882.24/23: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Liberia (Wharton)

51. Department’s 48, March 11, 10 p.m.45 For McBride.46 The President on March 11 found the defense of Liberia vital to the defense of the United States and, upon compliance with the formalities described below, Liberia will be entitled to receive Lend-Lease aid. For the present it is considered advisable to keep this development secret, and you are requested to see that no announcement on the subject is made in Monrovia.

Before any transactions can take place through the Lend-Lease Administration, the Liberian Government is required by the provisions of the Lend-Lease Act47 to make certain standard representations regarding transfer of title and use of defense articles and the protection of American patent rights. Moreover, the transaction of Lend-Lease business would be greatly expedited if an official in the United States is authorized by the Liberian Government to sign requisitions and other papers. It is suggested therefore that the Liberian Consul General in New York48 should be given authority as the proper person to perform these acts.

For signing the standard form of representations above mentioned, it will be sufficient if the Department and the Liberian Consul General are notified by telegraph of the Liberian Government’s willingness to have Mr. Walker serve in the absence of a diplomatic officer. For the other purposes we should receive by mail from President Barclay a letter addressed to the President certifying that Walker is a duly authorized representative of the Republic of Liberia in securing and receiving aid from the United States or from any agency or instrumentality thereof under the Lend-Lease Act of March 11, 1941, and that he has the necessary power to make the commitments required of Liberia by Sections 4 and 7 of the Act. At the same time, Walker should be notified by telegraph of the authority thus conferred on him.

The extension of credit in the sum of 1 million dollars is thus provided for Liberia in accordance with our undertaking to President Barclay. Of this amount, 200,000 dollars will be utilized immediately by the Ferrying Command in supervising the construction of essential access roads; 150,000 dollars will be available for the needs of the frontier force; and the remainder may be utilized for further [Page 405] development of the road and defense program. In addition Liberia will be eligible for the various forms of aid which may be supplied under the provisions of the Lease-Lend Act, subject to requisition and proof that the needs are for defense purposes. A copy of the Act is being forwarded for the information of the Legation.

Captain Nabors has now completed his course at Fort Benning and will be prepared next week to confer with the War Department on the most appropriate expenditure of the 150,000 dollars for the frontier force.

  1. Ante, p. 367.
  2. Harry A. McBride, Special Representative of President Roosevelt in Liberia.
  3. Approved March 11, 1941; 55 Stat. 31.
  4. Walter F. Walker.