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US-Ghana (1952-1966)

Project: History of US Interventions
Open-Content project managed by Derek, mtuck

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1952: New Prime Minister of Gold Coast Elected

US-educated Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is elected prime minister of the Gold Coast (the British Colony that later becomes Ghana). [BBC, 11/4/1997; Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2004]

Entity Tags: Kwame Nkrumah

The Gold Coast and the British Togoland trust territory in Western Africa become the first black colonies in Africa to win their independence. The two British colonies become the independent state of Ghana with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as the country’s first prime minister. In leading the colonies to independence, Dr. Nkrumah becomes an international symbol of freedom, spearheading the struggle for independence in much of sub-Saharan Africa. [BBC, 11/4/1997; Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2004] Celebrating the country’s independence, Nkrumah declares, “We are going to see that we create our own African personality and identity…. We again rededicate ourselves in the struggle to emancipate other countries in Africa; For our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent.” [BBC, 11/4/1997]

Entity Tags: Kwame Nkrumah

The Ghanaian government, headed by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, legalizes imprisonment without trial for people it considers security risks. [BBC, 11/4/1997; Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2004]

Entity Tags: Kwame Nkrumah

The Ghanaian government, headed by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, embarks on numerous infrastructure projects. The government begins building and improving roads, the rail system, schools, hospitals and industrial facilities. Nkrumah’s popularity increases immensely as economic conditions begin to improve. [West Africa Review, 1999; Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2004]

Entity Tags: Kwame Nkrumah

1960: Ghana Becomes Republic

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah makes Ghana a republic with himself as president. Under Ghana’s new constitution, the president has wide legislative and executive powers. [BBC, 11/4/1997; Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2004]

Entity Tags: Kwame Nkrumah

Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah spends much of his time campaigning for the political unity of black Africa. In his 1961 book, I Speak of Freedom, Nkrumah writes of the need for a united black Africa. “Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world,” he writes. However, other African governments, burdened with their own problems, are reluctant to heed his call. [Nkrumah, 1961; BBC, 11/4/1997; Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2004]

Entity Tags: Kwame Nkrumah

Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah introduces his Soviet-inspired Seven-Year Plan to establish state-owned factories and public authorities. The projects are financed by foreign loans and taxes, saddling the country with debt and stifling certain sectors of the economy. Cocoa production in Ghana drops dramatically when farmers, whose income has been reduced by the government marketing board’s price controls, begin smuggling cocoa to neighboring countries or switch to other crops. As a result, Ghana ceases to be the world’s largest cocoa producer. Burdened with debt, the Ghanaian economy contracts, undermining the Nkrumah government’s popularity. The downturn brings widespread unrest which is exacerbated by criticisms that Nkrumah is focusing too much on the promotion of his vision of African-unity (see 1960-1966). [Yergin and Stanislaw, 1998; Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2004]

Entity Tags: Kwame Nkrumah

Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah becomes increasingly authoritarian, declaring himself president for life and banning opposition parties. [BBC, 11/4/1997; Yergin and Stanislaw, 1998; Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2004]

Entity Tags: Kwame Nkrumah

Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah rejects IMF and World Bank recommendations to implement a economic development strategy based on non-inflationary borrowing and reduced government spending. Ghana’s refusal to implement these reforms makes it ineligible to receive loans from the two institutions. Nkrumah continues with a policy aimed at diversifying the Ghanaian economy through import substituting industrialization (ISI). [BBC, 11/4/1997; West Africa Review, 1999; Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2004]

Entity Tags: World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Kwame Nkrumah

In Washington, D.C., US ambassador to Ghana William P. Mahoney meets with CIA Director John A. McCone and the deputy chief of the CIA’s Africa division [name unknown] to discuss a “Coup d’etat Plot” in Ghana. According to a CIA document summarizing the meeting, Mahoney says that he is uncertain whether the coup, being planned by Acting Police Commissioner Harlley and Generals “Otu” and “Ankrah,” will ever come to pass. Notwithstanding, he adds that he is confident that President Kwame Nkrumah will not make it another year, given his waning popularity and Ghana’s deteriorating economy. “In the interests of further weakening Nkrumah,” Mahoney recommends that the US deny Nkrumah’s forthcoming request for financial assistance, according to the CIA memo. He adds that by refusing the request it would make a “desirable impression on other countries in Africa,” the memo also says. In the event of a coup, Mahoney says a military junta would likely come to power. [Central Intelligence Agency, 3/11/1965; SeeingBlack (.com), 6/7/2002]

Entity Tags: John A. McCone, William P. Mahoney

In a public speech, Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah lashes out against US support for Moise Tshombe in the Congo and blames the US government and financiers for many of the problems in Africa. [US Department of State, 4/2/1965; SeeingBlack (.com), 6/7/2002]

