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United STATES policy in Africa has lost much of its credibility for a large part of the African continent. We have held out hope for more than we have, in the event, been able or willing to deliver. Often the promise of brave words was extravagant and unwise; but what is noticed is that it has not been matched by congruent acts. We have seemed to say one thing and do another. For example, to most of Africa the unqualified and warmly welcomed pronouncement of the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs- "The United States stands for self-determination in Africa"-appears to have been disregarded, even repudiated, in practice, with respect to what in African eyes is the acid test of our bona fides, the "white redoubts" in southern Africa. Again, in promising major and growing American aid for a "decade of development" we declared it to be "a primary necessity, opportunity and responsibility of the United States" to help make "a historic demonstration that economic growth and political democracy can go hand in hand" in building "free, stable, and self-reliant countries." This hope has now been substantially dissipated by the evolution of the U.S. aid syndrome in Africa-initial good intentions, objective standards, policies of rewarding merit, yielding to the pressures of the moment, the putting out of fires, the special concern for "bad boys," "problem children" and the crisis-prone, the needs of "containment," the special interest of allies, the U.S. dollar drain, etc.
So too, our promise of uncritical support for African aspirations and goals- as if all of Africa shared the same set of aspirations and goals: "What we want for Africa," said the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, "is what the Africans want for themselves." Its naïveté was exposed when it came up against the shattering realities of African diversity and division in the renewed Congo crisis. The inability of the Organization of African Unity to cope with the crisis only served to emphasize the lack of agreement in Africa on aspirations and goals. The aftermath of the Congolese "rescue operation" in November 1964 brought this message home to the United States. One part of Africa responded with what Ambassador Stevenson called an unprecedented "torrent of abuse," "verbal violence," "hatred" and "malign accusations" against the United States. Another part silently acquiesced or openly approved the Belgian-American action.
There is a prevalent feeling among Africans that after a brief encounter the United States has lost interest and is having second thoughts about Africa. Have we and are we?
Africa more than any other area of the world was to assume a new importance under the Kennedy Administration; Africa was to be a "new frontier" for U.S. foreign policy. This was the promise of the President's unprecedented action in choosing for his very first appointment to the State Department a prominent political personality to be the Assistant Secretary dealing with African affairs, and of the accompanying announcement that in his Administration the new post would be "second to none" in importance. This initial promise was quickly reinforced.
First, the United States repudiated its apparent acquiescence to the Portuguese position that its African territories are constitutionally integral parts of Portugal, and substituted a policy looking toward self- determination for Angola. Ambassador Stevenson's warm support of the resolution calling for a U.N. investigation of conditions in Angola moved the Liberian representative on the Security Council to declare that Stevenson's words would "reverberate throughout Africa."
Then the President, in his first foreign-aid message to Congress, called for a new aid agency, with a mandate to mobilize U.S. and other free-world resources for a "decade of development" in the underdeveloped southern half of the globe. Significantly, from the point of view of Africa's new importance, within months of his message and before Congress could enact new legislation, President Kennedy dispatched a special mission to Nigeria to study its economy and its new development plan to determine the country's eligibility for a long-term U.S. aid commitment under the new criteria-long-term planning, absorptive capacity, self-help and social justice. The Nigerian mission, the first anywhere in the world under the new criteria, was soon followed by another to Tunisia. Two unprecedented long-term commitments resulted: $225 million for Nigeria's Six Year Plan and $180 million for Tunisia's Three Year Plan.
