Boke, consortium might be looking for customers.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 870B.2614/6–2460, Confidential. Drafted by L. Dean Brown, cleared by Satterthwaite and Ferguson, and approved by Brown. Repeated to Conakry; pouched to Accra, Dakar, Brussels, Léopoldville, and Brazzaville.
  2. The time of transmission is illegible.
  3. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 870B.2614/6-2460)
  4. On June 9, the Department informed the French of the possibility of a U.S. updating of the Konkoure dam survey. The French had asked for time to consider the impact of this on their relations with the members of the Conseil de l’Entente, and Dillon had agreed to delay informing Diallo. (Telegram 5260 to Paris, June 10; ibid., 870B.2614/6–1060)
  5. The projects under reference, in addition to the Konkoure project, were proposed power-aluminum projects in the Congo Republic, Ghana, and the Belgian Congo.
  6. On July 8, Dillon gave Alphand a draft press release and told him the Department proposed to inform the Guinean Ambassador the following week. Alphand again told him that Paris would prefer a postponement. (Memorandum of conversation, July 8; Department of State, Central Files, 870B.2614/7–860) On July 12, Hare asked Lebel if the Embassy had received any response from Paris. Lebel replied that the French still had misgivings but fully understood what the United States intended to do. (Memorandum of conversation, July 12; ibid., 870B.2614/7–1260)