711.56376/4–1753

The Acting Secretary of Defense ( Kyes ) to the President

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Dear Mr. President: I refer to the letter, dated 30 December 1952, from the Secretary of Defense to the President, with respect to the operation and maintenance of Roberts Field, Liberia, by the United States Air Force. This letter stated that while the plans of the Air Force and the Joint Chiefs of Staff for years subsequent to Fiscal Year 1953 did not indicate military requirements which would justify the maintenance of Roberts Field, studies by the Air Force were then under way which might result in a change in that position.

The studies referred to have now been completed. The Air Force has determined that there are no military requirements for Roberts Field which would justify the expenditure of appropriated military funds subsequent to Fiscal Year 1953 for the maintenance of Roberts Field. Accordingly, the Air Force does not wish to continue its contract with the Pan American World Airways for the maintenance and operation of Roberts Field after 30 June 1953. This question has been considered in my office in the light of a letter from Mr. Matthews, Deputy Under Secretary of State, dated 2 March 1953,1 to the Department of Defense, concerning certain political aspects of this problem which could seriously affect the interests of the United States in West Africa. A copy of this letter is inclosed.

As a result of conferences between the State and Defense Departments, my Department does not consider that political considerations are so compelling as to justify the use of military funds for continuing operation of the field when there is no military requirement.

I am informing the Department of State of the position of the Department of Defense on this matter.

With great respect [etc.]

Faithfully yours,

Roger M. Kyes