Editorial Note

A Liberian Commission, composed of Liberian Secretary of State Gabriel L. Dennis, Liberian Attorney General C. Abayomi Cassell, and Liberian Treasury Economist Charles B. Sherman (later joined by Liberian Secretary of Public Works and Utilities Henry B. Duncan) visited Washington from October 1950 to February 1951. The Commission carried on negotiations during this period with United States officials in seeking American assistance for a Liberian long-range development program. The Liberian Commission also sought to obtain some form of military assistance from the United States.

The negotiations between the Liberian Commission and officials of the United States Government resulted in the conclusion in Washington on December 22, 1950, of a general agreement with Liberia for technical cooperation under the Point Four Program and a memorandum of understanding providing for the establishment of a Joint Commission on Economic Development to survey the resources of Liberia and plan and advise on the Point Four Program for Liberia. In announcing the agreements, the Department of State explained that the Liberian Government would contribute 20 percent of its national revenue toward the cost of the program. It was estimated that the contribution would average about $1 million per year. The annual rate of spending by the United States for the program of technical assistance was expected to reach $850,000 by June 1951. For the lengthy statement issued by the Department of State at the time of the signing of the agreements, see Department of State Bulletin, January 1, 1951, page 27. The Joint Commission met for the first time on March 1, 1951 in Monrovia and frequently thereafter. It was chaired by Liberian Secretary of the Treasury William E. Dennis and included the following Liberian Government officials: Attorney General, Secretary of Public Instruction, Secretary of Public Works and Utilities, Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce, Economic Adviser (Charles Sherman), and the Director of Public Health and Sanitation. The United States representation on the Joint Commission was headed by [Page 1275] the Officer in Charge of the United States Embassy and also included C. Reed Hill, the Technical Cooperation Officer in Liberia, James H. Rives, Public Works Adviser, Frank E. Pinder, Agricultural Adviser, and Colonel Hildrus A. Poindexter, Adviser to the Bureau of Public Health and Sanitation. Documentation on the technical cooperation program in Liberia, including records of the meetings of the Joint Commission, is included in file 876.00–TA.

An agreement to provide a United States Military Training Mission to serve in Liberia was signed by Secretary of State Acheson and Liberian Secretary of State Dennis on January 11, 1951. The purpose of the mission was to assist the military authorities of Liberia in the training and organization of the Liberian armed forces in order to increase the internal security of Liberia. For a statement issued to the press in connection with the signing of the agreement, see Department of State Bulletin, January 22, 1951, page 151. For the text of the agreement, see 2 UST (pt, 1)1. The United States Military Training Mission for Liberia reached Monrovia on August 27, 1951. It was composed of Lieutenant Colonel Raymond E. Contee, Major Leo W. Gibbons, and Major Henry T. Morgan and a staff of noncommissioned officers. Documentation on the Military Mission is included in file 776.58.

For documentation on the negotiations leading to the conclusion of the December 21, 1950 and January 11, 1951 agreements, see Foreign Relations, 1950, volume V, pages 1706 ff.