The "revolution of rising expectations" generated in Africa by these new departures in American policy was relatively short-lived. Early in 1963, the Chairman of the State Department's Advisory Council on African Affairs wrote: "By 1962 numerous African leaders who had welcomed Assistant Secretary Williams's visit in 1961 as a portent of great things to come were beginning to wonder whether the New Frontier was all public relations and no real help."[i]
Disillusion followed disappointment when the Administration seemed to contradict its dramatic new policy-self-determination for the people of Angola-by continuing to supply arms to Portugal. Similar feelings were aroused when the Administration seemed to hold back from applying its publicly stated policy of "self-determination in Africa" to the Republic of South Africa, even though the circumstances were different and even though it did eventually support a voluntary prohibition on shipment of arms to South Africa. Disillusion also resulted from the apparent acceptance by the Administration of the finding of the President's committee on U.S. foreign aid, the Clay Committee, that, notwithstanding our proclaimed policy of support for the revolutionary transformation under way in Africa from colonial dependency to national independence, Africa was an area of primary interest for the outgoing colonial powers and not for the United States. The Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations, concerned about the implications of the Committee's finding for his own country and for Africa generally, hurried to Washington seeking assurances that Africa was indeed still a new frontier in U.S. foreign policy. He received assurance only that the Administration would continue honoring its pledge of support for Nigeria's Six Year Plan; nothing more could be said about future aid.
Nothing has since occurred under the Johnson Administration to reverse the downward spiral of African importance in American policy. In Washington, Africa now has the lowest priority of any area. This has always been more or less State Department practice in making foreign-policy decisions; now it has become a matter of national policy.
Africa has come to be an area of residual interest for the United States. It is not merely that former colonial powers are recognized as having the primary Western interest and responsibility; in principle, this may be a quite defensible position. But in practice the principle has been pushed to extremes. It has meant that the interest of the United States comes into play only as "the court of last resort," when there are no acceptable alternatives available. Thus, it is only where the decolonization process has gone wrong, as in the cases of the Congo (Leopoldville) and Guinea, or where there have been special situations, such as those arising out of the abrupt liquidation of Italy's African Empire, or where there has been no colonial relationship, as in Liberia and Ethiopia, or where the needs were obviously beyond the capacity of the outgoing colonial power, as in Nigeria- it is only then that the United States has stepped in to play a major role. As circumstances have permitted, we have encouraged the former colonial power to remain or to come back into the picture.
In short, with the exceptions of Nigeria and Tunisia, where independent assessments of their importance and potential for development were made, the United States has allowed the quirks of history and the policies of other Western powers to impose a crazy quilt of special relations in Africa. As a matter of chance, some of these may coincide with a sound U.S. policy for Africa; others seem highly dubious. The incongruity of our position in Africa has been heightened by our attenuated relations with the many other African states which, not being "special cases," are not thrust into the orbit of active U.S. interest.
In the remaining colonial territories, inevitably and quite naturally, the United States has deferred to the colonial powers, the United Kingdom and Portugal. The problem, however, has become one of limits. At what juncture do these territories of "free-world nations" become a matter of direct concern, even responsibility, for the leading free-world nation? American policy has been equivocal.
In State Department practice as well as policy, the notion of residual interest operates. For the most part, major decisions of African policy are determined, not in the African Bureau of the State Department, but in the European Bureau and, in so far as the United Arab Republic is concerned, in the Near Eastern and South Asian Bureau. Certainly this is true of U.S. policy toward Portuguese Africa and Rhodesia. But more surprising, policies toward independent African states are also shaped in the European Bureau. The sensitivities of President de Gaulle, as judged by the European Bureau, rather than an independent assessment of the U.S. national interest in various French-speaking countries, is likely to be the decisive factor. Thus, for some three years the United States severely limited its relationship with Guinea, even though Guinea had broken with France in achieving its independence. Notwithstanding the existence of the very situation which should have triggered active U.S. interest in Guinea, our respect for French primacy and de Gaulle's wishes prevented our taking action. Only after Guinea withdrew from the tightening Soviet embrace in 1962 did we take an active interest there, partly because the containment policy demanded that we take preëmptive action to forestall the elements in the Parti Démocratique de Guinée which were seeking a rapprochement with the Soviet Union or an expanding relationship with Communist China, and partly because de Gaulle had relented enough in his attitude toward Guinea to allow the United States to enter the scene.
The policy of containment of the Soviet Union and Communist China is indeed a principal reason for retaining even a residual interest in Africa, so as to avoid the possibility of a "dangerous vacuum" where a colonial power has failed to make a reasonable accommodation with a former colony. The desire to deny, in very different circumstances, the Congo, Guinea and Somalia to Soviet or Communist Chinese hegemony has certainly been a prime consideration in our policy toward these three countries. Similarly, fear that failure of the colonial power to take adequate steps to avoid crisis situations which the Communist powers could exploit has influenced us to go as far as we have in our policies toward Rhodesia and Portuguese Africa.
