The Acting Secretary of State to the Liberian Ambassador ( Simpson )

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of June 12, 1953,1 stating your Government’s views concerning Roberts Field and its importance to the economy of Liberia.

I am pleased to inform you that my Government has decided to continue the operation and maintenance of Roberts Field through June 30, 1954, with Pan American Airways acting as contractor for the United States Government. The intent of my Government is to provide a sufficient interval for the Liberian Government and private interests concerned with Liberia to work out a program for operation and maintenance after June 30, 1954, without cost to the United States Government. Although the responsibility for developing, implementing, and financing a program for such operation after June 30, 1954, rests with your Government and private interests, my Government will be pleased to lend its good offices in the establishment of the program. Pan American Airways is being advised of my Government’s decision and intention.2

You are also informed that, in the interests of safety, my Government considers certain repairs to be necessary at Roberts Field. These repairs would provide Liberia with a serviceable field for a number of years. My Government proposes to make these repairs at its own expense, [Page 515] provided your Government will extend for ten years, from July 1, 1953, the rights granted to the United States in the Defense Areas Agreement signed at Monrovia March 31, 1942. It will be apparent to your Government that such an extension is required as a minimum to justify the expenditures which my Government would incur in making the contemplated repairs. My Government will welcome assurances that this proposal meets with the approval of your Government.

I wish to call your attention to the fact that the foregoing arrangements do not include financing the construction of housing or administration buildings at Roberts Field. In this connection, Pan American Airways has expressed a willingness to share with your Government the costs of constructing the housing facilities which may be essential for continued successful operation of Roberts Field. Representatives of the company will presumably be approaching you regarding arrangements for the construction and operation of such facilities.

Accept [etc.]

Walter B. Smith
  1. Ante, p. 512.
  2. Smith contacted Samuel F. Pryor, Vice President and Assistant to the President of Pan American World Airways, on Aug. 4, 1953. (711.56376/8–453)