Memorandum of an Interview between the Assistant Secretary of State (Dearing) and President King, November 8, 1921

Mr. Dearing received the four members of the Liberian Plenary Mission at four thirty …

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President King had several questions he desired to take up with Mr. Dearing and they were discussed in the following order:

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1. President King left letters

Concerning the further advances by the Bank of British West Africa at Monrovia in order to carry on the Government for another three months.13 It seems that the Bank has already consented to this arrangement and that funds will therefore be available for carrying on the Government for another three months. If the loan is granted within this time, all well and good, but if not the Mission requested that the Department of State should use its good offices in order to obtain from the Bank at Monrovia further advances to pay the governmental expenditures until such time as the loan becomes available.
He also left a letter with Mr. Dearing upon the question of the Franco–Liberian boundary,13 with the request that this matter be taken up through diplomatic channels with the French Government at an early date.
His third letter was formally confirming the desire of the Liberian Government to appoint a Liberian Minister to the United States.13 This letter suggested John L. Morris for this post and asked whether or not the nomination of Mr. Morris would be agreeable to the American Government when the loan becomes available.

2. The Mission requested that Mr. Dearing should give prompt consideration, if possible, to the appointment of Mr. Frank as the Purchasing Agent of the Liberian Government in the United States.

Mr. Dearing informed the Liberian Mission, however, that although he had received Mr. Frank and had found him to be a gentleman who would probably fill this post in a fairly satisfactory manner, yet at the same time he felt that it was too early to give a definite decision upon this point at the present time, the appointment of such an Agent being a matter which should await for final decision upon the granting of the five million dollar credit, it being apparently unnecessary to appoint a Purchasing Agent until the services of such an Agent were required.

3. President King then brought up the question of what would be done in case Congress refused to grant the credit, stating that that, in all probability, would be the first question the Mission would be required to answer when they arrive at Monrovia. President King suggested that if Congress refused to grant the loan it would be quite satisfactory to the Liberian Government if the Department of State would use its good offices with prominent and trustworthy American bankers to induce them to furnish the money. Mr. Dearing told the Mission that this Government was very much interested in Liberian affairs and would at all times do everything that it properly could to assist the Liberian Government to a successful conclusion of its difficulties, and that he thought it would be very natural that the Department would assist in any proper way toward obtaining the money necessary for the financial rehabilitation of Liberia in case Congress refused to grant the credit as requested. The Mission made a very strong point that if, in the last contingency, it should be necessary to obtain money from bankers rather than [Page 392] from the American Government, that this money be obtained under such terms that it would be possible to carry out in full the terms of the loan agreement already concluded between the Secretary of State and the Liberian Mission. They understood, of course, that if the money is obtained from bankers, in all probability it would be necessary to pay a higher rate of interest than if the loan was made by the Government of the United States, but that they were very anxious that all the other terms of the agreement should be adopted providing the money was furnished by American bankers.

4. The President then brought up a matter in which he said that he felt it was advisable that he speak quite frankly. It was the designation at the present time of Mr. Bundy15 as Deputy Financial Commissioner. He said that although Mr. Bundy was acceptable in every way to the Liberian Mission yet, on the other hand, there were members of the Liberian Government and other people in Liberia who at the present moment might not be disposed in a favorable way toward the appointment of Mr. Bundy on the Commission. President King therefore suggested that his designation be postponed until the Mission could return to Liberia and pave the way to the favorable acceptance of his designation. Mr. Dearing’s reply was to the effect that he would take this suggestion under consideration.

The Mission then bade farewell to Mr. Dearing, who replied in fitting terms stating that he hoped within a very short time through the efforts of the Commission in the United States a new era of prosperity would be inaugurated in Liberia.

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  4. Richard C. Bundy, former Secretary of Legation and Vice Consul at Monrovia; on detail in the Department of State in connection with the Liberian loan negotiations.