110.15 MC/4–2450

Memorandum Prepared by the Department of State1


Visit to Liberia of Assistant Secretary George C. McGhee, February 21–25, 1950

Mr. McGhee’s visit to Liberia afforded him an excellent opportunity to meet President Tubman and his Cabinet, and to observe the activities in which our Government has been and is currently engaged in helping to improve Liberia’s economy. Mr. McGhee was most favorably impressed by President Tubman’s earnest efforts to improve the lot of his people. He seems to be a natural leader, able and extremely popular.

There are no doubts whatever regarding the friendship of President Tubman and the Liberian people for the United States. Mr. McGhee emphasized to the President our awareness of the favored position we enjoy in Liberia, and expressed the strong hope that this relationship will grow stronger. President Tubman assured him that he felt the same way.

We can take a great deal of pride in the modern port and port works which we recently constructed in Liberia with a $20,000,000 Lend-Lease loan. Mr. McGhee observed that our Economic Mission (staffed by American White and Negro technicians) and our Public Health Mission (staffed by American Negroes) have done notable work in furnishing Liberia much needed technical assistance. The accomplishments of these two Missions are excellent indications of what might be achieved under the proposed Point Four Program.

Mr. McGhee discussed with President Tubman the proposed Five-Year Development Program for Liberia drawn up by our Economic Mission. It is believed that we will soon be faced with deciding whether we should grant Liberia some type of long-term loan for much needed public utility projects, as proposed in this program. Liberia cannot [Page 1716] receive benefits under the European Recovery Program, although its neighbors, the French and British colonial territories, are recipients of such aid.

In response to President Tubman’s request for military assistance in the form of a United States training mission, Mr. McGhee promised that steps would be taken to make available a reserve army officer who would, at Liberia’s expense, conduct a survey of Liberia’s military training needs. (Colonel West A. Hamilton, Negro Reserve Officer, has subsequently gone to Liberia for this purpose.)

Mr. McGhee was most favorably impressed with Ambassador Dudley and is convinced that he is doing an excellent job as our diplomatic representative in Liberia.

  1. The first draft of this memorandum, prepared in the Office of Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs in the form of a memorandum from the Secretary of State to the president, was submitted to the Secretary on April 24. In the form printed here, a revision prepared in cooperation with the Executive Secretariat, this memorandum was transmitted to President Truman by Secretary Acheson on May 9 for the information of the President.

    Assistant Secretary of State McGhee arrived in Monrovia on February 21, was received by President Tubman and Liberian Secretary of State Gabriel L. Dennis on February 22, subsequently luncheoned at the Presidential residence and met with other officials of the Liberian Government, visited several Liberian agricultural projects on February 24, and departed on February 25. No other records have been found of Assistant Secretary McGhee’s meetings with Liberian officials.