236. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Chad 0

50. For Williams from Fredericks. Depcirtel 6441 requested judgments African posts re likely local reaction U.S. decision against Volta River Project. Replies to date as follows: Probable adverse reactions predicted in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Togo and Morocco; varying degrees of approval or uncritical reaction in Liberia, Tunisia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Upper Volta and Madagascar; divided or uncertain opinion in Congo (L).

Adverse reactions predicted on basis charges we apply political strings and indifferent to Africa’s development needs. Aswan “debacle” [Page 361] would be cited and would reinforce adverse reactions to U.S. disapproval Volta project. These charges would be used by radical elements or opposition in some countries whose dominant elements might approve U.S. decision. Embassy Rabat sees possibility King making political capital by supporting Ghana while Lome notes negative U.S. decision would damage U.S. image since would strike at Ewe brethren of Togolese.

Predicted approving or uncritical reactions are based in part on governmental distrust of Ghana’s subversive intentions (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger) or on anticipation more aid for good boys and comeuppance for bad boys (especially in Madagascar, Congo (L), Tunisia, Upper Volta). Embassy Monrovia notes negative decision would buttress pro-West elements against cynics who advocate playing both sides of street. Ouagadougou notes strength respected by Voltans and that millions to Ghana coupled with need plead lack of funds for friendly Entente states almost impossible to explain. Tunis anticipates public indifference and private approval. Several replies indicate possible reversal of uncritical reactions and general disappointment with U.S. if negative U.S. decision Volta project did not result in increased aid for other countries (especially, Upper Volta, Sierra Leone).

Bonn states FedRep in quandary, would probably discontinue aid to Ghana except for fear Ghana might recognize GDR, and may well be influenced by U.S. decision.

Ambassador Bruce reports Sandys believes U.S. withdrawal would prejudice Western position throughout black Africa, even in Nigeria. Sandys considers Nkrumah not attracted by Soviet ideology but desires imitate Soviet development methods and will continue play both sides to best advantage.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 845J.2610/10-1061. Confidential. Drafted by Foulon, cleared by Freund and Herz, and approved by Ferguson.
  2. Circular telegram 644, October 4, asked the Embassies in Africa for their measured judgment as to what the reactions would be in their countries if the United States decided not to go through with the Volta River Project. (Ibid., 845J.2624/10-461)