245. Paper Prepared in the National Security Council0
GHANA: ASSESSMENT SINCE VOLTA
Our relations with Ghana have considerably improved since the fall of 1961. At that time Ghana appeared to be moving swiftly toward an accommodation with the Bloc. Anti-Western feelings were especially evident in statements by Ghanaian leaders and vitriolic press attacks. Ghana voted with the Bloc on Berlin, disarmament and other UN issues; Nkrumah sent military cadets to the USSR; received and stock-piled Bloc arms in Ghana. He dismissed pro-Western ministers, the UK military chief of staff, and down-graded generally the British military posture in Ghana. Following a trip through the Bloc, Nkrumah accelerated the socialization of Ghana.
Especially in the Congo, U.S.-Ghanaian policies clashed head on. Nkrumah had hoped to dominate the Congo as a first step toward achieving his Pan-African goals. Lumumba had assured him that the Congo would join the Ghana-Guinea-Mali Union. This hope was dashed by UN action, supported by the U.S.; as a result, he moved closer and closer to the USSR.
Internal tensions also were heightened during this period by mounting opposition to Nkrumah over his economic and political policies. Nkrumah turned against the British, blaming them for creating unrest, and became increasingly suspicious of his more conservative ministers who he thought might attempt to replace him.
Unquestionably our decision to give assistance on the Volta project changed the atmosphere from one of acrimony into one of guarded cordiality. However, this did not bring about any fundamental change in Nkrumah’s foreign or domestic policies. Indeed, Nkrumah has continued over the past 9 months to concentrate increasing authority in his own hands. This has been accompanied by the ousting of Ministers Gbedemah and Botsio, and a long time political associate, Krobo Edusel.
As the situation stands today, there are some hopeful developments in Ghana—stemming in part from the Volta decision—which we should watch with care and encourage when possible:
- —For a variety of reasons, Ghana’s relations with the USSR have deteriorated since last fall. Soviet technicians have been too high-handed; the IL-18 aircrafts are expensive to operate; Ghanaian students in USSR are increasingly dissatisfied.
- —Nkrumah released 160 detainees and granted amnesty to persons who fled the country for fear of detention.
- —He has shown greater cooperation with his more moderate neighbors including possible rapprochement between Casablanca and Monrovia powers. He has normalized his relations with the Congo and has recognized Adoula’s Government.
- —Nkrumah has indicated that he envisions regional use of Volta power and already has offered to extend the use of Volta to Togo and other neighboring countries.
- —The Ghanaian press has become less antagonistic toward the U.S.
- —Nkrumah has shown some inclination to appoint moderates to important positions. The most important of these are the 7 Board Members of the Volta River Authority and Ambassador Halm as Governor of the Bank of Ghana.
There are both promising and unpromising aspects in the military situation in Ghana. On the good side, Ghana on May 1 signed a military agreement with the UK under which the British will train Ghanaian armed forces. Canada and Pakistan also will participate, and Nkrumah is sending a small number of junior officers to U.S. Service Schools. However, serious problems could arise in connection with the proposed African High Command, which will be the military arm of the Casablanca Powers, with headquarters in Accra. This may well start an all-out arms race and provide an opportunity for increased Soviet influence through materiel, technicians, etc. The Command might decide to intervene militarily in territories still under Portuguese and Spanish rule.
Nkrumah also is supporting two international meetings, either being held or scheduled to be held, in Accra. One is the “Freedom Fighters Congress”—strictly anti-colonial—which includes nationalists from all the dependent areas in Africa. The other is the Government-sponsored “Ban the Bomb” Conference which probably will support a position more in accord with that of the USSR than with the U.S. (In 1961 Nkrumah was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.)
Nkrumah recently decided to assign the Ghana Trade Unions Congress a more active role in Africa to promote his brand of Pan-Africanism through the labor medium. Its leftist Secretary-General, John K. Tettegah, has been put in charge of the offensive. A major objective will be to drive the ICFTU out of Africa; another the ascendency of Ghanaian influence in the radically-oriented All-African Trade Unions Federation. If launched in earnest, the project could have important implications for Africa, the ICFTU, and the U.S.
In the economic sphere, although Ghana had acquired a considerable sterling balance at independence, the economy has suffered both from imprudent development spending and depressed cocoa prices. Ghana’s gold and foreign exchange reserves, which totalled $532 million at the end of 1955 and $382 million at the end of 1960, fell to an estimated [Page 377] $200 million in March 1962. Moreover, most of these reserves already are committed for currency backing and development projects.
In July 1961 the Ghanaian Government instituted fiscal measures which may prove helpful, but preliminary information indicates that revenues were below and expenditures above budget estimates during the first half of FY 1962. Thus the budget deficit may be even larger than anticipated.
Concurrently there has developed a discouraging climate for private foreign investment in Ghana, primarily because of a growing uncertainty resulting from contradictions in the Government’s attitude—the Government insists that there is a place for foreign investment, but actions and official statements have discouraged it. For example, Ghana violated the contract it had made with Pillsbury early this year and announced the establishment of a state trading company which would compete against private commercial firms. Pillsbury cancelled its contract forthwith.
Most of the $196 million of Soviet credits (Tab C)1 has not been utilized. Ghana is expected to draw more heavily on these credits in the future and unquestionably the Soviet presence in Ghana will concurrently be strengthened. On June 1, Ghana signed a 3-year technical agreement with the USSR under which Soviet credits will be used to establish state farms; the remaining credits probably will be used for similar state-owned enterprises.
Our Embassy in Accra has succeeded in maintaining very helpful contacts with various groups in Ghana—especially the more moderate pro-Western ones—which include civil servants, cocoa farmers, small entrepreneurs (including the “mammy” traders), and the university students.
Our relations with some other groups, however, are less rewarding. These include the Convention People’s Party, the Ghana Trade Unions Congress, the Youth Pioneers and the cooperatives.