197. Memorandum From Ulric Haynes of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1
- AF Chiefs of Mission Conferences—“New Policy for Africa”
The AF Chiefs of Mission Conferences in Addis Ababa and Lagos were a “qualified” success. Insofar as they provided a feel for the political and economic climate in the various African countries, the conferences were a success. They were also successful in breaking down the parochialism of most of the AF Ambassadors who tend to see US foreign policy interests in terms of US relations with their countries of assignment only. However, both conferences failed to generate significant, new or imaginative ideas around which a “New Policy for Africa” could be built. Recognizing their own shortcomings, the AF Ambassadors urged that “Soapy” substitute the term “strengthened” for “new” as the appellation for their policy recommendations.
I came away from both conferences convinced that the US should not announce a “New” or “Strengthened” Policy for Africa unless it has [Page 301] the substance of a Marshall Plan or of an Alliance for Progress. This is not possible under the President’s mandate to “Soapy” which calls for the reform, improvement or elimination of existing programs to better achieve our foreign policy objectives and which cautions that substantial increases in US foreign assistance expenditures are not envisaged. With such limitations, the announcement of a strengthened policy for Africa would only encourage African aspirations which the US could not possibly meet. The resultant disillusionment would be a major setback to US-African relations.
The consensus at both conferences was that US relations with Africa today are generally good. Therefore, I feel strongly that the US should take advantage of this favorable climate to build a reserve of credit to see us through some of the predictable crises we will have to face on the African continent in the future; e.g., the growing crisis in Southern Africa. The best way to build this credit is by responding to key African needs and problems on an ad hoc basis with specific American solutions, all bearing the “LBJ” label.
Significant Policy Observations Made by Conferees
- should be used as a political weapon with more aid going to our friends than to our critics and a minimal aid presence in all African political units;
- while aid for long-term economic development is sound, an increase in “impact” aid pays higher political dividends;
- procedures should be simplified and speeded up and criteria tailored to African capacity to develop projects.
- the Voice of America devotes too much of its African-oriented broadcasting time to race relations in the US;
- USIA’s output is generally too “ethnocentric” and is based on American, rather than African, tastes;
- the Voice of America signal is weak or spotty in many parts of Africa:
- with these reservations, both conferences had the highest praise for USIS performance in the field.
- Cultural Affairs—
- US scholarship programs for undergraduate study in America create dissatisfied, misfit elites in many African countries.
- the toughest potential problem involving US-African relations centers around self-determination for the black populations of Southern Rhodesia, South and South West Africa, and the Portuguese territories;
- until his voting rights speech, LBJ did not have what was described as a “positive image” in Africa;
- crises involving the US in Vietnam and the Dominican Republic are not big issues in Africa where preoccupation with African problems takes precedence over all else;
- the US should be more subtle and circumspect in pointing out the dangers of Communism to Africans as the latter are anxious to keep the Cold War out of Africa at all costs; several Ambassadors complained of instructions requiring them to belabor African Chiefs of State and Foreign Ministers on every little Communist issue;
- Ethiopia was acknowledged to pose problems calling for special attention because of the serious threat to US strategic interests caused by the large and unpopular US military presence and increasing anti-Americanism in that country.
Although many complaints were heard and problems raised by the AF Ambassadors, few policy recommendations were proposed—certainly not enough for the US to present as a new or strengthened policy for Africa. The following is a selective summary of the better policy recommendations.
- The US should make every effort to achieve greater coordination of policy and action and to eliminate competition by the nations of the Free World in Africa on both political and foreign assistance matters. Annual meetings on African affairs should be held with those friendly Free World nations with African involvements: e.g., France, Nationalist China, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Canada, Spain, India, Pakistan and the Scandinavian countries. Similar efforts already undertaken to coordinate US policy with the British, Germans and Belgians have proven successful.
- Personal relationships between Chiefs of State are important in Africa. For US policy objectives to be advanced, it is desirable that African leaders be made aware of the US President’s personal interest in African affairs. All of the Ambassadors urged a high-level tour of Africa by a personal representative of the President whose sole purpose would be to generate good will for the US. (Bob Komer has informed me that the time is not yet ripe for such a trip to be undertaken.) Barring such a trip, the continued exchange of letters between the President and African leaders was considered most helpful.
- Occasions should be exploited for the President to pronounce himself on matters of interest to Africans. Too many US public statements on African affairs refer to positions taken and comments made by President Kennedy. Few identify President Johnson with African interests [Page 303] in his own right. (How about Bundy-Williams and Bundy-Rowan memos on this subject?)
- The use of the $25,000 Self-Help Fund made available to AF Ambassadors by AID should be completely discretionary with the Ambassador in consultation with his Country Team. Its use should be based on the sole criterion of whether it produces a desirable “impact” (i.e., conspicuous, readily identifiable as coming from US, meets an immediate local need of the people rather than a privileged few). The amount available for the Self-Help Fund should be raised to the $50,000 level as in Latin America. All of the Ambassadors endorsed the fund with enthusiasm.
- AID should be instructed to make a study and come up with recommendations as to the use of counterpart or surplus currency funds in a coordinated US foreign assistance program. For example, such funds might be used to pay (or top off) the salaries of friendly third-country technicians and advisors, for procurement in friendly third-countries or for scholarships for Africans to study in friendly third-countries.
- The US should phase-out its scholarship programs of undergraduate studies for Africans in American colleges and universities. Concentration should be on US assistance to secondary school education and vocational training within African countries. Scholarships for study in the US should be limited to the graduate level. This would broaden the educational base, provide required skills and eliminate competition with emerging African institutions of higher learning for the best students.
Attached are copies of some of the working papers from the two Chiefs of Mission Conferences.2 Of special interest are attachments numbered 1 and 2. Attachment number 1 contains “Soapy’s” proposed (still subject to change) action recommendations to the President and Secretary of State for a “Strengthened African Program.” I would appreciate it if no reference were made to this document in discussions with AF. Attachment number 2 contains the “basic elements of US policy in Africa” which the Lagos conferees evolved. Attachment 3 is a summary of the Addis Conference; attachment 4 is a summary of the Lagos Conference.