The Consul at Brazzaville (Taylor) to the Secretary of State

No. 70

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegraphic despatches Nos. 92 of August 21, 1942 and 131 of September 12, 194240 and my despatches Nos. 36, July 27, 1942, 41, August 10, 1942, 56, September 10, 194241 and 58, September 11, 1942, concerning the American airport at Pointe-Noire.

General Fitzgerald, in charge of operations in Central Africa, visited Brazzaville today with Mr. Burnham, Director of Socony-Vacuum at Leopoldville. A conference was arranged with M. Laurentie, Secretary-General, with regard to paragraph nine of the agreement reported in my despatch No. 58, of September 11, 1942. The paragraph states that the Administration agrees to the installation of gasoline tanks and pipe lines at Pointe-Noire under terms to be agreed upon by the Fighting French authorities and the Socony-Vacuum. Mr. Burnham, supported by General Fitzgerald, requested that provisions concerning the disposition of the equipment after the war be included in the agreement. M. Laurentie and Colonel Carretier, Chief of the Fighting French Air Force, agreed that there was no authority in French Equatorial Africa capable of assuming the responsibility for such an agreement. M. Laurentie stated that the Americans were authorized to install, use and supervise their equipment at Pointe-Noire during hostilities. Any agreement that went beyond that would have to be made by the National Committee at London.

M. Laurentie produced a telegram received from London which was a copy of instructions to the Fighting French Delegation in New York. The instructions authorized the installation at Pointe-Noire, giving details of buildings, equipment and personnel anticipated. The last paragraph states that all equipment will revert to the French State without cost at the end of hostilities.

I have been informed by representatives of the American Army that the installation at Pointe-Noire is not indispensable to the proper functioning of the southern flight route. If the conditions imposed by the National Committee are too severe for acceptance it would be possible to move the coastal base to Boma or another place in the Belgian Congo. The Pointe-Noire base has already been divested of much of its utility since the hospital and post office have been transferred to Leopoldville. Pointe-Noire will be [Page 589]used as a refueling depot for planes which are unable to reach Leopoldville without refueling.

A few changes have been made in the draft of the local agreement concerning Pointe-Noire. A copy of the final draft is enclosed with this despatch.

Respectfully yours,

Laurence W. Taylor

Memorandum of Agreement

Contracting Parties:

The Government General of French Equatorial Africa.

The Army of the United States of America.

Scope of Agreement:

The construction and maintenance of buildings and facilities necessary to the operation of the air base at Pointe-Noire including accommodations for the American troops to be stationed there.

Points of Agreement:

The Port authorities at Pointe-Noire undertake to grant first priority for the disembarkation of troops and baggage.
Priority will be granted for the discharge of war materials at Pointe-Noire as far as possible and in agreement with the British authorities concerned.
The right of requisition of supplies available at Pointe-Noire is granted to the American Forces in emergency cases only and on condition that they be replaced as soon as possible.
All supplies and equipment destined for the American Forces will be granted free entry. Such information as the customs authorities may desire concerning such supplies will be furnished on request.
Authority is given to install one 10 KW radio station and one 300 watt radio station.
Authority is given to build a new runway 1750 mts. long and diagonal to the present runway.
The control of the air field will be in the hands of the American Aviation Authorities and will include the control of the landing, distribution and taking off of all planes. The Chief of the base will be a French Officer who will be appointed to assist American authorities and act to permit or deny the use of the field to planes of neutral or friendly countries other than those of the United States and to have control of all French Military air operations. It is understood that tactical operations will have priority on the field.
Sufficient ground adjacent to the air field will be granted to the United States Army for the purpose of constructing buildings for housing personnel and for the storage of equipment.
Authority is granted for the installation of gasoline storage tanks and necessary pipe lines. The installation will be constructed, managed and subsequently leased to a contractor selected by the United States. Under the terms of the lease to be agreed upon between the Government General of French Equatorial Africa and the contracting party, all installations will remain the property of the United States during the period of hostilities. The contractor shall have the right to sublease any or all installations upon thirty (30) days notification in writing. Final disposition of all installations will be the subject of further negotiations between the two countries.
September, 1942 For the Government General of French Equatorial Africa.
September, 1942 For the Army of the United States of America.
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Despatch No. 56 not printed.