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status of Liberia and that American military personnel would of course be withdrawn from Liberia as soon as the emergency had passed. We would envisage implementing the plan by sending to Liberia at an early date a small force of say 500 United States Marines, who would prepare the way for the construction of the air base. Necessary details, including assurances with respect to full recognition of Liberian sovereignty and regarding the withdrawal of troops upon the termination of the emergency, could be worked out subsequently. These arrangements might well be along the lines of those which have been made in regard to the establishment of American bases in British territories in the Western Hemisphere.

The President attaches the utmost importance to the establishment of the proposed base and you will therefore spare no effort in endeavoring to induce President Barclay to make a request in the sense desired. In view of the need for absolute secrecy you will refrain from discussing the matter with anyone except President Barclay.


811.34582/6: Telegram

The Minister in Liberia (Walton) to the Secretary of State

MONROVIA, June 25, 1941–5 p.m.

[Received June 26–6 a. m.] 62. Department's No. 37, June 21, 3 p. m. President Barclay has favorably received suggestion. Before committing himself he requests clarification :

1. Regarding withdrawal of troops upon termination of emergency. He feels there should be a full definition of the term “emergency”.

2. President Barclay's only information with respect to arrangements made in British territories in Western Hemisphere has been from radio broadcasts and desires to be more fully apprised.

3. Is the sending of Marines essential for the preparation of air base as might likely be established.

4. Question as to location of air base or bases should be fixed in advance.

President Barclay posed the question: If America eventually became a belligerent would it involve a departure from Liberian neutrality or would arrangements be similar to those regarding British naval bases in Egypt? President Barclay's attitude toward Marines can be attributed to reports of alleged reprehensible conduct in Central America.

My conviction is that all points can be settled to the mutual satisfaction of the two Governments.


811.34582/6: Telegram The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Liberia (Walton)

WASHINGTON, June 30, 1941–9 p. m. 40. Your 62, June 25, 5 p. m. Please express to President Barclay the President's sincere appreciation of his friendly understanding of our suggestions.

In reply to the various questions which President Barclay has raised you may offer the following clarifications:

1. We would propose that the end of the emergency" should be considered to be the date of the ratification of a peace treaty terminating the war in which Germany is now engaged.

2. Arrangements with Great Britain regarding bases in British territories in the Western Hemisphere cover such matters as a general description of our rights in those bases, jurisdiction over American military personnel, etc. The text of the agreement with Great Britain will be found beginning on page 387 of the Department of State Bulletin for March 29, 1941, a copy of which you have presumably received. The proposed arrangement with Liberia need not of course be in such detail.

3. The sending of marines would be a necessity since they would have to prepare the way for construction units, guard supplies, assist in construction of barracks, et cetera. At the same time they would be available to assist in repelling any attack that might be made upon Liberia. President Barclay need have no apprehensions concerning the conduct of American marines. They are one of the most highly disciplined bodies in the American armed forces and have had long experience in dealing with and living among peoples outside the United States.

4. The location of one or possibly two bases could probably be agreed upon in advance. With these exceptions we anticipate that it would be necessary to undertake surveys in order to determine suitable locations. From among such locations we would propose that sites for bases be arranged by mutual agreement.

5. If the United States should become a belligerent the status of Liberia would of course be a matter for the Liberian Government to determine. The steps contemplated by this Government will of course make it possible for Liberian independence and integrity to be preserved and this Government is confident that a satisfactory arrangement can be worked out which would give the United States full power to protect the bases selected and yet leave Liberia free to determine her own status in the light of what she considers to be her best interests.

As this whole matter is of great urgency please endeavor to see President Barclay at once and use the above arguments to obtain a definite request from him for the establishment of American bases. As soon as this request is received we shall telegraph further instructions.

WELLES 811.34582/7: Telegram

The Minister in Liberia (Walton) to the Secretary of State

MONROVIA, July 3, 1941–4p.m.

[Received July 42:30 p. m.] 67. Department's number 40, June 30, 9 p. m. President Barclay

9 is generally agreeable to the suggestion and feels it is now necessary to meet with trust (trusted?] advisers before giving a definitive reply which will be forthcoming within the next 2 days. I am confident it will be along lines desired by our Government.

President Barclay points out that it is not made clear by what parties “ratification” will be brought into effect.

The Liberian Government will leave to the American Government the question of compensation for use of property leased under proposed arrangement.


811.34582/8: Telegram

The Minister in Liberia (Walton) to the Secretary of State

MONROVIA, July 7, 1941–1 p. m.

