250. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Ghana0

753. President’s reply Nkrumah’s February 1 letter1 follows. You should deliver letter as soon as possible and give orally substance of your suggestions your 10152 as you think appropriate.

Verbatim Text.

February 7, 1963

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your letters of January 21 and 31. As I have said to you before in our correspondence, I believe that a continued frank exchange can be helpful in improving our understanding of each other’s viewpoint, and thus contribute to the improvement of relations between Ghana and the United States. I wish, also, to thank you for your kindness [Page 387] and courtesy in receiving Mr. Kaiser and Mr. Calhoun and listening both to their views, and to the points I raised with them as giving me concern in our relations with Ghana.

In your letter you discuss the Nydell case. I think Ambassador Mahoney has already told you our views on this matter, and I wish to add only one point. We have seen no evidence of improper behavior on Dr. Nydell’s part, and I have been informed by my officials, who have made a close review of his actions, that there is no basis, other than coincidence, for the belief that he is in any way involved in improper activities in Ghana.

I appreciate the points you make about the economic problems of Ghana and of other African countries. We are aware of these problems and most sympathetic to the efforts that you are making to deal with them. Our understanding and sympathy lie behind our efforts through aid and other programs to assist in economic and social development in Ghana and other African countries. The question of what particular economic and social arrangements are best suited to development is one on which different governments have differed and will undoubtedly continue to differ. Each country is the best judge of its own institutions. We, for our part, have no desire to impose our own views on these matters on any other government, nor do we believe that what works well in the United States always works equally well elsewhere.

However, as Mr. Kaiser pointed out to you, continued fruitful economic relations between our two countries must rest on a broader degree of sympathy and understanding. For whatever reason, our general relations have been difficult recently, and I certainly would welcome whatever can be done on both sides to improve them.

In this connection, I think it would be helpful to me, and you might find it helpful to you, if you were to continue the full and frank exchanges you have recently had with Ambassador Mahoney. He has my trust and confidence, and continued discussion with him can do much to improve that sense of mutual understanding and mutual forbearance which is necessary for the improved relations between our two countries which we both desire.

Sincerely, John F. Kennedy

End Verbatim Text.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL GHANA-US. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Kaysen and Gebelt, cleared by Kent (S/S), and approved by McGhee.
  2. On February 1, Ambassador Mahoney transmitted the text of a lengthy letter from Nkrumah to Kennedy dated January 31. Referring to the short letter he had previously sent to Kennedy through Kaiser and Calhoun, Nkrumah reiterated that he and the Ghanaian people continued to cherish the most friendly feelings toward the President and the American people, expressed his approval of the ongoing U.S.-Soviet test ban negotiations, and suggested that these be followed by negotiations toward an agreement limiting East-West involvement in African affairs. Nkrumah also wrote that if Kennedy felt that the Nydell case was a matter that affected the maintenance of good relations between the two countries, he was willing to accede to an official request to do nothing to press for his recall from Ghana. (Telegram 992 from Accra; ibid.)
  3. Commenting on the line in Nkrumah’s letter stating that he was willing to accede to an “official request” to do nothing on Nydell, Mahoney, in telegram 1015 from Accra, February 6, pointed out that Nkrumah might want an “official request,” partly to get off the hook with his left-wing advisers but also to have documentary proof that the U.S. Government had pressured him. Mahoney recommended not giving Nkrumah what he wanted, but suggested some sort of document, such as an informal letter, making it clear that the U.S. position remained unchanged. (Ibid., 123-Nydell, Carl C. Jr.)