244. Paper Prepared in the Office of West Coast and Malian Affairs0



Nkrumah’s overpowering desire to export his brand of nationalism has unquestionably made Ghana one of the foremost practitioners of subversion in Africa. Ghana’s influence, or interference, is felt in all sections of the continent. Concentrating at first on the dependent areas, of [Page 374] late Ghana has become increasingly interested in the independent African states, particularly Togo and the Congo.

There is some indication of a slow-down in activity in recent months, undoubtedly due in part to the domestic political problems which have beset Nkrumah since he returned from his extended visit to the Bloc last summer, as well as Nkrumah’s desire that nothing go wrong with the final Volta negotiations. A possible additional influencing factor could be a growing realization that the policies he has pursued with his neighbors have so far caused more harm than good to Ghana. Finally, the deteriorating financial situation in Ghana, and resultant drain on its reserves, could serve as a deterrent to Nkrumah’s more ambitious schemes. There remains the possibility, however, that the USSR will be receptive to furnishing supplemental funds for subversive purposes.

When Clarence Randall met with Nkrumah last December to inform him of the United States decision on the Volta, he candidly told Nkrumah that the American Government and people were most concerned by the reports of interference by Ghana in the internal affairs of other free and independent African nations. He added that it would be of obvious assistance to the United States in justifying this major contribution if the Government of Ghana could make a statement that it would not engage in such activities. While Nkrumah touched upon the subject of subversion in his subsequent radio address to the nation on the Volta project, his remarks were hardly an assurance that Ghana would refrain from such activities in the future. Nevertheless Mr. Randall’s frank confrontation with Nkrumah on this subject, and the knowledge that Mr. Randall was speaking as President Kennedy’s personal representative, might have some salutary effect on the Ghanaian President.

Also, Nkrumah met secretly with President Maga of Dahomey about three weeks ago at Pusiga in northern Dahomey for the purpose of discussing the deteriorating relations between Nkrumah and President Olympio of Togo. Maga reported to his fellow chiefs of state at the Lagos Conference his belief that in the future his policy might be less aggressive. As a result of Maga’s initiative the Foreign Ministers of Ghana, Togo and Dahomey are now meeting in Cotonou. This may or may not lead to an eventual summit meeting between Nkrumah and Olympio.

There is perhaps some reason to be hopeful but certainly not optimistic. Nkrumah has been in this game for some time and with his aggressive energy and egotistical ambition he can normally be counted on to play the game for keeps. The situation will bear close watching and continued pressure should be maintained on Nkrumah to cease and desist.

[Here follows the body of the paper.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 745J.00/2-1262. Secret. Drafted by Coote on February 11. The report was transmitted to the White House under cover of a memorandum from Battle to Bundy that reads: “Enclosed is a paper on Ghanaian Subversion in Africa in response to the verbal request by Mr. Brom Smith. While it is not an all-inclusive discussion of the subject, it does contain the most significant elements of the problem. A general summarization of the situation is at the beginning of the paper. The paper has not been cleared with the CIA, but a knowledgeable CIA representative contributed his ideas on the subject prior to the drafting of the paper.”

    On February 7, Battle sent a memorandum to the Executive Secretariat that reads: “Mr. Brom Smith called me this afternoon to report that the President, in reading the Staff Summary for today, became extremely interested in the item on Africa entitled Ghanaian Subversion in Africa Discussed. The President would like to get on a rush basis full information on this matter including, if it would not delay preparation, anything CIA has on the subject. Can this be prepared urgently and cleared appropriately?” A handwritten notation on the memorandum reads: “AFW—Mr. Coote: S/S would like a B to B report on this within 24 hours.” (Ibid., 770.5245J/2-762)