13 OCTOBER 1961, Page 4

Mindless in Ghana

IF a patching up of Anglo-Ghanaian relatiol was what was wanted, Mr. Duncan Sandys mission to Accra can be said to have achieved degree of success. President Nkrumah has s acknowledged the sincerity of British policy Africa, the utility of the Commonwealth and tl debt owed by Ghana to British advisers. M Sandys for his part conveyed the British Coven ment's understanding of Ghana's position of not alignment and stated that the inclusion ( Katanga in the Congo had always been and still was their policy. However, despite these fa words (and the ending of scurrilous attacks 0 this country in the Ghana press), all is not m in Anglo-Ghanaian relations.

During Mr. Sandys's visit many oppositicn politicians and trade unionists were arrested, accused of plotting against the Government; and they are being kept in detention with a possible trial before a special sedition tribunal hanging', over them. This move followed on the dismissal' by President Nkrumah of some of his more moderate ministers, including Mr. Gbedema whose handling of Ghana's confused finances had made him the outstanding member of the Ghana Government. Taken in conjunction with ti e strikes in ports and on the railways, these events reveal that President Nkrumah's Government 1$ under heavy pressure; his dismissal of the British officers serving in the Ghana army was presum. ably intended to enable him to use troops to sui press public disturbances, should they break out Many new States have been forced to modify democratic institutions; but Nkrumah's regin seems set on a course more determinedly dicta' torial than most other African States have found it advisable or possible to adopt. The reason for this appears to be the great strain imposed on Ghana's citizens by a policy of keeping up with the Joneses, which has brought about a crisis in the country's economy. Ghana is a small country with limited resources and populatiOnv and Presi- dent Nkrumah's desire to head a pan-African movement has meant competing with Stab which are far larger and better adapted to such $ task. President Nkrumah is a skilful statesman but even his ability cannot maintain a nation of six million population on a basis of equality with, say, Nigeria, which has thirty-five million.

The immediate question facing the British Government after the Sandys mission is whether this is an opportune moment for the royal. visit to Ghana. The visit can only aid President Nkrumah in his struggle to assert himself Duet internal opposition, but if reasons of State seem to demand that the visit should take place, wet 3 should be found to make it clear that it does not mean Britain approves procedures which are con' trary to our conception of government.