882.20/287: Telegram

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

49. Your 54, October 9, 8 p.m.26 Please hand following note to Secretary Barclay:

“I am instructed to inform Your Excellency that the President of the United States has nominated George W. Lewis for appointment by the President of Liberia as Major in the Liberian Frontier Force under Article 12, paragraph 3, of the 1926 Loan Agreement. Mr. Lewis who is at present Chief of the Internal Police of Porto Rico with the rank of Colonel has had a long and varied experience in constabulary work and is regarded as exceptionally well fitted by temperament and training for this important position. He is about 45 years of age.

I am further instructed to inform you that in order to obtain the services of a man suitably qualified for this position the Government of the United States has found it necessary to offer a salary of $7500 per annum. Consequently, it will be obliged to defer the nomination of the second officer contemplated in the Loan Agreement until such time as the Liberian Government finds that its finances permit of an increase in the sum now provided for two officers under Article 12, paragraph 3, of the Loan Agreement.

As you will recall the inclusion in the Loan Agreement of a provision such as that contained in Article 12, paragraph 3, for the nomination of American officers to the Frontier Force was considered as one of the essential elements of the security advanced by the Liberian Government for the loan of 1926, and it follows that the Government of the United States in exercising its functions under that Article expects that the Liberian Government will give Major Lewis authority and assistance that will enable him so to organize the activities of the Frontier Force as to maintain the Force on the level of efficiency and morale envisaged in the Loan Agreement.”

The Department has made every effort to meet the views of the Liberian Government in making this nomination and feels that the nomination of Colonel Lewis although a white man is thoroughly consistent with the spirit and the letter of the Loan Agreement. In the future when similar nominations are to be made it will earnestly endeavor as it has done in this instance to meet the wishes of the Liberian Government as to the nomination of colored officers provided [Page 450] that suitably qualified colored officers can be found but it is not prepared to nominate candidates whom it does not consider suitable and it feels that it should be free to make its selection on the basis of technical ability and temperamental fitness regardless of color. You are authorized to convey the foregoing informally to the Liberian Government.

[Paraphrase.] According to the understanding of the Department, the salary and allowances for Colonel Lewis are to be met out of Liberian receivership funds and in no way depend upon a Liberian Government contract.

You will report the action taken and the Liberian Government’s attitude. [End paraphrase.]

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