The Liberian Secretary of State (Barclay) to the American Minister in Liberia (Francis)10


Mr. Minister: I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your despatch dated January 30, 1928,11 by which I am informed that in view of the fact that the health of Mr. Sidney de la Rue, Financial [Page 243] Adviser of the Republic of Liberia, may preclude the possibility of his returning to Monrovia, the Department of State at Washington intends naming an Acting Financial Adviser who will eventually be named as Financial Adviser should Mr. de la Rue be unable to resume his duties.

I am further advised by your despatch that in order that the work of the Financial Adviser’s office might be carried on, your Government, pending the nomination referred to in the preceding paragraph, nominates Mr. Conrad T. Bussell, Supervisor of Customs to act as temporary Financial Adviser until the arrival of the new Acting Financial Adviser.

You further intimate that it is the opinion of the Finance Corporation and of the National City Bank with which opinion your Department of State is inclined to agree, that the remuneration of an Acting Financial Adviser of the type which your Department of State expects to name should be the same as that received by Mr. de la Rue.

You then add that the understanding of your Department of State is that in as much as the loan agreement makes no provision for such remuneration it will be made the subject of a supplementary agreement beween the three parties to the loan agreement.

I did not delay to bring the contents of your despatch to the attention of the Liberian Government who after careful consideration of the suggestions contained therein, have instructed me to say in reply that the temporary supervision of the Financial Adviser’s office and the discharge of his functions by Mr. Bussell, being in accord with the administrative practice of the Liberian Government meet with no objection from my Government. This is, however, without prejudice to the view expressed in the paragraph immediately following.

My Government feel bound to observe that in their opinion, the loan agreement, which is the unalterable criterion by which the powers exercised thereunder by the Government of the United States are controlled, furnished no authority for the appointment of an Acting Financial Adviser in the sense suggested by the despatch now under reply. The Government of Liberia therefore regret being unable to concur in the proposed intention of your Department of State, which if carried out would be modifying the loan agreement by reading into it a provision not contemplated nor agreed to at the making of the Contract.

Moreover, the Liberian Government would find themselves embarrassed in a financial sense, if whilst paying Mr. de la Rue’s salary during his leave, they would also be called upon to expend a like sum for an Acting Financial Adviser, which expenditure, it must be observed, is not authorized in the Budget, the amount of which is not [Page 244] otherwise available, and the payment of which, if the sum were available, would in itself constitute a violation of the provisions of the loan agreement in respect of extra Budget payments.

As far as my Government’s official information goes, Mr. de la Rue, the Financial Adviser, is on leave. The administrative practice of Liberia in such a case is that the next ranking official performs the duties of the official on leave in addition to his own duties, and in compensation for his extra services receives out of the contingent fund such a temporary increment on his ordinary pay as will make it equal to the pay of the official whose duties he temporarily discharges.

My Government suggests that in the present circumstance this procedure should be followed as being more economical, and since it does not endanger any interest concerned, cannot in any sense be objectionable.

Should, however, the health of Mr. de la Rue, as your Department of State seems to apprehend, render his relinquishment of his post under the Government of the Republic necessary, the Government of Liberia would not hesitate to accept a new nominee proposed by the Department of State. They cannot, however, see their way to carry the additional burden which would be involved in their acquiescence in the intention of the Department of State as notified in your despatch. In view of the foregoing, it is evident that the Government of Liberia share neither the opinion nor the understanding set forth in the last two paragraphs of your despatch.

The Liberian Government feel assured that the view expressed herein will meet with the sympathetic acceptance of your Department of State.

With sentiments [etc.]

Edwin Barclay
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister in Liberia in his despatch No. 29, Feb. 7, 1928; received March 22.
  2. Not printed.