65. Memorandum From Secretary of State Herter to President Eisenhower0


  • Aid to the Ivory Coast

I looked into the report from Consul General Norland1 about which you wrote me on July 182 and had hoped to have an opportunity to talk to you about it earlier this week in Newport. However, since circumstances made it inconvenient to do so I thought you might like to have the following background on what we are doing in the Ivory Coast and the other three states associated with it in the Conseil de l’Entente (Dahomey, Niger and Upper Volta).

One of our basic problems in this and other former French territories has been the extreme reluctance of the French to let the United States or any other country operate aid programs. Even in cases where independence has been scheduled and sometimes after its achievement they have informed us they will oppose any outside attempts to [Page 217] enter the cultural field. Nonetheless, we have undertaken to survey the four countries to see where United States aid could be most effective. A representative of ICA will be in Abidjan this month to arrange for the three-man study team to spend approximately a month in the Entente countries in late August and September. We hope one member of this team may then remain in Abidjan to form the nucleus of what we expect to become a full-scale ICA mission.

At the same time I have approved Mr. Norland’s recommendations3 that he suggest to Prime Minister Houphouet-Boigny that several economic experts from the Entente states accompany the Prime Minister to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly in September. We believe that these steps will give Houphouet-Boigny the assurance he needs that the United States will extend sympathetic understanding and material support to him personally and to the four associated states. We hope thereby to strengthen one of the most staunchly pro-Western African leaders and to permit him to continue his guiding influence on the future not only of these states but of others in this region.

Christian A. Herter
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DullesHerter Series. Confidential.
  2. Telegram 24 from Abidjan, July 16, reported a conversation on July 15 between Consul General Donald R. Norland and Prime Minister Houphouet-Boigny, in which Houphouet argued for U.S. economic aid to the Ivory Coast in order to demonstrate that cooperation with the West was fruitful; he emphasized the Communist threat to Africa and affirmed his conviction that the trend of events in Guinea could be reversed and other states prevented “from plunging to chaos as in ex-Belgian Congo.” (Department of State, Central Files, 751T.13/7–1660)
  3. In a brief memorandum of that date, the President called Herter’s attention to Norland’s report and said he would like to discuss the matter with him in the next 2 or 3 weeks. (Ibid., 870.00/7–3060)
  4. In airgram G–13, July 19. (Ibid., 870.00/7–1960)