University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Foreign Relations of the United States

Page View

United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

Liberia,   pp. 785-857 PDF (27.0 MB)

Page 817

of duty all classes of merchandise, including food and clothing, re-
quired for the functioning of their organizations, but a maximum
limit is set for each class of institution. Thus in the case of institu-
tions of higher learning such as the American University of Beirut,
the maximum amount on which free entry is permitted is twenty-five
Syrian Pounds per year per student. (A Syrian Pound equals twenty
French francs or approximately $0.75 at the present rate of exchange.)
Since the University has over a thousand students it is evident that
the total customs exemption permitted amounts to a considerable
sum. Again, in the case of missionaries a maximum limit is set to
the amount which they may import free of duty annually. These
various limits are high enough to permit the American institutions
and their personnel in Syria to carry on their work without hardship.
At the same time the maximum amount set prevents excessive im-
portations and protects the Government's revenues. It occurs to me
that it might be possible for you to work out a compromise along the
lines of the precedent set in Syria. Thus each missionary and member
of his immediate family might be given customs exemption on food-
stuffs, wearing apparel, et cetera, to the extent of, say $200 per annum,
or whatever amount might appear to be reasonable and fair to all
  I am offering these personal views for your consideration in the
hope that you may find them useful in preparing to bring this matter
informally to the attention of the Liberian Government.
  Sincerely yours,                             WALLACE MURRAY
The Minister in Liberia (Walton) to the Chief of the Division of Near
                    Eastern Affairs (Murray)
                                     MONROVIA, September 7, 1937.
  MY DEAR MR. MURRAY: Your letter of July 30, relative to Liberia's
revocation of privileges to American missionaries of free entry for
personal effects was received and read with interest. In accordance
with instructions, I am taking up this matter with Secretary of State
Simpson, acquainting him with the Department's views and also ar-
rangements in Syria to which you refer.
  I sought to make clear in my despatch No. 86 of March 6, 1937,
that at no time has it been the intention of the Liberian Government
to extend missionaries privilege to receive their personal effects in
this country duty free; and that for only a time in 193G, due to a
misinterpretation of the new revenue act, was such consideration shown
them by some Liberian customs collectors.

Go up to Top of Page