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

  • Scott L. Bills


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’.


Middle East Foreign Minister Peace Treaty International Trusteeship Italian Rule 
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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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