241. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Discussion with the President at 1:00 o’clock, February 26th; no one was present

[Here follow five items of discussion not related to Ghana.]

We were then joined by Secretary Rusk, Harriman, Edgar Kaiser and Mr. Calhoun and engaged in a long discussion on Ghana. Kaiser reported on his conversations with Nkrumah and his absolute and positive insistence that Nkrumah stop the anti-American actions in his country or else he, Kaiser, could not proceed with the work. Furthermore, under the climate that Nkrumah had developed Kaiser could not raise a single cent toward additional investments in Ghana. Nkrumah seemed to agree and said he was writing President Johnson.2 I insisted that Kaiser explain to the President Nkrumah’s criticism of CIA. This Kaiser did in the manner outlined in Nkrumah’s letter to Mr. Calhoun, a copy of which is attached.3 I asked Ambassador Mahoney if he felt that CIA was operating independently of his office, whether there was any truth in Nkrumah’s statements (a lot of which were general and no specific examples cited). Mahoney answered absolutely and positively no. The President asked Kaiser what he wished to do. Kaiser stated that he had a contract that had not been broken by Ghana despite the exasperating situation and that he intended to fulfill his contract. He reviewed the situation about as follows: Volta Dam will cost about $200 million of which Ghana is putting up half and the other half is being put up by AID, the World Bank, the British, and the Export-Import Bank in varying amounts and for differing components or parts of the project. The aluminum plant will cost about $150 million, about $100 million has been put up by the Export-Import Bank and about $50 million by the Kaiser-Reynolds Syndicate (Kaiser, 90%—Reynolds, 10%) but all of this is guaranteed by the United States Government. The entire $350 million in the form of loans, there are no grants made. The power that Kaiser will take, representing half of the power generated at the dam, will pay for the entire project in 30 years. Kaiser stated that he could not forecast the permanence of his position in the project. It was entirely possible that Nkrumah would take it over. This was a risk and represented a very serious problem to him [Page 423]because he was proceeding with manufacturing outlets in Europe to utilize the raw aluminum produced. Despite this risk he was going forward. The President was noncommittal.
Later Governor Harriman stated he wanted to get together with me to reach a conclusion on our policy concerning the Volta Project. He was in favor of proceeding—here were many who wished to cut and run. He sensed that I would favor staying with the project. What he was seeking was a partner to support his position.
At 5:30 p.m. Edgar Kaiser came to my office in East Building. We discussed ways of counteracting Nkrumah’s complaint against the CIA. Also he was trying to get an indication from me of what the President really thought. I told him I didn’t know, that I was sure the President had not made up his mind. Kaiser felt that he should communicate with Nkrumah concerning the CIA charge. Calhoun should do the same and we should help Calhoun with his reply (I warned against being in any way confidential with Calhoun as Nkrumah has Calhoun charmed and anything we tell Calhoun in confidence will go to Nkrumah). I showed Kaiser Sherman Kent’s comments on the Andrew Tully book. Kaiser felt that he should send a copy of that to Nkrumah since Nkrumah had mentioned the book to him.

Note: Kaiser feels that Nkrumah will extract a statement from one of the individuals who had attempted to assassinate him that they were CIA agents and that we could expect to read this in the paper most any day. Therefore this matter is urgent and should be pursued promptly and wrapped up prior to my departure.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80–B01285A, DCI Meetings with the President, 01 Jan.–5 Apr. 64. Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by McCone on February 27.
  2. See Document 243.
  3. Not found.