The Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs ( McGhee ) to the President of Liberia ( Tubman )1
My Dear Mr. President: It is with deep concern that I write to you personally concerning the present stage of negotiations between our two Governments for loans to undertake certain developmental projects in Liberia.[Page 1290]
You are, of course, conversant with the fact that the Export–Import Bank has approved a $5,000,000 line of credit for road development in Liberia. The Bank has also indicated that it will give careful consideration to your Government’s request for additional loans to finance a water and sewage project for Monrovia, and a hydro-electric project at such time as more detailed technical data is presented to determine more definitely the nature and type of such projects, and their economic feasibility.2
I believe you will agree that this action, together with the results we have achieved with the Technical Assistance Program and Military Training Mission, reflects a spirit of good will on our part, and an honest desire to be of all possible aid to your country consistent with the laws which govern our Executive Departments. As an individual, I can readily appreciate your concern over Monrovia’s need for a water and sewage system. However, when these projects are reviewed by the United States Government, represented in this instance by the Export–Import Bank, the provisions of law laid down by Congress in the granting of financial assistance to another country must be applied. The Export–Import Bank must, therefore, adhere to proper banking principles and must judge each loan application on the basis of adequate technical and economic data to prove the soundness of each project.
In order to do this a wealth of information is required, particularly in cases where highly technical construction is involved. It is solely because of the absence of complete technical and economic data that the Bank is not able, at this time, to render a definite answer on whether or not it will grant loans for the water and sewage and hydro-electric projects.
Finally, let me say that in this matter the United States has only one purpose, namely, to render all possible assistance to help advance the economic welfare of your country. Liberia has a host of good and faithful friends throughout the United States, both official and private, and during my tenure as Assistant Secretary of State, I have not found another example to match the unanimity which your friends display in working for the good of Liberia. For me, as I said in my recent letter to you, it is a source of genuine satisfaction to be able to participate in developments designed to bring about greater progress in Liberia, and I want to reassure you that I will continue to pursue this course.
With kindest personal regards.
This letter was drafted by Sims (NEA/AF) and was cleared by Gorlitz (ED). Telegram 106, February 7, to Monrovia, explained that the letter was to be delivered the following day to President Tubman by Liberian Treasury official Charles Sherman, a member of the Liberian Commission in Washington, who was scheduled to fly to Monrovia to confer with Tubman. (876.10/2–351) In telegram 169, February 13, from Monrovia, Chargé Richardson reported as follows on Tubman’s reaction to the McGhee letter:
“President Tubman very appreciative of letter of Secretary McGhee and of his personal interest. Tubman agrees with everything McGhee says and is answering letter immediately, but he feels US Government approaches matter solely from economic viewpoint while Liberian Government must consider both economic and political viewpoints. He has authorized Liberian Mission sign loan agreement subject to amendments. …”
Richardson concluded his report as follows: “Tubman strongly emphasized he does not want nor expect loan difficulties to affect good relations between US and Liberia.” (876.10/2–1351)↩
- Regarding the Export–Import Bank credit to Liberia, see the editorial note, p. 1285.↩