50. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter1


  • Presidential Commission on U.S.–Liberian Relations (C)

In keeping with your initiative during your meeting with President Tolbert on October 2,2 and based upon recommendations from State, we propose the appointment of a nine-person Presidential Commission on U.S.–Liberian relations. (C)

The objectives of the Commission would be to assess our overall relationship with Liberia, to identify problems and constraints, and to develop new approaches to strengthening the ties between us, with proper note of your caveat against simply recommending increased aid. (C)

The Commission should be appointed by early November, should meet in Washington to initiate preliminary work by mid-November, and should spend about 10 days in Liberia in early January, and report to you in February.3 (C)

The appointees should include the following: an agricultural economist, a University President, an African political specialist, a developmental economist, a labor specialist, a businessman, a banker, a Congressman, and a representative of the American Black Community. (C)

The Commission should travel to Liberia in a special Air Force plane in order to emphasize the importance you attach to it. (C)

Should you concur with this general approach, we will give to you a list of recommended individuals covering each category later this week, together with appropriate documents to bring the Commission into existence. (C)

RECOMMENDATION: That you approve the establishment of the Presidential Commission on U.S.–Liberian relations as outlined above. (C) Arnie Miller concurs.4

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 48, Liberia 12/79–1/81. Confidential. Sent for action. Carter initialed the memorandum.
  2. See Document 49.
  3. In telegram 115972 to Monrovia, May 2, 1980, the Department explained that the Presidential Commission on U.S.-Liberian Relations would not visit Monrovia due to the change in government. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800218–0544)
  4. Carter checked the “Approve” option and wrote “Include Editor James Wall Christian Century. J.”