Memorandum by the Secretary of State to the President 1


Memorandum for the President

Subject: Liberian Commission

With reference to my memorandum of October 182 there follows a summary of our position on the question of furnishing Liberia some military assistance in the form of a very modest program of military aid, primarily through the provision of a limited number of instructor personnel to reorganize and train the Liberian military force for much-needed internal security.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff have rendered a decision, in which the Secretary of Defense concurs, that it could be in the national defense [Page 1733] interest of the United States, particularly if political considerations so warrant, to provide Liberia with such military assistance.3 The Department is satisfied that ample political justification does exist to assist Liberia to reorganize and train its present military force for internal security.

In order that we may furnish, without cost to Liberia, a small training mission for a period not to exceed three years, it will be necessary for you to grant approval for such a mission under the provisions of 10 USC 540, which authorizes you upon application, during war or national emergency, to detail military personnel to a foreign government which you deem it in the interest of national defense to assist in military matters. It is estimated that the annual cost of this mission will be about $50, 000. Mr. Pace4 has informed the Department that subject to fiscal arrangements the Department of the Army is agreeable to move ahead on this matter.

If you are in accord with the foregoing and so approve a small military training mission for Liberia, it is suggested that you make the announcement to the Liberian Commission during its visit with you that subject to fiscal arrangements to be worked out we will provide Liberia with a small military training mission.

In connection with the foregoing it should be noted that Liberia can now be made eligible to receive military equipment on a reimbursable basis under the provisions of the Mutual Defense Assistance Act of 1949 but that, even on this basis only small amounts of light military equipment can be made available unless it were at the expense of other much higher priority military assistance programs.

Dean Acheson
  1. The source text bears President Truman’s handwritten endorsement “Approved 10/19/50 Harry Truman”.

    Under cover of a brief letter to Secretary of Defense Marshall on October 27, not printed, Deputy Under Secretary of State H. Freeman Matthews transmitted a copy of this memorandum as approved by the President with the request that the Department of State be advised when the Department of Defense was ready to proceed with the establishment of a military mission to Liberia (776.58/10–1850). Discussions regarding the agreement for the establishment of a military training mission to advise the Liberian Government got under way in December. Regarding the formal signing of the agreement on January 11, 1951, see the editorial note, p. 1735.

  2. Supra.
  3. See the letter of October 18 from the Secretary of Defense to the Secretary of State, p. 1730.
  4. Frank Pace, Jr., Secretary of the Army.