248. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain African Posts0

1112. For Ambassador. Since attempt on Nkrumah’s life last August developments in Ghana have followed trend that appears unfavorable to US and Western interests generally. Situation reflects increasing importance assumed by anti-Western left-wing elements in Nkrumah’s entourage and in leading positions Ghanaian information media. There have been violent press attacks against our Ambassador, Peace Corps and press allegations that official and other Americans in Ghana are involved in CIA plot against the regime. Policies of US and those of West have been subject unbridled press criticism and charges of neo-colonialism and imperialism. On other hand Ghanaian press has been lavish in praise Soviet Union and Ghanaian delegation in UN has shown distinct preference for communist bloc positions. UK and US have been criticized by Ghana for responding India’s request assistance repel ChiCom aggression and GOG has shown marked inclination favor ChiCom negotiating proposals.

Because of uncertainties outlook Ghana including emotional impact on Nkrumah of use of violence against him Dept would find it helpful have views responsible African leaders. Would appreciate soonest evaluation [Page 384] on basis existing knowledge Embassy present attitude leadership government to which accredited toward Nkrumah and developments set forth above. Ambassador also requested in his discretion avail himself suitable opportunity elicit personal views Chief of State or Prime Minister. Approach should be within framework of general discussion on matters of mutual interest between two countries. View delicate nature this consultation and obvious risks if Nkrumah learns of it and concludes US questioning his future, objective should be create impression local authorities volunteering information on matter of common interest rather than our requesting it.1

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 745J.11/12-1762. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Dorros, cleared by Witman and Ross, and approved by Tasca. Sent to Abidjan, Dakar, Freetown, Lagos, Lome, Monrovia, Tunis, and Yaounde and repeated to Accra, Bamako, and Conakry.
  2. On December 19, Ambassador Mahoney urged that maximum caution be used when chiefs of state and heads of government were asked to comment on Nkrumah. He pointed out that Ghanaian press and radio had been charging for the past 3 months that the United States was working against Ghanaian interests and plotting Nkrumah’s downfall, and warned that if any word of high-level U.S. inquiries on Ghana in other African states got back to Nkrumah, U.S. relations with the Government of Ghana might be seriously prejudiced. (Telegram 774 from Accra, ibid., 745J.11/12-1962)