189. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara1



  • Pan-African Military School (U)
There is ample evidence of a critical need in Africa for professional military training. Developing African states are confronted with [Page 287] internal security problems in a climate conducive to insurgency. In most areas, military elements are emerging as the principal guardians of national sovereignty. To cope with this situation and to counter Soviet and Communist Chinese exploitation, it is desirable for the United States to contribute to the strength and authority of all pro-Western elements within state power structures, particularly the military elements.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that while there are military programs designed to support US interests in Africa (e.g., Military Assistance Programs, an Officer Leadership Training course at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and a five-year university program) a Pan-African Military School, supported as appropriate by the United States and possibly other pro-Western nations, would be a new initiative in Africa that is worthy of further consideration. Such a school, in Ethiopia or Nigeria for example, may have the advantage of obtaining participation from countries that for political or other reasons shy away from offers of training in the United States or other pro-Western countries. Establishment of this school could serve to enhance the concept of creating US positions of influence in Africa. The attendance of students from other African nations hopefully would spread Western philosophy and ideals, and would contribute to offsetting the training and political orientation offered by the Sino-Soviet Bloc. The initial motivation for this school could come from the United States; however, the prime impetus should be developed among pro-Western African sources.
It is envisioned that students in a Pan-African Military School would consist of junior military leaders. Though possibly more basic, the training offered at this school could be similar to that of the Officer Leadership Training Course, Fort Knox, Kentucky, i.e., military concepts, fundamental tactics, weapons instruction, counterinsurgency, civic action, discipline, and morale responsibility.
A report on this subject submitted to the Joint Chiefs of Staff by CINCSTRIKE/USCINCMEAFSA is attached as Appendix B2 hereto. This report includes comments on the concept, control, sponsorship, host and third country participation, type of training, and possible school sites. Further elaboration of these and other major considerations is contained in the Annex to Appendix A. In general, the Joint Chiefs of Staff agree with this report but recommend against the sponsorship of this school by the Organization for African Unity.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff agree that the establishment of a Pan-African Military School merits further consideration. They recommend that: [Page 288]
In the context of the over-all African problem the views of the Department of State on such a school be requested, including views on the appointment of a joint State/Defense team to conduct a comprehensive study to aid in making a final determination on the feasibility and desirability of establishing the school.
The memorandum in Appendix A hereto, together with its Annex, which reflects these ideas, be forwarded to the Secretary of State.3
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Earle G. Wheeler 4
Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 70 A 3717, 352 Africa. Secret.
  2. The appendices are not printed.
  3. The CINCSTRIKE/USCINCMEAFSA report was sent to Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs G. Mennen Williams by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs William E. Lang on January 15, 1965. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 70 A 3717, 352 Africa)
  4. Printed from a copy that indicates Wheeler signed the original.