263. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1

SUBJECT

  • Reply to letter from General Ankrah of Ghana

At Tab A, for your signature, is a proposed reply to General Ankrah’s June 13 letter (Tab B)2 reporting on economic progress in Ghana and complimenting your OAU speech.3 State dragged a bit on the reply—it reached my desk only today—but Ankrah greatly values personal signals from you, and won’t mind the delay.4 We are enjoying a real honeymoon with him and post-Nkrumah Ghana (you may want to glance at the telegram at Tab C).5

The reply: (1) encourages the Ankrah Government’s efforts to clear away the economic and financial wreckage left by Nkrumah, (2) thanks the General for his comments on your speech, (3) notes that some of the actions you suggested are underway—two involving Ghana, and (4) gives regionalism a push, encouraging Ankrah to come forward with his ideas. The reply also refers obliquely—“other gestures of good will”—to Ankrah’s recent gift of Soviet anti-aircraft guns and ammunition of the type being used against us in Viet Nam. Ankrah wants to keep this quiet, but our Ambassador reports that he would also like an acknowledgment over your signature. He will get the reference and it shouldn’t excite attention if it leaks.

Walt
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence File, Ghana, 3/24/66–10/6/66. No classification marking.
  2. The tabs are not attached. Ankrah’s letter is ibid. For Johnson’s reply, see Document 264.
  3. Reference is presumably to the President’s May 26 address; see footnote 2, Document 211.
  4. At the end of the source text is the following notation in Johnson’s handwriting: “Why did this take so long. Tell Palmer don’t ever let this happen again. From June 13 to July 11 is too damn long and make them realize it. L
  5. Reference is apparently to telegram 23 from Accra, July 5, which reported that Williams had expressed to Ankrah Johnson’s appreciation for some items of Soviet equipment which Ankrah had offered to the United States. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence File, Ghana, 3/24/66–10/6/66) A June 23 letter from Ankrah, making the offer, and telegram 1454 from Accra of the same date, which transmitted the text of the letter, are ibid.