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Policy and History

The United States and Liberia’s long, shared history dates back nearly two centuries.  In 1819, the U.S. Congress appropriated $100,000 for the establishment of Liberia and resettlement of freemen and freed slaves from North America by the American Colonization Society.  The first group of settlers arrived in Liberia from the United States in the 1820s. The United States, which officially recognized the Republic of Liberia in 1862, established diplomatic relations and an American Legation in 1864. The American Legation at Monrovia was elevated to Embassy Status on May 6, 1949, with Edward. R. Dudley serving as the first U.S. Ambassador to Liberia. The countries shared particularly close relations during the Cold War. The outbreak of civil war in Liberia and the long dominance of Charles Taylor soured bilateral relations.

Today, Liberia counts the United States as its strongest supporter in its democratization and reconstruction efforts. Since the end of Liberia’s civil war in 2003, the United States has contributed over $1 billion in bilateral assistance and more than $1 billion in assessed contributions to the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). In February 2008, President George W. Bush visited Liberia, where he held his fourth one-on-one meeting with President Johnson Sirleaf since her inauguration in January 2006. Peace Corps volunteers returned to Liberia in 2008 for the first time since 1990. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid an official visit to Liberia in August 2009.

In June 2009, the United States broke ground on a modern embassy complex, calling it a symbol of U.S. confidence in the future of the Liberia. The new complex is located at Greystone, near the Embassy’s existing facilities in Mamba Point, and and was completed and dedicated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in January 2012.