File No. 763.72/9973

The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page ) to the Secretary of State


10031. Your 7245, April 12, 4 p.m. Foreign Office today considered the question of furnishing protection to Liberia and have taken measures to restore confidence to Government of that country; acting British Consul General at Monrovia reports French authorities at Dakar, shortly after bombardment of wireless station at Monrovia, offered to land certain number of field guns for its defense and that French citizens requested permission to cause remains of wireless station to be protected by sand bags; Liberian Government declined to accept either of these measures until they should have discussed question of defense with Allies jointly following expert advice on whole question. British acting Consul General has been instructed to inform Liberian Government that British Government cannot keep ships in Liberian waters owing to lack of harbor facilities, but that four armed drifters are being sent to Sierra Leone for service in Liberia, if further attacks are made, and that the despatch of more protective forces is under consideration and will be arranged if practicable.

Military authorities feel that French offer to send guns can only be recommended if the assurance is given that these guns be efficiently handled, and are capable of dealing with armament of German submarines, that is, two 6-inch and two 4-inch guns and that shore guns are also supplied with searchlights. They further consider it wise to leave remains of wireless station unprotected, but that if field guns are landed any protection that can be constructed locally should be erected. They add that if [reerection] of wireless station is contemplated they strongly advise its being outside the range of 6-inch submarine guns. This information under instructions was communicated to the Liberian Government confidentially.