The President of Liberia (Tubman) to President Eisenhower1

Mr. President: I regret exceedingly to have to intrude upon you in these busy moments, as I realize they must be, but please appreciate the fact that I address you because developments in talks going on in Washington by my representatives necessitate my having to do so.

As I had the opportunity of telling you on the morning of the 19th of October, at the stage which development in Liberia has reached it is most urgent, in fact almost inescapable, that long term credit sufficiently large and upon terms of amortization our economy can stand be received, otherwise we would be compelled to cut back to such an extent as would be tragic.

Up to the present we have been unable to obtain an indication of the willingness of the Export Import Bank to extend Liberia a line of credit. Our application indicated the sum of twenty-five million dollars for a term of thirty years at interest rate of 4% for our highway development program.

It is proposed that actual advances would only be made within the limits of this line of credit for specific road projects fully justified by [Page 526] economic and other factors or as may be required and approved by the Bank.

You will appreciate the position in which I would be were I to return home without any definite indication of the accomplishment of this one of the principal purposes of my mission.

We have not overlooked the possibility of the use of private capital in assisting with the financing of our development program. My desire was accentuated when you mentioned that you thought my request for financing should be based on using both means—a public and a private loan.

I have been exploring that possibility but the proposition which I have received so far proved to be both unreasonable and unsatisfactory. It would paralyze our economy. Ambassador Simpson and Attorney General Cassell will explain the nature of the proposals received from the Boston Corporations.

It is desirable to explore possible sources and accept private capitalization for part of our development program but I do not think it wise, from past experiences, to accept terms which not only pose grave economic problems but also that would be against the country’s national solvency and integrity.

We are making every effort and have by adequate legal safeguards endeavored to induce private investment capital to help us exploit our known natural resources. However, the attractiveness and effectiveness of such possibilities depend in a large measure upon the existence of such roads as would make various sections of the country accessible.

May I have the benefit of your kind intervention in the premises before I leave for home on Friday, the 12th instant.

I take this occasion to express my grateful thanks and appreciation to you, Mrs. Eisenhower, the members of your Government and the people of your country for your most kind and gracious reception of me and the members of my party for which we and my fellow countrymen shall ever be grateful.


WM. V. S. Tubman
  1. Tubman arrived in New York on Nov. 9, having cut short his tour of the South. His itinerary had called for him to be in New Orleans on Nov. 6 and 7, and before that in Atlanta.