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Joint Statement Following Discussions With the Prime Minister of Nigeria.

July 27, 1961

PRIME MINISTER BALEWA concludes tomorrow the Washington portion of the official visit he is making to the United States at the invitation of President Kennedy. The President and the Prime Minister have had very cordial and frank discussions on a wide range of subjects of interest to their governments. These talks have been conducted in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect characteristic of the friendly relations existing between .Nigeria and the United States.

The President and the Prime Minister consulted together on the general international situation, giving special attention to disarmament and to the problems of Berlin and Bizerte.

The two leaders reviewed recent developments in Africa. The President expressed his pleasure at the success of the Conference of African and Malagasy States, held in Monrovia last May, and congratulated the Prime Minister and his delegation on their constructive contribution to its deliberations. The President conveyed his hope that the second meeting of these States, to be convened in Lagos, would be equally harmonious and productive.

The President and the Prime Minister reaffirmed their support for the principle of self-determination for dependent peoples and their unalterable opposition to racial discrimination under any name or in any guise.

The President and the Prime Minister reiterated their strong support for the United Nations as an instrument for world peace. The two leaders agreed that there should be greater opportunities for African representation in UN organs and agencies. They are opposed, however, to any proposals which would compromise the integrity and effectiveness of that organization or its subsidiary bodies.

With respect to the Congo, the President praised the strenuous and effective efforts made by Nigerian statesmen toward a peaceful solution of the problems of that country, and the exemplary performance of Nigerian troops and police serving with the United Nations in the Congo. The Prime Minister and the President agreed that the Congo problem was largely a political one and that the United Nations should use its best endeavors, with the maximum assistance of the African States, to enable the Congolese themselves to provide a solution to that problem, thus avoiding a major confrontation in the heart of Africa. The two leaders also agreed that the Congo's political and economic problems must not be used for cold war purposes.

On the subject of economic aid to Nigeria, the President reiterated the desire of the United States Government to assist Nigeria in its social and economic development pointing out that it was this sincere desire that prompted the sending of a Special Economic Mission to Nigeria last May for the purpose of discussing with Nigerian officials their forthcoming Five Year Plan. The President expressed his gratification at the report of the Mission which speaks highly of the extent to which Nigeria is committing its own resources to well-conceived development plans, its ability to absorb foreign assistance and the sense of social justice that pervades its planning. Under the circumstances, the United States Government regards these preliminary findings as most encouraging and it can say at this time that it is prepared in principle to assist Nigeria in a substantial way in the implementation of its Five Year Plan. The exact extent and manner of United States support will depend upon a further study of the Plan, which is expected to be sufficiently refined in October of this year, and upon the action taken by the United States Congress on the Administration's request for aid funds.

The President and the Prime Minister expressed their pleasure at the opportunity afforded by the Prime Minister's visit to become personally acquainted, and their confidence that their exchange of views had further strengthened the bonds of friendship between their two countries. They agreed the bonds would be strengthened more by a greater interchange of knowledge and by increased contacts between the peoples of the two countries in all spheres.

John F. Kennedy, Joint Statement Following Discussions With the Prime Minister of Nigeria. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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