As with any policy depending on the actions of others, the United States has found itself on the horns of more than one dilemma. For example, the policy of residual interest has thrust the United States into support of Ethiopia, and the policies of residual interest and containment into support of Somalia, while the two states are engaged in an undeclared but none the less violent war. Similarly, the policy of containment has led us to provide large-scale agricultural commodity assistance to the United Arab Republic, and the policies of residual interest and containment have led to our principal commitment in Africa, support of the Congo-where the U.A.R. has long been engaged in attempting to overthrow the central government by one means or another. I cite these cases not because our action in either of them was necessarily wrong, but to underscore the difficulties of relying too much on the policies of third countries in determining our own.
The expansion of the policy of containment by word and action in Viet Nam and the Dominican Republic has far-reaching implications for Africa. Thus, Castroite Cuba's role in the Zanzibar revolution of January 1964 not only illustrates the varied character of the Communist drive to export revolution to Africa, but also suggests the scope of the "containment" that may be required in Africa. So, too, the abortive but nearly successful Communist attempt in the Sudan to capture control of the revolution which ousted the Abboud military government. If the tougher policies we have been following elsewhere mean that we cannot accept a Communist takeover in Africa either, then we can hardly afford to avoid involvement until the last moment. By an act of self-abnegation, we cannot remain aloof from Africa, except as determined by the actions of other powers, and at the same time be on call to put out fires on a continent where political instability is endemic.
Our unwillingness to take more initiative in Africa is all the more remarkable because it is the one area of the world in which the United States has more freedom of action and fewer constraints on its foreign policy-making than in any other. The Administration seems to have accepted as applicable to Africa the Kennan-Lippmann thesis on the limitations of U.S. capacity to influence the direction of affairs in distant areas of the world. Yet, remote as it is from Communist China and the Soviet Union, Africa does not present the geopolitical difficulties we find in dealing with crises in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. We are not limited by regional (and related bilateral) military alliances comparable to NATO, CENTO, SEATO, ANZUS and the O.A.S. defense systems. In Africa, also, we should be comparatively free from pressures arising out of commercial interests; Africa accounts for less than 5 percent of our total foreign trade and investment.
One result of our policy of self-abnegation is that the desire of the newly independent states to widen their relations and dilute the influence of their former colonial masters is being ignored, and the conditions for their continuing dependency are being nurtured. This promotes the image of neo-colonialism and African "stooge governments" ripe for "national liberation," as propagated by Communist China and radical nationalist African states such as Ghana. The fewer alternatives the new states are offered to diversify their political and economic relations within the free world, the more they are forced either to preserve old patterns of dependency or to "swing to the Left" into Communist orbits. Our experience in Latin America provides some apposite lessons on what can happen when an outworn relationship is persisted in too long.
In conflict with our traditional policies, we are also contributing to the resurrection of the outmoded concept of great-power spheres. Walter Lippmann advanced the view that the French interest in Gabon is comparable to the "vital interest" hegemony which he concedes to Communist China in Southeast Asia and to the United States in Latin America. Interestingly enough, President de Gaulle, while apparently accepting the idea of French and Communist Chinese spheres of influence, does not, judging from his tour of South America and his condemnation of U. S. intervention in the Dominican Republic, seem to accept our sphere in Latin America.
Our overall attitude toward Africa has also limited our relationship with many of the African states whose foreign policies have most often coincided with our own, particularly on the recurring Congo crisis, but also on other issues of special importance to us, such as the admission of Communist China to the United Nations. Ever since France's recognition of Communist China, a number of French-speaking African states (Congo-Brazzaville, Dahomey, Senegal, the Central African Republic and Mauritania), which we have recognized as remaining in the French sphere of influence, have also been reversing their position on that issue. Now, with half the population of India, Africa has almost one-third of the membership of the United Nations. Reasonable or not, this means that Africa can significantly influence the balance of world political power. In fact, the U.N. vote, which for the last several years has pivoted on the ballots of the African states, will probably go against us this year or next if this new French- inspired trend continues. Only Communist China's ineptitude so far in her relations with the new African states has stemmed the turning tide.
