249. Memorandum by the President’s Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kaysen)0


The President met with Mr. Edgar Kaiser, Chad Calhoun and Carl Kaysen on January 23, at 6:30 p.m., to hear a report by Messrs. Kaiser and Calhoun on their visit to Ghana. Mr. Kaiser observed the President had read Mahoney’s reporting telegrams and had a fair picture of the substance of his conversations. As a conclusion he offered the proposition that we ought to have a three to six months’ period in which we try to make Nkrumah deliver on specific political goals in terms as definite as Valco had got him to deliver on economic goals. The President asked Kaiser to explain Nkrumah’s behavior. He could understand his trying to [Page 385] deal with both the U.S. and the Soviet Union, but he could not understand the lack of subtlety and balance. Why did Nkrumah lean so hard against us if he thought continuing relations was not of any use to him. Kaiser responded in terms of two factors. The influence of Bing and others in Nkrumah’s immediate entourage and the desire of Nkrumah to respond favorably to everybody who saw him frequently. Kaiser raised two specific questions. Whether Calhoun should return to Ghana as Nkrumah had requested to work on the investment bill and whether Kaiser should persist in his attempt to get Nkrumah to make a trip to the U.S. Kaiser explained the significance of the investment bill both to Valco and to the country in general. The President agreed that we should make an effort along the lines Kaiser suggested. Essentially, however, he thought that the Nydell case was an immediate test and if there was not a satisfactory resolution of the Nydell case in the sense of a complete back-down by the Ghana Government, he did not see how we could expect anything in other areas.1 Assuming a satisfactory resolution of the Nydell case, he agreed that Calhoun should return and that Kaiser should present his invitation to Nkrumah. In addition, the President suggested that we draw up a list of definite results we could expect in the near future in the political sphere, especially in response to the Ghanaian President, as an indicator of our ability to exercise a minimal degree of influence necessary on Nkrumah.

Edgar Kaiser suggested the President write a letter to Nkrumah in response to his own letter in which he, in addition to mentioning Nkrumah’s reception of Kaiser and Calhoun, make some statement of his policy views on U.S.-Ghanaian relations, make some mention of Kaiser’s invitation to Nkrumah to take a trip to the U.S., and express his regard for and confidence in the Ambassador. Kaiser also raised the question of Mahoney’s present instructions and whether it would not be wise to encourage Mahoney to a more intimate contact with Nkrumah. The President said he would consider the letter and Mahoney’s instructions.

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Note: After the meeting, Kaiser agreed to provide Kaysen with a draft of his idea of the letter, and Kaiser and Calhoun agreed that Calhoun would wait for further word from us before returning to Ghana.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Brubeck Series, Ghana Subjects. Secret.
  2. On January 11, the Ghanaian Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivered a note to Ambassador Mahoney requesting the unofficial recall of two members of the U.S. Embassy staff in Accra, Dr. Carl C. Nydell, Regional Medical Officer, and William B. Davis, Cultural Affairs Officer. The Deputy Foreign Minister told the Ambassador that he had been instructed not to give any reason for the request. On January 15, Mahoney met with President Nkrumah and told him that such a recall was unjustified since neither man had done anything improper, and stated that the United States did not intend to recall either officer unless the Government of Ghana officially declared him persona non grata. (Memorandum from Brubeck to Bundy, January 18; Department of State, Central Files, 611.45J/1-1863)