72. Telegram From the Consulate General at Lagos to the Department of State0

153. Personal for Dillon from Harriman.1 Please repeat substance to Senator Kennedy confidentially. Third message.

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Had several long talks with Houphouet-Boigny Prime Minister Ivory Coast. I found him much the most experienced and pro-western of French African leaders I have met. Now that Mali is broken up2 he is working quietly to get Soudan to turn to Ivory Coast rather than Guinea. He refuses to have any traffic with the east. He believes China is of even greater danger to Africa than Russia because of her undeveloped areas. He stated that today Commie strategy is to detach Africa from Europe and US and everyone should recognize that aid is offered for this political objective. He said that Nkrumah believes he had “descended to earth to liberate the African masses” and is now making a mistake in accepting Soviet aid particularly as it is not necessary for Ghana as it has been for Sekou Toure. Although both have adopted policy of “positive neutrality”, he believes he can have some tempering influence on each of them now that he is independent of France. He left me after dinner last Wednesday to go to border village to meet Sekou Toure and said he would point out to him the danger of the game he is playing with east. He does not think Sekou Toure is a Commie although some of his associates are. He does not consider Lumumba a “lost soul” but he depends too much on his left wing advisers. Lumumba has a “changeable personality” due largely to his lack of education and experience.

Houphouet-Boigny hopes Nkrumah will exert “restraining influence” on Lumumba. He intends to urge Nkrumah to act and point out how dangerous a Commie Congo would be to independent Africa. He expects to see Lumumba himself after Ivory Coast is admitted to UN. He considers Nigerian leaders “wise” and will be factor for stability when they become independent.

In Accra Nkrumah assured me unequivocally that he will give his full support to UN. This is of course a recent change in position. He expressed concern over the dangerous possibility of Commie Congo to Africa. The Congo he believes must be united but through negotiation in order to avoid civil war. He thought he could help as an intermediary since Tshombe had already appealed to him. Although he expressed suspicion of Soviet motives, he maintains policy of “positive neutrality”. He expects to see Sekou Toure soon and will try to influence him against too much dependence on east. He intends to discuss possibility of joint Ghana and Guinea Central Bank.

He is counting on successful conclusion of Volta River negotiations. There is utmost danger that western position would be irreparably damaged if financing were permitted to fall through. The British whom I saw, including General Alexander,3 expressed this fear but believed Nkrumah would have strong ties to the west if the Volta [Page 221] project is consummated. General Alexander believes Nkrumah’s change of heart on Congo is sincere. Both British High Commissioner and French Ambassador consider Russians have made spectacular gains in Ghana during last few months but feel that Nkrumah is beginning to swing back.

I am struck by fact that principal opposition to government policies in each of countries I have visited including Guinea comes from the left, either within or outside the ruling party; also that situation is constantly changing and will be much influenced by the effectiveness and flexibility of our policies and programs.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770.00/9–560. Confidential.
  2. Former Governor of New York W. Averell Harriman was in Africa on a fact-finding mission for Presidential candidate Senator John F. Kennedy.
  3. Senegal seceded from the Federation of Mali on August 20.
  4. Major General H.T. Alexander, Commander in Chief, Ghana forces.