What could be done to restore the promise and the credibility of U. S. policy in Africa? The point of departure must be to do away with the principal causes for past contradictions and inconsistencies. First, the United States should abandon the policy of having a merely residual interest in Africa and recognize that with 36 independent states (excluding South Africa) in existence and another three or four in the offing, the continent can no longer be viewed as of only derivative interest to the United States. We should make it clear that we have a coherent African policy, and not simply improvised positions deriving from our NATO relationships and our cold-war involvement.
This means that we must cease to pose African policy questions in terms of a dilemma: pleasing African states or pleasing our NATO allies. Each must be considered, but neither exclusively or even preponderantly. Our NATO allies are no more homogeneous in their policies and interests than are the African states. On a few issues, however, such as independence for the Portuguese territories, there is a consensus among African states. Because the issues on which Africans agree are so few, those issues take on added importance. The question then becomes one of means. If in keeping with our policy of self-determination for Africa we think it right to support steps in that direction in Portuguese Africa, how can we take effective steps with the least damaging effects for Portugal and NATO? Certainly, several of our NATO allies have time and again taken positions and followed policies in conflict with our own with respect to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Viet Nam, Communist China, the test-ban treaty, trade with the Soviet bloc, etc., without the United States pulling the NATO house down. So too, in Africa, we have long supported self-determination for African colonies without the United Kingdom, France or Belgium tearing the alliance apart. Portugal may react differently. That would seem to be the risk we must run-but it is certainly a lesser one than compromising our policy of support for self-determination and alienating much of Africa. In any event, NATO's present disarray, centering as it does on France, is so basic that, although any further dissension in the alliance would be undesirable, the disaffection of Portugal would hardly seem crucial to the alliance's future.
Third, the United States must recognize that on a continent "ripe for revolution" in the judgment of the world's leading practitioner, the policy of active containment is neither appropriate nor feasible. Intervention of the type practiced in Viet Nam and the Dominican Republic to forestall Communist-inspired "wars of national liberation" is obviously out of the question. Yet this is what the containment policy suggests, if France, the United Kingdom or Belgium should falter in their determination or capacity to preclude Soviet or Communist Chinese penetration and takeovers. Our posture in the Congo has not been too far removed from active intervention, and if the situation should deteriorate again, what then?
Africa now has a momentum of its own in world affairs which cannot be disregarded. Withdrawal and then sudden thrust by the United States in response to one crisis or another has all the disadvantages of both policies. Our sudden bursts of energy to counter Communist initiatives simply distort our basic interest in the development of the African states themselves by exaggerating cold-war considerations. They also put in question the credibility of our oft-stated interest in the development of politically independent and economically viable states, free to determine their own external policies.
Thus, it is to the positive aspects of policy that we must address ourselves. How can we help the new states to consolidate their independence? This is the best sort of containment and, as a practical matter, the only sort conceivable for most of Africa.
For all new African countries, the achievement of formal international sovereignty is but the beginning of their travail. They all have to build states, nations, market economies and modern societies. In the words of the Assistant AID Administrator for Africa: "The newly independent countries of Africa are today at a critical stage of development. The courses of action taken now by the United States may profoundly influence their political, economic and social structures for generations to come. It is clearly in our interest to seize the opportunity to help the relatively new and emerging nations of Africa to develop along constructive lines."[ii] The alternative is unacceptable-endemic instability, bush-league arms races, brush-fire wars, Latin American-style militarism, despotism, declining living standards and an ever greater gulf between the developed Western and the underdeveloped African states.
In the broad political arena, we should reassert the basic U.S. interest in the emergence and development of stable and viable independent states in all of Africa, and affirm our intention to help in the process. The United States must also redeem its unqualified pledge of support for self- determination in Africa, making it clear that we do not draw a line at the Zambezi or Limpopo Rivers so as to exclude from this pledge the white- dominated areas in southern Africa. Failure to find an orderly and peaceful route to independence for the remaining colonial territories in Africa, and the inevitably ensuing violence, would be-in fact already is being- attributed to U.S. policy, or lack of it.