Entity Tags: Kwame Nkrumah

In a telegraph to the US Department of State, US ambassador to Ghana William P. Mahoney recounts a meeting he had that morning with President Kwame Nkrumah. He says he told the president that the US government resented the anti-US statements he had made in his March 22 speech (see (3.00pm-3:30pm) March 22, 1965), in which he had laid blame on the US for many of Africa’s problems. “I said I would never have believed that [a] man of his sophistication and refinement would use language like that against my country, and it shock[ed] [me] to hear him do so.” Mahoney says that Nkrumah conceded that the rhetoric in his speech was “loaded and slanted throughout,” but insisted that “he had special purpose in mind.” After Mahoney further criticized Nkrumah’s speech, defending US policy in Africa, he saw that the president was crying. “I looked up and I saw he was crying. With difficulty he said I could not understand [the] ordeal he had been through during [the] last month. [He [r]ecalled that there had been seven attempts on his life…]” In comments listed at the end of his telegraph, Mahoney says that Nkrumah seems “convinced as ever [that the] US is out to get him” and “still suspects US involvement” in the recent assassination attempts. He explains that Nkrumah appears to be a “badly frightened man” whose “emotional resources seem [to] be running out” and predicts that there will be “more hysterical outbursts” from Nkrumah against the US. [US Department of State, 4/2/1965; SeeingBlack (.com), 6/7/2002]

Entity Tags: William P. Mahoney, Kwame Nkrumah

Robert W. Komer, a National Security Council staffer, says in a memorandum to McGeorge Bundy, President Johnson’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, that plans to overthrow the Ghanaian government are looking “good.” “[W]e may have a pro-Western coup in Ghana soon,” he states at the beginning of his memo. “Certain key military and police figures have been planning one for some time, and Ghana’s deteriorating economic condition may provide the spark. The plotters are keeping us briefed, and State thinks we’re more on the inside than the British. While we’re not directly involved (I’m told), we and other Western countries (including France) have been helping to set up the situation by ignoring Nkrumah’s pleas for economic aid. The new OCAM (Francophone) group’s refusal to attend any OAU meeting in Accra (because of Nkrumah’s plotting) will further isolate him. All in all, looks good.” [National Security Council, 5/27/1965; SeeingBlack (.com), 6/7/2002]

Entity Tags: Robert W. Komer, McGeorge Bundy

Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah publishes his famous work, Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism, in which he predicts, quite accurately, that Africa will suffer persistent meddling by the intelligence agencies of foreign governments, particularly the CIA and KGB. He accuses American intelligence of being behind several of the crises being experienced by the Third World. His book introduces the term “neo-colonialism,” whereby a state is theoretically independent, but in reality, has its economic system and political policies directed from outside. He again calls on Africans to be united against imperialism and global capitalism. [Nkrumah, 1996; BBC, 11/4/1997; Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 10/2002] The US government quickly informs Nkrumah that it opposes the ideas presented in the book and cancels $35 million in aid to Ghana. [Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 10/2002]

Entity Tags: Kwame Nkrumah

The Ghanaian army stages a coup, overthrowing the pan-Africanist government of Kwame Nkrumah—who is in Burma at the start of a grand tour aimed at resolving the conflict in Vietnam. [Stockwell, 1978; BBC, 11/4/1997; Yergin and Stanislaw, 1998] A weak economy (see 1961-Early 1966), exacerbated by the deliberate actions of Western governments to destabilize the country (see (3.00pm-3:30pm) March 11, 1965) (see March 27, 1965), had severely damaged the president’s popularity among the masses. Additionally, the military was upset with Nkrumah’s cuts to the defense budget and the declining real wage of army officers. The coup itself was supported by the CIA, which had maintained intimate contact with the plotters for at least a year (see (3.00pm-3:30pm) March 11, 1965). The CIA’s involvement in the plot was so close that it managed to recover some classified Soviet military equipment as the coup was happening. [Stockwell, 1978; New Yorker, 1980; SeeingBlack (.com), 6/7/2002 Sources: Howard T. Banes]

Entity Tags: Howard T. Banes, Kwame Nkrumah

Commenting on the recent coup in Ghana (see February 24, 1966), Robert W. Komer, a special assistant to the president, says in a memo to President Johnson that the overthrow of the Nkrumah government was “another example of a fortuitous windfall.” He gloats over the win noting that “Nkrumah was doing more to undermine our interests than any other black African” and that the “new military regime is almost pathetically pro-Western.” He then goes on to emphasize that the US should “follow through skillfully and consolidate such successes.” He explains: “A few thousand tons of surplus wheat or rice, given now when the new regimes are quite uncertain as to their future relations with us, could have a psychological significance out of all proportion to the cost of the gesture. I am not arguing for lavish gifts to these regimes—indeed, giving them a little only whets their appetites, and enables us to use the prospect of more as leverage.” [National Security Council, 3/12/1966; SeeingBlack (.com), 6/7/2002]

Entity Tags: Robert W. Komer, Lyndon B. Johnson

The IMF and World Bank begin working with the military junta in Ghana, providing the country with standby credit. Western countries agree to postpone Ghana’s debt obligations until December when an IMF-sponsored meeting is scheduled to convene (see December 1966). [West Africa Review, 1999]

Entity Tags: World Bank, International Monetary Fund

The military government of Ghana meets with the Paris Club of Western governments and forges a debt rescheduling agreement, which defers Ghana’s debt obligations between June 1966 and December 1968 to the period 1971-1979. [West Africa Review, 1999]

Entity Tags: International Monetary Fund, World Bank

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