6. Memorandum of Discussion at the 375th Meeting of the National Security Council0
[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda items 1–4.]
5. U.S. Policy Toward Africa South of the Sahara Prior to Calendar Year 1960 (NSC 5719/1; Memos for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated July 29 and August 5 and 6, 1958)1
Mr. Gray presented this subject 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.)2
Discussion was first centered on the Planning Board proposals for revision of the economic paragraphs of NSC 5719/1. Mr. Randall said the Planning Board paper was excellent and incorporated sound policy. The President asked why greater emphasis appeared to be given to assisting the British and French colonies, as against the Portuguese and Belgian colonies. Mr. Randall replied that the British and French colonies would achieve their independence earlier than the Portuguese and Belgian colonies; and that the new independent states emerging from British and French rule must be oriented toward the United States. The President asked how we coordinated our policies toward these colonial areas with the mother countries. Mr. Randall said this was a delicate problem. Assistance to the colonies was often less offensive if offered in the framework of a multilateral organization, so that it appeared as a mutual effort. The President remarked that it was often difficult to cultivate good relations with colonies. For example, there was great concern in Paris every time the United States spoke a [Page 20] friendly word to a French colony. In Africa South of the Sahara we must be careful not to get ourselves hated by both the colonies and the mother countries.
Secretary Herter said he agreed with the policy stated in the Planning Board paper. He added that under the Common Market Plan $500 million had been pledged for the development of Africa; and some Europeans who were expecting to get raw materials from Africa wanted a slow-down of the independence movement. Mr. Randall said the current tendency toward a joint effort by U.S. and U.K. private capital in African development would help our relations with the metropoles. The President said that rather than slow down the independence movement, he would like to be on the side of the natives for once. Secretary Herter thought such a policy would raise delicate questions in our relations with our NATO partners, and Mr. Randall agreed.
Secretary Herter noted that there were great opportunities for educational work in Africa. The President was reminded of a recent movie which had stressed the theme that the black man, under the influence of religion, was taking a more realistic view of his problems. Mr. Randall believed a great reservoir of good will for the United States was being created by the missionary movement in Africa.
The President felt we must believe in the right of colonial peoples to achieve independence as we had, but agreed that if we emphasized this right too strongly, we created a crisis in our relations with the mother countries. Mr. Randall said the nationalist movement in Africa was strongest where education and religion flourished; we must recognize that to encourage education and religion is to foster independence. The President asked why we could not foster education and religion, leaving the mother country to prepare the colony for independence. He felt we must, however, go along with the trend toward independence. Mr. Randall felt that more emphasis should be placed on education in Africa; there were risks in bringing Africans to the United States to be educated.
Mr. Allen said that Africa was usually thought of in terms of the black man, but that one area in Africa—Rhodesia—was eminently suitable for white settlement and development. The Prime Minister of Rhodesia3 (who had once lived in the United States) was ready to open the country to immigration from all sources. Salisbury was a booming town. Among the impressive projects in Rhodesia was a tremendous dam on the Zambesi supplying power for copper extraction.4 In reply to a question by the President, Mr. Allen said Rhodesia’s access to the sea was through Mozambique.[Page 21]
Mr. Randall said that Rhodesia was undecided whether to adopt a racial policy similar to that of South Africa, or to continue its concept of racial partnership. U.S. capital invested in the copper mines was one favorable influence in Rhodesia.
Mr. Smith (ICA) said he had found it very difficult to recruit experienced competent officials for the ICA program in Africa. He had been trying for six months to recruit 26 officials for Ghana.
The President then remarked parenthetically that he was having a continuing protocol discussion with the State Department, which insisted that he invite half a dozen American negroes to any White House reception of a distinguished African visitor. The President feared the African visitors felt they were being patronized.
Mr. Gray then called attention to the Planning Board proposals for revising certain military paragraphs in NSC 5719/1, and to the Joint Chiefs of Staff views on these paragraphs.
Secretary McElroy said he agreed with the JCS views.