Finally, the most intractable problem of all-the Republic of South Africa. Here, a determined white government, with the considerable economic and military resources of a rapidly developing country, has committed itself to a policy which despite its rationale of separate development for Africans does in fact deny the non-white majority the right of self-determination. The United States can rescind its pledge of support for self-determination as inapplicable in the context of an already independent country. Lenin's ambivalence on the nationality question, favoring self-determination in Russia and elsewhere in Europe but denying its applicability once a "socialist" government comes to power, offers a precedent. Such a tactic on the part of the United States would be viewed as skeptically in Africa as Lenin's reversal is in the United States.
Having condemned apartheid and voluntarily imposed a ban on arms shipment to South Africa, the United States has accepted the need to bring pressure to bear to induce South Africa to change its policy. The basic decision of principle having been taken, what remains is to find that combination of persuasion, inducement and coercion which would be both effective and acceptable. This will not be an easy or quick task. An opportunity for action may be offered by the World Court in the case now before it, where South Africa is charged with violation of its League of Nations mandate over South West Africa in applying apartheid to the mandated territory. In the event of an adverse ruling, South Africa may be confronted with the dilemma of accepting the decision, with all that would entail for the practice of apartheid in South Africa itself, or defying the Court and laying a new basis for the U.N. to assume jurisdiction and take action. This would leave the United States and other Western countries with considerably less discretion about what their response should be to African pressures for applying sanctions.
Another problem of concern to the United States is the mounting overt and covert flow of arms, munitions and military missions to Africa-for national armed forces as well as for "liberation forces." Means must be found to achieve "preventive disarmament" in Africa, not only to increase its internal security but to avoid the increasing diversion of local resources from development to military purposes. In practice, much of the flow of arms for "liberation forces" has been diverted to other destinations and other ends. The recent incidents in Kenya involving Chinese Communist arms are illustrative. On two occasions large shipments of arms theoretically destined for Congolese and Mozambique rebel forces were transshipped from Tanzania and found hidden or intercepted in suspicious circumstances in western Kenya. These discoveries carried the unmistakable implication of a threat by disaffected internal factions to overthrow the Kenyan government with outside support. As a result of Kenya's suspicion that her two partners in the East African common market, Tanzania and Uganda, were involved in such a plot, the prospects of maintaining the common market and expanding it into an East African federation, something which the United States greatly favors, is vastly diminished. In another case, the Sudan's willingness to serve as a corridor for Communist arms shipments to rebel forces in neighboring countries came to a sudden halt because too many shipments were falling into the hands of disaffected Sudanese elements, particularly in the rebellious southern provinces.
The increased flow of arms for national forces also presents a danger. Soviet support of a substantial build-up of Somali armed forces has had a direct impact on the two neighboring states with which Somalia has intermittently been warring-Ethiopia, which receives its arms primarily from the United States, and Kenya, which receives its arms primarily from the United Kingdom. Raising the capacity of the three states to make war can only enlarge the already dangerous threat to African peace, drag in cold-war issues and divert scarce resources of three of the poorest African states.
Would not Africa be a good place to start arms-control and disarmament agreements? It took six years for the military régime in the Sudan to be replaced, and then only by extra-constitutional means. The aftermath has been disorder, violence and political instability reminiscent of the very situation that General Abboud set out to erase with his military coup in 1958. Does Africa have to repeat the Latin American pattern of successive military coups to effect political change?
It seems clear by now that the independent African states are not going to be in a position to "liberate" by force of arms the Republic of South Africa or Mozambique and Angola. It is also apparent that the Western powers cannot supply even limited kinds of arms to South Africa and Portugal which would not be useful for internal repressive purposes. Simple realism suggests the need for an explicit moratorium on arms for Africa and the effective policing of it by agreement with the African states. Failure to come to grips with this critical issue makes nonsense of so much external economic aid, which in practice is either directly or indirectly diverted to military ends. Unnecessary arms expenditure also undercuts whatever added political stability might be hoped for as a result of economic development. Moreover, in the context of Africa-wide arms control, a total ban on arms and munitions to South Africa and Portugal would become more acceptable. In view of African insistence on declaring the continent a "denuclearized zone" and urging disarmament on the major powers, it would seem appropriate for the African states themselves to initiate steps toward achieving a moratorium on arms shipments to Africa, and by doing so to lend credence to their other disarmament policies. This would put pressure on the Western powers to agree and considerable leverage could then be brought to bear on the Communist powers.
