The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Air Force (Symington)


My Dear Mr. Secretary: The Department of State has received from Pan American World Airways, Inc. a copy of their letter to you dated January 26, 1950 setting forth several proposals for improving the facilities at Roberts Field in Liberia, with particular reference to the need for improving the road which connects Roberts Field with the City of Monrovia.1

The Department supports the proposal to reconstruct the road between Roberts Field and Monrovia. The Department has long regarded the maintenance of Roberts Field as being in the national interest, and an important factor in our political relations with Liberia. In support of its position the Department stretched its own appropriation to keep Roberts Field from falling into disrepair at a time when all financial support was withdrawn from other sources.

Today, with the completion of the modern seaport at Monrovia, which is under United States ownership, and the financial support which the Department of the Air Force is providing for the maintenance of Roberts Field, there appears to be good justification for reconstructing the road connecting these two facilities. Apart from the military advantages of linking the air base with the seaport, which can best be judged by the Department of the Air Force, the paving of this road would greatly advance Liberia’s economic development, thereby adding considerable impetus to our official policy of assisting Liberia economically. Further, our role as the operator [Page 1717] of Roberts Field, where we enjoy military and civil air rights, would be immeasurably strengthened.2

Sincerely yours,

Dean Acheson
  1. Regarding the letter under reference here, see footnote 1, p. 1710.
  2. On March 11 Secretary Symington replied to the Secretary of State that the Air Force recognized the desirability of the reconstruction of the Roberts Field-Monrovia road but could not embark upon the project because of the current limitation in construction funds. Symington said that the project would be considered by the Air Force in future programs (976.524/3–1150).