File No. 882.51/762

The Liberian Consul General to the Secretary of State

Sir: I am calling your attention to conditions in Liberia. The trade between Liberia and Great Britian is practically suspended. Two vessels which would have brought some forty thousand dollars ($40,000) revenue to the Republic, have been recently sunk by German submarines. There is no immediate prospect of any relief to Liberia in the matter of merchant vessels as it has been announced that the Shipping Department in Liverpool has neither ships nor goods for this trade. The resumption, therefore, of the trade promised to Liberia before the deportation of the Germans and upon which Liberia depended, has not been realized and the country is in a worse condition today than it was ever before. The following statement will serve to explain the embarrassing situation of the Republic. In the middle of September, according to instructions from the State Department, the balance in the Receiver’s Department was five hundred dollars ($500) with outstanding obligations which had to be met, of seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500). It does seem that some practical relief should be considered for Liberia as one of the Allies.

I respectfully submit these facts for your serious consideration and trust that in the generosity of your heart you will be able to divorce yourself for a few minutes from your other important and arduous tasks to give to Libera’s condition some earnest consideration.

The reforms which your Department has suggested, have been practically adopted. All the measures have been passed into law by the Legislature except that which referred to the prohibition of the distillation and manufacturing of spirits in the Republic.6 And with regard to this, an excise duty, equal to the amount placed upon imported liquor, was imposed upon all spirits distilled and manufactured in the Republic and such manufacturing restricted to the civilized zones in the Republic. The reforms suggested and adopted are: [Page 896]

The reduction of the salaries of the Legislature and the increase of those of the members of the Cabinet.
The appointment of a foreign Auditor.
The regulating of the importation and sale of firearms and ammunition in the Republic.
Defining specifically the duties of the Financial Adviser, etc.
The reduction of the Cabinet, etc., etc.

I have [etc.]

Ernest Lyon
  1. See Political Affairs, Reforms, etc., ante.