882.00/827: Telegram

The Chargé in Liberia (Carter) to the Secretary of State

81. Department’s 58, June 9, 5 p.m. Liberian note of June 4th reads as follows:

“Sir: I have the honor to bring to your attention certain statements made by you to the President of Liberia on June 3rd, of the present year, in a conversation which you had with His Excellency at the British Legation on that day.

In this conversation you enquired of the President whether the Liberians desired the Germans to come into Liberia and take over, and upon His Excellency replying that Liberians desired no one whatever [including?] the Americans to come in and take over the administration of the country you replied ‘well, if you do not want the Americans to come in and take over you will have to submit to their doing so.’ The President suggested to you that we should not ‘cross that bridge until we get to it.’ You declared that ‘America will step in just the same.’
In view of the many declarations of your Government that its real policy towards Liberia in [is?] the maintenance of the sovereignty and independence of the Republic, the statements made by you in a conversation with the President of Liberia, which was unsought by His Excellency, indicate that the traditional policy of your Government has undergone a radical change of direction and objections [objectives?]. They raise the apprehension in the mind of the Liberian Government that perhaps recent events, both international and local, have been promoted by interests which are desirous of achieving the result declared to be inevitable by you, speaking officially.
The Government of Liberia, ignoring for the moment the discourtesy of language and manner which you adopted towards the President of the Republic during the course of your conversation, merely desire to place on record their recognition of the change in American policy towards this Republic.

Please accept the assurance of the high consideration and esteem with which, I have the honor to be, Mr. Chargé d’Affaires, your most humble and obedient servant, Edwin Barclay, Secretary of State.”

I need hardly comment upon the intemperate and inaccurate character of the Liberian note but thought it wisest to make the reply quoted in my 77, June 7, 3 p.m., as there had obviously been a misunderstanding.

In my farewell interviews with Barclay and the President today the matter was fully and satisfactorily discussed on both sides and I believe all misapprehensions have been removed. Both stated that there had been so many rumors of intervention either by the United States, League of Nations, or Germany that they had become uneasy [Page 332] and, therefore, not feeling certain of the import of my remarks, had thought it best to elicit a definite statement from me. I took occasion to assure them again that no change in American policy had occurred or was likely to occur and to inform them of my personal friendship and that of the United States towards Liberia. They both appeared completely satisfied that the whole affair was due to a misunderstanding and the incident may be considered closed. In these circumstances I consider it would be highly inadvisable to transmit the correspondence in question to the National City Bank as no good purpose could be served by any possible reopening of the incident.