AF files, lot 56 D 412, “Ambassador Dudley—1949–1952”

Memorandum, by the Officer in Charge of West, Central, and East Africa Affairs ( Feld ) to Leo G. Cyr of the Office of African Affairs


  • Consultation of Ambassador Edward R. Dudley

In connection with the arrival on consultation of Ambassador Dudley, who is expected in Washington about June 11, since he holds reservations for the plane leaving Liberia on June 9, the following are the principal problems AF will want to discuss with the Ambassador:

The renegotiation upward of the royalty rate on Bomi Hills iron ore. On June 2, 1952, representatives of the Liberia Mining Company, including a member of the Board of Directors from Republic Steel, a majority stockholder, left for Liberia to open these negotiations. The Ambassador will be able to bring us up-to-date on developments in this regard and we in turn can then, in consultation with him, formulate the Department’s position.
The Ambassador’s counsel should be sought on the whole question of relations between the Interdepartmental Port Management Committee and the directors of the Monrovia Port Management Company,1 [Page 484] a matter which has caused so much difficulty during the past year or so. The Ambassador has been furnished with a complete file of the Committee’s minutes and documents and will, therefore, be in possession of the necessary background. If possible, the next meeting of the Committee should be held while the Ambassador is in Washington on consultation so that he can attend, and address the Committee.
The Ambassador’s views should also be sought on the results of the recent negotiations between Larabee 2 and the Liberian Government with respect to the formal demands made on the Firestone Plantations Corporation for payment on income tax on earnings for November and December, 1951.
The whole question of the meteorological services for Roberts Field resulting from the recent refusal of the British at Accra to continue to furnish forecasts for Pan-Am planes should be thoroughly discussed and explored, particularly the proposal that the Air Force be asked to furnish temporary meteorologists, while TCA endeavors to set up a long-term project to train Liberians to take over this function, which is an international obligation of the Republic of Liberia with ICAO.3
The Ambassador’s views regarding recent Liberian moves in the banking, fiscal and budgetary field should be obtained, and particularly his report on the mission of Mr. Steadman, Controller of the State of Michigan, who arrived in Liberia on May 31, 1952, with Oscar Meier, to do a preliminary survey on Liberia’s budgetary and fiscal needs.4
Recently the Export-Import Bank has expressed dissatisfaction with the Liberian Government’s proposal to alter previous agreements to build about 400 miles of serviceable roads under the $5,000,000 Eximbank loan for public highways and instead to build about 100 miles of “super highways” in the vicinity of Monrovia.5 The Bank also points out that the Liberians, who apparently feel that the Bank has not kept its agreement because it has declined to allocate funds to certain Liberian requests, have failed to properly certify requests for funds. The Bank is dealing directly with the Liberian Embassy but the Department, before Ambassador Dudley’s departure, brought the matter to his attention and requested him to be prepared to discuss it when he arrived in Washington on consultation.
The whole question of TCA activities and problems in Liberia and the working of the Joint Commission should be thoroughly discussed, [Page 485] particularly the appointment of the new TCO, Mr. Davis,6 who is awaiting clearance. The Ambassador’s views on this subject should be obtained.
Finally, the Ambassador has been furnished with a preliminary draft of the proposed new Defense Areas Agreement with Liberia, and his views regarding the probable attitude of the Liberians towards the more controversial articles, such as the articles on claims, jurisdiction, civil aviation, etc. would be very helpful in connection with negotiations with the Air Force and other interested government divisions and agencies, in order to obtain clearance of a final draft which the Ambassador could use in subsequent negotiations with the Liberians for a new agreement. Provided the related meteorological and Air Force-PanAm contractual problems are worked out, there is some urgency in getting a final draft cleared as soon as possible so that negotiations can begin with the Liberians without delay when the Ambassador returns to his post.
Certain other miscellaneous matters, such as the Ambassador’s personal plans, staff and administrative problems at the Embassy, etc., will also probably come up for discussion.

  1. Those holding stock in the Port Management Company, Ltd. included: Farrell Lines, the Mississippi Shipping Company, Firestone, Socony Vacuum, the Texas Company, the Liberia Company, the Liberian Mining Company, and the Liberian Government. For more information in regard to the Free Port of Monrovia, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. v, pp. 1274 ff.
  2. Byron H. Larabee, Vice President of the Firestone Plantations Company.
  3. On approximately Apr. 14, 1952, the British and the French ceased to provide meteorological forecasts to Roberts Field from Accra and Dakar, respectively, thus compelling Pan American World Airways to suspend its northbound flights for a time after May 11.
  4. Robert Steadman was the budget expert who was detailed to deal with the problems discussed in the memorandum of conversation by Douglas B. Smith, supra . Oscar Meier was the Director of African Operations for the Technical Cooperation Administration (TCA).
  5. For further information concerning this loan, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. v, p. 1282.
  6. John Warren Davis officially took over as TCA country director in Liberia on Nov. 3, 1952 to supervise Point Four operations.