19. Memorandum From the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (Press) to Vice President Mondale1


  • Results of S&T Delegation to Black Africa (U)

I want to report to you on the results of my just-completed visit to Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya and Zimbabwe. I took to these countries a delegation of our senior appointees in science and technology (e.g. heads of NASA, NSF, NIH, NOAA) and the Presidents of NAS, Ohio State and University of Rochester. At each stop we were received enthusiastically and we achieved our goals of initiating or enhancing cooperation in major areas of development. In particular, in Nigeria and Senegal we followed up on your recent visits. (U)

I met with Prime Minister Mugabe, Presidents Moi and Senghor and the Nigerian Vice President. All hold our country in the highest esteem. All are flattered and grateful for the President’s sending the delegation, both for the political message it implies and the technological cooperation it portends. Each—including President Shagari—is writing the President to express his appreciation. (U)

At each of the four stops I signed an agreement for cooperation in science and technology. These are to some extent symbolic but do provide a very useful framework for cooperation. We also signed specific agreements for carrying out major projects with the host countries. These are in areas of priority identified by those countries, typically agriculture and fisheries, energy, health, remote sensing, management and manpower training. For all except Nigeria—which will pay for the assistance it gets—these projects will be funded by AID or the technical agencies, using money which is already programmed. (U)

Mugabe said he was sorry he couldn’t come back to help in the campaign! He expressed his strong support for US-Zimbabwean cooperation in S&T. Zimbabwe has been most fortunate in inheriting valuable mineral and agricultural resources, an industrial base, and a (white) managerial class, albeit a nervous and resentful one. They will need a growing competence in their black technocrats to succeed in reconstructing the country, reshaping its society, and providing a better life for the poor, rural blacks. (U)

[Page 60]

Shagari will be briefed on the results of our stop in Lagos prior to his visit next week. Our mission there accomplished all its objectives, including the signing of an S&T agreement and reimbursable agreements in several areas of agriculture (soil surveys, training, technical assistance), the environment (oil spills, environmental impact statements), fisheries and oceanography. (U)

President Senghor told me of his eagerness to obtain technical assistance and training opportunities from the U.S. Why, he asked, should Senegal get technology from France and the other Europeans when they themselves obtained it from the U.S.? He was very pleased by the opportunities presented as a result of our visit. Senghor said he is most supportive of our efforts regarding Afghanistan, and critical in this regard of Giscard and Schmidt. (C)

These high-level S&T visits have many benefits. In addition to agreements realized, they result in personal contacts made by senior counterparts of the two sides. These should serve to develop and facilitate further opportunities for cooperation. Also, my meetings with heads of state serve to elevate the status of S&T leaders of those states, leaders who could contribute significantly to development if they have status and clout. (U)

Above all, these visits serve to bring into play in our foreign policy a major but under-utilized asset of our country: our leadership of the world’s science and technology. Each of these four countries is eager for our technological help. With each, increasing technological bonds will undoubtedly lead to stronger political ties. As a result of the visits, I believe that each of the four countries will reorder its priorities on what it seeks from the U.S. They will capitalize on our particular strength and seek relatively more technological assistance from us. (U)

As a result of this trip I believe more than ever that U.S. bilateral aid should emphasize technological assistance and PL 480 food; concessional aid should be shifted to the World Bank and other international lending agencies. This approach need cost us no more than what we spend now. At the present time major opportunities are available to us for little additional funds. By reprogramming some $10 million (less than 10% of our assistance to these countries), we can develop a technological assistance program that would serve to solve many problems of Zimbabwe, Kenya and Senegal and bring us many political benefits. I will be pursuing this through the budgetary process. (U)

  1. Source: Carter Library, Donated Material, Mondale Papers, Box 63, Foreign Countries—Nigeria [1980]. Confidential.