882.124a/71: Telegram

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

68. My telegram No. 62, May 7, 3 p.m.81 Have just seen draft of Dr. Smith’s82 health survey report which will be presented to King83 on June 4th. Copy will go direct to Surgeon General of the United States in following pouch.

In substance report finds that at the time of inspection in Monrovia proper 93 percent of buildings and premises were breeding mosquitoes whereas in Krutown only 3 percent were breeding; of the types of mosquitoes examined in all parts of city 94 percent were stegomyia (yellow fever carrying). Report states that general housing, water [Page 416] supply, sewage, and sanitary conditions are highly conducive to outbreaks of yellow fever and other communicable diseases. Report emphasizes the necessity of strict sanitary measures enforced by prompt and effective police and court action and supported by strong governmental cooperation.

[Paraphrase.] This cooperation has been lacking, and especially the attitude of a majority of the higher officials has been a thinly veiled opposition to the program of Dr. Smith. There have, in fact, been numerous instances on the part of Liberian officials of definite acts obviously designed to embarrass the work of Dr. Smith. Notably this has been by the unduly and unnecessarily holding up of the appropriations already provided for it. Now Dr. Smith has been advised informally that, in the absence of funds from the 1926 loan,84 no money will be available after June 1 for him (general approval 66).

So far Dr. Smith has built up an efficiently working health organization, cleaned up the accumulated refuse in Monrovia, and brought under control the general health situation at the moment. All this, however, will be lost should he be obliged to suspend his operations for any appreciable period of time.

Regarding the contribution by the Advisory Committee on Education in Liberia, Bishop Robert E. Campbell,85 Robert L. Embree,86 Dr. Smith, and I all strongly feel that in the circumstances the sum should not be turned over to the Liberian Government, but, if it is sent, it should be administered by Bishop Campbell’s office as a private fund upon the informed recommendations of Dr. Smith.

The availability of this sum in Monrovia would operate usefully as an emergency fund and, if sent, should be accepted “for the control of yellow fever and other communicable diseases.” If the money is sent, it should be cabled directly to Bishop Campbell. [End paraphrase.]

  1. Not printed.
  2. Dr. Howard F. Smith, Chief Medical Adviser to Liberia.
  3. President: C. D. B. King, of Liberia.
  4. For text of 1926 loan agreement, see Foreign Relations, 1926, vol. ii, p. 574.
  5. Head of the Episcopal Mission.
  6. Principal representative of the Methodist Episcopal Mission.