Whatever relevancy schemes for peace-keeping by small nations or regional organizations may have in some areas of the world, it seems clear that in this decade such proposals are largely irrelevant for Africa. Individual African states do not have the capacity in being and it seems of doubtful wisdom deliberately to create it. In any event, whenever the question has arisen, the African states have been unable to agree on the desirability of creating a regional peace-keeping force. Some fear it would mean interference in their internal affairs; others that it would mean support of the status quo and the preclusion of change; and still others that it would mean domination by larger or more aggressive states. And so far, African states have preferred to look elsewhere than to one another for assistance in putting down rebellions-in East Africa, to the United Kingdom, and, in French-speaking Africa, to France.
The Organization of African Unity is structurally incapable of playing such a role at present or in the foreseeable future. With its members deeply divided on fundamental principles, such as the sanctity of inherited boundaries and non-interference in one another's internal affairs, the organization has not been in a position to play any military role at all. In the Congo affair, ever since the withdrawal of the U.N. forces, the O.A.U. has not only been unable to carry out a peace-keeping role; it has also been unable to prevent its minority faction of radical nationalist states and their sometime associates from providing active support and bases for rebel groups. Equally, the O.A.U. has been unable to face up to the problems of guerrilla warfare in the southern Sudan, the Watusi refugees and émigrés and their periodic incursions into Rwanda, the continuing quarrels and intermittent violence between Dahomey and Niger, Ghana and Upper Volta, Ghana and Togo, Somalia and Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, etc. To wish upon the O.A.U. tasks it is not yet ready to assume is merely to impair further its limited effectiveness. Our expectations for it have been unrealistic-as we should have known from our experience with peace-keeping in Latin America.
In the economic field no less than in the political arena we must do away with the incongruities which have characterized our economic assistance programs in Africa if these are to play a consistent and effective role in support of U.S. policies. At the outset, we need to reassess the size and composition of our economic assistance to Africa. As the continent receiving the smallest segment of our aid (less than 10 percent), Africa deserves more if we are to give credence to our policy of support for African development. A higher proportion of aid for economic development (as opposed to "political" purposes) needs to be coupled with a renewed attempt to apply the Kennedy aid concepts, including the conscious provision and programming of technical assistance so as to enlarge the capacity of the African states to absorb external aid effectively.
We should also renew our attempts to achieve the mobilization and coördination of aid to Africa from the free world, to make such aid more effective, increase its availability and improve the terms on which it is made available. Free-world aid to Africa, having reached a plateau, has in the last two years actually started to decline. Our own economic aid (excluding surplus food) reflects this downward trend. The appropriation requested by the President for the fiscal year 1966 is almost $100 million less than was obligated in 1962, the high-water mark of U.S. aid to Africa.
The decline has set in just as Africa has begun to move forward and to increase its capacity to absorb capital. There are signs, too, of growing African interest in rationalizing and coordinating the flow of external aid. At the meeting of the Economic Commission for Africa late in 1964, Mr. Robert Gardiner, the Executive Secretary, called for "a Marshall Plan, Colombo Plan or Alliance for Progress" for Africa, and suggested the possibility of the founding of an African Council for Economic Cooperation. The new African Development Bank, which came into operation this year with a nominal capitalization of $250,000,000, will also undoubtedly be seeking outside resources. In view of our contributions to the Inter-American Development Bank and our proffered offers to the proposed Asian Development Bank, it is difficult to see how we can refrain from making significant contributions to the African Development Bank.
It would be in the interest of both the United States and Europe if the heavy dependence of their respective "client states" in Latin America and Africa could be progressively diversified and shared. Then, a change in the relationship to a former colonial power would not be felt as a wrenching divorce but as a tolerable if regrettable separation.
