President John F. Kennedy’s Remarks of Welcome to President Nkrumah of Ghana (1961)

President  John F. Kennedy wanted to have friendly relations with emerging African nations. This was a period of anti-colonial independence movements and Cold War tensions were increasing to new heights. Kennedy’s African foreign policy may not have been completely altruistic. The Soviet Union was becoming a popular sponsor and ally to newly independent nations in Africa and Asia. President  Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana was invited to the United States in 1961 to discuss enhancing diplomatic  relations. There were obvious obstacles to this. US policy in regards to Nasser’s Egypt and Vietnam were sources of contention. The Congo was another point of disagreement and how the containment  policy actually advanced imperial agendas. To many in the Third World, it looked as if the US was just attempting to replace British and French colonizers with their own, instead of fighting communism. Although John F. Kennedy is considered one of America’s best presidents by many Americans, it is forgotten that some of his foreign policy was often contradictory. The video above shows the two leaders meeting and having a cordial exchange. Privately, issues such as Apartheid South Africa and Jim Crow laws in the US would make it difficult to have a working relationship.


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