Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)
Sir Ronald Campbell came in, at my request.
I referred to the application we now had from the British Government to make the sea plane base in Liberia available to the BOAC flying boats.
I said that we had made landing rights at Roberts Field available to the land planes of the BOAC, on the understanding that they would be used for military purposes only. Nevertheless, it developed that the actual use to which they were put did not conform to our understanding of military use. Many of the passengers were Syrian traders, to whom our own military planes had refused priority, on the ground that they were civilian. I said I did not wish to make this a matter of formal communication, but for Sir Ronald’s convenience would give him a copy of the memorandum covering the facts. I then gave him, in this personal fashion, a copy of the memorandum60 which had been drawn by Mr. Alling, after consultation with Colonel McBride.
I said that I hoped Sir Ronald would tell me whether he considered that flying privilege important. I was frankly unable to see why it was important, in view of the fact that the British had perfectly good landing fields within 175 miles of Monrovia.