[Received July 9–5:20 p. m.] 68. Department's No. 37, June 21, 3 p. m., and No. 40, June 30, 9 p. m. In a conversation today between the President of Liberia and the American Minister it was indicated that the Government of Liberia agrees to lease to the Government of the United States areas required for the establishment on Liberian territory of two or more air bases on the following terms:

[1.] A formal declaration of the Government of the United States guaranteeing the territorial integrity and political independence of Liberia during the life of the lease or leases under the arrangement.

2. That the full sovereign rights of the Government of Liberia over and upon the leased areas shall be reserved and respected, subject to such special arrangements as to American rights in those places including jurisdiction over the personnel of the American military establishments, et cetera, as may be worked out by the two Governments; that the United States military personnel requisite to protect the bases shall be limited to 500 men, but in the event it be deemed necessary to increase this number this shall be done upon subsequent agreement of the two Governments.

3. That the leased areas or rights incident thereto which may be guaranteed to the United States Government shall terminate on the date on which a peace treaty terminating the war in which Germany is now engaged is ratified by the democratic powers or any one of them, and that the military or naval personnel stationed and employed at these bases be withdrawn as of the same date, and all special rights granted the United States on and in the leased areas be simultaneously terminated.

4. That in the event the Government of Liberia be forced in consequence of action taken in this arrangement to defend its land and sea frontiers from attack, the Government of the United States will, upon the request of the Government of Liberia, at once accord protection to the Government of Liberia by granting it all aid and military equipment and matériel which will be requisite to insure an effective defense.

5. That this agreement be understood as in no way affecting the policy of neutrality which the Government of Liberia now maintains or may hereafter continue to maintain or adopt.

6. That in the event the United States Government becomes a belligerent in the present conflict the Liberian Government be left free without coercion as to what status it will assume in the circumstances. It is of course expected that with the landing of the naval or military personnel required for the construction of the air bases, all measures to protect the country from reprisals will be simultaneously taken.

Personally I am not entirely satisfied with paragraph 3 which seems too indefinite in regard to ratification of peace treaty and too exacting in regard to date of withdrawal of troops.


811.79682/23a : Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Liberia (Walton)

WASHINGTON, July 9, 1941–7 p. m. 42. Pan American Airways representative in Liberia is being instructed to proceed immediately with the signing of its initialed contract for commercial services.17 You should offer your good services in this connection if it should appear necessary.


811.79682/37 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Assistant Chief

of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Villard)

[WASHINGTON,] July 16, 1941. Mr. Firestone telephoned from Akron to say that he was sending a radiogram to his resident manager in Liberia approving a site selected for a landing field for Pan American Airways. This site had been chosen after a survey by the resident manager and embraced a piece of territory located just outside the leased land of the Firestone Plantations. Mr. Seybold, the resident manager, was being instructed to negotiate with President Barclay for a lease of this new land in the name of the Firestone Plantations, which would then sublet the property to Pan American Airways.

17 Contract signed on July 14, 1941.

Mr. Firestone said that he felt that it was preferable to handle the matter of the landing field in this way and that he hoped it would not interfere with any negotiations which the Department was at present conducting with the Liberian Government. I said that as far as I could see there would be no objection to this procedure. Mr. Firestone said that it was an advantageous matter to have the landing field located outside of the Firestone Plantations, as this would make it easier to negotiate with President Barclay for the use of the land.

The only reservation in Mr. Firestone's mind was that the site which had been chosen by Mr. Seybold was within two miles of the Firestone factories and machine shops. In the event of hostile operations or bombing attacks against the landing field, the Firestone buildings were therefore likely to suffer, but this was a risk which Mr. Firestone was nevertheless prepared to take. He said that no other site appeared to be readily available for a landing field in Liberia.

Mr. Firestone asked whether it would be possible for us to instruct the Legation at Monrovia to support the efforts of his representative to negotiate for the landing field with President Barclay. I said that we would send a telegram to the Legation along these lines and suggested that Mr. Seybold should be instructed to keep the Legation closely informed of his moves.

811.79682/37 : Telegram The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Liberia (Walton)

WASHINGTON, July 16, 1941–8 p. m. 44. The Firestone representative in Liberia is being instructed by Akron to open negotiations with President Barclay for the lease of land to be used by Pan American Airways. You are authorized to lend such support to Mr. Seybold as may appear necessary.


811.79682/38 : Telegram

The Minister in Liberia (Walton) to the Secretary of State

MONROVIA, July 19, 1941–11 a. m.

[Received July 23—9:50 p. m.] 71. Department's telegram No. 44, July 16, 8 p. m. On July 17, I secured appointment for Pan American Airways representative with President Barclay. President agreeable to Liberian Government leasing direct to Pan American Airways proposed site in Farmington River, Fish Creek section at 50 cents an acre. Contract must be


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