AF files, lot 56 D 418, “Financial Advisor—Bureau of Budget”

Memorandum of Conversation, by Douglas B. Smith of the Investment and Economic Development Staff



  • Expert to Aid in Drafting Budget Legislation for Liberia


  • Mr. More—Bureau of the Budget
  • AF—Messrs. Meier, Feld, DeGolia, and Farmer
  • TCA—Messrs. Estabrook and Sherman
  • ED—Messrs. Gorlitz and Smith

The meeting was called to consider President Tubman’s request for a fiscal expert, that the Department had proposed, to study and advise on proposed Liberian fiscal management legislation (Embtel 281 from Monrovia, January 25).2 For some time the Department has recognized the need for some type of budgetary control mechanism to fill the vacuum created by the elimination of the Financial Advisor’s office.3 That post had existed only because of the Firestone loan agreement, which was recently paid off by the Liberian Government.

An offer was made several months ago to send a fiscal expert under TCA auspices to survey government financial operations in Liberia (see Deptel 109 to Monrovia, October 4).4 While this offer was not immediately accepted, President Tubman, in his opening message to a joint session of the Liberian legislature on December 14, stated that [Page 483] legislation would be proposed during the session giving the President authority to appoint a financial advisor and a supervisor of revenues who may or may not be Liberians. As a result of this statement Ambassador Dudley was requested to remind Tubman of the offer which had previously been made by the Department (Deptel 203 to Monrovia, January 4).5 In a discussion with the Ambassador, President Tubman agreed to hold off introducing the legislation until a fiscal expert had completed his study.

It was the consensus of the group that the reply from Tubman provided an adequate basis for setting up a TCA project and finding a suitable candidate to make the survey. A formal request for the survey could be obtained when the expert was ready to leave for Liberia.

Several candidates for the post were discussed. It was generally recognized that aside from being knowledgeable in fiscal operations, the person would need to convince President Tubman of the necessity for sound budgetary control, which would of necessity restrict the President’s own freedom in spending government funds.

[Here follows a discussion of possible candidates for the position of Financial Adviser.]

  1. Not printed; it indicated that the effort to get Tubman to agree to the appointment of a “Special Assistant” to the President on financial matters would be suspended pending the outcome of the study of the proposed legislation. (876.10/1–2552)
  2. The Firestone Loan Agreement setting up the position of Financial Adviser as a prerequisite for Liberia securing the funds needed in 1926 stipulated that the person holding the title be nominated by the President of the United States and be acceptable both to Firestone and to the Liberian Government. In August 1951, President Tubman of Liberia indicated to Firestone his desire that the position be abolished since the loan was all but paid up and indeed the outstanding indebtedness was settled in December.
  3. Not printed; it suggested that the Embassy gain Tubman’s approval of the proposal by offering to persuade Firestone to cancel the clause in the Loan Agreement mandating a Financial Adviser. (876.10/9–2851)
  4. Not printed; it stated that if Tubman’s proposal for legislation creating a new Financial Adviser post contemplated accepting the Department’s offer to provide an expert, then the expert should be permitted to complete his study prior to the drafting of the legislation. (876.10/1–452)