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Loose Change: Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, and the Council of Foreign Ministers

  • Scott L. Bills

Abstract

In September 1944, Major A. W. Schmidt of the Office of Strategic Services tendered his assessment of the future importance of Africa to American policymakers. As an OSS mission chief in British West Africa, his wartime travels had included Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, Portuguese Guinea, Liberia and the Belgian Congo. Because Africa ceased to be an active theater of war in 1943, Schmidt felt that he and his fellow officers of the OSS African Division were forced to consider, sooner than others, the direction of post-war intelligence-gathering and the character of US policy through the region. Believing that the State Department had not yet formulated its policy agenda for Africa, Schmidt presented his own analysis in the shape of two poles: isolationism versus internationalism. He noted that US-African trade had been very limited before the war, largely because most African raw materials could be gotten more cheaply else-where, usually from the Netherlands East Indies. However, wartime needs had prompted increased US imports of bauxite, manganese, copper, uranium and industrial diamonds. Schmidt then argued forcefully for the internationalist viewpoint: ‘simply that the United States, having finally emerged as a major world power … must of necessity be interested and continue to be interested in important developments in every nook and cranny of the world’.

Keywords

Middle East Foreign Minister Peace Treaty International Trusteeship Italian Rule 
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Notes

  1. 2.
    George F. Kennan, ‘The Sources of Soviet Conduct’, as reprinted in Foreign Affairs 65 (Spring 1987): p. 861. Kennan wrote of the USSR: ‘Its main concern is to make sure that it has filled every nook and cranny available to it in the basin of world power’.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    The course of US-British relations in the immediate post-war years has been analyzed in a series of recent monographs. The authors point to a realization within the Foreign Office that Britain’s post-war decline required Anglo-American partnership to counter the threat of Soviet expansionism in Europe and the Middle East. However, US policymakers initially vacillated between compromise with and hardline opposition to Soviet aims, pursuing ad hoc policy goals while rejecting any overt collaboration with England until well into 1946 or early 1947—despite the fact that the two nations frequently had similar and parallel policy goals. See Terry H. Anderson, The United States, Great Britain, and the Cold War, 1944–1947 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1981), pp. 7–8, 12, 80–5, 92, 103, 119;Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Scott L. Bills 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott L. Bills
    • 1
  1. 1.Stephen F. Austin State UniversityUSA

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