Accra, January 9, 1960
We are very happy to have as our guests this evening the Rt. Hon., The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Lady Dorothy Macmillan. On behalf of the Government and people of Ghana, we wish to extend to Mr. Harold Macmillan and Lady Dorothy our sincere and hearty welcome to Ghana. We hope they are enjoying their stay here. This is the first time they have visited West Africa, and we feel very proud to be the first to receive them. We know that this visit will further strengthen the already firm bonds of friendship between Great Britain and Ghana.
Such visits as this are useful as a supplement to the long established methods of diplomacy. They provide, as it were, if I may use a school room expression, visual aids to a better understanding of the problems of the host countries. We sincerely hope that Mr. Macmillan’s visit will enable him to have a better appreciation and understanding of our problems. We have had some useful and fruitful discussions over other problems and issues of mutual interest to our two countries. We have achieved by personal contact what no amount of intimate correspondence can provide. It is in this informal but frank manner in which relations in the Commonwealth are forged, that the real strength of the Commonwealth lies.
The Government and people of Ghana have two major preoccupations: the first is to develop this country as fast and as best as our own resources will enable us to do, with a view to raising the standard of living of our people, and enabling them to live a much fuller life than has been possible in the past. We embarked upon this work through our First Development Plan which is now completed, and we propose to continue the process of development through the Second Development Plan which we have already launched and carried — through its first six months. An important feature of our Second Development Plan is the Volta River Project. We are convinced that the accelerated development of the country will depend primarily on our success in developing cheap power resources. We therefore attach great importance to the project as our first priority. During the next five years, we will leave no stone unturned to find the funds we need to give full effect to our Second Development Plan. For this to be achieved, we need the full support, both financial and material, of our friends overseas. In this connection, I am glad to be able to say that we have been encouraged by the welcome interest shown by United Kingdom investors in industry in Ghana, and by the large number of citizens of that country, both public servants and technical assistants, who are sharing in Ghana “economic development” with us. We know that the United Kingdom Government will consider favourable any request for further assistance that we may make in future, particularly in connection with the Volta River Project.
Our second major preoccupation, which has already been given prominence in our foreign policy, is to accelerate the process of liberation of the African continent and her people which was set in motion by Ghana’s accession to independence. Because of the political situation in Africa today and the move for independence by all colonial territories, it has become necessary for Ghana to make her stand quite clear to the world, namely, that we believe that colonialism is an anachronism and should cease. We appreciate that the United Kingdom, which is heavily involved in Africa, is faced with very weighty problems in the discharge of her obligations in this Continent. We sincerely hope that it is recognised that Ghana which has been in the vanguard of the freedom movement is also faced with equally great problems. I am glad to observe that the United Kingdom has been among the first to show favourable reactions to the call for independence. We, hope sincerely, therefore, that it will be possible, within the Commonwealth context, to formulate policies and programmes within which our two countries can work together in the best Development Plan which we have already launched and interests of the peoples of Africa, in tile full realisation that in the• face of the strong forces of nationalism which have been unleashed today, time is short.
I believe, Sir, that this is the ‘First occasion on which the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has visited an African member state of the Commonwealth. Your visit thus, dramatically reflects the growth and constant change of that remarkable institution, composed as it is of old countries and new countries, but all of them dedicated to the same principles of human dignity, and political freedom. Naturally, we in Ghana think of the Commonwealth in its present form. We know that some of the older nations were willing members of the British Empire and we appreciate the historical significance of that institution, just as we look back with pride on our own African history to the Empire of Ghana. To us, however, the Commonwealth is a modern, flexible and adaptable institution; composed of sovereign, free and completely independent nations, none owing any special allegiance to the other, but all co-operating freely and as equals in the eternal pursuit of peace, and the abolition of poverty, ignorance, and disease from the entire world. It is in this sense that we welcome our membership of the Commonwealth and I can assure you, Sir, that the constitutional change which will be introduced this year will in no way affect Ghana’s active participation in the affairs of the Commonwealth, nor affect the warmth of our affection for the Queen. I wish to make one more comment, and it is this. Just as we, a young nation, are proud and jealous of our independence, so do we believe that the Commonwealth will gain its; neatest strength and influence from an association of nations, each and everyone of which is fully sovereign and independent, and totally free from any external direction.
One other matter which I should like to touch upon is the cold war. We are happy to observe in recent months that the ice of the cold war is beginning to thaw. We are happy to be able to congratulate you, Sir, on the constructive initiative which you personally have taken in this matter. Let us hope that it will continue to thaw away and that Great Britain will do all in her power to act as catalyst in this process. Again, we have declared our stand in international relations: Ours is one of positive non-alignment. It is essential for the development of our country and for the rest of Africa that we should take this stand and, as a prerequisite to the process of development, there must be peace throughout the world. Our neutral position is thus intended to enable us not only to steer a middle course, but positively to influence and sponsor whichever cause will ensure the peace of the world.
Finally, may I wish you success in your deliberations throughout this journey in the hope that peaceful settlement of the problems of Africa will result from it. It is our sincere hope that under your administration, the United Kingdom will set the pace in the processes necessary to restore peace and relief to mankind.
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