876.00 TA/11–851

The Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs ( McGhee ) to the Ambassador in Liberia ( Dudley )1

official  informal
personal  confidential

Dear Ed: I am sure that by the time you receive this letter your buoyant spirit will have rebounded from the rather low point it had reached when you wrote to me on September 26.2

[Here follows a paragraph dealing with personnel matters at the Embassy in Liberia.]

While I feel that we should constantly strive to do a better and better job in all parts of the world, I cannot agree with the sentiment expressed in your letter that Africa is being neglected, and especially Liberia. Few countries in the NEA area, regardless of size and importance, have received more of our attention than has Liberia. I am sure that when you stop to think about it further, you will realize the great amount of personal attention which the problems of Liberia have [Page 1234] received from the level of the Secretary right on down through the Department.3

It is true, as you say, that it has often been difficult to interest good people in assignment to Africa, but any generalization overlooks the fact that we have succeeded in getting many first-rate people to accept assignments in this area. We consider it quite a feather in our cap that we have you as one of our representatives in Africa. Sam Sims, fortunately, is not lost to us but goes to Salisbury to strengthen our field force. In Nicholas Feld, we feel we have a most capable replacement for Sam on the regional desk here in Washington. On the Liberian desk, I would certainly not hesitate to measure Garland Farmer against any of the capable young political desk officers in the Department. Al Bourgerie, in spite of the difficult problems of North Africa, has still found time to give a great deal of his attention to the affairs of Africa South of the Sahara.

For a long time NEA has realized the need for strengthening our posts in Africa South of the Sahara. Unfortunately, the Budget Bureau and Congress, faced with demands for decreasing Government expenditures, have not seen fit to meet our requests for additional personnel. As a matter of fact, we have taken a heavy cut this year. During the past year Al Bourgerie has made strenuous efforts to improve the quality of the personnel assigned to African posts, but many difficulties were encountered. Our North African posts are now well staffed, but we are still not completely satisfied with the situation in your part of the world. You must appreciate, however, that there simply are not a sufficient number of top-notch FSO’s, FSR’s and Staff Corps to meet all the demands of the Service.

I agree that our experience with Consul Generals in Dakar has been unfortunate, but I believe we now have a capable and experienced officer at this post. Bloom is on his way home and the Department is assigning William E. Cole, Jr., a senior FSO–4 with a very good record, to Accra as Consul.

The TCA program, like any new operation, has had its growing pains, but you can rest assured that whenever the Liberian program was involved, Oscar Meier and his people have been on the job to see that Liberia got her share of attention. As a result of this effort, the Liberian TCA program is at this time the most advanced of any in the NEA area.

As you probably know, NEA was given a comparatively small sum of money in 1951 for Point IV assistance to Africa. Since certain ECA funds were available to the DOT’s (See attached statement of ECA Contributions to African Development4), we felt that it was desirable [Page 1235] to allocate the major portion of available funds to the countries of Africa which received no ECA aid, namely, Liberia, Ethiopia, Libya and Eritrea. Small allocations were made to the DOT’s, but only the British evinced any real interest in this program. Belgium, Portugal and France have never concluded a Point IV agreement with this country. In the absence of an agreement no Point IV funds can be made available. As you can appreciate, we cannot force a country to accept Point IV assistance. Under the new arrangement for 1952 all technical assistance to the DOT’s will be handled by ECA.

We have just sent you a cable (Deptel 139, Nov. 25) asking for your recommendations on the 1953 foreign aid program. I am particularly interested in having your views on the last paragraph of this cable. As you know, we tried unsuccessfully last year to get Congress to allow us to use the balance of the harbor funds for replacing the inadequate bridges on the Monrovia–Ganta road. Oscar Meier has suggested that we include the high-type road between the harbor at Monrovia and Roberts Field but I am skeptical of our ability to justify it against other more pressing needs. However, I would be interested in having your suggestions on this or any other projects of this nature.

You speak of the need for a Truslow in Africa. As you know, we have recently enlisted the help of the Budget Bureau in supplying or securing an expert to come to Liberia to set up appropriate budget controls in accordance with the plan communicated to you.

Information selected for inclusion in the “Current Foreign Relations”6 is selected by the Executive Secretariat on the basis of timeliness and current interest. Several articles on North Africa have appeared in this publication, but the volume of “hot news” from Africa South of the Sahara is somewhat limited.

Here in the States we are endeavoring to stimulate more interest in African affairs. This summer a very successful course on Africa was held at Northwestern University. I delivered the opening address7 which has been given wide publicity, and Departmental officers participated in the program. Recently Al Bourgerie and Oscar Meier assisted the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University to set up a two-day Executive Conference on Africa South of the Sahara. About thirty businessmen and some twenty Government officers took part in the meeting which was very [Page 1236] successful. A summary of the Conference is enclosed.8 In addition, AF officers have been participating in round table discussions on Africa in Washington and in other parts of the country.

These examples, I am sure you will agree, prove that we are not neglecting Africa South of the Sahara and the A in NEA remains a capital A in our efforts here.

We are still trying to persuade the Air Force to agree to permit Aero Services to send their Shoran equipment to Liberia. I will write you again on this subject when I have more definite information on the views of the Air Force.

With best personal regards, I remain

Sincerely yours,

George C. McGhee
  1. This letter was drafted by Bourgerie and Meier of NEA/AF and approved by Ford (NEA)
  2. The letter under reference here has not been found.
  3. For documentation on the policies and problems in relations with Liberia, see pp. 1274 ff.
  4. Not found attached to the source text.
  5. Not printed. It requested the Embassy in Liberia to cable a summary of its current recommendations on the 1953 Liberian economic development program. The concluding paragraph of the telegram asked the Embassy’s judgment of Liberia’s ability to sustain the costs of technical assistance. (876.00–TA/11–251)
  6. Current Foreign Relations is a weekly classified journal-type report, prepared in the Policy Reports Staff of the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State, and designed to present articles highlighting current foreign policy problems under consideration in the Department. Current Foreign Relations is widely circulated within the Department of State and to missions abroad.
  7. Regarding the address, delivered on June 27, see the editorial note, p. 1223.
  8. The summary under reference here was not found attached to the source text.