776.11/4–354

Memorandum by the Secretary of State to the President

confidential

Subject:

  • Visit of President Tubman of Liberia to the United States; Other Visits of Foreign Officials in 1954 which have either been Approved by you, or which the Department of State intends to Recommend to you at the Appropriate Time.

Ambassador Simpson of Liberia has informed the Department of State that President Tubman is anxious to visit the United States.

Mr. Harvey Firestone has invited President Tubman to be his guest in Akron. Other American business interests are also prepared to entertain President Tubman.1 Civic groups and educational institutions have requested him to address them when he visits the United States.

An overt manifestation of friendship between the United States and Liberia would be timely in view of increasing neutralist and racist tendencies in certain African and Asian areas. This African republic has always been of special interest to the American Negro population,2 as well as to many religious organizations. In addition, numerous individuals have recently been made conscious of Africa’s importance through well-known American publications. A visit by Liberia’s President would serve to affirm publicly the Administration’s interest in Africa and more particularly independent Liberia.

[Page 521]

President Tubman’s party would be small. It is planned to restrict Washington ceremonies to a minimum.

I recommend that President Tubman be invited to Washington for three days as an official guest of the United States Government in the course of his visit to various places in this country. I suggest that the visit take place during the first two weeks of October 1954, the details to be worked out by the Department of State with Firestone and the Liberians.

I enclose for your approval a suggested invitation3 which, if you concur, I shall be glad to deliver on your behalf.

I am also attaching a list of official visits4 planned for 1954 which have been either approved previously by you, or which we intend to recommend to you at an appropriate time as being politically important enough to justify your attention.

John Foster Dulles
  1. Firestone had invited Tubman to visit Akron, and other companies including Farrell Lines, Pan American World Airways, and Republic Steel had recommended an invitation to the Liberian President. Initially, because of a crowded schedule of State visitors, the decision was made to delay such a trip until 1955. However, Firestone approached Vice President Nixon, and domestic political pressures increased to the point that a 1954 visit was thought desirable. (776.11/3–2954 and 776.11/3–2354)
  2. Ambassador Locker had written the Secretary on Jan. 6, 1954 that “an invitation of President Eisenhower to President Tubman would no doubt tend to have our people [the blacks] return to the Republican Party, because they could see first hand the representative of the Republic of Liberia”. (776.11/1–654)
  3. See telegram 85, infra .
  4. Not printed.