882.5048/255: Telegram

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

34. Your 41, March 27. From the Department’s viewpoint, from the time of the first meeting of the Commission the activities of the Commission should be arranged and carried on through direct relations between the Commission itself and the Liberian Government. The Department does not object to any purely informal action on your part to facilitate in a general way the efforts of the Commission to accomplish the purposes for which it was created, this Government being in full sympathy with those purposes. It is felt, however, that you should avoid acting in any way as an intermediary or becoming involved in any issue between the Liberian Government and the Commission. In the event of serious issues of this character arising, you are requested to obtain authority from the Department before taking action.

You have, moreover, intimated in certain communications that you are of the opinion that both the investigations of the Commission [Page 344] and its report may result in unfortunate repercussions in Liberia, may give rise to controversies with the Liberian Government, and may in the end place the Liberian Government in a difficult position. It is felt, therefore, that the Legation should exercise great care to disassociate itself both in act and in appearance from such investigations as the Commission may undertake or from any of its operations. In particular it is believed that it would be unwise for officers or employees of the Legation to be present at hearings held by the Commission or during any phase of its work of investigation. Apprehension is felt that should members of the Legation staff be present on such occasions they might either at the time or later be drawn into controversies over facts or expressions of opinion which would present the aspect of the Legation’s taking sides in such matters, or conveying the impression in the public mind or in the mind of the Government that the Legation was a party to the proceedings.

The Department does not wish to hamper you in obtaining information concerning the activities of the Commission and is confident that you will be able to obtain all essential information without recourse to being present in person at hearings and investigations.

The foregoing considerations by which it is desired you be governed represent, of course, solely the Department’s objective viewpoint. Your comment is desired, and should local conditions afford reasons which might serve to modify the Department’s opinion, you are invited to present them for the Department’s further consideration.