Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Messersmith)
I called this morning on Senator Pittman and called to his attention the approval by the President of the letter which Mr. Welles, the Under Secretary, addressed to him on April 30, 1938, recommending that Liberia be added to the areas to which civilian officers of our Government can be assigned under certain circumstances. I told the Senator that the bill permitting the detail of civilian officers to Latin America and the Philippines had already passed the House and, as he knew, had been reported by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to the Senate favorably in the same form that it had passed the House. We knew he and the Committee had been giving careful thought to this bill and so many changes had already been made in it that we hesitated to ask him to do more. I gave him, however, the reasons why the President and the Department would favor the inclusion of Liberia.[Page 792]
The Senator said that he quite understood and that he thought the bill would come up in the Senate today and be passed without difficulty. He said he would try to have it amended on the floor of the Senate to include Liberia, but if he saw that the amendment would prejudice the passage of the bill he would withdraw it. I told him this would be quite satisfactory and that we appreciated what he planned to do and had already done.
I have since heard from the Senator later this afternoon that the bill has passed the Senate and that the amendment to include Liberia was offered on the floor and the bill as passed includes this amendment.
As the Senate bill as passed now differs from the House bill as passed, in that the House bill does not include Liberia, the bill will have to go to conference. I am making the necessary arrangements with Mr. May, the chairman of the House Committee on Military Affairs, and I do not anticipate any difficulties in securing a final conference report and the approval of this report by both houses.