File No. 882.032/15.

Chargé Bundy to the Secretary of State.

No. 151.]

Sir: I have the honor to report for the information of the Department that the Legislature of Liberia met for its regular annual session on Dec. 6, 1915. The President delivered his message on Dec. 15, 1915. * * * A copy of the message is herewith enclosed.

I have [etc.]

Richard C. Bundy.


For several years past a state of unrest has characterized the Kru coast in Sinoe County, occasionally manifesting itself in sporadic outbreaks. In September of the present year, taking as a pretext the rumor that the Government intended to send tax collectors among them, they commenced hostilities by blockading with war canoes the port of Greenville and firing upon the town, by seizing and robbing the boats of peaceful foreigners trading on the coast, by capturing and destroying mails despatched to Sinoe and Cape Palmas in open boats, by threatening and ill-treating missionaries and their dependents, and by setting up a farcical government with all the appurtenances of cabinet officials. As soon as your Executive heard of the first of these movements, we despatched messengers to the chiefs of the several communities reported to be involved, but without results.

With a sincere desire to exhaust every reasonable resource to settle this trouble by peaceful means, our situation was made fully known to the Government of the United States coupled with a request that a war vessel be despatched to Liberian waters, the commander of which might act as an impartial mediator. Further, a special commission was appointed to investigate and settle peacefully the questions between the Krus and the Government. That commission was composed of the following gentlemen: Honorable B. W. Payne, Secretary of Education, a native Liberian of the Bassa tribe; Reed Paige Clark, Esq., a citizen of the United States and General Receiver of Customs; Mr. B. J. Davis, Governor of Monrovia Krutown, a native Liberian of the Kru tribe; and Mr. J. F. Cooper, Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Your Executive felt assured that with a commission so composed, any real grievance which might be brought before it by the Krus would have sympathetic hearing and investigation, and any wrong proved, redressed.

The United States Cruiser Chester arrived at Monrovia on the 8th of November, and proceeded the next day to Sinoe with the above commission on board. The good offices of Captain Schofield of the Chester had been requested in the attempt to adjust these difficulties, and I may state that he was most painstaking and persevering and did everything in his power to bring about a settlement.

The efforts of the commission have so far proved of no avail in achieving peaceful conditions, notwithstanding the fact that every just and honorable [Page 627] overture was made the Krus to accomplish the end of the Government without bloodshed. These were all scorned; the Krus wanted to fight; the Government was challenged in a noisy and insolent manner by a show of their war power. In view of the efforts which have so often been made to impress the world with the idea that Liberia is disposed and takes every opportunity to ill-treat and oppress the native population, the commission has been able to produce this good effect, namely: that the citizens of the United States who acted in connection with the commission, and other foreign residents, are new satisfied, or should be, that the Krus have no real grievances, that this revolt was initiated for the purpose of subverting, if possible, the Government of Liberia, and that it is not without foreign sympathy and encouragement.

I feel that your Honorable Body will share the sincere disappointment caused by the departure of Major Charles Young, Military Attaché of the American Legation, who has rendered such unselfish and constructive service in his capacity as Military Adviser to the War Department. Major Young has worked with unflagging zeal to assist in the bringing of the Frontier Force up to a remarkable state of efficiency and system, in the rehabilitation of the Militia and along other lines converging towards the perfection point of the defensive arm of the State. The counsel and cooperation of a man representing as much optimistic energy and work as Major Young does, will most assuredly be missed.