General White said the strategic importance of Africa South of the Sahara had increased since NSC 5719/1 was written. The deterioration of the Western position in the Near East generally, in the Suez area, and in North Africa, enhanced the importance of Africa South of the Sahara, particularly for anti-submarine bases and air routes. Also, Africa was becoming less oriented to the West and more vulnerable to Soviet subversion. In the absence of countermeasures, the advance of the Soviets through the Near East and down through Africa was conceivable. General White felt that the military services might be helpful in these circumstances by preparing the way for the establishment in Africa South of the Sahara of naval bases, air routes, and guided missile sites, even though such activity would of course be expensive. In any case, we needed to anticipate the next Soviet moves.
The President said he agreed with General White’s summary of the strategic importance of Africa South of the Sahara, but he disagreed with the idea that U.S. military activity in the area would be beneficial. Military activity is usually ineffective as the first step in establishing close relations with a country so that it will be on our side in an emergency. We should first work through education and cultural relations, and perhaps Africa will later invite our military to help with defense problems. Our military installations are useless if the people don’t want them. We must win Africa, but we can’t win it by military activity.
General White said he believed a statement on the increasing strategic importance of Africa South of the Sahara belonged in the paper.
The President said he too would like a statement on strategic importance put in the paper. He added that bases were of great value, but we couldn’t win wars unless we won the people.[Page 22]
The Secretary of Defense believed that General White’s references to military activity in the area had meant activity in a low key. Secretary McElroy then raised the question whether such assistance as the United States provides for civil airfield construction in Africa South of the Sahara should not prepare the way for possible conversion of these fields to military use.
The Vice President said we must work toward a continuation of independent national neutralism in Africa South of the Sahara. The President’s remarks on the liabilities of military activity were in accord with his own observations in Africa. The Vice President felt we should take the initiative in encouraging neutralism, which the national independence movements favor, instead of assuming that a neutral is on the Soviet side. We should discourage open military ties with the West and encourage educational and cultural ties.
Mr. Gray said the Planning Board would revise the military paragraphs of NSC 5719/1 to reflect the discussion.
The National Security Council:5
- Noted and discussed the proposed revision of paragraphs 21–27 and proposed changes to paragraphs 6, 19 and 20 of NSC 5719/1, prepared by the NSC Planning Board and transmitted by the reference memorandum of July 29, 1958; in the light of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and of the comments of the Chairman, Council on Foreign Economic Policy, transmitted by the reference memoranda of August 5 and 6, 1958, respectively.
- Adopted the proposed revision of paragraphs 21–27 of NSC 5719/1.
- Referred the proposed changes to paragraphs 6, 19 and 20 of NSC 5719/1 to the NSC Planning Board for revision and paragraph 11 of NSC 5719/1 for review, in the light of the above-mentioned views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and of the discussion at the meeting.
[Here follow the remaining agenda items.]
- Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Boggs on August 8.↩
- Regarding NSC 5719/1, see footnote 1, Document 3. The July 29 memorandum transmitted to the NSC the Planning Board’s proposed revision of paragraphs 21–27 of NSC 5719/1, a revised Financial Appendix, and updated versions of Annexes B–E. (Department of State, S/P–NSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, NSC 5818 Series) The August 5 memorandum transmitted the views of the JCS as revealed in a memorandum to Secretary of Defense McElroy dated August 1. (Ibid.) The August 6 memorandum conveyed Randall’s August 5 reaction to the suggested changes. (Ibid., OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385, West African Documents–1960)↩
- Not printed. Gordon Gray’s briefing note surveyed the steps leading up to the proposed changes and highlighted the most significant of the suggested revisions of NSC 5719/1. The minutes of all National Security Council meetings held during the Eisenhower administration are in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 273, Records of the National Security Council, Official Meeting Minutes File.↩
- Sir Edgar Whitehead.↩
- Reference is to the Kariba Dam.↩
- Paragraphs a–c that follow constitute NSC Action No. 1961. (Department of State, S/S–NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)↩