Press Release Issued by the Liberian Consulate General at Baltimore, July 6, 1927

Dr. Ernest Lyon, Consul General and Special Financial Representative of the Republic of Liberia in the United States today presented to Honorable Ogden L. Mills, Acting Secretary of the Treasury, a draft for $35,610.46 drawn by The National City Bank of New York on the Riggs National Bank of Washington, D. C, in full payment of Liberia’s indebtedness to the United States under the Liberty Bond Acts. Dr. Lyon in making the payment made a few remarks appropriate to the occasion and in returning the cancelled obligations of the Republic of Liberia, Mr. Mills handed to Dr. Lyon a letter of felicitation from Secretary Mellon.

Remarks of the Liberian Consul General on the Occasion of the Payment of Liberia’s Debt to the Government of the United States

Distinguished Sir: This monetary obligation which the Liberian Government settles today with the American Government, carries our memories back to the great World War period. Liberia at the breaking out of the War had no grievances against the Central Powers then in war with the rest of Europe. She had elected, for various reasons, to remain neutral, notwithstanding political and other pressure to force her into taking sides with the allied forces. But when the American Government after the tragic incident of the sinking of the Lusitania severed diplomatic relations with the Imperial German Government, and war was declared against the Central Powers, Liberia followed the example of her good and great friend.

In the struggle she supplied mariners from her seaport population which made maritime communication possible up and down the West Coast of Africa, after the Europeans had withdrawn in response to the call of their respective nationalities.

Her men served as links of communication on the battlefield rendering such other service, which brought down upon her national pate the ire of a German submarine, because the President of the Republic, [Page 167]refused at the bidding of the commander to authorize the destruction of the wireless stations and other useful institutions in the service of the allies.

Liberia as an ally was to share in the loan measure, which authorized the President of the United States to make loans to members of the allied compact to enable them to carry on the war to a successful finish.

The Armistice, however, was declared before Liberia secured her full quota allotted. She did, however, secure a portion of the five million dollar allotment.

I come today, under official instructions, to settle that obligation covered by the face of this draft, issued through one of the most powerful and reputable financial institutions in the world. I refer to the National City Bank of New York. By this act Liberia not only sets a good example to the nations of the earth, but she emphasizes the fact that the respect which one nation entertains for another nation, is based upon the integrity and promptness in the settlement of obligations monetary and otherwise.

You will be pleased to know that the Republic is entering upon a prosperous career, that her economic conditions have been wonderfully improved since the close of the War, that the opening up of the country to American capitalists marks a new day for the Government and the people of the Republic.

It is with great pleasure therefore that I present to you this draft cancelling Liberia’s war obligation, and in doing so I beg to convey to His Excellency, the President of the United States, through your good offices, the distinguished consideration and high appreciation of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Liberia, and to express the hope that the relations of comity and good will will not only continue but will increase as the years of national life are prolonged.

I have [etc.]

Ernest Lyon

[Letter of Felicitation from the Secretary of the Treasury to the Liberian Consul General]

My Dear Mr. Consul General: In accepting from your hands as Special Financial Representative of His Excellency C. D. B. King payment in full of Liberia’s indebtedness to the United States, permit me to congratulate your Government on the loyal and prompt manner in which it has met its engagements.

There is but one other nation among those whose obligations have been held by this Government that has made payment of its indebtedness without recourse to funding agreements.

The blow dealt to the economic system of Liberia by the war was severe in the extreme. That Liberia has been able to re-establish and [Page 168]strengthen her economic system, to regain her financial position, and to meet her public and private obligations in full constitutes an achievement that bears glowing tribute to the ability of her statesmen and to the industry of her people as a whole.

I trust that you will convey to His Excellency, President King and to your Government an expression of the admiration felt here for a nation that has been able to accomplish such things, together with the hope of this Government that a future of peace and prosperity lies before Liberia in which the traditional friendship between the two nations may find frequent and cordial reaffirmation.

I am [etc.]

A. W. Mellon