The Liberian Consul General at New York (Walker) to the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)
[Received September 21.]
My Dear Mr. Berle: Acknowledgement is made of the Department of State’s letter of September 16, 1943, in reply to mine of September 1, with reference to the transfer by the Government of the United States to the account of the Liberian Government of certain funds provided for transfer under provisions of the Lend-Lease Agreement [Page 671]between the two governments as signed in Monrovia, Liberia, March 31, 1942.
It is noted the Department’s understanding is that the commitments made by the Government of the United States in this Agreement do not cover the advance of funds to the Liberian Government for the maintenance of the Liberian Frontier Force, which understanding is based upon reference to Paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 of the confidential letter from Colonel H. A. McBride to President Barclay of Liberia on March 31, 1942,17 said letter being explanatory of Article V. of the Agreement as signed on behalf of the two Governments at Monrovia on the same day.
While the Department’s understanding of this matter is apparently supported by the above references, I am of the opinion that a liberal interpretation of Article V., as well as of the paragraphs contained in Mr. McBride’s letter as quoted, would, at the same time, also admit that financial advances for the Liberian Frontier Force were intended, particularly as the increased Force contemplated at the time was evidently expected to provide an auxiliary organization for defense purposes, and, also, as no provision for the cost of this increased Force has been included in the budget of the Government.
Article V. of the Agreement states that the Government of the United States undertakes to extend to the Government of Liberia, among other things, “certain monetary aids for defense purposes”. Paragraphs of Mr. McBride’s letter cites that the extension of a credit of $800,000.00 would be for the purpose of “assisting in the road construction and defense program of Liberia”. It would thus appear that the defense program anticipated the necessity of allocating at least a portion of this credit to the cost of personnel payment of an expanded Frontier Force considered necessary for defense purposes.
The text of Paragraph 4, above referred to, does not indicate that the entire credit of $800,000.00 must be wholly applied to road construction, hence the Government of Liberia has deemed it proper and justifiable to request the Government of the United States for the extension of at least $150,000.00 of this credit for the purposes as stated. President Barclay was of this opinion when he empowered me to represent the Government of Liberia in all matters pertaining to the securing and receiving of lend-lease aid under the Agreement as signed. Embodied in the instructions and directions of the President is the following:
“As you know the Government of the United States, in consideration of certain assistance of a military character afforded it by this Government, [Page 672]has set up a credit of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) which the Liberian Government may make use of in the manner following:
- Approximately $150,000 for the payment locally of an increased Frontier Force;
- Approximately $200,000 to be expended by the United States War Department in the construction of an access road between the Roberts Field Airport and Fisherman Lake;
- Approximately $600,000 for the construction of permanent roads, such construction to be performed under a contract which would be granted to an American firm considered competent for the purpose by the United States War Department, employing the machinery which has been used in the construction of Roberts Field Airport and which will be turned over for the construction of Liberian Roads;
- The remainder to be used for further equipment of the Frontier Force for such items as uniforms, housing, sustenance, et cetera, and for improving radio communication.
In view of the above understanding of President Barclay transmitted by his letter of November 10, 1942,17a and in view, also, of the fact that the Government has proceeded with organization of an increased Frontier Force on the strength of this understanding, it is hoped that the Department’s review of this matter may result in an acceptance of the request of the Liberian Government for the transfer of funds in question as having been made within the scope of the Agreement.