203. Memorandum From President Johnson to Secretary of State Rusk1


  • Strengthened African Program

I have read with interest the Strengthened African Program which you sent to me on 14 October,2 and am generally in accord with your three specific recommendations, subject to the usual budget review.

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However, I feel that the prime determinant of US influence in Africa will be the stance the US takes on those political issues of primary concern to the Africans themselves. US concern for African problems must be demonstrated by actions, and in terms, which will have an immediate appeal to the people of Africa.

Therefore, I request the State Department, in cooperation with other appropriate agencies, to submit recommendations by 15 December 1965 on: (a) Strengthening the proposed speech to restate more forcefully US support of independence and majority rule in Africa, perhaps using Rhodesia as a case in point; (b) A proposal for an occasion when such a speech should be made; and (c) Other actions which can be taken to help toward peaceful solution to the problems of self-determination in Southern Africa.3

Lyndon B. Johnson
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, President’s Speech on 3rd Anniversary of OAU, 5/26/66. Confidential.
  2. Document 201.
  3. A handwritten notation at the bottom of the source text indicates that the memorandum was sent on November 29.