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The end of the British empire - Ghana
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Extract from a 1956 secret government report on independence for the Gold Coast (Ghana)
(Catalogue ref: PREM 11/1367)
SECRET

MEMORANDUM
THE GOLD COAST


The Secretary of State for the Colonies will shortly announce the intention of the United Kingdom Government to introduce into Parliament at the first available opportunity a Gold Coast Independence Bill and, subject to Parliamentary approval, to accord the Gold Coast independence within the Commonwealth on 6th March, 1957.

2. The events leading up to this announcement stem from the statement made on 11th May, 1956, in which the Colonial Secretary said that if a general election were held in the Gold Coast the United Kingdom Government would be prepared to accept a motion calling for independence within the Commonwealth passed by a reasonable majority in the newly elected legislature, and then to declare a firm date for the attainment of independence within the Commonwealth.

3. The Legislative Assembly in the Gold Coast was dissolved on 5th June and a general election was held on 12th and 17th July. As a result Dr. Mkrumah's [sic] Party (the Convention People's Party) was returned to power with only a slightly reduced majority. They hold 72 of the 104 seats in the new Legislative Assembly, i.e. over two-thirds of the total.

4. The new Legislative Assembly was opened on 31st July and on 3rd August a motion in the following terms was passed by 72 votes to none, the opposition members being absent:-
That this Assembly do authorise the Government of the Gold Coast to request Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom as soon as practicable this year to procure the enactment by the United Kingdom Parliament of an Act to provide for the independence of the Gold Coast as a Sovereign and independent State within the Commonwealth under the name of Ghana.
5. The conditions attached to the Colonial Secretary's under-taking of 11th May have thus been fulfilled. The Gold Coast has enjoyed an advanced state of constitution since 1951, and something amounting very nearly to full internal self-government since 1954. The United Kingdom Government are confident that the time has now come for the final step.

6. The Gold Coast Government are aware that there is insufficient time this year to complete the legislative action and other formal steps which will be necessary, and despite the wording of the motion they are not expected to object should independence be deferred until the early months of 1957. In fact it has long been understood that the date of 6th March (which is the anniversary of the signing of the Bond of 1844 from which British power and jurisdiction are generally derived) would be particularly acceptable to local opinion.
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