We also need to rationalize our aid programs and to adhere to objective criteria, thus eliminating the anomalies which make us seem to reward the trouble-makers and take friends for granted. If aid is to flow to the U.A.R., Algeria, Guinea and others in the form of surplus agricultural commodities, "supporting assistance" and "emergency aid"-without reference to their economic performance and heavy allocation of resources to non- development purposes-then provision should be made to compensate the states deserving of aid by objective economic standards, and to reward, or at any rate not discriminate against, those which are pro-Western in their "non- alignment" rather than pro-Soviet or pro-Communist Chinese.
From the receiving country's point of view, all American aid, regardless of the particular pocket it comes from, has the effect of enlarging that country's total resources. If a country needs food, it makes little difference whether it receives food or "development dollars" which enable it to buy food-or, if in budgetary straits, it receives "supporting assistance" or "development dollars." It can always shift its resources around as economic (and political) conditions require. Africans have not been slow to grasp this point. Nigeria, which is frequently cited by American officials as the largest African recipient of U.S. economic aid, has felt compelled to point out that, measured in either aggregate or per capita terms, any number of African countries have received greater assistance if contributions emanating from all U.S. aid pockets are taken into account.
Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Algeria and the U.A.R., all radical nationalist states whose economic performance leaves much to be desired and who are prone to allocate resources to non-productive prestige purposes and questionable foreign adventures, have each received disproportionately more economic aid than Nigeria, the country we have singled out as one of the two most deserving African countries under the Kennedy economic development criteria. During U.S. fiscal years 1960-1964, Ghana, Algeria and the U.A.R., with populations of 7.4 million, 10.8 million and 28.7 million respectively, each received as much or more U.S. economic aid (without regard for which U.S. aid pocket it came from) than Nigeria, whose population of 55.5 million is larger than the combined population of the three. During the same period, Guinea and Mali, with a combined population of 8 million, received about one-half as much economic assistance as Nigeria. In addition, such special cases as Morocco, Ethiopia, Liberia and the Congo, with a combined population considerably smaller than Nigeria's, have each received as much or more U.S. economic aid (to say nothing of military) than Nigeria. Yet none of these states has been singled out by the United States as specially deserving of "development" aid.
The U.A.R. has received its large share of our economic assistance to Africa in the face of the U.S. Government's own judgment that that country "has followed a number of political policies which are not to our liking and contrary to our interests": for example, diverting its resources to aid the Congolese rebels, maintaining 50,000 troops in Yemen, conducting campaigns to coerce Libya into ousting the U.S. airbase, and evidencing hostility toward Tunisia for proposing negotiations in the Arab-Israeli dispute.
In contrast, the 13 original members of The Common Organization of African and Malagasy States (O.C.A.M.), which have on the whole been most vigorous in their support of the O.A.U. principle of non-interference and most articulate in condemning external interference in their internal affairs by Ghana "and other states," have received considerably less economic aid than the five most interventionist states. Indeed, since 1960 Ghana alone has received more U.S. aid than the combined total going to all 13 O.C.A.M. states. Guinea has received more during this period than the combined total going to the two most important O.C.A.M. states, the Ivory Coast and Senegal And almost as if to add insult to injury, the United States over the last two years has withdrawn its aid missions from the O.C.A.M. states and administers aid to them, such as it is, from Washington.
In sum, then, the United States must redress the imbalance in its foreign policies by refocusing its view of American interests in Africa, not by downgrading our traditional interest in Europe or by denying the reality of the cold war, but rather by upgrading the importance of Africa, formulating policies responsive to African realities and striking a reasonable balance among our multiple national interests. The United States also needs to rationalize its political and economic policies in Africa, to make them consistent and credible and thus responsive to our national interest in the development of stable and viable African states.
[i] Vernon McKay, "Africa in World Politics." New York: Harper and Row, 1963, p. 360.
[ii] E. C. Hutchinson, "U.S. Economic Aid to Africa, 1960-1964," in Africa Report, December 1964, p. 8.