Memorandum for the Record by Robert Cutler, Special Assistant to the President

top secret

I discussed with the President the question of keeping Roberts Field in Liberia in operation beyond July 1, 1953 on the basis of the information set forth in the papers furnished by the State Department and the Air Force supplemented by my conversation with Messrs. Smith, Kyes, Talbott and Byroade.

It was the President’s view that we should not, under existing circumstances, give up Roberts Field, and that (a) Roberts Field should be kept in operation for a further year, (b) that the $800,000 estimated in Colonel Hipps’ Memorandum of June 26 for major maintenance [Page 514] and operation for Fiscal Year 1954 should be expended,1 (c) that, during the year’s interval thus provided, a program should be worked out under which private interests concerned in Liberia would carry forward without cost to the Government the maintenance and operation of Roberts Field at a nominal rent after June 30, 1954.

As we were concluding our conversation, Messrs. Smith and Kyes, came into the room and a further discussion ensued along the above lines in which they participated.

I communicated the foregoing information to Colonel Hipps for Secretary Talbott.

I am forwarding the file of papers furnished to me by Secretary Talbott’s office to the Under Secretary of State with the original of this Memorandum. Copies of this Memorandum are being sent to Secretary Talbott and to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kyes.

Robert Cutler
  1. Not printed; it presented the opinion of Col. William G. Hipps, the Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, that for fiscal year 1955 and thereafter the maintenance cost would be $260,000 a year. (711.56376/6–2953)