882.73/11: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in France (Bliss)

6937. See Department’s 147 to AmMission.57

In a cable dated January 8 American Chargé d’Affaires, Monrovia, reports that French Chargé d’Affaires has informed him that French Government “would not accept negative reply of Liberian Government to request of French Cable Company to connect immediately with and operate from Monrovia former German cable line to Pernambuco and that if Liberia continues to maintain present attitude, French Government would take such steps as may be necessary to accomplish aforesaid objective irrespective of Liberian Government’s refusal to grant permission sought.”

Furthermore French Chargé d’Affaires said “that French Government was considering and is likely any day to send war vessel to Liberian waters, and under its protection cable would be joined and operated. Also he said that France and Great Britain have agreed to divide this German cable system between themselves and that Great Britain already has taken certain sections allotted to her. France would now proceed to take her parts, of which line from Monrovia to Pernambuco is most important portion.”

On the same day the Department informed the American Chargé d’Affaires at Monrovia that at the present time this Government is prepared to support the position taken by the Liberian Government.58

You will immediately advise the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the action of the French Chargé d’Affaires in Monrovia and express to him this Government’s amazement at the reported attitude of the French Government, which seems so wholly inconsistent with the [Page 514] principles of justice and rights of small nations for which the United States and the associated governments have been contending. You will point out that the Liberian question is not one affecting or involving West Africa; that Liberia is an independent nation, a member of the Allied group of nations; that this Government has an abiding interest in the welfare of Liberia and proposes to maintain that interest and that the sending of a warship to Liberian waters to enforce the French Cable Company’s demands would be considered by the Government of the United States as grave injustice to Liberia.

Advise the Department of the views of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Hand copy of this cable to Secretary Lansing.

  1. Ante, p. 511.
  2. Telegram not printed.