The Acting Secretary of the Treasury (Lowman) to the Secretary of State94

Dear Mr. Secretary: I desire to invite your attention to the assignment by the Public Health Service of Surgeon Howard F. Smith to Monrovia for the purpose of acting as the Chief Medical Adviser to the Liberian Government in connection with the control of yellow fever in that country. The detail of Dr. Smith to this duty was approved by the President on December 5, 1929, and Dr. Smith arrived in Monrovia, Liberia, on January 20, 1930. He was presented to His Excellency, the President of Liberia, on January 24th and took up the duties of Chief Medical Adviser on the following day.

Prior to Dr. Smith’s assignment to Liberia, an agreement was negotiated with that country by the State Department95 in which Dr. Smith was promised financial and legal support for the work he was to do in Liberia. Reports have been received by the Public Health Service from Dr. Smith which clearly indicate that the Liberian Government has failed to keep its agreement and is not furnishing the necessary financial support to continue the work in a satisfactory manner. Furthermore, it is obvious from the reports submitted by Dr. Smith that the work he is doing is not receiving the sympathetic support of the Liberian Government; nor is that Government giving any legal authority to Dr. Smith to enforce the necessary sanitary regulations in Monrovia.

The character of work done by Dr. Smith in Monrovia since his arrival there last January clearly indicates the feasibility of the control of yellow fever in Monrovia, and also shows the possibility of reducing the death rate and greatly improving the sanitary conditions in Monrovia. It seems to this Department that Dr. Smith has fulfilled his mission to Liberia in demonstrating the practicability of sanitary control, but in view of the fact that the Liberian Government apparently does not care to continue the work on a satisfactory basis, it is requested that arrangements be made by the State Department with the Liberian Government for the immediate release of Dr. Smith. The Public Health Service urgently needs every one of its experienced officers to carry on the many functions of the Public Health Service. [Page 421] There does not seem to be sufficient justification for continuing Dr. Smith on duty in Monrovia in view of the attitude of the Government of that country.


S. Lowman
  1. Delivered by the Assistant Surgeon General on August 13, 1930.
  2. For memorandum agreement of 1929, see Foreign Relations, 1929, vol. iii, p. 324.