256. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Embassies in Africa1

1002. Embassies pass Consulates.

Nkrumah’s Book

Following for your discretionary use with senior officials host govt.
In Oct Pres Nkrumah of Ghana published book entitled Neo-Colonialism—The Last Stage of Imperialism, and gave copies to African chiefs of state attending OAU conference at Accra. Book contains unmistakably hostile charges against USG motives, actions, and intentions and is clear and comprehensive statement of Nkrumah’s fundamental anti-Western, anti-US bias. His charges against Peace Corps, USIA and CIA have already intensified Ghanaian press attacks on these agencies and constitute official sanction for continuing attacks.
Asst Secy Williams summoned Ghanaian Amb to US Ribeiro Nov 18 and lodged stern oral protest of book. Ribeiro was also handed aide-memoire2 (1) stating USG views Nkrumah’s attacks on US in book with profound concern; (2) noting unprecedented nature such an attack by Head of State of friendly country; (3) informing GOG that book’s hostility and its provocative and anti-American tone are “deeply disturbing and offensive” to USG; and (4) holding GOG fully responsible for whatever consequences book’s publication may have.
Gov emphasized to Ribeiro we could not now foresee all consequences of book but that these would “undoubtedly become evident in due course.”
Dept recognizes book thus far has had little or no impact in Africa and wants avoid any action which would unduly publicize it, or make USG appear overreacting. Above info should therefore be used cautiously, in low key and only if you deem appropriate in local context.
While Dept under no illusions that US response will alter Nkrumah’s views, we believe it important make clear that attack of this nature by Head of State unacceptable. Failure to act may make more credible Nkrumah’s position with other African governments that strong anti-US and anti-Western posture has no serious disadvantages.
On Nov 20 Emb Accra delivered note to GOG MinFonAffairs turning down GOG’s long-pending request for over $100 million in PL–480 assistance.3 No mention made in note of book. At noon briefing Nov 23, Dept spokesman confirmed protest made and PL–480 aid refused. When asked if our PL–480 refusal related to book’s appearance, he replied “no comment.”
FYI. If pressed for reasons why PL–480 turned down you may say it impossible for US to grant all requests for surplus food; that quantity of PL–480 desired out of line with what we have provided in other African countries of comparable population. At same time, do not hide our dissatisfaction with book, or deny implication that its publication could well affect our relations with Ghana. We prefer let GOG and others draw own conclusions. If asked about this, your answer should be consistent with above.
Dept considering additional measures which, if adopted, will be carefully spaced and timed in order meet above objectives. End FYI.
INR research memo on book being pouched.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15–1 GHANA. Confidential. Drafted by Officer in Charge of Ghana Affairs Robert P. Smith, and Hendrik Van Oss of AFW; cleared by Trimble, Donald J. Kent of AF/P, Robert F. Andrew of INR/RAF, and Ben Thirkeild of P/ON. Approved by Williams. Repeated to London.
  2. Dated November 17. (Ibid., POL GHANA–US)
  3. Dated November 19. (Ibid., AID (US) GHANA)