247. Telegram From the Embassy in Ghana to the Department of State 1
791. For the President and Secretary from Harriman. Ambassador is dispatching memo of conversations with Nkrumah totaling about three hours plus lunch.2 We went over in detail his policies for Ghana, problems in our relations, attitude towards Volta project and private investment. Most effective part which was confirmed by Robert Jackson3 was my insistence that he had personal responsibility and power to see that project was success not only in maintaining atmosphere in which US citizens could work in Ghana but image conveyed through his press and other activities which built up public and political opposition to him and Ghana. I stated this would require constant and frank two-way exchange between him and Ambassador and also between him and President Johnson. He assured us he would accept personal responsibility and I could give President his complete assurances. We believe there is reasonable chance he will keep this assurance at least tolerable minimum providing but only providing we keep his feet to the fire.
This means continued hard work by Ambassador and a series of effective Presidential emissaries and visitors. Robert Jackson’s quarterly visits are most useful account his eight years of intimate association. Kaiser must come more frequently.
There is no doubt that his leanings are to the left and he pays more attention to his leftist advisers. However, he has many well-trained government officials who help put brakes on to some extent. He is awed with socialist doctrine although when I pointed out Communist failures in agriculture and otherwise and that British and all European socialist leaders were becoming much more pragmatic in policy, it seemed to sink in a bit. I assured him we accepted non-alignment but only true non-alignment. What we could not accept was in fact support of Communist Bloc through his press and otherwise.
We discussed African unity and he stressed freedom for all Africa. I explained we accepted Wilson’s position that freedom was indivisible referring not just to Africa but elsewhere, particularly Eastern Europe still enslaved by Moscow. He took this without argument, admitted [Page 436]Moscow had been imperialist but felt Khrushchev was changing, becoming even pragmatic on economic matters whereas China was still rabidly doctrinaire. These generalities may be superfluous to our problems but I believe some one has to keep hammering him.
Jackson reports he is encouraged by his and my visit but forecasts difficult financial period ahead account imbalanced budget and continued foreign payments deficit. He expects inflation and drastic import restrictions with resultant economic difficulties. As Ghana is basically rich he expects it to pull through in time. Also cocoa price increase from depressed level would be helpful.
Work on the DW impressive and resettlement of some 60,000 persons to be flooded out is progressing rapidly and competently. Relations between Volta authority, Italian contractor and Kaiser are excellent and so far government has put up all funds as required to fulfill its commitments. Canadian Chief Executive Dobson says he has good working relations with Nkrumah and is satisfied he will have his continued support.
In sum, Nkrumah has been on his good behavior during my visit and it will require constant effort and skill to prevent too many and too deep relapses. There is, of course, no fundamental change in his beliefs. Ambassador concurs.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/HARRIMAN. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Passed to the White House.↩
- Telegram 793 from Accra, March 24, reported Harriman’s talk with Nkrumah in detail. (Ibid., POL GHANA–US) Mahoney commented on the meeting in telegram 794 from Accra, March 25. (Ibid., POL 7 US/HARRIMAN)↩
- Robert Jackson, a director of the U.N. Special Fund, was a former adviser to Nkrumah.↩