24 NOVEMBER 1961, Page 4

Failure of a Mission

DID the royal tour really do any good? There has been a tendency to assume that because the crowds everywhere greeted the Queen so effusively, and because the mammies were so enchanting, the earlier fears about the tour were unfounded. But the original objection to the visit (and this is something that seems to have been forgotten) was that the Queen, by going to Ghana at that time, might seem to be condoning on Britain's behalf the less savoury side of Dr. Nkrumah's autocracy. The bomb scare came later; just in time to confuse the issue, for there need never have been any doubt of the Queen's safety—except, of course, from the hand of a madman, and that is a risk royalty faces anywhere.

There have been few signs that the tour has done what its supporters hoped it would do: help to restore the confidence of Dr. Nkrumah and his circle in Britain's goodWill. That it was a huge success from the Ghana public's view- point is undeniable; but nobody who saw how people behaved here over Major Gargarin is likely to read too much into such manifestations of enthusiasm. The Queen was acclaimed as a Queen; not as the Head of the Commonwealth. in any case, what the Ghanaians feel is not likely to make much impression on Dr. Nkrumah; still less on his henchmen. They are more likely to have been impressed by the first- hand evidence they were given of how a repre- sentative of a popular Fleet Street newspaper obtains his stories. And from that angle. the trip did abbut as much good as most international football matches do to cement friendship be- tween the nations.