882.00/836: Telegram

The Consul at Geneva (Blake) to the Secretary of State


Department’s July 15, 3 p.m.7 On about May 19 the Liberian representative here, Sottile, showed to the Secretary General of the League of Nations a document which purported to be a Department instruction to Dr. Johnson, American member on the International Commission, and which contained a reference to a possible Liberian mandate, in which the name of Sir Eric Drummond was mentioned. So far as is known, neither this nor similar documents have been shown anyone else in Geneva. An authentic record of the conversation on that occasion between Sottile and Drummond is as follows: Drummond informed Sottile that he, of course, did not know what instructions had been sent Johnson by the United States Government, but certainly the paragraph relating to the mandate was invented and he, therefore, assumed the whole document to be a forgery.

Sottile expressed pleasure on hearing this, and Drummond insisted that Sottile should immediately communicate with the Liberian Government to explain that the documents in their possession were assuredly forgeries.

Sottile then said he desired to ask a hypothetical question: namely, What would the League of Nations do in the event the United States Government suggested that Liberia should be administered under a mandate? Replying, Drummond stated his inability to conceive [Page 336] of such an eventuality and was not prepared for discussion of questions which, to his mind, were beyond the bounds of possibility.

I had heard nothing previously regarding this incident, but upon receiving the Department’s telegram I made a discreet investigation.

  1. Not printed.